Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ST. MARK - Chapter 16

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Mark xvi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Saturday evening, after the sun was set, for the sabbath began and ended with the setting sun.

Ver. 2. St. Mark says very early, the sun being now risen, whereas St. John tells us that it was yet dark. But when St. Mark says the sun was risen, he means that it began, by its approach to the horizon, to enlighten the heavens, at which time there is still darkness remaining, (according to St. John) which decreases as light approaches the earth. (St. Augustine)

Ver. 5. St. Matthew says the angel was sitting on the stone, whilst St. Mark says that they saw him sitting on the right side of the sepulchre. This must not surprise us; for the angel which first appeared sitting upon the stone, might have been afterwards seen by him sitting on the right side of the sepulchre. (Theophylactus) --- Perhaps the angel mentioned by St. Matthew is different from the one mentioned by St. Mark. Or it may be understood, that the women entering the monument, which may mean the enclosure of it, saw the angel sitting on the stone, which was placed on the right side of the sepulchre. (St. Augustine)

Ver. 9. This appearance of our Saviour is more fully related by St. John. Our Lord arose early from the monument in which he had been placed late in the evening, thus fulfilling the words of the psalmist: In the evening weeping shall have place, and in the morning gladness. (Psalm xxix.) (Ven. Bede) --- Rising early. It appears from this that our Saviour arose early, about sunrise, as was the sentiment of St. Augustine; though St. Gregory seems to think that he arose at midnight, in the same manner as Samson, who was a figure of Christ, arose in the middle of the night and carried away the gates of Gaza. If we follow this opinion, we must understand the word early as referring to the verb appeared, not to the participle rising, and then the sentence will be: he rising, (having arisen) appeared early the first day of the week. The first interpretation, however, of St. Augustine seems more agreeable to the text: he rising early the first day of the week, appeared, &c.

Ver. 12. He had appeared to Magdalene in the form of a gardener, and to two disciples in the form of a traveller.

Ver. 14. At length, &c. in the Latin text, taken according to the letter, is lastly, or last of all: but if we examine and compare the four gospels, this was not the last time that Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. We can only then understand it of the last time mentioned by this evangelist. --- To the eleven. If this apparition (as it was the opinion of St. Augustine) was made when St. Thomas was not with them, they were only then ten, without St. Thomas and Judas. The evangelist here calls them eleven, because the apostolical college (Judas being dead) consisted of no more than eleven. And this way of speaking may be justified by diverse examples: one instance may suffice. A meeting of the Jewish sanhedrim might be called the Council of the Seventy-two, though it many times happened that all the seventy-two were not there present. (Witham) --- Some think that this was the last apparition of Jesus Christ, after which he quitted the earth, and ascended into heaven. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 16. Let those weep and lament who have not yet seen him, and in a short time they shall receive consolation. Blessed are they that weep, for they shall be comforted, St. Matthew v. (St. Jerome) --- Perhaps some one will say within himself, I have already believed, I shall be saved: he says true, if his faith be supported by good works; for that only is true faith, which does not contradict in works what is believed in words. (St. Gregory)

Ver. 19. By these words it is not to be understood that Jesus is to be confined to that particular posture of body, or that the Father has any hands, or any human shape; for God is a pure, incorporeal, and all-perfect Spirit. The image of God, as he is in himself, comes not within the reach of our mortal senses. When the Scripture, therefore, speaks of God, it uses such imagery of language as is adapted to our senses, that it may thereby convey to us some imperfect knowledge of those sublime mysteries, which are ineffable in themselves, and incomprehensible to our understanding. Thus we are informed that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, to signify that, as man, our Lord is raised to the height of glory, and to that supreme beatitude, than which there is nothing higher, and nothing greater in the whole bliss of heaven; and that he moreover holds the same sovereign dominion with the Father over all creatures; because, as God, he is equal to the Father in power, in wisdom, and in all perfection. See Pouget, p. 256. ed. in fol. --- On the right hand of God. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, was not man only, but truly God, the same God with his eternal Father: and hereby is signified that the person, who took upon him human nature, and became man, is equal in dignity with the Father: he, who, as man, ascended into heaven. [2] When St. Jerome says that most Greek copies wanted this chapter, he speaks not of chapters according to our present division, but only of the last 12 verses, which formerly made what was called a little chapter: yet these twelve verses must have been omitted in those manuscripts by some negligent transcribers. Now they are found in all, both Latin and Greek copies. They are found in the Canons of Eusebius on the Gospels; in St. Jerome in several places; in St. Ambrose, lib. iii, in Luc. tom. iii, p. 292. Ed. Paris, an. 1582; in St. Augustine, lib. iii, de consensu Evang. chap. xxv, tom. 3, part 2, p. 142, &c. (Witham) --- St. Gregory of Nyssa, (orat. 2. de Resurr.) says, that the best copies of St. Mark's gospel finished with the 8th verse, a trembling and fear had seized them: En tois akribesterois to Kata Markon Euaggelion mekri tou ephobounto gar, echei to telos. It is the very generally received sentiment of the learned, that the last 12 verses were given by St. Mark; and the most probable reason yet offered for the omission of them in various copies is, that the transcribers followed a mutilated copy, where the last page was wanting. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 20. Let us here take notice, that, as the apostles confirmed their words by the signs that followed, so also in us must our words be confirmed by works. "Grant, O Jesus! that the discourse we deliver, concerning virtue, may be confirmed by works and actions; that thus, by thy co-operation, we may become perfect in word and work; for to Thee is due the glory of our discourses and actions." (Theophylactus)


[1] Ver. 14. Novissimè, usteron, posterius.

[2] Ver. 19. St. Hieron.[St. Jerome,] Ep. ad Hebidiam, q. 3, tom. 4, part 1, p. 172: omnibus Græcis Libris penè hoc capitulum non habentibus.


Bible Text & Cross-references:

Christ's resurrection and ascension.

1 And *when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus.

2 And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen.

3 And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

4 And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great.

5 *And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished.

6 He saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus, of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

7 But go tell his disciples, and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, *as he told you.

8 But they going out, fled from the sepulchre: for a trembling and fear had seized them: and they said nothing to any man: for they were afraid.

9 But he rising early *the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

10 She went, and told them that had been with him, who were mourning and weeping.

11 And they hearing that he was alive, and had been seen by her, did not believe.

12 *And after that he appeared in another form to two of them walking, as they were going into the country.

13 And they going, told it to the rest: neither did they believe them.

14 At length he appeared to the eleven, as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart; because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.

15 And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be condemned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe: *In my name they shall cast out devils: **they shall speak with new tongues:

18 *They shall take up serpents: and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: **they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.

19 And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, *was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.

20 But they going forth, preached every where: the Lord co-operating with them, and confirming the word, with signs, that followed.



1: Matthew xxviii. 1.; Luke xxiv. 1.; John xx. 1.

5: Matthew xxviii. 5.; Luke xxiv. 4.; John xx. 12.

7: Mark xiv. 28.

9: John xx. 16.

12: Luke xxiv. 13.

17: Acts xvi. 18. --- **Acts ii. 4. and x. 46.

18: Acts xxviii. 5. --- **Acts xxviii. 8.

19: Luke xxiv. 51.