Faith and the Gospel of Mark

This Year of Faith began while we were reading the Gospel of Mark most Sundays.  To help me rediscover faith, I took a look at faith through that Gospel.

Our faith grows as we learn more about the person of Jesus, and the scriptures are where we find him.

As I read through Mark’s Gospel, I noted each time the word faith was mentioned.  I was surprised at how few times it was, to be honest.  I found the word faith nine times.  That’s it.

Six of the first seven times it was said in the context of healings. In Chapter 2:5 a paralytic is lowered through the roof by his friends to be healed and Mark tells us that “When Jesus saw their faith; he said “Child, Your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus showed great respect, love and mercy to all, no matter their social status or gender, so in 5:34 when the woman with a hemorrhage touches his cloak, he knows it and tells her that her faith has saved her.

To Jarius, who so wants his daughter to live he reminds him, “Do not be afraid, just have faith”

Jesus continues to move in people’s lives and heals them of incredible burdens and illnesses.  In 9:23 a boy with serious convulsions cannot be healed by Jesus’ disciples and Jesus chastises them saying, everything is possible with faith.

On the road to Jericho he restores sight to a blind man telling him, “Your faith has saved you.”

Jesus also speaks of the need for faith to his apostles.  When he calms the storm at sea he rebukes them saying, “Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?” At the Last Supper he forewarns the Twelve, “All of you will have your faith shaken.” And Peter replies, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.”

Fr. Hans von Balthasar says that “Faith is the fundamental response to the love that has offered itself up for me.”  That love is God giving up his Son so that we might have eternal life.  That love is Christ crucified.

I believe that God offered up his love for me, just as he did for you.   In thinking about that love in an intellectual way, it is beyond our grasp.

Most of us have experienced love in our lives, both given and received, but even those who profess to love us unconditionally and want nothing but our happiness let us down.  God never lets us down.  He never takes away the visible and real reminder of his love, which is Jesus, broken and poured out in the Eucharist for us.

My faith at times is shaken, but as long as I return always to see Jesus not only on the cross but in the Eucharist, I am restored and receive the strength and courage to move forward.

All Scripture quotations taken from  The New American Catholic Study Bible, 1990.

Copyright © 2012, Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna Bartalini

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, and educator. She serves on the retreat team at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center. Deanna loves teaching about Catholicism and how it fits into our daily lives. She writes at, serves as the editor of the blog, and is a contributor there as well as at Deanna contributed to A Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion published by Ave Maris Press. She is the author of “Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” published by Our Sunday Visitor. Deanna is available to lead retreats and speak at catechist and ministry events.

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