Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: April 10th (Saturday of Octave of Easter)Lectionary # 266. Acts
4:13-21. Psalm 118:1,14-15ab,16-18.19-21. Mark 6:9-15.
Mark’s Gospel ended at 16:8 with the words “And they were exceedingly
afraid.” What we have in the following verses are additional endings added
to Mark that were from a different author and tradition. They are more of
a summary of several apparitions which are more fully described in the
other Gospels. We however do take up with Mark’s leaving of Mary Magdalene
and the women where she is now featured. This has more of a Lukan or
Johannine style (Mark 16:9-11). Then in 16:12-13 we are reminded of the
Emmaus account in Luke; finally, in Mark 16:13-18 we read or listen to an
apparition of Jesus to the eleven.
Since the Council of Trent these additions have been canonical and are an
attempt to fill in what Mark had ended so abruptly or what is simply
missing from the manuscripts. The theme of disbelief is carried through in
this addition and Jesus reprimands his followers for their weak faith and
their fears. Mark may have intended to end at verse 8th in order to shock
the readers or his community into not having fear but trust in what Jesus
had predicted three times earlier in the Gospel; he would rise from death.
Though we are puzzled by all of this, it is a part of the way in which the
Scriptures developed and sometimes were added to within the time before
they were considered canonical. The additions help us to remember there
were many people who experienced the resurrection of Jesus and handed on
some of their experiences through the evangelists. All of the accounts get
the central message across that Jesus is truly risen and that he is victor
over death and sin. We learn from 16:9 that Jesus himself had the power to
rise from the dead. This is one of the statements differing from the
others that state the Father raised him from the dead. All of this, of
course, affects our own faith. We may struggle with the differences but
they do converge on the great event and fact that Jesus is truly risen.