Now that we’re finishing study of our second gospel, which do we prefer, Mark or Luke? That was instructor Gene Giuliano’s question during our last class.
Of course, it’s not really a fair question. We wouldn’t have Luke if Mark hadn’t come first. But so much of what we consider basic to our faith springs from Luke and is not in Mark’s gospel.
Luke emphasizes boundless mercy and forgiveness. The sheer joy of Christianity. The power of prayer. Respect for women. The proper use of wealth. Lavish love for all those society shuns: sinners and outcasts.
“For behold I bring you good news of great joy.”
“There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Where would Christianity be without the parable of the prodigal son? Or other stories unique to Luke: Elizabeth and Zechariah. The shepherds at Bethlehem. The Good Samaritan. Martha and Mary. Zacchaeus. The ten lepers. The road to Emmaus.
Still, I have tremendous respect for Mark. He was the first to see the need for a “good news” narrative of Christ’s life. He wrote with such passion, urging people to shoulder Christ’s cross and persevere even unto death. Mark portrayed Jesus as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah—a new kind of Messiah.
His gospel’s abrupt ending serves as a clarion call through the ages: It is we who must carry out the commission of the women at the empty tomb. It is we who must “go and tell” the good news of salvation, conquering our fear.
Mark summons courage.
CATHOLIC BIBLICAL SCHOOL
The University of Dallas School of Ministry presents this four-year program of intensive study in Dallas-Fort Worth, in Shreveport, online, and in Spanish.
• YEAR ONE: Foundations of the Old Testament (Genesis–2 Kings).
• YEAR TWO: Foundations of the New Testament (Mark, Luke-Acts, Pauline Letters, John, Johannine Letters,
Book of Revelation).
• YEAR THREE: Old Testament Prophets, Psalms and other writings.
• YEAR FOUR: Wisdom Literature, Deuterocanonical Books, Matthew, Catholic and Pastoral Letters, Hebrews.
Brian Shmisek Ph.D. is dean of the School of Ministry.
The center for adult religious education in the Diocese of Shreveport dates to 1982. Named after the late Bishop Charles P. Greco, it offers a campus-without-walls, taking quality programs to all parts of the sprawling diocese. Greco Institute plays an especially important role in north Louisiana, where people do not have ready access to Catholic higher education. Director is the Rev. Patrick Madden Ph.D. Catholic Biblical School is offered in Louisiana through the Greco Institute.
LETTERS TO LUKE: A Novel
Join Joseph and Elisa of Capernaum as they laugh with Jesus, debate His teachings, and join His fateful journey to Jerusalem. Author & crucifixion scholar Joe E. Holoubek MD offers an unforgettable medical and spiritual perspective on the ministry & death of Jesus. Winner of the Writer's Digest Award for Inspirational Literature and Independent Publisher Award for Religious Fiction.