St. Mark - A Voice Crying out in the Desert
Today is the feast day of St. Mark, the author of one of the Gospels, an avid disciple of Jesus, and a preacher who shared the Good News all throughout Asia Minor. Every author of the four Gospels has a symbol, one that expresses the themes and meanings within each particular book. The four symbols of the four Gospels are as follows; a divine man, a winged lion, a winged ox, and a rising eagle.
The origin of these symbols comes from the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testament. The Prophet Ezekiel says at the beginning of his epistle; "As I looked, a stormwind came from the north, a huge cloud with flashing fire, from the midst of which something gleamed like electrum. Within it were figures resembling four living creatures that looked like this: their form was human, but each had four faces and four wings, and their legs went straight down; the soles of their feet were round. They sparkled with a gleam like burnished bronze. Their faces were like this: each of the four had a face of a man, but on the right side was the face of a lion, and on the left side the face of an ox, and finally each had the face of an eagle."
In the book of Revelation, a similar situation is described. The book says; "Surrounding this throne were twenty-four other thrones upon which were seated twenty-four elders; they were clothed in white garments and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning and peals of thunder; before it burned seven flaming torches, the seven spirits of God. The floor around the throne was like a sea of glass that was crystal-clear. At the very center, around the throne itself, stood four living creatures covered with eyes front and back. The first creature resembled a lion; the second, an ox; the third had the face of a man; while the fourth looked like an eagle in flight. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and eyes all over, inside and out. Day and night, without pause, they sing: 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, He who was, and who is, and who is to come!'”
St. Mark was given the symbol of the winged lion because he begins his Gospel speaking of "a voice crying out in the desert, one which can be likened to a lion's roar. St. Mark cried out in the desert through his evangelization of Asia Minor and through the writing of his Gospel, which focuses on the miracles of Jesus more than the other three do.
We too are called to be a voice crying out into the desert. Our world is starving for Christ, dehydrated from a world that chooses an empty drink instead of the water of life. The faithful are called to bring the water of life to the world, to be the salt of the world, and to share the Gospel just as St. Mark did - with the brave roar of a lion and a heart given entirely to Christ. St. Mark, pray for us!