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Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist – The reading is from the Gospel of Mark 16:14-20

Ascension of Christ by Benvenuto Tisi (or Il Garofalo) 1510 1520

The Commissioning of the Eleven – 16:14-18

[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. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The Ascension of Jesus – 16:19-20

So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.

But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

[And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.]

Shorter Ending

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

The women find the tomb empty, and an angel stationed there announces to them what has happened. They are told to proclaim the news to Peter and the disciples in order to prepare them for a reunion with him. Thus, 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.

The following passage is found after Mark 16:8 before the Longer Ending in four seventh-to-ninth-century Greek manuscripts as well as in one Old Latin version, where it appears alone without the Longer Ending.

And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

Longer Ending

The passage, Mark 16:9-20, termed the Longer Ending to the Marcan gospel by 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 it 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.

Mark 16:9–20 is preserved in its traditional form in about a dozen uncials (the earliest being Codex Alexandrinus) and in all undamaged minuscules.

The group of manuscripts known as “Family 1” and others add a note to Mark 16:9–20, stating that some copies do not contain the verses. Codex L adds the “shorter ending” after 16:8 and follows it with verses 9–20.

Other Endings

Papyrus 45 is the oldest extant manuscript that contains text from Mark, but it has no text from chapter 16 due to extensive damage.

The last twelve verses of Gospel of Mark16:9-20, are not present in two 4th-century manuscripts, namely, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, the earliest complete manuscripts of Mark.

Codex Vaticanus has a blank column after ending at 16:8 and placing kata Markon, “according to Mark”.

Sinaiticus ends with 16:8 and euangelion kata Markon, “the gospel according to Mark”. The scribe who made this replacement-page in Codex Sinaiticus was very probably one of the scribes who helped produce Codex Vaticanus.

Another manuscript, minuscule 304 dating back to 12th century containing Matthew and Mark now preserved at Bibliothèque nationale de France, Gr. 194, omits the last twelve verses.

The group of manuscripts known as “Family K1” has text of Mark 16:9-10 without numbered κεφαλαια (chapters) at the margin and their τιτλοι (titles) at the top (or the foot).

The Freer Logion

Codex Washingtonianus dating back to late 4th – early 5th century, includes verses 9-20 and features an addition after verse 14 known as the “Freer Logion”. This fourth-fifth century manuscript is preserved in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. It reads:

And they excused themselves, saying, ‘This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things dominated by the spirits [or, does not allow the unclean things dominated by the spirits to grasp the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal your righteousness now.’ They spoke to Christ. And Christ responded to them, ‘The limit of the years of Satan’s power is completed, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who sinned I was handed over to death, that they might return to the truth and no longer sin, in order that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible heavenly glory of righteousness. But….

This ending was known to Jerome in the fourth century.

Summary

Version Text
Mark 16:8(undisputed text) 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.
Longer Ending 16:9-20 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.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.[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. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be
condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with
their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.[And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.]
Freer Logion
(between 16:14 and 16:15)
And they excused themselves, saying: This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things dominated by the spirits.[29] Therefore reveal your righteousness now.’ They spoke to Christ. And Christ responded to them, “The limit of the years of Satan’s power is completed, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who sinned I was handed over to death, that they might return to the truth and no longer sin, in order that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible heavenly glory of righteousness. But . . . .’
Shorter Ending
And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

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