Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ST. MARK - Chapter 3

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Mark iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. He entered again into the synagogue, viz., of Capharnaum. The man was there either, of course, on account of the sabbath, or to be cured by Jesus Christ.

Ver. 4. A difficulty here arises, how to reconcile St. Mark with St. Matthew. St. Mark puts the words into the mouth of Jesus Christ: Is it lawful? When St. Matthew says, that they interrogated him: Is it lawful? To cut the knot of this apparent difficulty, we must understand that they first put the question to our Lord, whether it was lawful to heal on the sabbath-day or not: and that Jesus understanding their secret thoughts, that they wished to have some grounds of accusation against him, placed the sick man in the midst of them, and said what St. Mark here relates of him: Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath-day, or to do evil? (St. Augustine)

Ver. 8. What is to be understood by Idumea, see Rutter's Evangelical Harmony, Vol. i. p. 286.

Ver. 11-12. The unclean spirits being obliged by the Divine Power, not only to come and worship, but also to declare his majesty, exclaimed: Thou art the Son of God. How astonishing then is the blindness of the Arians, who even after his resurrection denied him to be the Son of God, whom the devils confessed as such when clothed with human nature. But it is certain that not only the devils, but the infirm that were healed, and the apostles themselves were forbidden, as well as the unclean spirits, to proclaim his divinity; lest the passion and death of Christ might be on that account deferred. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 13. He spent here the whole night in prayer, not that he who had all things to bestow, stood in need of prayer, or had any thing to ask; but to teach us that we must undertake nothing without previously recommending the affair to heaven, in humble and fervent prayer.

Ver. 14. The number twelve is mystical, as appeareth by choosing Mathias to full up the place of Judas: they are the twelve foundations, under Christ, of the heavenly Jerusalem. (Apocalypse xxi.)

Ver. 15. He gave his apostles the power of curing maladies both of soul and body, and of expelling devils, that they might prove the truth of their doctrines by the authority of miracles. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 16. The evangelist here gives the names of the twelve. First, Simon, to whom he gave the name of Peter, in Greek, Petron, which signifies a rock; thus shewing that upon him his Church should be founded, as on a rock, never to be overturned. (Tirinus) --- Polus, in his Synopsis Criticorum on this verse says that some Greek copies have, Proton Simona, First, Simon, which he believes to be the genuine reading: "nec dubito quin hc sit germana lectio."

Ver. 17. And he called James, &c. The words, he called, are no addition, as they only express the literal sense: they are included in what is said, ver. 13, that he called to him whom he would. --- Boanerges, the sons of thunder, or thunderers, is only to express their great zeal. (Witham) --- He gave also the two sons of Zebedee the name of Boanerges, (Boanerges) from the Syriac, Benairegesch; or the Hebrew, Beni, sons, regesch, thunder, noise or tumult. In conformity to their name, we find these two apostles asking Jesus, (Luke ix. 54.) wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, to consume them? They spread the fame of the gospel through the whole world. So great was the zeal of St. James, that he incurred the resentment of king Agrippa, and was the first of the apostles to seal the doctrines of Jesus Christ with his blood. St. John also fulfilled the import of his name, as appears from his gospel, epistles, apocalypse, and the sufferings he underwent at Rome for the faith. Sts. Peter, James, and John, were the only apostles to whom our Saviour gave particular names, a mark, perhaps, of his special affection for them. (Tirinus)

Ver. 21. And when his friends had heard of it;[1] literally, his own. We cannot here understand his apostles, for they were in the house with him; but either some of his kindred and friends, or some that were of the same country and town of Nazareth, though perhaps enemies to him. --- For they said. It is not certain who said this, whether his friends or his adversaries. --- He is become mad.[2] By the Greek, he is not himself. Christ might be called a madman by the Scribes and Pharisees, when he blamed their vices and when he preached with such extraordinary zeal. Or, as the Greek implies, he was thought to be transported out of his wits, and, as the Protestant translation hath it, was beside himself. If they were his friends that said this of him, they did not think so, but only pretended it, that they might get him safe out of the hands of his adversaries. (Witham)

Ver. 22. From St. Matthew xii. 22. et dein., we learn that it was on the occasion of the delivery of a possessed person, this blasphemy was uttered.

