Wednesday, April 25, 2007

naked into the night

Notes for a homily on the feast of Saint Mark

A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked. (Mark 14:51-52)

The New Oxford Annotated Bible (1991) notes, at 12.12, that John ... Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas as far as Perga (12.25-13.13; compare also Mk 14.51n.). At 14.51 it notes, "The young man's identity is not disclosed. Perhaps he was sleeping in the house where Jesus ate the Last Supper and rose hastily from bed to follow Jesus to Gethsemane. If the house was that of Mary, the mother of John Mark (where the disciples met at a late date; Acts 12.12), it is possible that the young man was the Evangelist himself.

The New Interpreter's Bible notes, for 14:51-52: Who the young man was and what he represents is the subject of much speculation. Is he connected to the "young man" at the tomb in 16:5? Is the linen cloth he wears connected to the "linen cloth" wrapped around Jesus' body in 15:46? Or is the young man who runs away naked simply the concrete narrative illustration of flight, as Judas is of betrayal and Peter is of denial? Some scholars connect the young man to passages in the Secret Gospel of Mark, mentioned in a disputed letter of Clement of Alexandria, discovered in the 20th century. At 15:37 it notes that John Mark, a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10), was an assistant on the first mission (12:25; 13:5), but he returned early to Jerusalem (13:13).

The Lessons Appointed for Use on the Feast of Saint Mark, April 25: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 2 or 2:7-10; Ephesians 4:7-8,11-16; Mark 1:1-15 or Mark 16:15-20.

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

James Kiefer, "Mark the Evangelist 25 April NT"

No comments: