Friends, the Gospel of Mark is a fascinating literary work. St. Mark seems to write in a breathless, staccato, even primitive manner, but the deeper you look, the more his Gospel appears iconic. He presents scene after scene in a very concentrated way, telling us some rather deep truths about the faith. Our Gospel for today from the first chapter is a good example of this. We see on clear display here what Pope Benedict described as the three essential tasks of the Church: it worships God, it serves the poor, and it evangelizes.