Ver. 24. Kingdom against kingdom. As this is true in all kingdoms and states where civil dissensions obtaineth, so it is especially verified in heresies and heretics which have always divisions among themselves, as a punishment for their abandoning the Church, the pillar and ground of truth, the only centre of peace and unity.

Ver. 29. See St. Matthew xii. 32. --- Of an everlasting sin; i.e. of eternal punishment. (Witham) --- What is here called everlasting offence, is (as St. Matthew expresseth it) that which shall neither be remitted in this life, nor in the life to come; which words would not be true, says St. Augustine, if some sins were not forgiven in the world to come. Now, as no mortal sin can be forgiven after death, there must necessarily be smaller transgressions, which we call venial; though many of our separated brethren will needs have all sins to be mortal; which is very far from a comfortable tenet.

Ver. 32. The brethren of our Lord were not the children of the blessed Virgin: nor were they the sons of St. Joseph by a former wife, as some pretend; but in the Scripture language, and in this place, we understand by brethren the relatives of Mary and Joseph. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 33. Our Lord does not refuse to go out through any, the least, inattention to his mother; he wishes hereby, to teach us the preference we should give to the business of our heavenly Father, before that of our earthly parents. Neither does he consider his brethren as beneath his attention, but prefers spiritual before temporal duties; and shews us, that a religious union of hearts and feelings is far more lasting, and better rooted than any other ties of affinity or friendship whatsoever. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 34. The Pharisees were afraid lest the greatness of Christ's miracles, and the excellence of his doctrines, should put an end to their credit and authority among the people. Hence their calumnies against him.

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[1] Ver. 21. Sui, oi par autou.

[2] Ver. 21. In furorem versus est, exeste; the word existasthai, is extra se esse, from which cometh the word ecstacy. See 2 Corinthians v. 13, where St. Paul useth the same Greek word.

 


 Bible Text & Cross-references:

Christ heals the withered hand. He chooses the twelve. He confutes the blasphemy of the Pharisees.

1 And *he entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand.

2 And they watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath-day: that they might accuse him.

3 And he saith to the man who had the withered hand: Stand up in the midst.

4 And he saith to them: Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath-day, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy? But they held their peace.

5 And looking round about on them with anger, being grieved for the blindness of their hearts, he saith to the man: Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and his hand was restored unto him.

6 *And the Pharisees going out immediately, made a consultation with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

7 But Jesus retired with his disciples to the sea; and a great multitude followed him from Galilee and Judea,

8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond the Jordan: and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing the things which he did, came to him.

9 And he spoke to his disciples that a small ship should wait on him, because of the multitude, lest they should throng him:

10 For he healed many, so that they pressed upon him to touch him, as many as had evils.

11 And the unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him; and they cried, saying:

12 Thou art the Son of God. And he strictly charged them that they should not make him known.

13 *And going up into a mountain, he called unto him whom he would himself: and they came to him.

14 And he made that twelve should be with him: and that he might send them to preach.

15 And he gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.

16 And to Simon he gave the name of Peter:

17 And James, the son of Zebedee, and John, the brother of James, and he named them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

18 And Andrew and Philip, and Bartholomew and Matthew, and Thomas, and James, of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananean,

19 And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

20 And they come to a house: and the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

21 And when his friends had heard of it, they went out to lay hold of him: for they said: He is become mad.

22 And the Scribes, who were come down from Jerusalem, said: *He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils he casteth out devils.

23 And after he had called them together, he said to them in parables: How can Satan cast out Satan?

24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

26 And if Satan be risen up against himself, he is divided, and cannot stand, but hath an end.

27 No man can enter into the house of a strong man, and rob him of his goods, unless he first bind the strong man, and then shall he plunder his house.

28 *Amen, I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme:

29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.

30 Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.

31 And his mother and his brethren came: and standing without, sent to him, calling him.

32 And the multitude sat about him: and they say to him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren, without, seek for thee.

33 And answering them, he said: Who is my mother and my brethren?

34 And looking round on them who sat about him, he saith: Behold my mother and my brethren.

35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

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*

1: about the year A.D. 31.; Matthew xii. 10.; Luke vi. 6.

6: Matthew xii. 14.

13: Matthew x. 1.; Luke vi. 13. and ix. 1.

22: Matthew ix. 34.

28: Matthew xii. 31.; Luke xii. 10.; 1 John v. 10.