Reading the Gospel of Mark
A spiritual exercise for the season of Lent?
Lectio Divina (‘Divine reading’) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer. Its roots can be traced back to Origen of Alexandria in the third century. Origen believed that the Word of God was incarnate in Scripture and so could touch and teach those who read and heard it. He therefore encouraged the faithful to spend time quietly reflecting on scripture to allow the Spirit to speak to them through the Word.
Week 2 (19th -24th February)
Monday [19th Feb] Mark 2.18-28
Tuesday [20th Feb] Mark 3.1-12
Wednesday [21st Feb] Mark 3.13-35
Thursday [22nd Feb] Mark 4.1-20
Friday [23rd Feb] Mark 4.21-34
Saturday [24th Feb] Mark 4.35-41
Week 1 (14th -17th February)
Ash Wednesday: Mark 1.1-13
Thursday [15th Feb] Mark 1.14-28
Friday [16th Feb] Mark 1.29-45
Saturday [17th Feb] Mark 2.1-17
Week 4 (5th -10th March)
Monday [5th March] Mark 7.24-37
Tuesday [6th March] Mark 8.1-21
Wednesday [7th March] Mark 8.22-9.1
Thursday [8th March] Mark 9.2-29
Friday [9th March] Mark 9.30-50
Saturday [10th March] Mark 10.1-16
Week 3 (26th Feb-3rd March)
Monday [26th Feb] Mark 5.1-20
Tuesday [27th Feb] Mark 5.21-43
Wednesday [28th Feb] Mark 6.1-13
Thursday [1st March] Mark 6.14-29
Friday [2nd March] Mark 6.30-56
Saturday [3rd March] Mark 7.1-23
Week 6 (19th -24th March)
Monday [19th March]: Mark 12.38-44
Tuesday [20th March]: Mark 13.1-23
Wednesday [21st March]: Mark 13.24-37
Thursday 22nd March]: Mark 14.1-11
Friday [23rd March]: Mark 14.12-31
Saturday [24th March]: Mark 14.32-52
Week 5 (12th -17th March)
Monday [March 12th]: Mark 10.17-34
Tuesday [March 13th]: Mark 10.35-52
Wednesday [March 14th]: Mark 11.1-11
Thursday [March 15th]: Mark 11.12-33
Friday [March 16th]: Mark 12.1-17
Saturday [March 17th]: Mark 12.18-37
Week 7 (26th -31st March)
Monday [26th March]: Mark 14.53-72
Tuesday [27th March]: Mark 15.1-20
Wednesday [28th March] Mark 15.21-39
Maundy Thursday: Mark 15.40-47
Good Friday: Mark 16.1-8a
Holy Saturday: Mark 16.8b-20
The Gospel of Mark is the briefest of the four Gospels. It is sparse and direct. Mark tells the Gospel story with high tempo energy. The word euthus [immediately] occurs 42 times in Mark alone. The spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness (Mark 1:12)…immediately they [the disciples] left their nets and followed him (Mk 1:18).
It begins suddenly with an account of the ministry of John the Baptizer, who has been called by God in the Wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. His ministry culminates in the baptism of Jesus, who comes to the Jordan from Nazareth in Galilee.
The Gospel ends with an equally sudden visit to an empty tomb by Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, who see a young man at the entrance of the tomb, and then flees.
Mark has neither an infancy narrative nor resurrection appearances. It has few accounts of Jesus’ teaching ministry, and focuses a third of its length on the passion narrative – a larger portion than any of the other Gospels. What had seemed rushed now slows down so that the hearer of the story can meditate on the betrayal, the death, and the burial of Jesus.
Mark is the first Gospel written, and therefore is the foundation for the way the story gets told from then on. There were 661 verses recorded in Mark. Of these 600 verses appear in the other Gospels.
The Gospel programme of readings is suggested in Rowan Williams, 2015 Meeting God in Mark – Reflections for the Season of Lent. This small book (three chapters long) provides a helpful guide to the story.
Rowan Williams argues that Mark wants the reader not to be distracted by Jesus’ teaching or by miracles but rather to encounter Jesus himself through reading and re-reading the story. Jesus came preaching a regime change or what could be called a change of management. It’s a story about how God’s power is not the same as our power. An encounter with Jesus leads to letting go of our fantasies about God’s and our power, seeing instead God’s power in the death and resurrection of the Crucified One.