We see in Mark 4:38-40 , a trivial detail:

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion..

Mtt 8:23-24 which narrate the same incident, does not mention that Jesus was sleeping on the cushion.

Mark is also one of the two Evangelists who speak of the Widow's Mite (Mk 12: 41-44 and Lk 21: 1-4).

He also narrates the young follower of Jesus, who runs away in `birthday suit' while Jesus was being taken away by the soldiers (14: 51-52).

My question therefore, is: According to Catholic Church, does Mark have a distinction among the Evangelists for recording trivial details?

  • That's a great verse - also a Biblical endorsement of naps! Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 7:43
  • You're not going to find such a distinction formally given by the Church, no. There may be some theologian who lauded or described him as such, but nothing official.
    – jaredad7
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 14:19
  • Consider that Matthew wrote to Jews, emphasizing prophecy, presenting Jesus as king, and Luke wrote to Greeks, emphasizing emotions and presenting Jesus as human, Mark wrote to Romans, presenting Jesus as servant. Romans appreciated efficiency and action. The details here aren't "trivial"; they present an image of a great storm (waves beating against the boat, and the boat taking on water), and then contrast that with a great calm (a care-free Jesus, sleeping through it all). This is the kind of imagery that Romans would understand (compare with their "entertainment" in the Colosseum). Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 16:39
  • Mk 14:51 isn't so trivial if the naked young man was Mark himself.
    – qxn
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


According to Catholic Church, does Mark have a distinction among the Evangelists for recording trivial details?

The simply answer is no.

If the Evangelist Mark thought these were trivial or irrelevant points, he would have left them out. You will find no Catholic theologians stating the points were trivial in the Gospel of St. Mark.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake him, and say to him: Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish?

39 And rising up, he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased: and there was made a great calm.

40 And he said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey him? - Mark 4:38-40

41 And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury.

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living. - Mark 12:41-44

51 And a certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and they laid hold on him.

52 But he, casting off the linen cloth, fled from them naked. - Mark 14:51-52

In the first text, St. Mark wishes to convey the fact that Our Lord was genuinely tired and needed rest.

In the second text, Our Lord himself explains the widow’s offering. For ”she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living.” in other words this noble widow gave everything she had to live on to God, where others gave from their abundance only.

The last point about St. Mark’s Gospel is a little curious in the fact that it does seem to open eyes. However, it is no way trivial.

If St. Mark was in fact the young man in question, then he would be the only person to know this detail, and discreetly left out his name!

The following excerpt from A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture supports the theory the young man in question was indeed St. Mark himself:

Only Mark records this incident of the unnamed young man. He may have been roused from sleep by the crowd and followed them with a linen cloth wrapped about him. The fact that he followed our Lord in these circumstances suggests that he was a disciple or, at least, sympathetic to Christ. It is unlikely that mere curiosity explains his actions. Many writers hold that this is a personal reminiscence of the author of the Gospel and identify the young man with Mark himself. The insertion of this personal anecdote, which is not closely linked with either the preceding or the subsequent narrative, would be equivalent to the setting of Mark’s signature to the Gospel. The view is not certain, but it gives a reasonable explanation of an otherwise baffling narrative. It appears to be clear that we cannot identify the young man who figures in this incident with any of the Apostles - they had all fled.”

Dr Taylor Marshall Has the following to say about this incident:

Every Jew knew this story about Joseph well. It seems that Mark includes this to show that this person was faithful to Christ and that he, like Joseph in the Old Testament, fled from the adulterers. Who were the adulterers? The adulterers were high priests of Jerusalem who had gone whoring after Caesar and abandoned their true Bridegroom the Messiah.

Some have suggested that the naked young man of Mark 14:50–52 is none other than Saint Mark himself. I’m partial to this view. It’s a random detail and Mark doesn’t usually focus on odd details that do not pertain to the action of the narrative. Moreover, the Last Supper took place in the home of St Mark’s mother. Hence, we might rightly suppose that St Mark was present with Christ and the Apostles on the evening of Maundy Thursday. Saint Mark would also have been a young man at this time. Perhaps he is humbly recounting how he as a young man and as a new disciple tried to remain faithful to Christ on that dreadful evening.

St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory, and Baronius, according to Lapide, think the naked man was St. John the Apostle; for he was a youth, and the youngest of the Apostles. Moreover, Saint John remained faithful all the way to the crucifixion.

Of course, we will not know until Heaven, may God grant it to us. Still, I think that the naked man’s identity is most likely Saint Mark. - Who is the Naked Man in St Mark’s Gospel?

Thus St. Mark, may be stating his own unworthiness to be a Disciple of Christ as St. Peter was when he denied Christ three times.

  • The young man, even if he is not Mark, is still a pertinent detail because, without him, how would we know how Jesus prayed to the Father? That young man was perhaps the only one following Jesus who hadn't fallen asleep by then. I tend to think it was indeed Mark, and so the account he gives of Jesus's prayer is an eyewitness one.
    – qxn
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:16
  • Thanks. The trivial detail is that the young man ran away in birthday suit' . Just saying ran away' also would have completed the story. Perhaps, Mark wanted to allude to the event concerning Joseph in OT which you have rightly referred to. – Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 5:02

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