The lion of St Mark



The gospel as we have it ends at 16,8, as we have seen. The women we are told run away from the tomb "for they were afraid". Needless to say, the strange ending has caused much controversy with speculation about lost pages. What we have though is the open-ended ending that we have now read as part of chapter 15 and which brings to a close our reading of the Gospel.

The strange ending has also led to later additional endings, attempting to give the Gospel a more satisfactory conclusion. Most Bibles will include a shorter ending with no verse number.

There is also a longer ending, 16,9-20, which is quite artificial. It is possible to go through these verses and see how they have been put together drawing on the other Gospels.
However, this longer ending has had a surprising influence on the Church which accepts it as canonical. It was I think the only reading from Mark's Gospel to appear in the Tridentine Mass.

Yet our aim of reading the Gospel has ended with the women running away in 16,8. That is the Gospel story as we have it. Strange, enigmatic, confusing maybe, but that is the life of faith, following Jesus on the way (10,52).