One of the advantages of the lectionary is that each year, over a three year period, we have the opportunity to really sink our teeth into one of the gospels. This year, is the year of Mark, and Sunday by Sunday for most of the year we will hear Mark’s gospel proclaimed. Now as you know, each of the gospels has certain peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. They are not carbon copies of one another, even though many things are the same they sometimes appear in a different order or with a different emphasis. Each of the gospel writers is writing for a specific audience to make a specific point. One of the characteristics of Mark’s gospel is that it the shortest of the four gospels and scholars believe it is the oldest gospel, written down first sometime between AD 64 and AD 72, in other words just 30 or 40 odd years after the events the gospel depicts.
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The news is not necessarily good. If you follow a newspaper or some online news source, or if you take in the news by TV or radio, you will not presume that the news you learn will be good news. NPR reported not long ago on a study which researched the relationship between being well informed with the news, and being happy. Are people who spend more time and energy getting more news more happy in life? No. It’s largely the opposite, an inverted relationship: the people with more news are more unhappy. Well, I’m not about to suggest we become News Luddites; but I am saying that good news is remarkable, because there’s so much bad news, and that is as true today as it was in Jesus’ own day. Which is why the news that people heard on Jesus’ lips was compelling: because it was so good. He called it that – good news – and people voted with their feet. If Jesus had been a political candidate, we could call it an enormous swelling of grassroots’ support. They followed him in hordes.