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Developing Faith

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

The Gospel for this Saturday of Easter Week presents us with the alternative ending to St. Mark's Gospel. The original ending was rather abrupt: Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8) Upon reading this verse, none of us would question that this ending could not be left as it was. Consequently, two alternative endings to the Gospel were added at a later date. That added text recounts the appearance stories that were written for the other Gospels, in particular the appearances that were recounted by Luke.

It would be easy to dismiss this ending as rather insignificant because it simply recounts what another Gospel has already said. However, its significance lies in the fact that the Christian community which produced this Gospel, like any human community, developed in faith. All too often we fail to consider the fact that the people of that time had to struggle with the news of the resurrection. Nothing like it had ever happened before; nothing like it has happened since. Faith is not something that is instantaneous. Because it is part of our human life and experience, it must develop. This means that we must nourish it with constant reading of the Scriptures and with the nourishment that is ours in the Eucharist.

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