December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- He departed from there and came to his native place, 1 accompanied by his disciples.
- 2 When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
- Is he not the carpenter, 3 the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
- 4 Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house."
- So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, 5 apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
- He was amazed at their lack of faith. He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching.
- He summoned the Twelve 6 and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
- 7 He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick--no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
- They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
- 8 He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
- Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them."
- So they went off and preached repentance.
- 9 They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
- 10 King Herod 11 heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him."
- Others were saying, "He is Elijah"; still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
- But when Herod learned of it, he said, "It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."
- 12 Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
- John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
- Herodias 13 harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
- Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
- She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
- Herodias's own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
- He even swore (many things) to her, "I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom."
- She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
- The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request, "I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
- The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
- So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
- He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
- When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
- The apostles 14 gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
- 15 He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.
- So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
- People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
- When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
- 16 By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
- Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
- He said to them in reply, "Give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?"
- He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out they said, "Five loaves and two fish."
- So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
- 17 The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
- Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to (his) disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. 18
- They all ate and were satisfied.
- And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.
- Those who ate (of the loaves) were five thousand men.
- 19 Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, 20 while he dismissed the crowd.
- 21 And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray.
- When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore.
- Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. 22 He meant to pass by them.
- But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
- 23 They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, "Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!"
- He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were (completely) astounded.
- They had not understood the incident of the loaves. 24 On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
- After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.
- As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
- They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.
- Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.
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1  His native place: the Greek word patris here refers to Nazareth (cf Mark 1:9; Luke 4:16, 23-24) though it can also mean native land.
2 [2-6] See the note on Matthew 13:54-58.
3  Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have "the carpenter's son," as in Matthew 13:55. Son of Mary: contrary to Jewish custom, which calls a man the son of his father, this expression may reflect Mark's own faith that God is the Father of Jesus (Mark 1:1, 11; 8:38; 13:32; 14:36). The brother of James . . . Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms "brother," "sister" are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf Genesis 14:16; 29:15; Lev 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ah by the Greek word adelphos, "brother," as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v 17, "brother" is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also Mark 3:31-32; Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; Luke 8:19; John 7:3, 5. The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary's perpetual virginity.
4  A prophet is not without honor except . . . in his own house: a saying that finds parallels in other literatures, especially Jewish and Greek, but without reference to a prophet. Comparing himself to previous Hebrew prophets whom the people rejected, Jesus intimates his own eventual rejection by the nation especially in view of the dishonor his own relatives had shown him (Mark 3:21) and now his townspeople as well.
5  He was not able to perform any mighty deed there: according to Mark, Jesus' power could not take effect because of a person's lack of faith.
6 [7-13] The preparation for the mission of the Twelve is seen in the call (1) of the first disciples to be fishers of men (Mark 1:16-20), (2) then of the Twelve set apart to be with Jesus and to receive authority to preach and expel demons (Mark 3:13-19). Now they are given the specific mission to exercise that authority in word and power as representatives of Jesus during the time of their formation.
7 [8-9] In Mark the use of a walking stick (Mark 6:8) and sandals (Mark 6:9) is permitted, but not in Matthew 10:10 nor in Luke 10:4. Mark does not mention any prohibition to visit pagan territory and to enter Samaritan towns. These differences indicate a certain adaptation to conditions in and outside of Palestine and suggest in Mark's account a later activity in the church. For the rest, Jesus required of his apostles a total dependence on God for food and shelter; cf Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-9.
8 [10-11] Remaining in the same house as a guest (Mark 6:10) rather than moving to another offering greater comfort avoided any impression of seeking advantage for oneself and prevented dishonor to one's host. Shaking the dust off one's feet served as testimony against those who rejected the call to repentance.
9  Anointed with oil . . . cured them: a common medicinal remedy, but seen here as a vehicle of divine power for healing.
10 [14-16] The various opinions about Jesus anticipate the theme of his identity that reaches its climax in Mark 8:27-30.
11  King Herod: see the note on Matthew 14:1.
12 [17-29] Similarities are to be noted between Mark's account of the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist in this pericope, and that of the passion of Jesus (Mark 15:1-47). Herod and Pilate, each in turn, acknowledges the holiness of life of one over whom he unjustly exercises the power of condemnation and death (Mark 6:26-27; 15:9-10, 14-15). The hatred of Herodias toward John parallels that of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus. After the deaths of John and of Jesus, well-disposed persons request the bodies of the victims of Herod and of Pilate in turn to give them respectful burial (Mark 6:29; 15:45-46).
13  Herodias: see the note on Matthew 14:3.
14  Apostles: here, and in some manuscripts at Mark 3:14, Mark calls apostles (i.e., those sent forth) the Twelve whom Jesus sends as his emissaries, empowering them to preach, to expel demons, and to cure the sick (Mark 6:13). Only after Pentecost is the title used in the technical sense.
15 [31-34] The withdrawal of Jesus with his disciples to a desert place to rest attracts a great number of people to follow them. Toward this people of the new exodus Jesus is moved with pity; he satisfies their spiritual hunger by teaching them many things, thus gradually showing himself the faithful shepherd of a new Israel; cf Numbers 27:17; Ezekiel 34:15.
16  See the note on Matthew 14:13-21. Compare this section with Mark 8:1-9. The various accounts of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, two each in Mark and in Matthew and one each in Luke and in John, indicate the wide interest of the early church in their eucharistic gatherings; see, e.g., Mark 6:41; 8:6; 14:22; and recall also the sign of bread in Exodus 16; Deut 8:3-16; Psalm 78:24-25; 105:40; Wisdom 16:20-21.
17  The people . . . in rows by hundreds and by fifties: reminiscent of the groupings of Israelites encamped in the desert (Exodus 18:21-25) and of the wilderness tradition of the prophets depicting the transformation of the wasteland into pastures where the true shepherd feeds his flock (Ezekiel 34:25-26) and makes his people beneficiaries of messianic grace.
18  On the language of this verse as eucharistic (cf Mark 14:22), see the notes on Matthew 14:19, 20. Jesus observed the Jewish table ritual of blessing God before partaking of food.
19 [45-52] See the note on Matthew 14:22-33.
20  To the other side toward Bethsaida: a village at the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
21  He went off to the mountain to pray: see Mark 1:35-38. In John 6:15 Jesus withdrew to evade any involvement in the false messianic hopes of the multitude.
22  Walking on the sea: see the notes on Matthew 14:22-33 and on John 6:19.
23  It is I, do not be afraid!: literally, "I am." This may reflect the divine revelatory formula of Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 41:4, 10, 14; 43:1-3, 10, 13. Mark implies the hidden identity of Jesus as Son of God.
24  They had not understood . . . the loaves: the revelatory character of this sign and that of the walking on the sea completely escaped the disciples. Their hearts were hardened: in Mark 3:5-6 hardness of heart was attributed to those who did not accept Jesus and plotted his death. Here the same disposition prevents the disciples from comprehending Jesus' self-revelation through signs; cf Mark 8:17.
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