The lion of St Mark


Scribes and Widows: Mk 12,35-13,2

As we saw in the overview, Jesus takes the initiative from 12,35. We now bring Jesus' time in the Temple to its conclusion with the final three episodes there (12,35-37; 12,38-40 and 12,41-44) followed by Jesus leaving the Temple (13,1-2).

The Son of David: 12,35-37

What is Jesus doing in verse 35? See for example 10,1. What is not stated here? (see verse 37).

Read Psalm 110. Where is the paradox in verse 37? See: Ps 2,7; 2 Sam 7,14; Ps 89,21-38

What is the reaction? See 1,27.

Now look at my response.

The Scribes: 12,38-40

For Jesus' standards on which his teaching his teaching is based, see 10,42-44. Look also at Ezekiel 34.

With that background he can issue a warning about the scribes, the official teachers of Judaism. "Beware" has been said by Jesus earlier, see 8,15.

What four criticisms does Jesus make of the scribes?

For the importance of caring for widows in verse 40, see Dt 24,17-21.
For failure to care for them, see Is 10,1-2; Jer 7,6; Ezk 22,7 or Sir 35,15-22. Look too at Lk 18,1-8.

For the lengthy prayers in verse 40, we can note Mt 6,5-8.

The Widow: 12,41-44

At this point, Jesus observes a real widow. The contrast observed by Jesus in verses 41 and 42 is clear.

What does Jesus do in verse 43? How does he begin speaking and what does he say about the widow? See her in light of 5,34 or 10,52. What is his conclusion in verse 44?
Consider the significance of Jesus' statement at this particular point in the Gospel given its formality. How is a summary of all that has gone before? What happens folloqing chapter 13? See 10,43-45.

Leaving the Temple: 13,1-2

Note how 13,1 provides continutiy with the previous chapter. As we have noted, this concludes Jesus' time in the Temple, see 11,11.27. Some commentators see a reference to Ezekiel, Ezk 10,18-19. See as well Mal 3,1.
Note how the disciple addresses Jesus. See 12,14.19.32

Of the magnificance and splendour of the Temple in Jesus' time there can be no doubt. The disciple's comment is quite natural.

This neatly provides the lead into Jesus final comment about the Temple: it will be destroyed. It will suffer the same fate for the same reason as the previous Temple. See Jer 7,1-20 or Amos 9,1.

Now look at my response.

The Sunday Reading

The Gospel for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time is the final part of chapter 12, 12,38-44. The discussion about the son of David in verses 35-37 is omitted between the 31st and 32nd Sundays because it is read in Matthew's version in cycle A.

Even though this Gospel is only seven verses long, a shorter Gospel is offered in the lectionary, verses 41-44, a mere four verses. Consider the effect of this. Note also the link word between the two halves of this Gospel.

A clue to the editors' thinking is certainly given by the choice of Old Testament reading for this Sunday, the story of Elijah and the widow in 1st Kings 17,10-16. It is as well to read the whole story in 1 Kings 17 and note the conclusion in verse 24.
Make a comparison between circumstances of the two widows.

Remember as well our reading of Jesus' teaching about the widow.

Take a look at my response.

We can now move on to read Jesus' discourse of chapter 13.