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

Archive for the ‘Notes on Mark’ Category

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 3:19-35

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 17, 2018

19. —— And they went into an house.

20. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.

21. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.

22. And the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

Bede. (ubi sup.) The Lord leads the Apostles, when they were elected, into a house, as if admonishing them, that after having received the Apostleship, they should retire to look on their own consciences. Wherefore it is said, And they came into a house, and the multitude came together again, so that they could not eat bread.

Pseudo-Chrysostom. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Ungrateful indeed were the multitudes of princes, whom their pride hinders from knowledge, but the grateful multitude of the people came to Jesus.

Bede. (ubi sup.) And blessed indeed the concourse of the crowd, flocking together, whose anxiety to obtain salvation was so great, that they left not the Author of salvation even an hour free to take food. But Him, whom a crowd of strangers loves to follow, his relations hold in little esteem: for it goes on: And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold upon him. For since they could not take in the depth of wisdom, which they heard, they thought that He was speaking in a senseless way, wherefore it continues, for they said, He is beside himself.

Theophylact. That is, He has a devil and is mad, and therefore they wished to lay hold upon Him, that they might shut Him up as one who had a devil. And even His friends wished to do this, that is, His relations, perchance His countrymen, or His brethren.1But it was a silly insanity in them, to conceive that the Worker of such great miracles of Divine Wisdom had become mad.

Bede. (ubi sup.) Now there is a great difference between those who do not understand the word of God from slowness of intellect, such as those, who are here spoken of, and those who purposely blaspheme, of whom it is added, And the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem, &c. For what they could not deny, they endeavour to pervert by a malicious interpretation, as if they were not the works of God, but of a most unclean spirit, that is, of Beelzebub, who was the God of Ekron. For ‘Beel’ means Baal himself, and ‘zebub’ a fly; the meaning of Beelzebub therefore is the man of flies, on account of the filth of the blood which was offered, from which most unclean rite, they call him prince of the devils, adding, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

Pseudo-Jerome. But mystically, the house to which they came, is the early Church. The crowds which prevent their eating bread are sins and vices; for he who eateth unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself. (1 Cor. 11:29)

Bede. (ubi sup.) The Scribes also coming down from Jerusalem blaspheme. But the multitude from Jerusalem, and from other regions of Judæa, or of the Gentiles, followed the Lord, because so it was to be at the time of His Passion, that a crowd of the people of the Jews should lead Him to Jerusalem with palms and praises, and the Gentiles should desire to see Him; but the Scribes and Pharisees should plot together for His death.

23. And he called them unto him, and said unto 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 rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

27. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

28. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

29. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

30. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Pseudo-Chrysostom. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) The blasphemy of the Scribes having been detailed, our Lord shews that what they said was impossible, confirming His proof by an example. Wherefore it says, And having called them together unto him, he said unto them in parables. How can Satan cast out Satan? As if He had said, A kingdom divided against itself by civil war must be desolated, which is exemplified both in a house and in a city. Wherefore also if Satan’s kingdom be divided against itself, so that Satan expels Satan from men, the desolation of the kingdom of the devils is at hand. But their kingdom consists in keeping men under their dominion. If therefore they are driven away from men, it amounts to nothing less than the dissolution of their kingdom. But if they still hold their power over men, it is manifest that the kingdom of evil is still standing, and Satan is not divided against himself.

Gloss. (non occ.) And because He has already shewn by an example that a devil cannot cast out a devil, He shews how he can be expelled, saying, No man can enter into a strong man’s house, &c.

Theophylact. The meaning of the example is this: The devil is the strong man; his goods are the men into whom he is received; unless therefore a man first conquers the devil, how can he deprive him of his goods, that is, of the men whom he has possessed? So also I who spoil his goods, that is, free men from suffering by his possession, first spoil the devils and vanquish them, and am their enemy. How then can ye say that I have Beelzebub, and that being the friend of the devils, I cast them out?

