Tomorrow morning I will finish taking my class on Mark's Gospel. I have really enjoyed the chance to get to grips with Mark's story and have learned a lot along the way. One of the best things has been the opportunity to spend time with Joel Marcus' marvellous commentary. Here is his account of the meaning of Mark's (shorter) ending. I am not sure it can be bettered:
If a film were to be made of Mark's Gospel, the camera, at the end, would record the women running away from the door of the tomb in panic. It would then, however, remain fixed on that dark aperture for a long time before the fadeout. The women run away, disappear from the screen, and the sound of their rapid footfalls and terrified cries gradually fades away; but viewers are left confronting the awful mystery of the gaping tomb. Its open door confronts them, not with "evidence that demands a verdict", but with questions. What does it all mean? Why was all this suffering necessary? Does Jesus' empty tomb point toward a triumph over death, even while it acknowledges death's terrible reality? Does Jesus' absence from the sepulchre mean that he is present somewhere else, perhaps wherever his story is retold and heard with faith? Since Mark does not wrap up all the loose ends, we have no alternative but to return to the inception of his narrative, "the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ" (1:1), and to start to read it again as our story. Mark’s Gospel is just the beginning of the good news, because Jesus’ story has become ours, and we take it up where Mark leaves off.
Joel Marcus, Mark 8-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Anchor Yale Bible 27A; New Haven / London: Yale University Press, 2009), 1096.