December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 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."
- 2 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, 3 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. 4 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.
- 5 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, 6 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."
- 7 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 8 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, 9 they went out to the Mount of Olives.
- 10 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.
- 11 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, 12 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?
- 13 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.
- 14 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.
- 15 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?"
- 16 But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, "Are you the Messiah, 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.
- 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."
- 17 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.
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1 [1-16:8] In the movement of Mark's gospel the cross is depicted as Jesus' way to glory in accordance with the divine will. Thus the passion narrative is seen as the climax of Jesus' ministry. 14, 1: The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread: the connection between the two festivals is reflected in Exodus 12:3-20; 34:18; Lev 23:4-8; Numbers 9:2-14; 28:16-17; Deut 16:1-8. The Passover commemorated the redemption from slavery and the departure of the Israelites from Egypt by night. It began at sundown after the Passover lamb was sacrificed in the temple in the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan. With the Passover supper on the same evening was associated the eating of unleavened bread. The latter was continued through Nisan 21, a reminder of the affliction of the Israelites and of the haste surrounding their departure. Praise and thanks to God for his goodness in the past were combined at this dual festival with the hope of future salvation. The chief priests . . . to death: the intent to put Jesus to death was plotted for a long time but delayed for fear of the crowd (Mark 3:6; 11:18; 12:12).
2  At Bethany on the Mount of Olives, a few miles from Jerusalem, in the house of Simon the leper, Jesus defends a woman's loving action of anointing his head with perfumed oil in view of his impending death and burial as a criminal, in which case his body would not be anointed. See further the note on John 12:7. He assures the woman of the remembrance of her deed in the worldwide preaching of the good news.
3  The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread . . . the Passover lamb: a less precise designation of the day for sacrificing the Passover lamb as evidenced by some rabbinical literature. For a more exact designation, see the note on Mark 14:1. It was actually Nisan 14.
4  A man . . . carrying a jar of water: perhaps a prearranged signal, for only women ordinarily carried water in jars. The Greek word used here, however, implies simply a person and not necessarily a male.
5  One of you will betray me, one who is eating with me: contrasts the intimacy of table fellowship at the Passover meal with the treachery of the traitor; cf Psalm 41:10.
6  The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him: a reference to Psalm 41:10 cited by Jesus concerning Judas at the Last Supper; cf John 13:18-19.
7 [22-24] 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 Cor 11:23-25).
8  Which will be shed: see the note on Matthew 26:27-28. For many: the Greek preposition hyper is a different one from that at Matthew 26:28 but the same as that found at Luke 22:19, 20 and 1 Cor 11:24. The sense of both words is vicarious, and it is difficult in Hellenistic Greek to distinguish between them. For many in the sense of "all," see the note on Matthew 20:28.
9  After singing a hymn: Psalm 114-118, thanksgiving songs concluding the Passover meal.
10 [27-31] Jesus predicted that the Twelve would waver in their faith, even abandon him, despite their protestations to the contrary. Yet he reassured them that after his resurrection he would regather them in Galilee (Mark 16:7; cf Matthew 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16; John 21), where he first summoned them to be his followers as he began to preach the good news (Mark 1:14-20).
11 [32-34] The disciples who had witnessed the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and the transfiguration of their Master (Mark 9:2) were now invited to witness his degradation and agony and to watch and pray with him.
12  Abba, Father: an Aramaic term, here also translated by Mark, Jesus' special way of addressing God with filial intimacy. The word abba seems not to have been used in earlier or contemporaneous Jewish sources to address God without some qualifier. Cf Romans 8:15; Gal 4:6 for other occurrences of the Aramaic word in the Greek New Testament. Not what I will but what you will: note the complete obedient surrender of the human will of Jesus to the divine will of the Father; cf John 4:34; 8:29; Romans 5:19; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:8.
13  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.
14  They led Jesus away . . . came together: Mark presents a formal assembly of the whole Sanhedrin (chief priests, elders, and scribes) at night, leading to the condemnation of Jesus (Mark 14:64), in contrast to Luke 22:66, 71 where Jesus is condemned in a daytime meeting of the council; see also John 18:13, 19-24.
15 [57-58] See the notes on Matthew 26:60-61 and John 2:19.
16 [61-62] The Blessed One: a surrogate for the divine name, which Jews did not pronounce. I am: indicates Jesus' acknowledgment that he is the Messiah and Son of God; cf Mark 1:1. Contrast Matthew 26:64 and Luke 22:67-70, in which Jesus leaves his interrogators to answer their own question. You will see the Son of Man . . . with the clouds of heaven: an allusion to Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 portending the enthronement of Jesus as judge in the transcendent glory of God's kingdom. The Power: another surrogate for the name of God.
17  [Then the cock crowed]: found in most manuscripts, perhaps in view of Mark 14:30, 72 but omitted in others.
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