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April 14, 2012- Saturday within the Octave of Easter. The reading is from Gospel of Mark 16:9-15.

The purpose of the following narrative Mark 16:1-8 is to show that the tomb is empty and that Jesus has been raised.

The Resurrection of Jesus – Mark 16:1-8

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.

Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed.

He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.

But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”

Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Mark’s composition of the gospel ends at Mark 16:8 with the women telling no one, because they were afraid. This abrupt termination causes some to believe that the original ending of this gospel may have been lost.

Now let us see today’s reading – Mark 16:9-15.

The Appearance to Mary Magdalene – Mark 16:9-11

The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene by Ivanov, Aleksandr Andreevich, 1835.

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

The Appearance to Two Disciples – Mark 16:12-13

After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country.

They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.

The Commissioning of the Eleven – Mark 16:14-15

[But] later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”

Some biblical scholars say that the passage found in Mark 16:9-20 is missing in many ancient manuscripts leading to questioning by many faithful Christians as well as Jews as to its authenticity of the above passage read today.

Some biblical scholars suggest that Mark 16:1-8 was the original ending while others claim that the ending was lost and has not yet been discovered.

The reading for today Mark 16:9-15 and beyond Mark 16:16-20 together are termed the ‘Longer Ending’ to the Marcan gospel. This is with reference to the comparison with a much briefer conclusion found in some less important manuscripts, has traditionally been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent.

Early citations of this passage, Mark 16:9-20,  by the Church Fathers indicate that it was composed by the second century, although vocabulary and style indicate that it was written by someone other than Mark. It is a general resume of the material concerning the appearances of the risen Jesus, reflecting, in particular, traditions found in Luke 24 and John 20.

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