The Gospel of Mark is read on the Sundays of Ordinary Time during the second year of the three-year cycle (Year B, which begins on the first Sunday of Advent 2011 and finishes on the feast of Christ the King, in November 2012).
It was written around the year 60 by a Palestinian Jew whose first language was probably Aramaic. It is written in simple and popular style, with the unpolished Greek used around the Mediterranean as a common language.
Much of the Jewish content outlined in the other gospels is omitted. The Sermon on the Mount is not included. The condemnations of the Jewish factions that received great exposure in Matthew are only briefly mentioned. Mark also used Aramaic words and Latin words that are not found in the other Gospels. He gives more attention to what Jesus did instead of what He said. It is a book full of action. The word ‘immediately’ or reference to something happening instantly occurs over 40 times in the text.
The focus of the Gospel of Mark centres on Christ the Servant. The key is found in Mark 10:45: "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
An early witness testifies that the author was Mark, a native of Jerusalem and a missionary who travelled with both Paul and Peter. The account is not presented as a careful chronology. Rather, it is built around incidents and episodes, and most scholars agree that Mark has linked the themes of Peter’s preaching for the use of Gentile Christian converts in Rome.
Because the Gospel of Mark is shorter than the others, the Church also gives us some sections of St John's Gospel at various points throughout Year B.