Bede. (in Marc. i. 17) The Lord has also bound the strong man, that is, the devil: which means, He has restrained him from seducing the elect, and entering into his house, the world; He has spoiled his house, and his goods, that is men, because He has snatched them from the snares of the devil, and has united them to His Church. Or, He has spoiled his house, because the four parts of the world, over which the old enemy had sway, He has distributed to the Apostles and their successors, that they may convert the people to the way of life. But the Lord shews that they committed a great sin, in crying out that that which they knew to be of God, was of the devil, when He subjoins, Verily I say unto you, All sins are forgiven, &c. All sins and blasphemies are not indeed remitted to all men, but to those who have gone through a repentance in this life sufficient for their sins; thus neither is Novatusm right, who denied that any pardon should be granted to penitents, who had lapsed in time of martyrdom; nor Origen, who asserts that after the general judgment, after the revolution of ages, all sinners will receive pardon for their sins, which error the following words of the Lord condemn, when He adds, But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, &c.

Pseudo-Chrysostom. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) He says indeed, that blasphemy concerning Himself was pardonable, because He then seemed to be a man despised and of the most lowly birth, but, that contumely against God has no remission. Now blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is against God, for the operation of the Holy Ghost is the kingdom of God; and for this reason, He says, that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost cannot be remitted. Instead, however, of what is here added, But will be in danger of eternal damnation, another Evangelist says, Neither in this world, nor in the world to come. By which is understood, the judgment which is according to the law, and that which is to come. For the law orders one who blasphemes God to be slain, and in the judgment of the second law he has no remission.nHowever, he who is baptized is taken out of this world; but the Jews were ignorant of the remission which takes place in baptism. He therefore who refers to the devil miracles, and the casting out of devils which belong to the Holy Ghost alone, has no room left him for remission of his blasphemy. Neither does it appear that such a blasphemy as this is remitted, since it is against the Holy Ghost. Wherefore he adds, explaining it, Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Theophylact. We must however understand, that they will not obtain pardon unless they repent. But since it was at the flesh of Christ that they were offended, even though they did not repent, some excuse was allowed them, and they obtained some remission.

Pseudo-Jerome. Or this is meant; that he will not deserve to work out repentance, so as to be accepted, who, understanding who Christ was, declared that He was the prince of the devils.

Bede. (ubi sup.) Neither however are those, who do not believe the Holy Spirit to be God, guilty of an unpardonable blasphemy, because they were persuaded to do this by human ignorance, not by devilish malice.

Augustine. (Serm. 71, 12, 21) Or else impenitence itself is the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost which hath no remission. For either in his thought or by his tongue, he speaks a word against the Holy Ghost the forgiver of sins, who treasures up for himself an impenitent heart. But he subjoins, Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit, that he might shew that His reason for saying it, was their declaring that He cast out a devil by Beelzebub, not because there is a blasphemy, which cannot be remitted since even this might be remitted through a right repentance: but the cause why this sentence was put forth by the Lord, after mentioning the unclean spirit, (who as our Lord shews was divided against himself,) was, that the Holy Ghost even makes those whom He brings together undivided, by His remitting those sins, which divided them from Himself, which gift of remission is resisted by no one, but him who has the hardness of an impenitent heart. For in another place, the Jews said of the Lord, that He had a devil, (John 7:20.) without however His saying any thing there about the blasphemy against the Spirit; and the reason is, that they did not there cast in His teeth the unclean spirit, in such a way, that that spirit could by their own words be shewn to be divided against Himself, as Beelzebub was here shewn to be, by their saying, that it might be he who cast out devilso.

31. There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

32. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

33. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

34. And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

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

Theophylact. Because the relations of the Lord had come to seize upon Him, as if beside Himself, His mother, urged by the sympathy of her love, came to Him; wherefore it is said, And there came unto him his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.

Chrysostom. (non occ.) From this it is manifest that His brethren and His mother were not always with Him; but because He was beloved by them, they come from reverence and affection, waiting without. Wherefore it goes on, And the multitude sat about him, &c.

Bede. (ubi sup.) The brothers of the Lord must not be thought to be the sons of the ever-virgin Mary, as Helvidius sayp, nor the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, as some think, but rather they must be understood to be His relations.

Pseudo-Chrysostom. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) But another Evangelist says, that His brethren did not believe on Him. With which this agrees, which says, that they sought Him, waiting without, and with this meaning the Lord does not mention them as relations. Wherefore it follows, And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother or my brethren? (John 7:5) But He does not here mention His mother and His brethren altogether with reproof, but to shew that a man must honour his own soul above all earthly kindred; wherefore this is fitly said to those who called Him to speak with His mother and relations, as if it were a more useful task than the teaching of salvation.

