Saint Mark, 25th April 2022
There is always a temptation, in any form of writing or teaching, to conform the words to an already expected pattern of thought or belief rather than simply reporting what is seen – I’m probably doing it now. And it’s unfortunate that we
celebrate the feast of St Mark with just such a pattern of thinking imposed on the Gospel at its very end, perhaps with the purpose of tidying it up, to make it a more conventional ending reflecting trends in other gospels and, specifically, to excuse and find a way round the sudden ending of verse eight where the women are left frightened and confused and reduced to silence, or so it seems: a male corrective to a female failing.
But one commentary, at least, prefers to see the shorter ending, not as a sign of weakness on the part of the women, but a true expression of their awe in the presence of mystery, commentating on the word ekstasis used here in a positive sense to mean transfiguration – which is a central theme of the rest of the gospel and what we are all meant to experience if we are to be true witnesses to the Resurrection. And that is precisely what we are asked to be. Not, firstly, through a series of signs such as picking up snakes or being unharmed in drinking deadly poison ,but in the awe in which we too stand before God and one another realising in Christ all reality is mystery, that there is no-one and nothing which does not speak of God. Our task is to live in the light of this revelation, trusting always in the Good News of God’s love.