St. Mark And Leaving the World A "Rear View"
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life?” – Mark 8:34-35 (NAB)
Today is the feast day of St. Mark. What little we know about Mark can be found in the Gospel he wrote. In Mark 14:51, he followed Jesus after his arrest wearing nothing but a linen cloth. When the mob grabbed for Mark, he fled leaving them with just the cloth and possibly a “rear view.”
Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four. Traditionally it is believed that Mark ended his life in Egypt while serving as bishop of Alexandria, but there is some dispute among historians that the documents reporting it are unreliable.
I’m sometimes uncomfortable with the above scripture from Mark’s Gospel. I have reluctantly picked up my cross and followed Him, only to be surprised at the outcome of the dreaded task. “That wasn’t so bad after all,” I think to myself when it’s all over. But I still hesitate when I pick up a new cross.
But the line, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?,” also makes me a tad queasy. My love for “stuff” gets in the way of my spiritual path and lures me back into the world.
As I grow older, that other world still beckons me with the pretty baubles I desire and the endless ebooks I want to read. I’ve learned to sometimes walk away and give that world my “rear view.”