Mark was a proclaimer calling people to repentance. At a time nearly everyone felt was the end of the world, he boldly told the story of the beginning. When so many were overwhelmed by what seemed to be bad news, Mark proclaimed the story of the good news in his Gospel. Using rhetorical and literary analysis, Father LaVerdiere introduces Mark's story in The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark. To aid those who prepare homilies, he shares Mark's sense of Christ's mission, the Christian calling, the universal Church, and the Church's mission in a language that everyone can understand.
Who was Mark? Where and when did he write, and for whom? What were his sources? What was his guiding intention? Instead of dealing with these introductory questions separately, Father LaVerdiere answers them while commenting on the Gospel. He explains that for Mark the gospel was not a mere record of past events, but a new act of proclamation. In content, Mark's Gospel was a story of the gospel of Jesus and his disciples. In form, however, Mark's Gospel was an act of proclamation. It made Jesus, the one who was crucified but had been raised from the dead, present to Mark's readers and listeners. Through Mark's Gospel, the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the Church became the Gospel that was Jesus.
In Volume 2 Father LaVerdiere continues his discussion of Mark's Gospel by focusing on part two: "Jesus and the Coming of the Kingdom of God." Within these chapters he deals with the answers to questions that were raised in part one about the identity and mission of Jesus. Father LaVerdiere examines Mark's emphases on the implications of the Gospel, the passion and resurrection of Jesus, and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Father LaVerdiere also discusses the major symbols of the second part of Mark's Gospel: the way (he hodos) and the cup (ho poterion).
Eugene LaVerdiere, SSS, PhD, is adjunct professor of New Testament studies at the Catholic Theological Union and the senior editor of Emmanuel magazine. He is the author or editor of numerous books including The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church, A Church for All Peoples, and Luke (New Testament Message series) published by The Liturgical Press.