The lion of St Mark


Chapter 6: Overview

As usual, we begin by reading through the chapter so as to sort out the various episodes. The key to this chapter is to spot the sandwich (like the one we read in chapter 5). What might be the message of this sandwich (see 13,9)?

From this, we can consider how the other parts of the chapter fit together.

How does the first incident in the chapter relate to the healings of chapter 5?

Then consider the editing of the second half of the chapter. Note how it is similar to Jn 6,1-21
Consider how the chapter ends (see 1,32-33) and note how another stage in the story opens in chapter 7 (7,1).

Now take a look at my response.

Reading the chapter

For this chapter it is easiest to take practical divisions as the basis of our reading, so that we will cover a reasonable number of verses for each page. This won't fit exactly the evangelist's editing of the chapter that we have discovered because it means we will be splitting up the sandwich. We will need to keep that in mind as we read.

Therefore for the first page, we can begin with the two short episodes which open the chapter. We will read first the incident at Nazareth, 6,1-6a which can be seen as closing the preceeding chapter. We can then continue by reading on the same page the mission of the Twelve, 6,6b-13, even though it opens a new section of the chapter. Our first page therefore will be 6,1-13 with its two parts.

That will then lead into our second page where we will read the middle of the sandwich, the story of Herod and the fate of John the Baptist, 6,14-29.

We will then read as our third page the return of the apostles in 6,30 and the feeding of the crowd (6,30-44) which follows.

Finally, although the episode of the walking on the water is traditionally linked with the feeding of the crowd, we will see that it is better to read it with the final summary as our fourth page for this chapter (6,45-56).

Let us now begin our reading with the scene at Nazareth and the mission of the apostles, 6,1-13.