The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 9:30-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

Mar 9:30 And departing from thence, they passed through Galilee: and he would not that any man should know it.

departing from thence. From the scene of the Transfiguration arid of the subsequent miracle.

passed through Galilee. Possibly they did not journey direct from the Mount of the Transfiguration to Capharnaum, but by less frequented routes to ensure privacy. This was the last time Christ was in Galilee, Jesus was now on His last journey to Jerusalem.

He would not that any man should know it. To avoid the multitudes and to be free to teach His disciples. It was their last year of training.

Mar 9:31 And he taught his disciples and said to them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise again the third day.

taught his disciples. The tense implies “was continually teaching,” saying, “Lay you up in your hearts these words” (St Luke 9:44). As the time of His Passion drew nearer, our Lord very frequently gave His Apostles private instructions.

betrayed into the hands of men. “He was delivered up by His Father, who gave Him over to their power. He delivered up Himself voluntarily. He was betrayed into the hands of men, by Judas, who handed Him over to the Scribes and Chief Priests: these delivered Him to Pilate, and Pilate to the soldiers” (MacEvilly, Commentary). This is the first mention of the betrayal.

hands of men. This was an expression signifying some great misfortune; thus David chose the pestilence, saying, it is better for me to fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many, than into the hands of men (1 Chron 21:13).

they shall kill him. Notice the continual repetition of this prediction. He wished to prepare them gradually for His death.

after that he is killed he shall rise again. Christ s Resurrection is here very clearly stated, yet the disciples still “understood not the word.”

Mar 9:32 But they understood not the word: and they were afraid to ask him.

they understood not. St Luke adds, it was hid from them so that they perceived it not (Lk 9:45). These words show the mental state of the disciples. The meaning was like a hidden thing which they could not find. St Peter, however, does not again reject the idea with impetuosity. It was their false preconceptions about the Messiah which prevented them from grasping our Lord’s meaning. St Matthew adds, “they were troubled exceedingly” (Mt 27:22).

afraid to ask him: lest they should hear the worst; doubt left room for a certain hope.

Mar 9:33 And they came to Capharnaum. And when they were in the house, he asked them: What did you treat of in the way?

came to Capharnaum. It was on. this occasion that St Peter was questioned concerning the tribute money, and Jesus worked a miracle to pay it.

in the house, he asked them. Jesus avoided compromising the reputation of His followers in the eyes of the people. The true order of events is given by comparing the accounts of the three Evangelists, who complete each other’s narrative:

(a) And there entered a thought into them, which of them should be greater (St Luke 9:46).
(b) And they came to Capharnaum. And when they were in the house, he asked them, What did you treat of in the way? (St Mark 9:32).
(c) At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven (St Matt 18:1).

What did you treat of in the way? Apparently Jesus had walked on
ahead alone, or He was engaged in conversation with some of the other disciples.

Mar 9:34 But they held their peace, for in the way they had disputed among themselves, which of them should be the greatest.

they held their peace: conscience-stricken, for they had been giving
way to ambition. St Matt, says they asked our Lord, Who thinkest,
thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? (Mt 18:1). Evidently it was by a counter-question that they replied, but as regards answering our Lord’s question they were silent. Their thoughts reverted to the kingdom of the Messiah, not to Heaven.

they had disputed, etc. Perhaps the preference shewn to St Peter, St
James, and St John, and their silence as to what took place when our Lord “led them apart” had aroused the jealousy of the other apostles. They again disputed about this matter at the Last Supper. The Gospel shews us the Apostles as they were, with all their failings.

Mar 9:35 And sitting down, he called the twelve and saith to them: If any man desire to be first, he shall be the last of all and be minister of all.

sitting down, he called the twelve. Jesus took the attitude of a teacher. All were called to hear His reproof and to learn a lesson of humility.

desire to be first. If he desire to be first in the kingdom of heaven, let
him be content to be last in this world; i.e. true humility leads to
sanctity, which determines our rank in heaven. St Matt, gives the
fuller answer, Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me (Mt 18:4, 5). St Luke also gives our Lord s definite answer to the disciples question, For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater (Lk 9:48).

the minister of all. A second lesson is here inculcated. The Christian
must be desirous to serve rather than to be served, to obey rather than to rule.

Mar 9:36 And taking a child, he set him in the midst of them. Whom when he had embraced, he saith to them:

taking a child. St Matt, gives, calling unto him a little child (Mt 18:2).

Whom when he had embraced. Notice Jesus tender love for children. Thus He on another occasion called them to Him and blessed them.

Mar 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name receiveth me. And whosoever shall receive me receiveth not me but him that sent me.

Whosoever shall receive, etc. Hence we see what a glorious work it is to train children for Uod s sake, as unto Him. By so doing we receive our Lord Himself.

Note. The following points in this narrative are peculiar to St Mark

(a) Jesus sat down.
(b) He called all the Twelve.
(c) He placed the child in the midst,
(d) He embraced the child.

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