— Saint Mark, evangelist —

“So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

Pope Saint Leo the Great offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“And so while at Easter it was the Lord’s resurrection which was the cause of our joy, our present rejoicing is due to his ascension into heaven. With all due solemnity we are commemorating that day on which our poor human nature was carried up in Christ above all the hosts of heaven, above all the ranks of angels, beyond those heavenly powers to the very throne of God the Father. It is upon this ordered structure of divine acts that we have been firmly established, so that the grace of God may show itself still more marvelous when, in spite of the withdrawal from our sight of everything that is rightly felt to command our reverence, faith does not fail, hope is not shaken, charity does not grow cold. It was in order that we might be capable of such blessedness that on the fortieth day after his resurrection, after he had made careful provision for everything concerning the preaching of the gospel and the mysteries of the new covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ was taken up to heaven before the eyes of his disciples, and so his bodily presence among them came to an end. From that time onward he was to remain at the Father’s right hand until the completion of the period ordained by God for the church’s children to increase and multiply, after which, in the same body with which he ascended, he will come again to judge the living and the dead. And so our redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because empirical sight has been replaced by a reliable teaching whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high.” (Sermon 74)

On this Feast of the Evangelist Saint Mark, it well worth pondering the Good News of Jesus Christ that he [Saint Mark] recorded.

O God,
Who raised up Saint Mark, Your Evangelist,
and endowed him
with the grace to preach the Gospel,
grant, we pray,
that we may so profit from his teaching
as to follow faithfully
in the footsteps of Christ.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Lord is risen. Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen