The Divine Lamp

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Archive for February 3rd, 2014

Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 6:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 3, 2014

1 AND going out from thence, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him.

Going out from thence. Either out of the house of Jairus, or more probably out of Capliarnaum, where He from this time ceased to have a fixed dwelling-place.

His own country: i.e. Nazareth, where He had been brought up.

followed him. Either Jesus walked on ahead of His disciples, or else He went alone to Nazareth and they joined Him there.

2 And when the Sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine, saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands?

to teach in the synagogue. As He had done at His previous visit.

were in admiration. Literally “were astounded,” according to the original signification of the word.

How came this man by all these things? Unable to deny the wisdom and miracles of Jesus, the unbelieving Nazarenes cunningly question the origin of His power, in order to justify their own incredulity. They knew that Jesus had not been highly educated, but that He had worked among them as a carpenter.

wisdom …. mighty works. Not only knowledge to teach and to convince, but also power to confirm His teaching by “mighty works.”

mighty works as are wrought. Those of which they had heard, not
those done on this occasion.

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him.

the carpenter. This word in the original may signify a worker in iron, stone, wood, etc., but more generally it refers to a worker in wood. St Mark’s is the only gospel in which we find our Lord called the carpenter. It was customary for every Jew to teach his son a trade, no matter how high his own station. One of their proverbs is, “He who teaches not a trade to his son teaches him to be a thief.” St Paul was a tent-maker by trade (Acts 18:3). Jesus, as a mere village carpenter, would not have earned high wages.

the brother of James, etc. (See Genealogical Table, p. 75.). I can’t reproduce this on the blog.

His sisters: daughters of Mary of Cleophas and of Alpheus (or

scandalized. This word is coined from the original provincial Greek word. The Greeks used a kind of trap (scandalon) for ensnaring animals. The “scandalon” was that part of the trap which gripped the animal running unwarily against it. Hence to scandalize a person is to entrap and destroy him (Morrison). Here the expression implies that our Lord’s humble origin was the great stumblingblock which irritated the envy and prejudice of His compatriots. See the note under the heading ON SCANDAL at the end of this post.

4 And Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.

A prophet, etc. Jesus here quotes a Jewish proverb.

his own country …. house. …. kindred, i.e. Galilee, including the little town of Nazareth; His kindred or distant relations and His nearer relatives.

5 And he could not do any miracles there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them.

He could not do any miracles …. because of their unbelief. Man’s incredulity circumscribed God’s power in a certain sense; Jesus always exacted faith as a condition for being healed.

6 And he wondered because of their unbelief, and he went through the villages round about teaching.

He wondered because of their unbelief. This shows how truly human
our Lord was. As man He could “wonder,” though as God He foresaw their incredulity. Jesus also “marvelled,” but with pleasure, at the faith of the Centurion. “Which Jesus hearing marvelled; and turning about to the multitude that followed him, he said: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith, not even in Israel” (St Luke 7:9).

It is proverbially difficult for men to acknowledge one of their equals, with whom they have been intimate, as superior to themselves in intellect or merit. “Familiarity breeds contempt” of those who they deem ought not to surpass them. To His own family and kindred, Jesus was an ordinary man, excepting of course to our dear Lady, St Joseph, and those of His kinsmen who were His disciples. This fact alone shews how carefully Mary and Joseph had kept the secrets confided to them. Jesus has passed during the thirty years of His hidden life as the carpenter s son and for no more. The “mighty works” wrought in the neighbourhood of His own home could not convince the incredulous Nazarenes of His sublime mission. Resurrections had been wrought, and the report of these miracles must have reached Nazareth, but since the people wilfully closed their ears and refused to listen to the greatest of Prophets, “neither will they believe if one rise again from the dead” (St Luke 16:31).

through the villages. In the region of Galilee.


It must be carefully noted that giving and taking scandal are totally distinct from each other:

(a) To give scandal, is to lead another into sin, either directly or indirectly, and this sin may take a positive or a negative form. To advise or lead a person to tell a lie is a positive sin of scandal. To abstain without serious reasons from hearing Mass 0n Sundays, and thus by our own negligence, to be the cause of others missing Mass, is a negative sin of scandal. Our Lord strongly denounced the Pharisees for giving scandal. “But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in, and those that are going in you suffer not to enter” (St Matt 23:13). “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a mill-stone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Wo to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come : but nevertheless wo to that man by whom the scandal cometh” (St Matt 18:6, 7).

(b) To take scandal, is to take occasion of sin even from the good actions of our neighbours. It is called Pharisaical scandal, because the Pharisees were guilty of it. “And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand, and they asked him, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath-days? that they might accuse him” (St Matt. 12:10). “And the ruler of the synagogue (being angry that Jesus had healed on the sabbath) answering said to the multitude, Six days there are wherein you ought to work. In them therefore come and be healed; and not on the sabbath-day" (St Luke 13:14).

Speaking of the Pharisees taking scandal, our Lord says, “Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit” (St Matt. 15:14). Catholics who are ignorant of their religion and consequently weak in their faith, are apt to take scandal without a cause. In this, it is not their will that is perverse, but their instruction is insufficient, or their judgment is at fault. With regard to such “weak brethren” it is the duty of an earnest Catholic

(a) to refrain from what might be mistaken for a sin;
(b) to enlighten them as to what the Church teaches on the subject.

Our Lord even worked a miracle to avoid scandal being taken. “But that we may not scandalize them, go to the sea, and cast in a hook: and that fish that shall first come up, take: and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater: take that, and give it to them for me and thee” (St Matt. 17:26). The Scriptures frequently urge us to circumspection on this point. “All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6:12). “But take heed lest perhaps this your liberty, become a stumblingblock to the weak”  (1 Cor. 8:9). “From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves” (1 Thess. 5:22).

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