Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mark

Mark 1:1-8

#5B Solemnities B Context (2nd Sunday of Advent B)

#952 Mass for Various Needs Context (IV. For Various Needs, 27. For the Remission of Sins, 2.)

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the Son of God).

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
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Commentary on Mk 1:1-8

This introduction and beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel contains several important elements. First, Mark begins announcing his intent; to provide the good news of Jesus as the Christ – the Son of God. He follows this immediately by linking Jesus’ story to the Hebrew Scriptures describing John the Baptist’s role as fulfilling the oracle of Isaiah 40:3 (he actually includes other OT references from Malachi 3:1; and Exodus 23:20).

The description of John the Baptist recalls the Prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1:8) further establishing St. John’s role as prophet and providing the pre-conditions necessary for the appearance of the Messiah (it was explicit in Hebrew tradition that the appearance of the Messiah must be preceded by the second coming of Elijah (cf Malachi 3:23-24)).

The passage closes with St. John the Baptist announcing the coming of the Messiah who will transform the people through, not simply repentance, but by placing a new spirit within them (cf. Ezekiel 36:24-28).

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Mark 1:7-11

#21B Solemnities B Context (Baptism of the Lord B)

#209 Weekday Year I & II Context (January 6 Before Epiphany)

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
"One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water,
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
"You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
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Commentary on Mk 1:7-11

The passage begins with St. John the Baptist, announcing the coming of the Messiah who will transform the people, not simply through repentance, but by placing a new spirit within them (cf. Ezekiel 36:24-28).

St. Mark goes on to briefly describe the baptism event: “He saw the heavens . . . and the Spirit . . . upon him," indicating divine intervention in fulfillment of promise. Here the descent of the Spirit on Jesus is meant as an anointing for his ministry; cf Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; 63:9. A voice . . . with you I am well pleased: God's acknowledgment of Jesus as his unique Son, the object of his love. His approval of Jesus is the assurance that Jesus will fulfill his messianic mission of salvation.”[9]

CCC: Mk 1:11 151, 422
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Mark 1:9-11

#755 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 1. Catechumenate and Christian Initiation of Adults, Christian Initiation Apart From the Easter Vigil, 3.)

#760 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 2. Conferral of Infant Baptism, 3.)

#768 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 4. Confirmation, 4.)

Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
  and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
  and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
  "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
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Commentary on Mk 1:9-11

St. Mark describes, briefly the baptism event. “He saw the heavens . . . and the Spirit . . . upon him: indicating divine intervention in fulfillment of promise. Here the descent of the Spirit on Jesus is meant, anointing him for his ministry; cf Isaiah 11:242:161:163:9. A voice . . . with you I am well pleased: God's acknowledgment of Jesus as his unique Son, the object of his love. His approval of Jesus is the assurance that Jesus will fulfill his messianic mission of salvation.”[9]

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Mark 1:12-15

#23B Solemnities B Context (1st Sunday of Lent B)

At once the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."
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Commentary on Mk 1:12-15

The events described in this passage from St. Mark’s Gospel occur immediately following Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist. This selection is the shortest of the three synoptic accounts of the event (see also Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13).

“The same Spirit who descended on Jesus in his baptism now drives him into the desert for forty days. The result is radical confrontation and temptation by Satan who attempts to frustrate the work of God. The presence of wild beasts may indicate the horror and danger of the desert regarded as the abode of demons or may reflect the paradise motif of harmony among all creatures; cf Isaiah 11:6-9. The presence of ministering angels to sustain Jesus recalls the angel who guided the Israelites in the desert in the first Exodus (Exodus 14:19; 23:20) and the angel who supplied nourishment to Elijah in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:5-7). The combined forces of good and evil were present to Jesus in the desert. His sustained obedience brings forth the new Israel of God there where Israel's rebellion had brought death and alienation.”[19]

It is noteworthy to observe that all of the synoptic Gospels show Jesus not beginning his public ministry until after the active ministry of St. John the Baptist has ended. The “Voice” decreases while the “Word” increases.

CCC: Mk 1:12-13 538; Mk 1:12 333; Mk 1:15 541, 1423, 1427
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Mark 1:14-20

#68B Solemnities B Context (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#305 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#305 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#526 Proper of Saint Context (St. Ansgar Feb 3)

#556 Proper of Saint Context (St. Peter Chanel Apr 27)

#665 Proper of Saint Context (St. Anthony Mary Claret Oct 24)

#724 Commons Context (Common of Pastors)

#779 Ritual Mass Context (III. For the Admission to Candidacy For The Diaconate and the Priesthood, 2.)

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
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Commentary on Mk 1:14-20

It is noteworthy to observe that all of the Gospel accounts show Jesus beginning his public ministry after the active ministry of St. John the Baptist has ended. The “Voice” decreases while the “Word” increases. We see the charismatic power of the Lord in the call of the first disciples from St. Mark’s Gospel. They follow him without inducement beyond his simple invitation to follow him. It is also notable that three of these first four, Simon, James, and John, develop the closest relationships with the Lord of all the disciples.

CCC: Mk 1:15 541, 1423, 1427; Mk 1:16-20 787
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Mark 1:21-28

#71B Solemnities B Context (4th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#306 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#306 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
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Commentary on Mk 1:21-28

Jesus is teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. “The account of a single day's ministry of Jesus on a sabbath in and outside the synagogue of Capernaum combines teaching and miracles of exorcism and healing. Mention is not made of the content of the teaching but of the effect of astonishment and alarm on the people. Jesus' teaching with authority, making an absolute claim on the hearer, was in the best tradition of the ancient prophets, not of the scribes.”[1] First the Lord astonishes the people with the “authority” of his teaching in the tradition of the Prophets, as opposed to the scribes, and then proceeds to demonstrate the effectiveness of his authority by casting out an unclean spirit.

He encounters an “unclean spirit,” so called because it does not recognize the authority of God. Jesus commands the spirit to leave and it obeys. God in the person of Christ, after all, has authority over all things. In this way we see once more the assurance that Jesus is true God. The exchange between the Lord and this “unclean spirit” is instructive. The spirit attempts to gain mastery over Jesus by using his full name, “Jesus of Nazareth.” The address used by the one possessed, “I know who you are – the Holy One of God,” is an attempt to ward off the power of Jesus, not a profession. Jesus rebukes the spirit and orders it out. The event stirs fear as well as awe in those present.

CCC: Mk 1:21 2173; Mk 1:24 438; Mk 1:25 1673; Mk 1:26 1673
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Mark 1:29-39

#74B Solemnities B Context (5th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#307 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#307 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.
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Commentary on Mk 1:29-39

Jesus comes to the house of Simon (Peter) and Andrew from Capernaum. He continues to heal the sick and to cast out demons. This episode is somewhat different in that it occurs in a private setting, attended by the three privileged disciples. Scholars speculate that this, like other such accounts (Mark 4:10, 34; 5:37-40; 6:31-32), is an eyewitness report of the Lord’s revelation in the privacy of a home setting.

It is noteworthy that Mark tells us that as Jesus cast out demons, he was “not permitting them to speak because they knew him.” Demons presumably had supernatural powers and were therefore able to recognize the nature of Jesus. Because of this, he silenced them. He did so, it is proposed, because he needed to show the people (and his disciples) that he was not the “Royal Messiah,” but something unexpected.[2]  The Gospel tells us that the Lord then went off to a deserted place to pray, and it was only when Simon and his companions came and found him that he continued his mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

CCC: Mk 1:35 2602
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Mark 1:35-39

#784 Ritual Mass Context (IV. For the Conferral of Ministries, 1. Institution of Readers, 2.)

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.
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Commentary on Mk 1:35-39

The Gospel tells us that the Lord then went off to a deserted place to pray and it was only when Simon and his companions came and found him that he continued his mission. We note that Simon wanted Jesus to take advantage of his popularity in Capernaum ('Everyone is looking for you'). But Jesus refuses to encourage more the popular idea that he is the Messiah coming with miracles and power. Rather he clearly states a more humble mission; he came to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

CCC: Mk 1:35 2602
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Mark 1:40-45

#77B Solemnities B Context (6th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#308 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#308 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
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Commentary on Mk 1:40-45

St. Mark’s account of this incident is almost identical to that of St. Luke (see Luke 5:12-16).  This healing occurs after the leper demonstrates faith that Jesus can accomplish this feat, even though there are only two times in Old Testament scripture when this was done (Numbers 12:10-15; 2 Kings 5:1-14). In this account of Jesus curing the leper, we see two remarkable details. First, it was Hebrew law that those designated as “unclean” could not approach anyone closer than about ten feet. This leper was clearly much closer. He was close enough to Jesus that he “stretched out his hand, and touched him.” Not just with a word was this leper made clean. The Lord touched him, which by Hebrew law was taboo. In one action the Lord demonstrates his power over the disease and his authority over the law.

Jesus asks the leper not to tell anyone how this was accomplished, but to show the Hebrew priest he was clean and be allowed to rejoin the community. The leper did not do this, so the Lord is mobbed by those seeking God’s favor. Unlike the account in St. Luke, Jesus does not embrace the notoriety but withdraws to deserted places.  Nonetheless, people seek him out, "...coming to him from everywhere.

CCC: Mk 1:40-41 2616; Mk 1:41 1504
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Mark 2:1-12

#80B Solemnities B Context (7th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#309 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#309 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#795 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick and the Dying, 1. Anointing of the Sick, 7.)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him,
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what
they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
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Commentary on Mk 2:1-12

The story of Jesus healing the paralytic begins a series of  conflicts between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees in Mark’s Gospel. The story clearly demonstrates the connection between healing, faith, and forgiveness. When Jesus tells the paralytic his sins are forgiven, the Scribes immediately understand the revelatory nature of the statement. Only God has the authority to forgive sins. Since they do not believe Jesus is the Messiah, his words are blasphemy, a charge they will bring out again later at his trial. Later in the Gospel, Mark attaches even more importance to faith as a component of healing.

The Lord’s response: “…the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth,” is probably directed at St. Mark’s Christian audience rather than at the scribes or the paralytic in the story. Jesus' identity is then confirmed by the miraculous action that follows, as the paralytic is told to rise, pick up his mat, and go.

CCC: Mk 2:1-12 1421; Mk 2:5-12 1502, 1503; Mk 2:5 1441, 1484, 2616; Mk 2:7 430, 574, 589, 1441; Mk 2:8 473; Mk 2:10 1441
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Mark 2:13-17

#310 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

#310 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
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Commentary on Mk 2:13-17

This passage from St. Mark’s Gospel documents the call of Matthew, here named Levi.  The Gospel of St. Matthew renames Levi to Matthew so this tax collector, whose call is given special notice, will be included with the elevated status of the call of the first four disciples.

This story is the setting for the next conflict/response interchange. Once Matthew follows Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees challenge the Lord about the people with whom he chooses to associate because it threatens his status as “teacher.” In response, the Lord uses the famous analogy of a doctor not being needed by those who are well: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

CCC: Mk 2:14-17 574; Mk 2:17 545, 1484, 1503
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Mark 2:18-22

#83B Solemnities B Context (8th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#311 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#311 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
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Commentary on Mk 2:18-22

Jesus is confronted by “some of the people” about why his disciples do not fast as the disciples of St. John and the Pharisees do.  Ritual fasting is done as a sign of mourning or repentance, which is why Jesus makes the remarks he does; the time for mourning had not yet come.

In response to the question by the Pharisees, Jesus uses an Old Testament metaphor in which God’s relation to his covenant people is a marriage (see Hosea 2:16-20, Isaiah 54:5-6, Jeremiah 2:2, Ezekiel 16:32 ff) “Can the wedding guests fast? The bridal metaphor expresses a new relationship of love between God and his people in the person and mission of Jesus to his disciples. It is the inauguration of the new and joyful messianic time of fulfillment and the passing of the old. Any attempt at assimilating the Pharisaic practice of fasting, or of extending the preparatory discipline of John's disciples beyond the arrival of the bridegroom, would be as futile as sewing a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak or pouring new wine into old wineskins with the resulting destruction of both cloth and wine (Mark 2:21-22). Fasting is rendered superfluous during the earthly ministry of Jesus; cf Mark 2:20.”[3]

CCC: Mk 2:19 796
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Mark 2:23-3:6*
A Longer Form

#86B Solemnities B Context (9th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of
grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them, "Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering
that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them,
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
Again he entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched him closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to them,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.

Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out
and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him
to put him to death.
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Commentary on Mk 2:23-3:6

[2:23-28] In this passage from St. Mark’s Gospel the Lord has another conflict with the Pharisees over laws they have implemented. In this case the laws are about doing no work on the Sabbath. The disciples of Jesus were hungry and as a result gathered and ate grain on the Sabbath. Strictly speaking this was labor (Leviticus 24:9) and that is what the Pharisees were objecting to.

Jesus responded by reminding them (the Pharisees) about a story form the first book of Samuel (1 Samuel 21:2-7) in which restrictions not included in Mosaic Law but established by men were relaxed at need. The example can be seen as a link between Jesus’ own genealogy (coming from the line of David) and the mission as Savior, the Anointed One, the Messiah. It also teaches a more pragmatic lesson about the Sabbath being created for man and not as the rules of Pharisaic law had restricted it.

[3:1-6] The man with the withered hand is used to trap Jesus into doing something that by Pharisaic Law was considered “labor”. Jesus tries to show them the flaw in their logic with a question; “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they will not respond because the answer is obvious. With his opponents reduced to silence, the cures the man (see also John 5:17-18). Their attempt foiled, they run to the minions of King Herod to continue their plotting.

CCC: Mk 2:23-27 581; Mk 2:23-26 544; Mk 2:25-27 582; Mk 2:27-28 2167; Mk 2:27 2173; Mk 2:28 2173; Mk 3:1-6 574; Mk 3:4 2173; Mk 3:5-6 1859; Mk 3:5 591; Mk 3:6 574, 591
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OR B Shorter Form
Mark 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of
grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them, "Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering
that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them,
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."
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Commentary on Mk 2:23-28

In this passage from St. Mark’s Gospel the Lord has another conflict with the Pharisees over laws they have implemented. In this case the laws are about doing no work on the Sabbath. The disciples of Jesus were hungry and as a result gathered and ate grain on the Sabbath. Strictly speaking this was labor (Leviticus 24:9) and that is what the Pharisees were objecting to.

Jesus responded by reminding them (the Pharisees) about a story form the first book of Samuel (1 Samuel 21:2-7) in which restrictions not included in Mosaic Law but established by men were relaxed at need. The example can be seen as a link between Jesus’ own genealogy (coming from the line of David) and the mission as Savior, the Anointed One, the Messiah. It also teaches a more pragmatic lesson about the Sabbath being created for man and not as the rules of Pharisaic law had restricted it.

CCC: Mk 2:23-27 581; Mk 2:23-26 544; Mk 2:25-27 582; Mk 2:27-28 2167; Mk 2:27 2173; Mk 2:28 2173
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Mark 2:23-28

#312 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#312 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
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Commentary on Mk 2:23-28

In this passage from St. Mark’s Gospel, the Lord has another conflict with the Pharisees over laws they have implemented. In this case, the laws are about doing no work on the Sabbath. The disciples of Jesus were hungry, and as a result gathered and ate grain on the Sabbath. Strictly speaking, this was labor (Leviticus 24:9) and that is what the Pharisees were objecting to.

Jesus responded by reminding them (the Pharisees) about a story from the first book of Samuel (1 Samuel 21:2-7). In that story restrictions not included in Mosaic Law, but established by men, were relaxed at need. The example can be seen as a link between Jesus’ own genealogy (coming from the line of David) and his mission as Savior, the Anointed One, the Messiah. It also teaches a more pragmatic lesson about the Sabbath being created for man, and not as the rules of Pharisaic law had restricted it.

CCC: Mk 2:23-27 581; Mk 2:23-26 544; Mk 2:25-27 582; Mk 2:27-28 2167; Mk 2:27 2173; Mk 2:28 2173
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Mark 3:1-6

#313 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#313 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

Again he (Jesus) entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:1-6

Mark’s Gospel again shows a picture of Jesus in contention with the scribes and Pharisees. This time they use bait. A man with an affliction is apparently used to trap Jesus into doing something that, by Pharisaic Law, was considered “labor.” Jesus tries to show them the flaw in their logic with a question: “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they will not respond because the answer is obvious. With his opponents reduced to silence, he cures the man (see also John 5:17-18). Their attempt foiled, they run to the minions of King Herod to continue their plotting.

CCC:  Mk 3:1-6 574; Mk 3:4 2173; Mk 3:5-6 1859; Mk 3:5 591; Mk 3:6 574, 591
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Mark 3:7-12

#314 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#314 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:7-12

This selection from St. Mark’s Gospel marks a transition from Jesus ministering to the people on his own and his teachings to the disciples. Here, the Gospel provides a summary of the activities of Jesus whose healing ministry has caused a great crowd to follow him. His rising popularity is a testament to the power of what he teaches, and the signs he performs are a prelude to the universal spread of the Gospel message. The encounter with unclean spirits is met, as earlier, with attempts to ward off his power over them using his title: “You are the Son of God.” It is interesting that the recognition of his true nature comes from those sent by the evil one.

CCC: Mk 3:10 1504
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Mark 3:13-19

#315 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#315 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:13-19

The setting for this event is placed on a “mountain” depicting the solemnity of the occasion, as is done in other places in St. Mark’s Gospel (see also Mark 6:46; 9:2-8; 13:3). Having called certain people to himself (unlike St. Matthew, in which the group is assumed to have been known Matthew 10:1-15), Mark’s Gospel now names the apostles. He also defines the faculties that Jesus gives them, essentially giving them purpose:”… that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”

CCC: Mk 3:13-19 551, 787; Mk 3:13-14 858; Mk 3:14-19 1577; Mk 3:14-15 765; Mk 3:15 1673; Mk 3:16 552
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Mark 3:20-21

#316 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

#316 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:20-21

Jesus returns to his home and is greeted with disbelief by some his own relatives. They likely believe, because of his excessive focus on his mission and the claims made about his actions, that he has become delusional.

This short passage provides a sense of the challenges Jesus faces in his mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God. His fame had clearly spread as a consequence of his teaching, his natural charisma, and his miraculous healing power. The disbelief by even his relatives is a barrier to be overcome.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 3:20-35

#89B Solemnities B Context (10th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Jesus came home with his disciples.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, "He is out of his mind."
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said,
"He is possessed by Beelzebul,"
and "By the prince of demons he drives out demons."

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
"How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself
and is divided, he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.

Then he can plunder the house.
Amen, I say to you,
all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be
forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin."
For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."
His mother and his brothers arrived.
Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
"Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you."
But he said to them in reply,
"Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mark 3:20-35

(3:20-21) Jesus returns to his home and is greeted with disbelief by some his own relatives. They likely believe, because of his excessive focus on his mission and the claims made about his actions, that he has become delusional.

This passage provides a sense of the challenges Jesus faces in his mission to proclaim the Kingdom of God. His fame had clearly spread as a consequence of his teaching, his natural charisma, and his miraculous healing power. The disbelief of even his relatives is a barrier to be overcome.

(3:22-30) The conflict between Jesus and the Scribes reveals itself completely. They are now openly calling him “prince of the demons”. The Lord summons them and demonstrates with parables the foolishness of their claim. He first asks the ironic question that could be paraphrased “If I, who destroy unclean spirits, am from the originator of those spirits, were in league with him, he has destroyed himself.” He continues an analogy about the strong man protecting his house. In this case he, Jesus would represent the defender of the house (of Israel) and those attacking him, attempting to tie him up.

He concludes this passage with an important theological understanding. The Son of God came into the world so that sins might be forgiven (“…all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them.”) He then defines the Holy Spirit and Himself as one in the same (essence) by saying that whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit (as the scribes had just done in calling Jesus an emissary of Satan) would be guilty of an everlasting sin (- their sin would never be forgiven).

(3:31-35) This passage, while affirming our own adoption as brothers and sisters in Christ, does cause some confusion among those who take scripture at face value without understanding the culture of the time. The first part of this reading from St. Mark’s Gospel is somewhat controversial in that many of the Protestant and Evangelical apologists take the term “and his brothers” to mean his familial or biological brothers. The Church teaches that Mary bore only one child – Jesus. Responding to this scripture, Catholic scripture scholars teach that “…in Semitic usage, the terms "brother," "sister" are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf Genesis 14:16; Genesis 29:15; Leviticus 10:4.”

Because of this, when Mary comes looking for Jesus in this selection, she is, as would be expected, joined by members of the extended family. Jesus extends the family even further though his adoption of those who, as those “seated in the circle” who listen to his word and believe; telling those gathered that “…whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

CCC: Mk 3:22 548, 574; Mk 3:27 539; Mk 3:29 1864; Mk 3:31-35 500
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 3:22-30

#317 Weeday Year I Context (Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#317 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:22-30

This passage takes up the story from Mark 3:20-21 when Jesus had taken his disciples to Matthew’s house for a meal but could not eat because of the crowd. The Lord’s mother and family came to get him, and the word passed on was that they thought he had lost his mind.

The conflict between Jesus and the Scribes reveals itself completely. They are now openly calling him “prince of the demons.” The Lord summons them and demonstrates with parables the foolishness of their claim. He first asks the ironic question that could be paraphrased: “If I, who destroy unclean spirits, am from the originator of those spirits; and if I were in league with him, he has destroyed himself.”  He continues an analogy about the strong man protecting his house. In this case he, Jesus, would represent the defender of the house (of Israel), and those attacking him, robbers attempting to tie him up.

The story concludes with an important theological understanding. The Son of God came into the world so that sins might be forgiven (“…all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them”). Jesus then defines the Holy Spirit and himself as of the same (essence) by saying that whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit (as the scribes had just done in calling Jesus an emissary of Satan) would be guilty of an everlasting sin (their sin would never be forgiven).

CCC: Mk 3:22 548, 574; Mk 3:27 539; Mk 3:29 1864
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Mark 3:31-35

#318 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#318 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#569 Proper of Saints Context (St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, May 25)

#623A Proper of Saints Context (St. Jane Frances De Chantal, Aug 12)

#658 Proper of Saints Context (St. Hedwig, Oct 16)

#691 [623A] Proper of Saints Context (St. Jane Frances De Chantal, Dec 12 [Aug 12 US])

#742 Commons Context (Common of Holy Men and Women)

#815 Ritual Mass Context ( VIII. For the Consecration of Virgins and Relegious Profession, 7.)

#856 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 7. For Relegious, 4.)

#866 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 9. For the Laity, 4.)

#10L BVM Context (Holy Mary, Disciple of the Lord, Lent 10)

#III-19 BVM Appendix Context

Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers (and your sisters)
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and (my) brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
(For) whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 3:31-35

This passage, while affirming our own adoption as brothers and sisters in Christ, does cause some confusion among those who take scripture at face value without understanding the culture of the time. The first part of this reading from St. Mark’s Gospel is somewhat controversial in that many of the Protestant and Evangelical apologists take the term “and his brothers” to mean his familial or biological brothers. The Church teaches that Mary bore only one child – Jesus. Responding to this scripture, Catholic scripture scholars teach that “…in Semitic usage, the terms 'brother,' 'sister' are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf Genesis 14:16; Genesis 29:15; Leviticus 10:4.”[4]

Another possible explanation, although it comes from an apocryphal source from the 2nd or 3rd centuries A.D., is that the Lord’s foster father, St. Joseph, had been previously married (and widowed). According to “The History of Joseph the Carpenter” from this first marriage,  “[2.]… he begot for himself sons and daughters, four sons, namely, and two daughters. Now these are their names— Judas, Justus, James, and Simon. The names of the two daughters were Assia and Lydia.” These would have been the half-brothers and sisters of the Lord.

Because of this, when Mary comes looking for Jesus in this selection, she is, as would be expected, joined by members of the extended family. Jesus extends the family even further though his adoption of those “seated in the circle” who listen to his word and believe, telling those gathered that “…whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.

CCC: Mk 3:31-35 500
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Mark 4:1-20

#319 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#319 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:1-20

St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat, which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” As in St. Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 13:1-18) he follows the unvarnished parable with a deeper explanation to the Disciples.

In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. Because this selection gives not only the parable, but the Lord’s explanation of its meaning, the only historical note we will make is that, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.

CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707; Mk 4:11 546; Mk 4:15-19 2707
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Mark 4:1-10, 13-20*

#602 Proper of Saints Context (St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Jul 21)

#637 Proper of Saints Context (St. John Chrysostom, Sep 13)

#730 Commons Context (Common of Doctors of the Church)

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
Jesus said to them, "Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word.
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:1-10, 13-20

St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” As in St. Matthew’s Gospel he follows the unvarnished parable with a deeper explanation to the Disciples.

In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. Because this selection gives not only the parable but the Lord’s explanation of its meaning, the only historical note we will make is that, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.

CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707; Mk 4:15-19 2707
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OR
Short Form
Mark 4:1-9*

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:1-9

The shorter form of the Parable of the Sower omits Jesus’ explanation of the story to his disciples. St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. As a historical note, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.

CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 4:1-9

#866 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 9. For the Laity, 5.)

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:1-9

St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower”. In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. As a historical note, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 4:21-25

#320 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#320 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:21-25

Jesus continues his private talk with his disciples, explaining the parables he had used when speaking to the crowds from the boat. The description of the lamp placed high so that all can benefit from the light continues the description of the seed that fell on fertile ground in the parable of the “Sower.” It therefore takes the character of a description of the duties of those who hear the word and have it take root in them.

The second part of the reading speaks of “the measure.” Again, this refers to his disciples who are given the gift of the word. In them the word will grow. The Lord understands that one of their number will fall “…from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

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Mark 4:26-34

#92B Solemnities B Context (11th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#321 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#321 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:26-34

We are given two parables from the Gospel of St. Mark. The first is unique to Mark’s Gospel, and follows the parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-9. The mystery of the seed is analogous to Jesus’ own ministry which starts as a seed but grows to encompass the world.  Another frequent analogy follows: the seed, apparently dying, falling to the earth and buried, then rising to new life - the great Paschal Mystery.

The second parable, the parable of the Mustard Seed, echoes the vision of the Kingdom of God described in Ezekiel 17:23; Ezekiel 31:6, with the image of the Kingdom of God providing a resting place for all, just as the giant cedars of Lebanon do for the birds.

CCC: Mk 4:33-34 546
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Mark 4:26-29

#916 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 19. For Productive Land, Second Option)

Jesus said to the crowd:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 4:26-29

This parable is unique to Mark’s Gospel and follows the parable of the Sower we were given earlier. The mystery of the seed is analogous to Jesus’ own ministry which starts as a seed but grows to encompass the world.  Emphasis is placed on mystery of life given by God that produces all good things - for God's purpose and in God's time.

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Mark 4:35-41

#95B Solemnities B Context (12th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#322 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#322 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time)

#795 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, 1. Anointing the Sick, 8.)

#942 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 25. In Time of Earthquake of for Rain of for Good Weather of to Avert Storms or for Any Need, Second Option)

On that day, as evening drew on, he (Jesus) said to them,
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
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Commentary on Mk 4:35-41

In this passage, Jesus embarks in what is probably a fishing boat with his disciples. A storm comes up and the disciples are afraid. Jesus, with a word (“Quiet! Be still!"), silences the storm and waters, demonstrating the authority of the Messiah over the elements of the created world. The implication of his next statement is that, if the disciples had a mature faith, they could have done the same. The disciples are awed by his power but do not yet have faith to understand its source.

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Mark 5:1-20


#323 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#323 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
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Commentary on Mk 5:1-20

This is St. Mark’s version of Jesus casting out the multitude of demons and sending them into the herd of swine. Swine [pigs] are considered unclean animals under Hebrew dietary laws (Leviticus 11:7-8.  This action not only reinforces Jesus’ universal mission, but adds a dimension of symbolism. It is important to note that this is a pagan region, so what the Lord is doing in helping the man with unclean spirits is ministering to non-Hebrews, indicating the breadth of his mission. Also in this story, the demon addresses him as “Jesus, Son of the Most High God,” a title that identifies him clearly and without equivocation as the Messiah.

“Allegorically (St. Bede, In Marcum): the demoniac represents the Gentile nations saved by Christ. As pagans, they once lived apart from God amid the tombs of dead works, while their sins were performed in service of demons. Through Christ the pagans are at last cleansed and freed from Satan’s domination.”[5]

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Mark 5:18-20

#947 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 26. In Thanksgiving to God, 3.)

As Jesus was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him;
and all were amazed.
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Commentary on Mk 5:18-20

Jesus has finished casting out the multitude of demons and sending them into the heard of swine. The man who had been possessed has been told what befell him and how he came to be saved. Here he approaches Jesus who is now leaving the region. We note the example the Lord provides. He takes no credit for the miraculous exorcism, rather he instructs the one who was saved to go and proclaim what God has done for him in His great mercy.

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Mark 5:21-43*

#98B Solemnities B Context (13th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#324 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#324 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him
and a large crowd followed him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to him,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, Who touched me?"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
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Commentary on Mk 5:21-43

This selection from Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus continuing his journey of healing. The passage relates two interwoven examples of the power of faith in healing. First the Synagogue Official’s plea to Jesus to heal his daughter is presented. This is important from the standpoint that it is recognition of Jesus' status by the local faith community. An official from the Synagogue would only consult with one widely recognized as an authority in spiritual matters.

On the way to the little girl, a woman with a hemorrhage that had been incurable by local physicians pressed in close and touched his cloak. She was cured and it was as if her faith reached out and touched Jesus, unlike the others crowded around because he felt her touch among all the others. He turned and was able to specifically identify her. The Lord’s words to her were; “…your faith has saved you.”

Arriving at the Synagogue Officials house Jairus’ faith was tested a second time as he was informed his daughter had died. Jesus ignored these reports and proceeded to reward Jairus’ faith by bringing his daughter back from death; a sign of his mission to all mankind.

CCC: Mk 5:21-42 994; Mk 5:25-34 548; Mk 5:28 2616; Mk 5:34 1504; Mk 5:36 1504, 2616
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Or Shorter Form: Mark 5:21-24, 35b-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
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Commentary on Mk 5:21-24, 35b-43

This shortened form of the Gospel omits the discourse about the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage. This omission sharpens the Gospel focus on Christ’s mission for the salvation of humanity through the new resurrection.

CCC: Mk 5:21-42 994; Mk 5:36 1504, 2616
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Mark 6:1-6

#101B Solemnities B Context (14th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#325 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#325 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, "Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?"
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
"A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house."
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
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Commentary on Mk 6:1-6

This passage is St. Mark’s account of the Lord returning to his home town. As is his custom, he goes to speak in the synagogue and amazes the people he grew up with. The Lord encounters intense skepticism, born out of the fact that the people knew him before he took up his mission. In St. Luke's version (Luke 4:28ff), reference is made to the feeling that Jesus, in assuming the role of the Messiah, had blasphemed. The resulting attempt on his life is omitted in St. Mark's Gospel, but we still see the Lord’s response to their lack of faith. Non-canonical documents of the early Church Fathers (c. 400) refer to the relationships of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  See The History of Joseph the Carpenter.

CCC: Mk 6:3 500; Mk 6:5 699; Mk 6:6 2610
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Mark 6:7-13

#104B Solemnities B Context (15th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#326 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#326 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
—no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
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Commentary on Mk 6:7-13

In this account, the twelve disciples are sent two by two to begin the ministry for which Christ has been preparing them. They have been with him since they were called. Now he sends them into the world to, as Jesus had done, proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. We note a few differences from the same account in Matthew 10:5ff and Luke 10:1ff. First, in St. Mark’s account they are allowed to take a staff and sandals (prohibited in the other Gospels). Second, St. Mark does not mention a prohibition against entering “pagan territory,” a reflection of conditions in the region at the time of Mark’s authorship.

The disciples are encouraged to stay in one house as opposed to moving from one place to another, presumably to find greater comfort, so as to avoid giving insult to their host or appearing ungrateful. The instruction to “shake the dust off your feet” to those who were unwelcoming was seen as a testimony against those who rejected repentance.

CCC: Mk 6:7 765, 1673; Mk 6:12-13 1506; Mk 6:13 1511, 1673
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Mark 6:14-29

#327 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#327 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
"John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
"It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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Commentary on Mk 6:14-29

Mark’s account of the capture and execution of St. John the Baptist is presented in this pericope, or excerpt. We note the story has many similarities with Jesus’ encounter with Pilate later in the Gospel (Mark 15:1-47). Both Herod and Pilate acknowledge the holiness of the ones they are to put to death. In both cases following the executions, faithful followers insure the body is given a respectful burial. St. Matthew’s Gospel gives a more complete introduction of Herod and Herodias (see Matthew 14:1-3). The actual account presented here is done as a flashback, as Herod questions the identity of Jesus whose disciples have just been sent into his region with great authority.

CCC: Mk 6:17-29 523
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Mark 6:17-29

#634 Proper of Saints Context (Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, Aug 29)

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias' own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
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Commentary on Mk 6:17-29

The story of St. John the Baptist's life from St. Mark’s Gospel gives a concise picture of St. John’s end. Especially here we note the similarities between the passing of St. John and the passion of Jesus in Mark 15:1-47 . The rationale in both cases was the anger and guilt felt at the truth proclaimed; in the case of John the guilt of Herodias; in the case of Jesus, the Jewish leaders'.

Both Herod and Pilot acknowledge the holiness of the ones they are to put to death. In both cases following the executions, faithful followers insure the body is given a respectful burial. St. Matthew’s Gospel gives a more complete introduction of Herod and Herodias (see Matthew 14:1-3). The actual account presented here is done as a flashback as Herod questions the identity of Jesus whose disciples have just been sent into his region with great authority.

CCC: Mk 6:17-29 523
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Mark 6:30-34

#107B Solemnities B Context (16th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#328 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#328 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time)

#842 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 4. For a Council or Synod or For a Spiritual or Pastoral Meeting, Second Option)

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
"Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
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Commentary on Mk 6:30-34

This passage from St. Mark’s Gospel continues the story of the disciples as they return from being sent, and give Jesus a report of their efforts. The disciples are called “Apostles” for the first time, as they are gathered to give an account of what they had accomplished. They will not assume this formal title until after Pentecost, but St. Mark uses it here, perhaps because they have now become Christ’s emissaries, not just his students.

They go off to a deserted place to rest in a boat but are followed by a large crowd.  They did not sail far from shore, since the crowd knew where they were putting in and were there to meet them. The Lord looked at this new Exodus and saw them as "sheep without a shepherd:" "A familiar simile from the Old Testament.  It generally depicts Israel's need for spiritual leadership (Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; Judith 11:19; Jeremiah 23:1-3; Zechariah 10:2).  Ultimately God himself promised to shepherd his sheep through the Messiah (Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:11-16)." [16] He began to teach them.

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Mark 6:34-44

#213 Weekday Year I & II Context (Tuesday following Epiphany)

#926 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. In Various Public Circumstances, 21. In Time of Famine or For Those Who Suffer From Famine, Second Option

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
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Commentary on Mk 6:34-44

The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle of Jesus that is presented in all four gospels. The reason for that may be that it was seen as anticipating the Eucharist and the final banquet in the kingdom (Matthew 8:11; 26:29). However, it looks not only forward but backward in history.  It is also an image of the feeding of Israel with manna in the desert at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 16), a miracle that in some Jewish expectation would be repeated in the messianic age. It may also be meant to recall Elisha's feeding a hundred men with small provisions (2 Kings 4:42-44).

We note the numeric symbolism used in St. Mark’s account, the five loaves and two fish combined to give seven, the most complete number. The fragments collected at the conclusion of the meal fill twelve baskets, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Gospel author’s audience, which was predominately Jewish, would have seen the story as a fulfillment of the historical tradition from which they came.

CCC: Mk 6:38 472
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Mark 6:45-52

#214 Weekday Year I & II Context (Wednesday Following Epiphany)

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied,
Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,
while he dismissed the crowd.
And when he had taken leave of them,
he went off to the mountain to pray.
When it was evening,
the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing,
for the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them walking on the sea.
He meant to pass by them.
But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
They had all seen him and were terrified.
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.
They were completely astounded.
They had not understood the incident of the loaves.
On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
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Commentary on Mk 6:45-52

The Gospel of St. Mark provides us with a second proof of the identity of Jesus. Following the feeding of the five thousand, he now calms the sea and walks upon the waters as a demonstration of the authority of the Messiah. As it is used in this passage, it is a formulaic utterance attributed to God “It is I, do not be afraid!” Translated literally the identity is “I am.” The disciples are not ready to accept the meaning of these signs. “Their hearts were hardened.” They resisted the leap of faith.

CCC: Mk 6:46 2602
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Mark 6:53-56

#329 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#329 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.
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Commentary on Mk 6:53-56

This selection takes up the account of Jesus' healing ministry immediately following the account of the feeding of the multitudes (Mark 6:35-44), and his encounter with the disciples as he walked upon the waters (Mark 6:45-52). Jesus continues his journey, and cures many people who come to him. This is the same location in which Peter, Andrew, James, and John had lived and was, in fact, the location where Jesus had called them. It is for this reason he was so quickly recognized.

CCC: Mk 6:56 1504
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Mark 7:1-13

#330 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#330 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"
He responded,
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."
He went on to say,
"How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
'If someone says to father or mother,
"Any support you might have had from me is qorban"'
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things."
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Commentary on Mk 7:1-13

We begin the seventh chapter of Mark’s Gospel with an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus’ disciples are not following strict pharisaic laws regarding ritual purification and the Lord, who is their teacher, is taken to task for it. Jesus responds indignantly, asserting that it is the Pharisees with their man-made laws who are sinning against God. He points out that not only have they placed pharisaic law above Mosaic Law (see also Galatians 1:14), but they have violated the Law of Moses by doing so. He gives one example about children who, under Mosaic Law, are to honor and support their parents. Instead of supporting them directly, they satisfy their obligation by contributing it to the Temple and count that as support, even though it gives the parents no comfort.

CCC: Mk 7:8-13 2196; Mk 7:8 581
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Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

#125B Solemnities B Context (22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
—For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. —
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.


You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.
“From within people, from their hearts,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”
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Commentary on Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

We begin the seventh chapter of Mark’s Gospel with an encounter with the Pharisees. Jesus’ disciples are not following strict pharisaic laws regarding ritual purification and the Lord, who is their teacher, is taken to task for it.

Jesus responds indignantly quoting Isaiah 29:13 and pointing out that it is the Pharisees with their man made laws who are sinning against God. Jesus then takes that first command of God to man in the Garden and interprets it. He also stands Jewish Law that declares some foods to be unclean. The focus he makes is that the food that enters the body cannot destroy it but actions and words that contravene God’s Law will.

CCC: Mk 7:8-13 2196; Mk 7:8 581; Mk 7:14-23 574; Mk 7:18-21 582; Mk 7:21 1764
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Mark 7:14-23

#331 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#331 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile."

When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
"Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?"
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
"But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 7:14-23

Jesus takes that first command of God to man in the Garden (Genesis 2:15-17) and interprets it. It was not the fruit of "the tree of knowledge of good and evil," but the spirit of evil which caused them to disobey God's word.

The Lord also seems to refute Jewish Dietary Law that declares some foods to be unclean. The importance of this statement to the Christian community would not be understood until the debate about the need for Gentiles to follow Jewish Law was taken up (see Acts 10:14ff; 15:28-29; Galatians 2:11-17). The point he makes is that the food that enters the body cannot destroy it but actions and words that contravene God’s Law will.

CCC:  Mk 7:14-23 574; Mk 7:18-21 582; Mk 7:21 1764
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Mark 7:24-30

#332 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#332 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, "Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs."
She replied and said to him,
"Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."
Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter."
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.
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Commentary on Mk 7:24-30

In this selection Jesus has withdrawn from Palestine to escape the persecution of the Pharisees and scribes and to spend time training his disciples. The region they come to is predominantly gentile and sets the scene for his encounter with the Syrophoenician woman.

The exchange recorded in St. Mark’s Gospel is intended to describe the universal nature of the messianic mission. Within the dialogue we see Jesus first refuse to accede to the woman’s request (even though she recognized his authority “She came and fell at his feet.”). This same pattern of refusal and then acquiescence is found in St. John’s Gospel (John 2:4, John 4:48)

The metaphor being exchanged in this banter refers to the “children” being the Hebrews and the “dogs” a reference to the Gentiles (frequently referred to as such by Hebrews of the day). While this seems out of character for the Lord, our translation leaves out some conversational nuances that soften the dialogue. The word translated as “dogs” in this translation could be more accurately expressed as “pups”. It is also significant that the children and pups are eating at the same table, again expressing the universal nature of the mission of the Messiah.

As in other instances in St. Mark’s Gospel when the Jesus cures a Gentile, he does so from a distance. “When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.”

CCC: Mk 7:29 2616
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Mark 7:31-37

#128B Solemnities B Context (23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#333 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#333 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man's ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
" Ephphatha!" (that is, "Be opened!")
And immediately the man's ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
"He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."
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Commentary on Mk 7:31-37

Returning from his encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, the Lord now heals the deaf mute. This action, especially the wording of the final quote; (“He has done all things well, he makes the deaf hear and the mute speak”) which is a paraphrase from Isaiah 35:5-6, demonstrates the fulfillment of prophecy.

The Lord’s actions are sacramental in nature. That is, they accomplish what they signify. As the Lord takes the man aside, he puts his fingers into the man’s mouth and ears. He then sighs or groans (rather than in prayer) looking heavenward, demonstrating his intimate relationship to the father, and says, “ephphetha!” or “be opened."

This passage has two unusual characteristics. First, the Lord takes the man aside, in private, implying something private was offered by the Messiah. Next, after his cure was affected he tells the man not to tell anyone.  However, not only does the man continue to do so, but proclaims it. We are given the sense that the event taking place is significant in  that it is pointedly revelatory, citing a new creation  (cf Genesis 1:31).

CCC: Mk 7:32-36 1504; Mk 7:33-35 1151
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Mark 8:1-10

#334 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

#334 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time)

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
"My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance."
His disciples answered him, "Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?"
Still he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?"
They replied, "Seven."
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 8:1-10

This selection describes one of the major miracles, the multiplication of loaves and fishes. There are actually two accounts; (Mark 8:1-10 above and Mark 6:31-44). It is proposed by some scholars that this is actually the same event told from two different traditions, but regardless, the implication is Eucharistic.

Much can be speculated about this event. The number of the loaves being 7 would seem to indicate, through Hebrew numerology, the fullness of loaves was present. The fact that they all ate until they were satisfied (spiritually?) would indicate that the meal was complete. The fragments left over filled 7 baskets; again that perfect number is used.

CCC: Mk 8:6 1329
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Mark 8:11-13

#335 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#335 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
"Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 8:11-13

Ironically, this passage follows the story of the “Multiplication of the Loaves.” It is clear from the language here that the Pharisees who confront him have gotten word of this event and are hoping for something to prove that Jesus’ announcement of the Kingdom of God is valid. “The objection of the Pharisees that Jesus' miracles are unsatisfactory for proving the arrival of God's kingdom is comparable to the request of the crowd for a sign in John 6:30-31. Jesus' response shows that a sign originating in human demand will not be provided; cf Numbers 14:11, 22.”[6]

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Mark 8:14-21

#336 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#336 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
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Commentary on Mk 8:14-21

Following his departure from Dalmanutha (which he left because the Pharisees were demanding signs like those he performed by feeding the multitudes), while still in the boat in which they had left, the disciples begin to worry about not having brought provisions. Jesus uses this time to warn them about being affected by the rebellious attitude of the Pharisees and Herod toward him. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod probably refers to their inability to accept Jesus as who he is, the Messiah. The Pharisees and Herodians take the message of hatred and spread it though all the people like yeast in bread.

As is expected of the disciples in St. Mark’s Gospel, they do not understand, and the Lord must go further. His explanation makes subtle use of Hebrew numerology, with 12 being symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel, and 7 being the perfect number or symbolic of completeness. These numbers become the representation of the Lord’s mission to fulfill the Law and Prophets, the complete revelation of God and His Kingdom.

CCC:  Mk 8:19 1329
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Mark 8:22-26

#337 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#337 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
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Commentary on Mk 8:22-26

“Jesus' actions and the gradual cure of the blind man probably have the same purpose as in the case of the deaf man (Mark 7:31-37). Some commentators regard the cure as an intended symbol of the gradual enlightenment of the disciples concerning Jesus' messiahship.”[7]

"Allegorically (St. Bede, In Marcum): Jesus heals the blind man to announce the mystery of redemption. As God Incarnate, Jesus heals man through the sacrament of his human nature, here signified by his hands and spittle. This grace cures our spiritual blindness gradually, and, as with the blind man, progress is measured in proportion to our faith. Allegorically (St. Jerome, Homily 79), the restoration of the blind man signifies our gradual increase in wisdom, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of truth. Christ's spittle is the perfect doctrine that proceeds from his mouth; it enhances our vision and brings us progressively to the knowledge of God."[20]

CCC: Mk 8:22-25 1151, 1504; Mk 8:23 699
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Mark 8:27-35

#131B Solemnities B Context (24th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”
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Commentary on Mk 8:27-35

This selection from St. Mark’s Gospel is pivotal for the original audience. Up to this point in Jesus public ministry he has been thought of by those who meet him as a prophet and teacher – a Holy Man. That changes as St. Peter identifies him as “Christ” the Messiah. After silencing them (his closest friends) Jesus, using the title “Son of Man” (see Daniel 7:13-14), foresees his trials and passion. This frightens the disciples and probably confuses many of the entourage (remember, there were more than just the 12 following Jesus around) and Peter confronts him asking him to take a different approach to what he tells his students. Seeing this request as an invitation to take a different path, Jesus rebukes Peter.

Then turning to the rest of his followers, Jesus calls all of those who are with him to authentic discipleship. He tells them that answering that call means placing Christian sacrifice first and if necessary denying even ones life for the sake of the truth of the Son of God.

CCC: Mk 8:27 472; Mk 8:31-33 557; Mk 8:31 474, 572, 649; Mk 8:34 459, 1615; Mk 8:35 2544
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Mark 8:27-33

#338 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#338 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”

Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
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Commentary on Mk 8:27-33

This selection from St. Mark’s Gospel is pivotal for the original audience. Up to this point in Jesus' public ministry he has been thought of by those who meet him as a prophet and teacher – a Holy Man. That view changes as St. Peter identifies him as “Christ,” the Messiah. Because the popular expectations about the Messiah differed greatly from the image and demeanor of Jesus, the Lord instructs them not to broadcast his true identity. After silencing them (his closest friends), Jesus uses the title “Son of Man” (see Daniel 7:13-14). He goes on to explain that “the son of man” (see NAB note on Mark 8:31), using his true humanity as a title, must go through suffering and humiliation before his final victory.

This frightens the disciples, and probably confuses many of the entourage (remember, there were more than just the 12 following Jesus around).  Peter confronts Jesus asking him to take a different approach to what he tells his students. Seeing this request as an invitation or temptation to take a different path, Jesus rebukes Peter and lashes out; “Get behind me Satan.

CCC: Mk 8:27 472; Mk 8:31-33 557; Mk 8:31 474, 572, 649
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Mark 8:31-34

#974 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, First Option)

Jesus began to teach his disciples
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me."
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Commentary on Mk 8:31-34

 After silencing the disciples (his closest friends), Jesus, using the title “Son of Man” (see Daniel 7:13-14) goes on to explain that “the son of man” (see note on Mark 8:31), using his true humanity as a title, must go through suffering and humiliation before his final victory.

This frightens the disciples and probably confuses many of the entourage (remember, there were more than just the 12 following Jesus around) and Peter confronts him asking him to take a different approach to what he tells his students. Seeing this request as an invitation or temptation to take a different path, Jesus rebukes Peter and lashes out; “Get behind me Satan.

The Lord then calls all of those who are with him to authentic discipleship. He tells them that answering that call means placing Christian sacrifice first and if necessary denying even one’s life for the sake of the truth of the Son of God. “This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it . . . will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.”[10]

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Mark 8:34--9:1

#339 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#339 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words
in this faithless and sinful generation,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of
when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

He also said to them,
"Amen, I say to you,
there are some standing here who will not taste death
until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.
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Commentary on Mk 8:34--9:1

In the previous verses, Jesus has chastised St. Peter for encouraging him to avoid the passion and death he is destined to endure. Now, turning to the rest of his followers, Jesus calls all of those who are with him to authentic discipleship. He tells them that answering that call means placing Christian sacrifice first, and if necessary denying even one’s life for the sake of the truth of the Son of God.

“This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it . . . will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.”[10]

He challenges those who are wavering by indicating the sort of reception they will receive when they come before him on the last day: “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” The last verse (9:1) is understood to mean the power of God’s kingdom on earth, the Church. Others clearly believed that the Parousia (second coming) was imminent.

CCC: Mk 8:34 459, 1615; Mk 8:35 2544
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Mark 9:2-13

#340 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

#340 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
then from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, the disciples no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Then they asked him,
“Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things,
yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man
that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt?
But I tell you that Elijah has come
and they did to him whatever they pleased,
as it is written of him.”
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Commentary on Mk 9:2-13

The Gospel gives us the story of the Transfiguration as told by St. Mark. Present in all three of the synoptic Gospels, this event follows Jesus’ prediction of the passion, and provides assurance of his divine nature. Shown, as it is, to the Lord's closest disciples, it prepares them to understand the necessary connection between the passion and his rise to messianic glory. The imagery of this event provides a recognizable reference to the greater mission of the Lord, as he comes to fulfill both the Prophets (personified in Elijah) and the Law (represented by Moses). The cloud that comes to rest over the disciples is reminiscent of the cloud that came to rest over the meeting tent in the Old Testament (Exodus 40:34-35) that signified the presence of Yahweh.

The question: “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” refers to the prediction in Malachi 3:23-24 that, before the Messiah comes, the prophet will return. (Note: in many Protestant Bible translations this citation is Malachi 4:1ff)

A side note – the Lectionary for Mass begins this reading with “Jesus took Peter,” omitting “after six days.” This omission removes an interesting numerological reference to the event. The Transfiguration is the revelation of Christ as God’s Son. It completes the teaching referenced in the previous verses. After six days of teaching Christ was revealed. In the Hebrew tradition, seven represents the complete or perfect number. The revelation in the passion of the Lord becomes the seventh day.

CCC: Mk 9:2 552; Mk 9:7 151, 459; Mk 9:9-31 649
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Mark 9:2-10

#26B Solemnities B Context (2nd Sunday of Lent B)

#614 Proper of Saints Context (Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:2-10

St. Mark’s account of the Transfiguration varies only slightly from the account found in St. Matthew (Matthew 17:1-9). In St. Mark’s account the event takes place six days after his first prediction (see note below) of his own passion and resurrection (St. Luke has eight days Luke 9:28b-36). Jesus brings Peter, James and John with him and, by their presence gives them a special understanding that his death and resurrection (and their own) will lead to the glory of the Kingdom of God, not to an end as they had feared.(see also 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:16-19).

Shown as it is to the select disciples, it prepares them to understand the necessary connection between the passion and his rise to messianic glory. The imagery of this event provides a recognizable reference to the greater mission of the Lord, as he comes to fulfill both the Prophets (personified in Elijah) and the Law (represented by Moses). Scholars agree that uniting and fulfilling the Law and the Prophets represented in this tableau was a key message of this event.

The suggestion by St. Peter that he erect three “booths” suggests the Jewish Feast of Booths which commemorates the revelation of the Law by Moses at Mt. Sinai, a close parallel is emphasized as the ultimate revelation of God in Christ is now played out.

The “bright cloud” is another Old Testament symbol used to represent the immediate presence of Yahweh (see Exodus 19:9, 24:15-16 and 40:34-35). From within it God speaks the same formula used at Jesus’ baptism (see Matthew 3:17) providing the final absolute identity of Jesus as Christ.

A side note – the Lectionary for Mass begins this reading with “Jesus took Peter…”, omitting “After six days”. This omission removes an interesting numerological reference to the event that takes place. The Transfiguration is the revelation of Christ as God’s Son. It completes the teaching referenced in the previous verses –After six days of teaching Christ was revealed- seven representing the complete or perfect number. The implication being that Christ’s perfect revelation would come at the resurrection.

CCC: Mk 9:2 552; Mk 9:7 151, 459; Mk 9:9-31 649
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:14-29

#341 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#341 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”

Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:14-29

In this selection from St. Mark’s Gospel, the Lord encounters a “situation.” When he comes down the mountain where Peter, James, and John had just witnessed the transfiguration of the Lord, he discovers the rest of the twelve being challenged by scribes and Pharisees because they cannot cast out a “mute spirit.

Jesus’ reaction seems a bit exasperated. He remarks on the faithlessness of the crowd (including the Scribes and Pharisees) and proceeds to cure the boy. He then explains to the disciples (possibly chastising them as well) that in such cases, cure can only be effected through prayer. In some texts “fasting” is added to this account.

CCC: Mk 9:9-31 649; Mk 9:23 1504, 2610; Mk 9:24 162
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:30-37

#134B Solemnities B Context (25th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#342 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#342 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:30-37

This selection describes Jesus’ interaction with the disciples following the cure of the boy with the mute spirit. Jesus and his disciples continue their journey through Galilee, and he teaches them in private about what is to come. It begins with the second prediction of the passion Jesus is to face. The disciples, characteristic of St. Mark’s description, do not understand, and begin to debate among themselves who was greatest. Jesus tells them directly that their role (and by extension the role of all Christian disciples) is one of service.

The Lord sees that they do not understand. When they don’t respond to his direct question, he gives them the example of first a servant, and then a child, so they can understand that it is through humility and innocence that God’s servants lead. He probably uses the example of children to represent the “anawim,” the poor in spirit, the most vulnerable of the Christian faithful.

CCC: Mk 9:9-31 649; Mk 9:31-32 557; Mk 9:31 474; Mk 9:37 1825
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:34b-37

#521 Proper of Saints Context (St. Angela Merici, Jan 27)

#742 Commons Context (Common of Holy Men and Women)

The disciples of Jesus had been discussing on the way
who was the greatest.
Jesus sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around him, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:34b-37

While the disciples clearly understand the Lord is to leave them, they do not yet grasp the nature of his mission as they are arguing about who among them will be greatest once victory is achieved. The Lord sees this in them, and when they don’t respond to his direct question, he gives them the example of servant leadership. He uses the example of a child so they can understand that it is through humility and innocence that God’s servants lead. Jesus tells them directly that their role (and by extension the role of all Christian disciples) is one of service. He probably uses the example of children to represent the “anawim,” the poor in spirit, the most vulnerable of the Christian faithful.

CCC: Mk 9:37 1825
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

#137B Solemnities B Context (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

At that time, John said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."
Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

This section from St. Mark’s Gospel provides an important attitude in Jesus’ teaching. He warns the disciples about jealousy and intolerance toward others who use the Lord’s name but are not traveling with them. “For whoever is not against us is for us.” The Lord finishes his warning saying that those who call people to faith in him, even if they do not walk with the disciples are friends. He then speaks of those who would lead the people away from him. He uses the “Little Child” as a symbol of the weak in spirit and the poor. Those that lead them astray, or who are tempted to do so, should resist such temptation at any price or they will find an eternal punishment waiting for them.

CCC: Mk 9:43-48 1034
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:38-40

#343 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#343 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:38-40

Still responding to the disciples' confusion following the casting out of the unclean spirit that could only be cast out through prayer (see Mark 9:17-29), Jesus warns his friends about excluding others from spreading the Good News. He tells them that those who do good in his name are joined with them in proclaiming the truth of the Kingdom of God.  They should not be considered as enemies, but as coworkers in the mission upon which he was sent. The Lord warns the disciples about jealousy and intolerance toward others who use the Lord’s name but are not traveling with them. “For whoever is not against us is for us.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 9:41-50


#344 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#344 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 9:41-50

In this passage, Jesus finishes his warning to the disciples against jealousy and intolerance toward others. Having said that, he warns that those who call people to faith in him, even if they do not walk with the disciples, are friends. He speaks of those who would lead the people away from him, again using the “little child” as a symbol of the weak in spirit and the poor. Those that mislead, or who are tempted to do so, should resist such temptation at any price, or they will find an eternal punishment waiting for them. The Lord makes this warning using a paraphrase from Isaiah 66:24.

The final verse speaks of salt, using the analogy of purifying and preserving food. The word of Christ will have the same effect, that is purifying and preserving the believer.

CCC: Mk 9:43-48 1034
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:1-12

#345 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#345 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:1-12

This passage gives us the scriptural support for the Church’s view of the durability of the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Pharisees' question to Jesus, and their response to his question: “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her," shows that the Mosaic Law they were referring to (Deuteronomy 24:1) dealt with a contractual relationship. Jesus, in quoting Genesis (see Genesis 1:27 and 2:24), speaks instead of the spiritual bond which joins husband and wife. This bond cannot be broken (“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate").

This unbreakable bond is at the heart of the Church's understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage and is distinct from the civil marriage contract (referred to by the Pharisees above).  This passage is also central to the Church's teaching that the Sacrament of Marriage is valid only between a man and a woman.

CCC: Mk 10:8 1627; Mk 10:9 1639, 2364, 2382; Mk 10:11-12 1650; Mk 10:11 2380
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:2-16*

#140B Solemnities B Context (27th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me;
do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:2-16

This passage gives us the scriptural support for the Church’s view of the “Sacrament of Matrimony”. The Pharisees question to Jesus and their response to his question; “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." shows the Mosaic Law they are referring to (Deuteronomy 24:1) dealt with a contractual relationship. Jesus, in quoting Genesis (see Genesis 1:27 and 2:24) speaks instead of the spiritual bond which joins husband and wife. This bond cannot be broken (“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate.").

Mark continues with a picture of Jesus demonstrating that those who had seen his works and heard his words saw greatness in him. They brought their children to him instinctively that they might receive the grace endowed by his touch. This activity made his disciples indignant that their master should be pestered by these little ones. The Lord, however, used this as a teaching moment and told the crowd that only complete dependence upon God’s support would allow them salvation (“…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”).

CCC: Mk 10:8 1627; Mk 10:9 1639, 2364, 2382; Mk 10:11-12 1650; Mk 10:11 2380; Mk 10:14 343, 1261; Mk 10:16 699
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OR
Shorter Form:
Mark 10:2-12

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:2-12

This passage gives us the scriptural support for the Church’s view of the “Sacrament of Matrimony”. The Pharisees question to Jesus and their response to his; “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." shows the Mosaic Law they are referring to (Deuteronomy 24:1) dealt with a contractual relationship. Jesus, in quoting Genesis (see Genesis 1:27 and 2:24) speaks instead of the spiritual bond which joins husband and wife. This bond cannot be broken (“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate."). This unbreakable bond is at the heart of the Church's understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage and is distinct from the civil marriage contract (referred to by the Pharisees above).  This passage is also central to the Church's teaching that the Sacrament of Marriage is only valid between a man and a woman.

CCC: Mk 10:8 1627; Mk 10:9 1639, 2364, 2382; Mk 10:11-12 1650; Mk 10:11 2380
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:6-9

#805 Ritual Mass Context (VI. For the Conferral of the Sacrament of Marriage, 6.)

Jesus said:
"From the beginning of creation,
  God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
  and be joined to his wife,
  and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
  no human being must separate."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:6-9

This passage gives us the scriptural support for the Church’s view of the “Sacrament of Matrimony”.Jesus, in quoting Genesis (see Genesis 1:27 and 2:24) speaks of the spiritual bond which joins husband and wife. This bond cannot be broken (“…what God has joined together, no human being must separate."). This unbreakable bond is at the heart of the Church's understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage and is distinct from the civil marriage contract (referred to by the Pharisees above).  This passage is also central to the Church's teaching that the Sacrament of Marriage is only valid between a man and a woman.

CCC: Mk 10:8 1627; Mk 10:9 1639, 2364, 2382
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:13-16

#346 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#346 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time)

#595 Proper of Saints Context (St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Jul 6)

#742 Commons Context (Common of Holy Men and Women)

#755 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 1. Catachuminate and Christian Initiation for Adults, Christian Initiation apart from the Easter Vigil, 4)

#760 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 2. Conferral of Infant Baptism, 4.)

#1022 Mass for the Dead Context (Funerals for Baptized Children, 2.)

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it.”
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:13-16

The image of Jesus portrayed by this passage demonstrates that those who had seen his works and heard his words saw greatness in him. They brought their children to him instinctively, that these little ones might receive the grace bestowed by his touch. This activity made his disciples indignant. They felt that their master should not be pestered by the children. The Lord, however, used this situation as a teaching moment. Jesus told the crowd that only complete dependence upon God’s support would allow them salvation (“…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”).

CCC: Mk 10:11 2380; Mk 10:14 343, 1261; Mk 10:16 699
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:17-30*

#143B Solemnities B Context (28th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#529 Proper of Saints Context (St. Jerome Emiliani, Feb 8)

#742 Commons Context (Common of Holy Men and Women)

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."
Peter began to say to him,
"We have given up everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:17-30

The story of the rich young man told in these verses from St. Mark’s Gospel recount an ideal teaching moment for Christ. After he has heard that the young man has carefully followed Mosaic Law (summarized in the Decalogue the Lord mentions), Jesus tells the young man he has only one more step to take. He is to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor. This is too much for the rich young man who leaves downcast.

Jesus uses this example to emphasize, first, that love of God must come before desire for possessions, and before the accumulation of wealth. Those listening were also downhearted and say “Then who can be saved?

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it, and nothing is impossible for Him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

Following the exchange with the rich young man and the rest of the crowd, St. Peter brings up the fact that the disciples had given up everything to follow Jesus. The Lord responds telling them they will receive a reward “a hundred times more” and “eternal life.” The last statement: “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first,” is thought to have been added to reconcile the fact that some of those called first outlived other early Christians.

CCC: Mk 10:19 1858; Mk 10:22 2728; Mk 10:28-31 1618
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Or
Shorter Form:
Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother."
He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth."
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
"Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
"For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:17-27

This shorter version omits Jesus' teaching about the last being first.

The story of the rich young man told in these verses from St. Mark’s Gospel recount an ideal teaching moment for Christ. After he has heard that the young man has carefully followed Mosaic Law (summarized in the Decalogue the Lord mentions), Jesus tells the young man he has only one more step to take. He is to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor. This is too much for the rich young man who leaves downcast.

Jesus uses this example to emphasize, first, that love of God must come before desire for possessions, and before the accumulation of wealth. Those listening were also downhearted and say “Then who can be saved?

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it, and nothing is impossible for Him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.

CCC: Mk 10:19 1858; Mk 10:22 2728
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:17-27

#347 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#347 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#861 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 8. For Vocations to Holy Orders or Religious Life, 2.)

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:17-27

The story of the rich young man, presented in St. Mark’s Gospel, is an ideal teaching moment for Christ. Clearly the young man depicted is of Pharisaic persuasion since he believes in the concept of eternal life (Sadducees would not). After he has heard that the young man has carefully followed Mosaic Law (summarized in the Decalogue the Lord mentions), Jesus tells him he has only one more step to take. Selling all he has and giving the proceeds to the poor is too much for the rich young man who leaves downcast.

Jesus uses this example to emphasize, first, that the love of God must come first, before desire for possessions, and before the accumulation of wealth. Those listening were also downhearted and say: “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it, and nothing is impossible for him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” God must provide the path.

CCC: Mk 10:19 1858; Mk 10:22 2728
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Mark 10:24b-30

#815 Ritual Mass Context (VIII. For the Consecration of Virgins and Religious Profession, 8)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
  than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
  "Then who can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said,
  "For men it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God."
Peter began to say to him,
  "We have given up everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you,
  there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
  or mother or father or children or lands for my sake
  and for the sake of the Gospel
  who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
  houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands,
  with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
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Commentary on Mk 10:24b-30

Jesus uses the example of the rich young man (v.17ff) to emphasize first that the love of God must come first and before desire for possessions, before the accumulation of wealth. His statement "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." is a reference to a narrow entry gate into the city of Jerusalem called "Eye of a Needle" at which beasts of burden had to have their cargo removed before entering because of the narrowness of the gate. This analogy was not lost on those he spoke to. They were also downhearted and say “Then who can be saved?

Jesus then makes his second point. No one earns salvation from God! Only the Lord alone can grant it and nothing is impossible for Him. “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” God must provide the path.

The passage contains the disciples response to Jesus’ teaching about the discipline of discipleship embodied in the story of the wealthy young man (Mark 10:17-27). After seeing the young man leave because he could not part with his possessions, Peter finds it necessary to remind Jesus that they (the disciples) had given up everything to follow him. The Lord replies that those who have sacrificed to follow him will receive not just the sevenfold repayment promised by Sirach 35:10, but a hundred times more of what they have given up.

This reference made by St. Mark is likely to the growth of Church under the Apostles’ evangelization and the communal sense of the Church in its early years. The same reference is true of Jesus’ final statement where we hear “But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first." Here St. Mark is probably referring to the martyrdom many will find before joining the Lord in his heavenly kingdom.

CCC: Mk 10:28-31 1618
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Mark 10:28-31

#348 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#348 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

Peter began to say to Jesus,
‘We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:28-31

The passage contains the disciples' response to Jesus’ teaching about the discipline of discipleship embodied in the story of the wealthy young man (Mark 10:17-27). After seeing the young man leave because he could not part with his possessions, Peter finds it necessary to remind Jesus that they (the disciples) had given up everything to follow him. The Lord replies that those who have sacrificed to follow him will receive not just the seven-fold repayment promised by Sirach 35:10, but a hundred times more than what they have given up.

This reference made by St. Mark is likely to the growth of Church under the Apostles’ evangelization, and the communal sense of the Church in its early years. The same reference is true of Jesus’ final statement where we hear: “But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first." Here St. Mark is probably referring to the martyrdom many will find before joining the Lord in his heavenly kingdom.

CCC: Mk 10:28-31 1618
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:28-30

#861 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 8. For Vocations to Holy Orders or Religious Life, 3.)

Peter said to Jesus:
"We have given up everything and followed you."
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you,
  there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
  or mother or father or children or lands
  for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
  who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
  houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands,
  with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:28-30

Following the exchange with the rich young man and the rest of the crowd, St. Peter brings up the fact that the disciples had given up everything to follow Jesus. The Lord responds telling them they will receive a reward “a hundred times more” and “eternal life”

The passage contains the disciples response to Jesus’ teaching about the discipline of discipleship embodied in the story of the wealthy young man (Mark 10:17-27). After seeing the young man leave because he could not part with his possessions, Peter finds it necessary to remind Jesus that they (the disciples) had given up everything to follow him. The Lord replies that those who have sacrificed to follow him will receive not just the sevenfold repayment promised by Sirach 35:10, but a hundred times more of what they have given up.

CCC: Mk 10:28-31 1618
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Mark 10:32-45

#349 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#349 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem,
and Jesus went ahead of them.
They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them
what was going to happen to him.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death
and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him,
spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death,
but after three days he will rise.”
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
came to Jesus and said to him,
‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, ‘What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him,
“Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, ‘We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
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Commentary on Mk 10:32-45

This Gospel passage starts with the third prediction of the Passion in St. Mark’s Gospel. The sons of Zebedee take this opportunity (thinking it is the time for Christ to come into glory) to ask for places of honor when he assumes his kingship. The Lord responds with the metaphors of “drinking the cup he will drink,” and “being baptized with the baptism with which he will be baptized,” symbolic of his passion and death. When the brothers respond in the affirmative, Jesus predicts that they will follow him in martyrdom, but that only God can give them the places of honor they request.

When the disciples become upset at James and John, Jesus uses the opportunity to explain “servant leadership.” Unlike secular leaders who autocratically order their subjects about, the servant leader comes to lead by example and service to those being lead. He concludes by describing his own role: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

CCC: Mk 10:32-34 557; Mk 10:33-34 474; Mk 10:34 649, 994; Mk 10:38 536, 1225; Mk 10:39 618; Mk 10:43-45 1551; Mk 10:45 608, 1570
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Mark 10:35-45*

#146B Solemnities B Context (29th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"
They answered him, "Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."
Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:35-45

Just prior to this Gospel passage Jesus makes the third prediction of the Passion in St. Mark’s Gospel. The sons of Zebedee take this opportunity (thinking the time for Christ to come into glory was imminent) to ask for places of honor when he assumes his place. The Lord responds with the metaphors of “drinking the cup he will drink” and “being baptized with the baptism with which he will be baptized” symbolic of his passion and death. When the brothers respond in the affirmative, Jesus predicts that they will follow him in martyrdom but that only God can give them the places of honor they request.

When the disciples become upset at James and John, Jesus uses the opportunity to explain “servant leadership”. Unlike secular leaders who autocratically order their subjects about, the servant leader comes to lead by example and service to those being lead. He concludes by describing his own role “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

CCC: Mk 10:38 536, 1225; Mk 10:39 618; Mk 10:43-45 1551; Mk 10:45 608, 1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OR
Shorter Form:

Mark 10:42-45

Jesus summoned the twelve and said to them,
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:42-45

The shorter form of the Gospel serves to explain “servant leadership”. Unlike secular leaders who autocratically order their subjects about, the servant leader comes to lead by example and service to those being lead. He concludes by describing his own role “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

CCC: Mk 10:43-45 1551; Mk 10:45 608, 1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 10:46-52

#149B Solemnities B Context (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#350 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#350 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#795 Ritual Mass Context (V. For the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, 1. Anointing of the Sick, 9.)

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 10:46-52

In St. Mark’s story of the cure of the blind man (see also Matthew 20:29-34 and Luke 18:35-43), it is the way he addresses Jesus that becomes the focus. We are told he address him as, “Son of David.” This is the messianic title applied by Jewish tradition to the one who comes to “heal the blind and the lame and set the prisoners free” (Isaiah 42;6-7). In response to the blind man’s request, “Master, I want to see,” in an almost casual way, Jesus tells him his faith has saved him and the blind man sees. Not surprisingly the now sighted man follows Jesus.

CCC: Mk 10:46-52 2667; Mk 10:48 2616; Mk 10:52 548
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Mark 11:1-10

37B Solemnities B Context (Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion B -At the Procession with Palms)

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
'Why are you doing this?' reply,
'The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.'"
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
"What are you doing, untying the colt?"
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
"Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 11:1-10

St. Mark’s story of Jesus entry into Jerusalem provides some unique differences from St. Matthew’s account (Matthew 21:1-11). First Jesus orders the preparation for his entry to Jerusalem to be made. He is greeted with cheers as in the accounts from St. Matthew and St. Luke but the crowd stops short of proclaiming him Messiah.

“Jesus had visited Jerusalem various times before, but he never did so in this way. Previously he had not wanted to be recognized as the Messiah; he avoided the enthusiasm of the crowd; but now he accepts their acclaim and even implies that it is justified, by entering the city in the style of a pacific king. Jesus’s public ministry is about to come to a close: he has completed his mission; he has preached and worked miracles; he has revealed himself as God wished he should; now in this triumphant entry into Jerusalem he shows that he is the Messiah. The people, by shouting "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming!", are proclaiming Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. When the leaders of the people move against him some days later, they reject this recognition the people have given him.”[11]

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Mark 11:11-26

#351 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#351 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”

Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 11:11-26

This Gospel passage has three intertwined elements. First we hear Jesus uncharacteristically “curse” the fig tree for its lack of fruit. The common thought about this incident is that it is a metaphor for the Jewish lack of faith, and acceptance of scriptures fulfilled in Christ.

The second element is the story of Jesus and the money changers. The Lord drives out the merchants who had set up their tables in the outermost courtyard of the Temple called the Court of Gentiles. The sacrifices for sale could only be purchased with money from Tyre; all other currency had to be exchanged at these tables.

Finally we come to the last part of the Gospel as Jesus instructs the disciples about prayer. The selection concludes, much like the Lord’s Prayer, with the request for forgiveness. v. 26 (which is omitted because it is not found in the best source documents): "But if you do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your transgressions,"

CCC: Mk 11:24 2610; Mk 11:25 2841
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Mark 11:27-33

#352 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

#352 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
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Commentary on Mk 11:27-33

This section of St. Mark’s Gospel begins a series of five “pronouncement stories.” This first story deals with a challenge to Jesus’ authority as Messiah and teacher. The chief priests (including Caiaphas, who was Chief Priest at that time) challenge the Lord, seeking to dissuade the people of his authenticity as teacher, and making it clear that they, the priestly aristocracy, have not supported his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus responds to them by using John the Baptist, a popular figure and considered to be a prophet by the people, to deflect their challenge. We hear, in their internal dialogue, the difficult options they see. If they say that St. John was sent by God, they would be forced to accept his proclamation, including his pronouncement that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. If they rejected John, they would be attacked by the crowd.

The group of Hebrew leaders could find only one solution. They confessed they did not know if John’s baptism was holy or not. This ambiguous response allows the Lord to let the implication of his own holiness remain unchallenged.

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Mark 12:1-12

#353 Weekday Year I Context (Monday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#353 Weekday Year II Context (Monday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#974 Votive Mass Context (Mystery of the Holy Cross, Second Option)

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
"A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, 'They will respect my son.'
But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?"

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.
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Commentary on Mk 12:1-12

In the first part of the Gospel we hear the Parable of the Vineyard. Since this story is directed to the Chief Priests and Scribes, we understand that the Vineyard represents the Kingdom of God and the tenants are the Sanhedrin. They should have been working on behalf of God, but instead they misused their power and disregarded the Prophets, killing some, beating others. And when the son of the owner comes and is killed, Jesus prophesies his own death.

The final section of the reading uses the image found in Psalm 118; 23-24, “the stone rejected.” Jesus uses this scripture quote to drive home his point, that the Sanhedrin had completely missed God’s intent, and that the one they rejected, Jesus himself, the Messiah, was to be the cornerstone of the New Jerusalem, God’s Kingdom on earth and in heaven.

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Mark 12:13-17

#354 Weekday Year I Context (Tuesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#354 Weekday Year II Context (Tuesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone's opinion.
You do not regard a person's status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?"
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
"Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at."
They brought one to him and he said to them,

"Whose image and inscription is this?"
They replied to him, "Caesar's."
So Jesus said to them,
"Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God."
They were utterly amazed at him.
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Commentary on Mk 12:13-17

In this account (similar to Matthew 22:15-22), the Pharisees and Herodians attempt to trap Jesus by asking if people should pay taxes to Caesar. If he sides with the Herodians (who would want the tax to be paid) he would be trapped because he was authorizing tribute to one who claimed to be a god, violating Jewish Law. If he sided with the Pharisees against the Herodians, he would be in conflict with civil law and be taken before the Roman Authorities.

Jesus saw the trap and avoided it using the powerful argument for the separation of Church and State by the famous statement: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

CCC: Mk 12:17 450
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Mark 12:18-27

#355 Weekday Year I Context (Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#355 Weekday Year II Context (Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,
came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
'If someone's brother dies, leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.'
Now there were seven brothers.
The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants.
So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants,
and the third likewise.
And the seven left no descendants.
Last of all the woman also died.
At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them, "Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
When they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but they are like the angels in heaven.

As for the dead being raised,
have you not read in the Book of Moses,
in the passage about the bush, how God told him,
I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob?
He is not God of the dead but of the living.
You are greatly misled."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 12:18-27

The Sadducees are approaching Jesus, in this passage, with a twofold attack against his teaching on the resurrection (Sadducees, as a group, do not hold with the theology of resurrection of the dead). First they ask Jesus to solve the puzzle of whom the widow of seven husbands would be married to in heaven. (It is likely this example was taken from Tobit 3:8.) Jesus chides them for their lack of understanding, telling them that life in the Kingdom of Heaven transcends life in the body. He then goes further, attacking their disbelief in the resurrection by quoting Exodus 3; 6, telling them the Father is the God of the living not the dead.

CCC: Mk 12:24 993; Mk 12:25 1619; Mk 12:27 993
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Mark 12:28-34*

#152B Solemnities B Context (31st Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#241 Weekday Years I & II Context (Friday of the 3rd Week of Lent)

#356 Weekday Year I Context (Thursday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#356 Weekday Year II Context (Thursday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#760 Ritual Mass Context (I. For the Conferral of Christian Initiation, 2. Conferral of Infant Baptism, 5.)

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Commentary on Mk 12:28-34

In the continuing dialogue with the Sadducees from the Gospel of St. Mark, we find the questioner is impressed with the way Jesus handled the previous challenge by his colleagues (found in the previous verses). The Lord answers his question about the law with the Great Commandment, the opening of the Shema, the great Jewish Prayer, and then he follows that statement with the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself (see also Leviticus 19:18). When the scholar clearly understands what Jesus is saying, the Lord tells him he is"... not far from the Kingdom of God" (see also the commentary on Matthew 22:34ff).

CCC: Mk 12:28-34 575; Mk 12:29-31 129, 2196; Mk 12:29-30 202; Mk 12:29 228
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OR
Shorter Form (Infant Baptism Only)

Mark 12:28-31

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
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Commentary on Mk 12:28-31

The Lord answers his question about the law with the Great Commandment, first with the opening of the Shema, the great Jewish Prayer and then he follows that statement with the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. In Infant Baptism, the child is given the grace to follow God’s commands and the parents of that child are called to be the first and best of teachers; giving witness to our Lord though practice of all his commandments, most especially the great commandment.

CCC: Mk 12:28-34 575; Mk 12:29-31 129, 2196; Mk 12:29-30 202; Mk 12:29 228
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Mark 12:35-37

#357 Weekday Year I Context (Friday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#357 Weekday Year II Context (Friday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
"How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:

The Lord said to my lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.'


David himself calls him 'lord';
so how is he his son?"
The great crowd heard this with delight.
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Commentary on Mk 12:35-37

It is now Jesus’ turn to question the Pharisees. He asks them who the Messiah will be to which they answer that he will be a son of David (of the lineage of David). Jesus then, while not denying their statement (as he is from the line of David), tells them, quoting Psalm 110:1, that David called the Messiah “Lord” and would he do that to his own off spring? In other words the Messiah would be more than just true man, he would be true God as well existing before David and with David.

CCC: Mk 12:35-37 202
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Mark 12:38-44*

#155B Solemnities B Context (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

#358 Weekday Year I Context (Saturday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

#358 Weekday Year II Context (Saturday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."
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Commentary on Mk 12:38-44

In this passage from Mark, Jesus warns against scribes (holy men) who wear their faith on the outside and accept homage for their religious acts. Their acts of charity are missing. In contrast to those who flaunt their faith and their wealth the Lord praises the poor widow who gives alms from her need not from her excess as they wealthy did. “The widow is another example of the poor ones in this gospel whose detachment from material possessions and dependence on God leads to their blessedness (Luke 6:20). Her simple offering provides a striking contrast to the pride and pretentiousness of the scribes denounced in the preceding section.”[8]

CCC: Mk 12:38-40 678; Mk 12:41-44 2444
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OR B
Shorter Form
Mark 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."
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Commentary on Mk 12:41-44

This shorter form of the Gospel omits the warning to the crowds and his disciples that they should avoid the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees who propose to lead the people in faith but who lack the humility that comes from profound awe and respect of God the Father. It focuses instead on the gift of the widow from her need; an example of stewardship, even in time of hardship as well as devotion above that of the pompous religious.

CCC: Mk 12:41-44 2444
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Mark 13:24-32

#158B Solemnities B Context (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds'
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

"Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

"But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
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Commentary on Mk 13:24-32

This selection concludes Jesus’ prediction about the destruction of the Temple. Here he borrows imagery from Daniel to provide more proofs of his divinity to the disciples with whom he is speaking. He warns that they should be vigilant because the time of tribulation is coming and the hour and day are not known: “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

CCC: Mk 13 2612; Mk 13:32 474, 673
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Mark 13:33-37

#2B Solemnities B Context (1st Sunday of Advent B)

“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
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Commentary on Mk 13:33-37

Jesus, in the verses just prior to this selection, has just concluded his eschatological prediction about the destruction of the Temple (his body). He now renews and expands his exhortation to his disciples to remain vigilant. This commandment becomes the watch word of all Christians in that vigilance means love. Through love all the commandments are kept and the hope of Christ’s coming is strengthened. The final verse; “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” expands this injunction to all the faithful.

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Mark 14:1—15:47*

#38B Solemnities B Context (Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion B)

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days' time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, "Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
"Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages
and the money given to the poor."
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, "Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me."
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
"Surely it is not I?"
He said to them,
"One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
"All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee."
Peter said to him,
"Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be."
Then Jesus said to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times."
But he vehemently replied,
"Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you."
And they all spoke similarly.
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
"Sit here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch."
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will."
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
"Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand."

Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
"The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely."
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
"Rabbi." And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
alleging, "We heard him say,
'I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.'"
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, "Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?"
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
"Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?"
Then Jesus answered, "I am;
and 'you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
"hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?"
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!"
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest's maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
"You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus."
But he denied it saying,
"I neither know nor understand what you are talking about."
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
"This man is one of them."
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
"Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean."
He began to curse and to swear,
"I do not know this man about whom you are talking."
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
"Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times."
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.
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Commentary on Mk 14:1—15:47

The passion according to St. Mark recounts the Christ’s anointing and the reaction of Judas and his betrayal.  We are given the story of the last supper and the “Prayer in the Garden”, Jesus arrest, trial, conviction, and execution.

Preparation for the Passover: Mark 14:12-16

In this part of the Passion narrative from St. Mark’s Gospel, the disciples prepare to celebrate the Passover and follow Jesus’ instructions It is likely that the “man carrying a water jar” was a prearranged signal for only women carried water jars, however, the Greek version says it is a person, not necessarily a man.

Announcement of Betrayal: Mark 14:17-21

There are two different traditions of this part of the passion narrative.  In St. Mark’s, St. Luke’s and St. John’s (John 13:18) Gospels (Luke 22:21-23) the betrayer is not named.  In St. Matthew’s (Matthew 26:25) and St. John’s (John 13:21-30) the betrayer is identified as Judas Iscariot.  It is speculated that the identifying the traitor before the Eucharist as Mark does, may have been to show that Judas did not participate in that part of the final celebration.

Institution of the Eucharist: Mark 14:22-25

Next the institution of the Eucharistic meal is taken up. “The actions and words of Jesus express within the framework of the Passover meal and the transition to a new covenant the sacrifice of himself through the offering of his body and blood in anticipation of his passion and death. His blood of the covenant both alludes to the ancient rite of Exodus 24:4-8 and indicates the new community that the sacrifice of Jesus will bring into being (Matthew 26:26-28Luke 22:19-201 Corinthians 11:23-25).”[12] The Passover meal concludes with a hymn of praise (Psalms 114-118).

Gethsemane:  Mark 14:26-42

Following the Last supper, Jesus takes his disciples to a garden, probably one familiar to them.  Gethsemane (literally “oil press”) is a small garden outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. He has 8 of his disciples sit down to wait but invites the three who had witnessed the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and the transfiguration of their Master (Mark 9:2) to be with him while he prays in this ominous hour.

His address, beginning with the word "abba" (or dad/daddy in colloquial English) conveys the familial relationship between the Father and the Son more intensely than almost anywhere else in scripture.  The prayer itself has a plea to the Father, recognizing that all things are possible for him.  This plea is coupled immediately with abject subjugation of the Lord's will to the Father as he humbly paraphrases the prayer he gave his disciples "thy will be done."

We see, in St. Mark's Gospel the symbolism of the disciples inability to comprehend the events unfolding.  Three times (using Hebrew numerology - the absolute) he finds his three friends unable to stay awake (to understand).  The symbolism is that they are completely uncomprehending of what is happening.  "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" the spirit is drawn to what is good yet found in conflict with the flesh, inclined to sin; cf. Psalm 51:5, 10. Everyone is faced with this struggle, the full force of which Jesus accepted on our behalf and, through his bitter passion and death, achieved the victory."[15] Finally he tells them that the hour has come and his arrest is immanent.

The Arrest of Jesus: Mark 14:43-54

The arrest of Jesus is told in a matter-of-fact way by St. Mark.  The actions of the Sanhedrin are expected.  We note that Judas’ kiss, historically an act of affection (see Luke 7:45; Romans 16:16; and 1 Peter 5:14) was changed to an act of betrayal (see Proverbs 27:6). [17]

Jesus offered no resistance. “…thereby fulfilling the prophecies about him in the Old Testament, particularly this passage of the poem of the Servant of Yahweh in the Book of Isaiah:  ‘like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth…because he poured out his soul to death…’ (Isaiah 53:7; 12). Dejected only moments earlier in the beginning of his prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus now rises up strengthened to face his passion.” [18]

The Trial: Mark 14:55-65

The trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin is presented by St. Mark. In all accounts Jesus is falsely accused (see also Matthew 26:60–61 and John 2:19) and the difficulty of finding witnesses to testify is stressed.  The testimony regarding the destruction of the temple is a likely misunderstood reference to Jesus eschatological prediction of his own death and resurrection (see Matthew 23:37).  The author’s account of a key point in the trial differs for other accounts in that Jesus, in this account, proclaims his identity as the Messiah to the Sanhedrin. This has the immediate effect of ending further discussion about his guilt and results in his condemnation.  The trial with the Sanhedrin ends with the beginnings of the passion as Jesus is mocked and spit upon.

Jesus before Pilate: Mark 15:1-15

Those present at Jesus trial the night of his arrest, already aware that Jesus is condemned to death, must convene the whole governing body of the Temple (“…chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin”).  They lack the authority to execute Jesus so they must take their case to Pilate, the Roman Governor to accomplish the sentence they have passed.

St. Mark portrays Pilate as being amazed at Jesus’ responses to his questioning and because of what follows, we must assume Pilate to be reluctant to pass judgment against him (see also Luke 23:14 and Matthew 27:18).  Seeking a means to avoid outright condemnation Pilate uses a local tradition of releasing one prisoner.  Because the Hebrew leadership has support among those in the crowd present, a convicted felon, Barabbas is released instead and Jesus fate is sealed.  Jesus is scourged and handed over to the guards to be crucified.

Jesus Mocked: Mark 15:16-20 

St. Mark describes the mocking of Jesus by the guards of the Praetorium (Fortress of Antonia).  Pilate, after having him scourged, has given in to the apparent will of the crowd and placed Jesus in the custody of the paid guards guard. The soldiers jeer at Jesus as a "pretend king," placing upon him the purple cloak and the crown of thorns.  This image of suffering and pain has become a symbol of all human pain and humiliation under the title "Ecce Homo." "But, as St. Jerome teaches, 'his ignominy has blotted out ours, his bonds have set us free, his crown of thorns has won for us the crown of the kingdom, his wounds have cured us.' (comm. in Marcum, in loc.)"[14]

The Crucifixion: Mark 15:33-46

In this passage we are given St. Mark's narrative about the final moments of Jesus' earthly life as he hung upon the cross and the interment of Lord in the tomb.  St. Mark's narrative begins with darkness blanketing the whole land, probably a reference specifically to Judea as the Messiah is sacrificed.  This could also be a veiled recollection of the darkness called down by Moses (see Exodus 10:22).

Jesus cries out  "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated by Mark immediately.  It is also found in Psalm 22:2.  There the phrase is spoken as the suffering of the upright individual who turns to God at a time of extreme need.  Here, in the voice of Christ, we hear the despair not of failing in his mission but rather more a plea for God not to abandon those he loves.  The fact that a bystander misunderstands the cry as one invoking Elijah is likely representative of a confusion of language between the Greek and Hebrew.  Elijah was of course expected by the Hebrews to return at the time the Messiah was to appear (see Malachi 3:1ff). Hearing him cry out one of the bystanders wet a sponge with wine to see if the mistaken request would be answered.  Christians see this as a fulfillment of Psalm 69:22b "... and for my thirst they gave me vinegar."

The Lord gives a loud cry in St. Mark's Gospel differs from the later accounts of Luke 23:46 ("Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'”) and the more theological account from John 19:30 (“It is finished.").  "Patristic writers often regard the cry as a manifestation of the freedom with which Jesus handed over his life to the Father."[13]

With the death of the Lord, the symbol is provided for the reality of his triumph.  "The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom." The curtain being referenced stood between the faithful and the Holy of Holies.  It is torn essentially in half, opening the passage between the two spaces.  It can also be interpreted as the very temple of God in Jerusalem mourning the passing of the Savior (as one rending their garments in grief). The conclusion of this event provides the long awaited climax of St. Mark's Gospel as a Centurion, a gentile identifies Jesus as the Son of God.

There were also present a number of men and women from his entourage.  These women would have been figures seen throughout Jesus travels as being both patrons of his ministry and recipients of his kindness.  One of the male members, Joseph of Arimathea, received permission to buy the body of Jesus.  While the timing is somewhat confused, the corpse (Mark uses this stark word) is placed in the tomb and covered with a burial cloth (not completely prepared for burial - that task was to be carried out later with startling results.

CCC: Mk 14:12-25 1339; Mk 14:18-20 474; Mk 14:22 1328; Mk 14:25 1335, 1403; Mk 14:26-30 474; Mk 14:33-34 1009; Mk 14:36 473, 2701; Mk 14:38 2849; Mk 14:57-58 585; Mk 14:61 443; Mk 15:11 597; Mk 15:34 603, 2605; Mk 15:37 2605; Mk 15:39 444
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OR
Shorter Form:
Mark 15:1-39

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull—
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
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Commentary on Mk 15:1-39

The shorter form of the Passion Narrative omits the events leading up the Jesus’ arrest and trial and picks up after St. Peter’s denial. It sharpens the focus on the Lord’s crucifixion and death. Again, the interested reader is encouraged to consult a formal commentary and the footnotes to get the overall symbolism and deeper issues surrounding the text.

CCC: Mk 15:11 597; Mk 15:34 603, 2605; Mk 15:37 2605; Mk 15:39 444
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Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

#168B Solemnities B Context (Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ [Corpus Christi] B)

#789 Ritual Mass Context (IV. For the Conferral of Ministries, 2. Institution of Acolytes, 1)*

#826 Ritual Mass Context (IX. For the Blessing or Dedication of a Church, 3. Blessing of a Chalice and Paten, Second Option)

#981 Votive Mass Context (For the Most Holy Eucharist, 1.)

#994 Votive Mass Context (The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1.)

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus' disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
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Commentary on Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

This selection is part of the Passion narrative from St. Mark’s Gospel. The disciples prepare to celebrate the Passover and follow Jesus’ instructions It is likely that the “man carrying a water jar” was a prearranged signal for only women carried water jars, however, the Greek version says it is a person, not necessarily a man.

This passage skips over a section of narrative and describes the institution of the Eucharistic meal. “The actions and words of Jesus express within the framework of the Passover meal and the transition to a new covenant the sacrifice of himself through the offering of his body and blood in anticipation of his passion and death. His blood of the covenant both alludes to the ancient rite of Exodus 24:4-8 and indicates the new community that the sacrifice of Jesus will bring into being (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).”[12] The Passover meal concludes with a hymn of praise (Psalms 114-118).

CCC: Mk 14:12-25 1339; Mk 14:18-20 474; Mk 14:22 1328; Mk 14:25 1335, 1403; Mk 14:26-30 474
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Mark 14:32-41

#975 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, 3.)

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
  and Jesus said to his disciples,
  "Sit here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
  and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch."
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
  that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
  he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
  but not what I will but what you will."
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
   for they could not keep their eyes open
  and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
   "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 14:32-41

Following the Last supper, Jesus takes his disciples to a garden, probably one familiar to them.  Gethsemane (literally “oil press”) is a small garden outside the eastern wall of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. He has 8 of his disciples sit down to wait but invites the three who had witnessed the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and the transfiguration of their Master (Mark 9:2) to be with him while he prays in this ominous hour.

His address, beginning with the word "abba" (or dad/daddy in colloquial English) conveys the familial relationship between the Father and the Son more intensely than almost anywhere else in scripture.  The prayer itself has a plea to the Father, recognizing that all things are possible for him.  This plea is coupled immediately with abject subjugation of the Lord's will to the Father as he humbly paraphrases the prayer he gave his disciples "thy will be done."

We see, in St. Mark's Gospel the symbolism of the disciples inability to comprehend the events unfolding.  Three times (using Hebrew numerology - the absolute) he finds his three friends unable to stay awake (to understand).  The symbolism is that they are completely uncomprehending of what is happening.  "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" the spirit is drawn to what is good yet found in conflict with the flesh, inclined to sin; cf. Psalm 51:5, 10. Everyone is faced with this struggle, the full force of which Jesus accepted on our behalf and, through his bitter passion and death, achieved the victory."[15] Finally he tells them that the hour has come and his arrest is immanent.

CCC: Mk 14:33-34 1009; Mk 14:36 473, 2701; Mk 14:38 2849
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 14:55-65

#975 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, 4)

The chief priests and the entire Sanlicdrin
  kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
  in order to put him to death,
  but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
  but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
  alleging, "We heard him say,
  'I will destroy this temple made with hands
  and within three days I will build another
   not made with hands.'"
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
   saying, "Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?"
 But he was silent and answered nothing.
 Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
   "Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?"
 Then Jesus answered, "I am;
     and 'you will see the Son of Man
       seated at the right hand of the Power
       and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"
 At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
   "What further need have we of witnesses?
 You have heard the blasphemy.
 What do you think?"
 They all condemned him as deserving to die.
 Some began to spit on him.
 They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!"
 And the guards greeted him with blows.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mark 14:55-65

The trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin is presented by St. Mark. In all accounts Jesus is falsely accused (see also Matthew 26:60–61 and John 2:19) and the difficulty of finding witnesses to testify is stressed.  The testimony regarding the destruction of the temple is a likely misunderstood reference to Jesus eschatological prediction of his own death and resurrection (see Matthew 23:37).  The author’s account of a key point in the trial differs for other accounts in that Jesus, in this account, proclaims his identity as the Messiah to the Sanhedrin. This has the immediate effect of ending further discussion about his guilt and results in his condemnation.  The trial with the Sanhedrin ends with the beginnings of the passion as Jesus is mocked and spit upon.

CCC: Mk 14:57-58 585; Mk 14:61 443
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 15:1-15

#975 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, 5.)

