Saturday, April 2, 2005

Mark 16:9–15, 20

Here we have one of those lectionary readings which isn’t actually part of the text. For this little appendix to the Gospel of Mark was, with virtual certainty, simply not part of the Gospel. It was added by other people later.

But this is its own witness to the Resurrection. Some see in this an embarassed reaction to the abrupt ending of the Gospel of Mark, an unfortunate copying of the elements of the other gospels back into the text of Mark. I cannot speculate sensibly on the intentions of whoever added these bits.

And I cannot tell you whether they are canonical. But I can say this: the very fact that whoever added these bits was so sure of the Resurrection of our Lord, that he felt it quite necessary to make that faith explicit. It is not relevant nor the least bit important that the details seem to come from elsewhere. It is not relevant nor the least bit important who did it, or why. But what is patently clear is that these bits were added out of faith, out of a conviction that a gospel which ended without actual faith in the Resurrection was inadequate.

Well, the Gospel of Mark has its own integrity without this addition. But rejoice, shall we, in the confidence that inspired whoever to add these bits. I do not care why they were added, but they were added by someone with faith, who wants to tell us something important, perhaps only that we should not stop short. We should add our own witness, our own stamp, our own modification, if you will, to the message of Jesus. Amen! Alleluia!

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