As soon as morning came,
  the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
  that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
  "Are you the King of tlie Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
  "Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
  one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
  along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
  to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
   "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
   that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
   to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
   "Then what do you want me to do
   with the man you call the King of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
 Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
 They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
   released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
   handed him over to be crucified.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 15:1-15

Those present at Jesus trial the night of his arrest, already aware that Jesus is condemned to death, must convene the whole governing body of the Temple (“…chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin”).  They lack the authority to execute Jesus so they must take their case to Pilate, the Roman Governor to accomplish the sentence they have passed.

St. Mark portrays Pilate as being amazed at Jesus’ responses to his questioning and because of what follows, we must assume Pilate to be reluctant to pass judgment against him (see also Luke 23:14 and Matthew 27:18).  Seeking a means to avoid outright condemnation Pilate uses a local tradition of releasing one prisoner.  Because the Hebrew leadership has support among those in the crowd present, a convicted felon, Barabbas is released instead and Jesus fate is sealed.  Jesus is scourged and handed over to the guards to be crucified.

CCC: Mk 15:11 597
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark 15:16-20

#975 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, 6.)

#981 Votive Mass Context (The Most Holy Eucharist, 2.)

#994 Votive Mass Context (The Most Precious Blood of Jesus, 2.)

The soldiers led Jesus away inside the palace,
  that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
  weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
  and kept striking his licad with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
  they stripped him of the purple cloak,
   dressed him in his own clothes,
   and led him out to crucify him.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 15:16-20 

St. Mark describes the mocking of Jesus by the guards of the Praetorium (Fortress of Antonia).  Pilate, after having him scourged, has given in to the apparent will of the crowd and placed Jesus in the custody of the paid guards guard. The soldiers jeer at Jesus as a "pretend king," placing upon him the purple cloak and the crown of thorns.  This image of suffering and pain has become a symbol of all human pain and humiliation under the title "Ecce Homo." "But, as St. Jerome teaches, 'his ignominy has blotted out ours, his bonds have set us free, his crown of thorns has won for us the crown of the kingdom, his wounds have cured us.' (comm. in Marcum, in loc.)"[14]

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Mark 15:33-46

#1026 Mass for the Dead Context (Funerals for Children Who Have Died Before Baptism, 2.)

At noon darkness came over the whole land
  until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
  "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
  which is translated,
  "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
  "Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed,
  and gave it to him to drink, saying,
  "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."

Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
  saw how he breathed his last he said,
  "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
  Mary the mother of the younger James, and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
  and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
  who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
  since it was the day of preparation,
  the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
  a distinguished member of the council,
  who was himself awaiting the Kingdom of God,
  came and courageously went to Pilate
  and asked for the Body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
  and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
  he gave the Body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
  wrapped him in the linen cloth,
  and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 15:33-46

In this passage we are given St. Mark's narrative about the final moments of Jesus' earthly life as he hung upon the cross and the interment of Lord in the tomb.  St. Mark's narrative begins with darkness blanketing the whole land, probably a reference specifically to Judea as the Messiah is sacrificed.  This could also be a veiled recollection of the darkness called down by Moses (see Exodus 10:22).

Jesus cries out  "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated by Mark immediately.  It is also found in Psalm 22:2.  There the phrase is spoken as the suffering of the upright individual who turns to God at a time of extreme need.  Here, in the voice of Christ, we hear the despair not of failing in his mission but rather more a plea for God not to abandon those he loves.  The fact that a bystander misunderstands the cry as one invoking Elijah is likely representative of a confusion of language between the Greek and Hebrew.  Elijah was of course expected by the Hebrews to return at the time the Messiah was to appear (see Malachi 3:1ff). Hearing him cry out one of the bystanders wet a sponge with wine to see if the mistaken request would be answered.  Christians see this as a fulfillment of Psalm 69:22b "... and for my thirst they gave me vinegar."

The Lord gives a loud cry in St. Mark's Gospel differs from the later accounts of Luke 23:46 ("Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'”) and the more theological account from John 19:30 (“It is finished.").  "Patristic writers often regard the cry as a manifestation of the freedom with which Jesus handed over his life to the Father."[13]

With the death of the Lord, the symbol is provided for the reality of his triumph.  "The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom." The curtain being referenced stood between the faithful and the Holy of Holies.  It is torn essentially in half, opening the passage between the two spaces.  It can also be interpreted as the very temple of God in Jerusalem mourning the passing of the Savior (as one rending their garments in grief). The conclusion of this event provides the long awaited climax of St. Mark's Gospel as a Centurion, a gentile identifies Jesus as the Son of God.

There were also present a number of men and women from his entourage.  These women would have been figures seen throughout Jesus travels as being both patrons of his ministry and recipients of his kindness.  One of the male members, Joseph of Arimathea, received permission to buy the body of Jesus.  While the timing is somewhat confused, the corpse (Mark uses this stark word) is placed in the tomb and covered with a burial cloth (not completely prepared for burial - that task was to be carried out later with startling results.

CCC: Mk 15:34 603, 2605; Mk 15:37 2605; Mk 15:39 444
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Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6*

#975 Votive Mass Context (The Mystery of the Holy Cross, 7.)

#1016 Mass for the dead Context (5.) [Shorter form is offered]

At noon darkness came over the whole land
  until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
  which is translated,
  "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
   "Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed,
  and gave it to him to drink, saying,
   "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
   saw how he breathed his last he said,
   "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

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."
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 15:33-39; 16:1-6

In this passage we are given St. Mark's narrative about the final moments of Jesus' earthly life as he hung upon the cross and the interment of Lord in the tomb.  St. Mark's narrative begins with darkness blanketing the whole land, probably a reference specifically to Judea as the Messiah is sacrificed.  This could also be a veiled recollection of the darkness called down by Moses (see Exodus 10:22).

Jesus cries out  "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated by Mark immediately.  It is also found in Psalm 22:2.  There the phrase is spoken as the suffering of the upright individual who turns to God at a time of extreme need.  Here, in the voice of Christ, we hear the despair not of failing in his mission but rather more a plea for God not to abandon those he loves.  The fact that a bystander misunderstands the cry as one invoking Elijah is likely representative of a confusion of language between the Greek and Hebrew.  Elijah was of course expected by the Hebrews to return at the time the Messiah was to appear (see Malachi 3:1ff). Hearing him cry out one of the bystanders wet a sponge with wine to see if the mistaken request would be answered.  Christians see this as a fulfillment of Psalm 69:22b "... and for my thirst they gave me vinegar."

The Lord gives a loud cry in St. Mark's Gospel differs from the later accounts of Luke 23:46 ("Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'”) and the more theological account from John 19:30 (“It is finished.").  "Patristic writers often regard the cry as a manifestation of the freedom with which Jesus handed over his life to the Father."[13]

With the death of the Lord, the symbol is provided for the reality of his triumph.  "The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom." The curtain being referenced stood between the faithful and the Holy of Holies.  It is torn essentially in half, opening the passage between the two spaces.  It can also be interpreted as the very temple of God in Jerusalem mourning the passing of the Savior (as one rending their garments in grief). The conclusion of this event provides the long awaited climax of St. Mark's Gospel as a Centurion, a gentile identifies Jesus as the Son of God.

In Mark 16:1-6 the author speaks of the empty tomb.  It is noteworthy to point out that none of the Gospel authors describe the resurrection event itself, that would be impossible, but rather the mystery of the empty tomb and the apparitions therein (see also Matthew 28:1-6; Luke 24:1-8; and John 20:1-8).  The revelation by the angel that Jesus was no longer in the tomb but had been raised is the final proof that God's promise to all the faithful is a reality.  The Lord has defeated death.  He was the holocaust, the sin offering from God himself; offered so that the whole human race might have their sins forgiven.

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OR Short Form
Mark 15:33-39 

At noon darkness came over the whole land
  until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
  which is translated,
  "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
  "Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed,
  and gave it to him to drink, saying,
  "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
  saw how he breathed his last he said,
  "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Commentary on Mk 15:33-39

This shorter from of St. Mark's narrative about the final moments of Jesus' earthly life focus on the Lord's final moments on the cross.  St. Mark's narrative begins with darkness blanketing the whole land, probably a reference specifically to Judea as the Messiah is sacrificed.  The passion displays clearly Christ's absolute humanity as he suffers. In this passage too, he quotes Psalm 22:2 lamenting not his own situation which he has totally accepted but the fact that a light has been taken from the world by those he came to save.

It is the great irony of St. Mark's account that a gentile is the one who utters the words that finally declare that the promise of God, to send his people salvation in the form of the Messiah, has been kept.  He speaks the climactic truth "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

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Mark 16:1-7

#41B Solemnities B Context (Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter B)

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.'"
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Commentary on Mk 16:1-7

This reading from St. Mark’s Gospel is called the shorter ending. “The purpose of this narrative is to show that the tomb is empty and that Jesus has been raised and is going before you to Galilee in fulfillment of Mark 14:28. 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.”

CCC: Mk 16:1 641, 2174; Mk 16:2 2174; Mk 16:5-7 333; Mk 16:7 652
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Mark 16:9-15

#266 Weekday Years I & II Context (Saturday in the Octave of Easter)

When Jesus 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.

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."
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Commentary on Mk 16:9-15

This Gospel selection is called “The Longer Ending” or “The Canonical Ending” of St. Mark’s Gospel. It captures pieces of the story we have from the narratives of the resurrection found in the Gospels of St. Luke (Luke 24:10ff) and St. John (John 20:11ff). The emotion expressed is one of fear and determination, rather than joy and confidence found in later writings. This earliest of the Gospel accounts provides a very human account of Jesus’ friends immediately following his death and before their recognition of his risen victory.

CCC: Mk 16:11 643; Mk 16:12 645, 659; Mk 16:13 643; Mk 16:14 643; Mk 16:15-16 977, 1223; Mk 16:15 888
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Mark 16:15-20

#58B Solemnities Context (Ascension of the Lord B)

#525 Proper of Saints Context (St. Blasé, Feb 3)

#555 Proper of Saints Context (St. Mark, Apr 25 F)

#685 Proper of Saints Context (St. Francis Xavier, Dec 3)

#724 Commons Context (Common of Pastors)

#795 Ritual Mass Context (V. Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, 1. Anointing of the Sick, 10.)

#851 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 6. Ministers of the Church, Second Option)

#876 Mass for Various Needs Context (I. For the Holy Church, 11, For the Evangelization of Peoples, 2.)

#937 Mass for Various Needs Context (III. Various Public Circumstances, 24, For the Sick, Second Option)

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and 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 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.
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Commentary on Mk 16:15-20

The verse just prior to this passage, which is the ending of St. Mark’s Gospel, indicates that the disciples are still not sure what has happened (typical of the image we have of the disciples in St. Mark's Gospel). Jesus comes to them at table, rebuking them for their unbelief. That sets the stage for this commissioning address by the Lord. Once again the Disciples, now Apostles, are sent into the world with God’s blessing. This action is important because it supports the universal mission of the Twelve. In response to the Lord's instructions the Apostles went into the world, accompanied by the Holy Spirit ("while the Lord worked with them"). They demonstrated the truth that is Christ risen.

CCC: Mk 16:15-16 977, 1223; Mk 16:15 888; Mk 16:16 161, 183, 1253, 1256, 1257; Mk 16:17-18 670, 1507; Mk 16:17 434, 1673; Mk 16:18 699; Mk 16:19 659, 659; Mk 16:20 2, 156, 670
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Mark 16:15-16, 19-20

#755 Ritual Mass Context (I. Conferral of Christian Initiation, Christian Initiation Apart From the Easter Vigil, 5.)

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and 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."

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.
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Commentary on Mk 16:15-16, 19-20

In this passage we are given St. Mark’s version of Jesus’ final commissioning of the Apostles. This Gospel account is the final recorded meeting between Jesus and the Apostles. It is important because it supports the universal mission of the Twelve. In response to the Lord's instructions the Apostles went into the world, accompanied by the Holy Spirit ("while the Lord worked with them"). They demonstrated the truth that is Christ risen.

CCC: Mk 16:15-16 977, 1223; Mk 16:15 888; Mk 16:16 161, 183, 1253, 1256, 1257; Mk 16:19 659, 659; Mk 16:20 2, 156, 670
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Mark 16:15-18

#519 Proper of Saints Context (Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Jan 25)

Jesus appeared to the Eleven and 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.”
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Commentary on Mk 16:15-18

In this passage we are given St. Mark’s version of Jesus’ final commissioning of the Apostles. This Gospel account is the final recorded meeting between Jesus and the Apostles. It is important because it supports the universal mission of the Twelve, and also the mission Paul is given at his time of conversion: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

CCC: Mk 16:15-16 977, 1223; Mk 16:15 888; Mk 16:16 161, 183, 1253, 1256, 1257; Mk 16:17-18 670, 1507; Mk 16:17 434, 1673; Mk 16:18 699
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*Index incorrectly specifies Matthew 14:12ff instead of Mark

[1] See NAB footnote on Mark 1:21-45
[2] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 230
[3] See NAB footnote for Mark 2:18-22
[4] From the reference note on Mark 6; 3 in the NAB
[5] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp.74
[6] See NAB footnote on Mark 8:11-12
[7] See NAB footnote on Mark 8:22-26
[8] See NAB footnote on Luke 21:1ff
[9] See NAB footnote on Mark 1:10-11
[10] See NAB footnote on Mark 8:34ff
[11] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp.285
[12] See NAB Footnote on Mark 14: 22-24
[13] Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, Inc., © 1968, 42:93, pp.58
[14] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp.313
[15] see NAB Footnote for Mark 14:38
[16] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 76
[17] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 94
[18] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 308
[19] See NAB footnote on Mark 1:12-13
[20] Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, © 2010, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA. pp. 79-80

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