Bede. (Ambr in Luc. 6, 36. Bede ubi sup.) Being asked therefore by a message to go out, He declines, not as though He refused the dutiful service of His mother, but to shew that He owes more to His Father’s mysteries than to His mother’s feelings. Nor does He rudely despise His brothers, but, preferring His spiritual work to fleshly relationship, He teaches us that religion is the bond of the heart rather than that of the body. Wherefore it goes on, And looking round about on them which sat about him, he said, Behold my mother and my brethren.

Chrysostom. (non occ.) By this, the Lord shews that we should honour those who are relations by faith rather than those who are relations by blood. A man indeed is made the mother of Jesus by preaching Himq; for He, as it were, brings forth the Lord, when he pours Him into the heart of his hearers.

Pseudo-Jerome. But let us be assured that we are His brethren and His sisters, if we do the will of the Father; that we may be joint-heirs with Him, for He discerns us not by sex but by our deeds. Wherefore it goes on: Whosoever shall do the will of God, &c.

Theophylact. He does not therefore say this, as denying His mother, but as shewing that He is worthy of honour, not only because she bore Christ, but on account of her possessing every other virtue.

Bede. (ubi sup.) But mystically, the mother and brother of Jesus means the synagogue, (from which according to the flesh He sprung,) and the Jewish people who, while the Saviour is teaching within, come to Him, and are not able to enter, because they cannot understand spiritual things. But the crowd eagerly enter, because when the Jews delayed, the Gentiles flocked to Christ; but His kindred, who stand without wishing to see the Lord, are the Jews who obstinately remained without, guarding the letter, and would rather compel the Lord to go forth to them to teach carnal things, than consent to enter in to learn spiritual things of Him. (Ambr in Luc. 6, 37.). If therefore not even His parents when standing without are acknowledged, how shall we be acknowledged, if we stand without? For the word is within and the light within.

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:14-20~The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry and the Call of the First Disciples

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 1, 2018


Mar 1:14  And after that John was delivered up, Jesus came in Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 

Galilee. This was the most northern and most populous of the divisions of Palestine. The others were Samaria (central) and Judea (in the south). Jesus now begins His ministry in Galilee.

the gospel of the kingdom of God. The redemption wrought by Jesus Christ, the establishment of the Church on earth. Jesus takes up and continues the ministry of St John the Baptist.

Mar 1:15  And saying: The time is accomplished and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel: 

The time is accomplished. The time of grace and salvation fore told by the prophets has now arrived. The Messiah has come.

repent. A command to do penance, to regret the past, and amend. Penitence is a condition of forgiveness.

believe. An exhortation to believe the Gospel. Faith and repentance are essential for salvation.


Mar 1:16  And passing by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother, casting nets into the sea for they were fishermen.

the Sea of Galilee. It had various names, drawn chiefly from the towns or localities on its shores (see Geog. Notes, p. 84).

He saw Simon. Not for the first time. He was already our Lord s
disciple (St John 1:40-42).

casting nets. There were two kinds of nets used by fishermen. The casting net and the bag or hand net. The casting net is here spoken of. It was circular in shape and had weights attached to make it sink. It was probably at this time, before the call of the first four Apostles, that the first miraculous draught of fishes took place (St Luke 5:1).

Order of events:
(a) Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee.
(b) The crowds press around Him.
(c) He enters Peter s boat and preaches to the people.
(d) The miraculous draught of fishes was caught.
(e) Jesus calls the four Apostles.

saw Simon, etc., casting nets. Doubtless the net was cast in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Mar 1:17  And Jesus said to them: Come after me; and I will make you to become fishers of men.
Mar 1:18  And immediately leaving their nets, they followed him. 

Come after me, i.e. “Follow Me,” as a disciple accompanies his master.

Fishers of men, i.e. men chosen to bring souls into the Church of Christ by their preaching and holy lives. Hence the Pope, the successor of St Peter, signs, “under the seal of the Fisherman.” Of old, God promised,.Behold, I will send many fishers …. and they shall fish them(Jer 16:16).

Mar 1:19  And going on from thence a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who also were mending their nets in the ship:

in the ship, i.e. in their fishing boat.

Mar 1:20  And forthwith he called them. And leaving their father Zebedee in the ship with his hired men, they followed him. 

hired men. From the fact that Zebedee owned two boats and employed paid hands, we may safely conclude that he was not poor. Also we find later that his son St John was known to the high-priest (St John 18:15).

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:12-13~The Testing of the Son of God

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 1, 2018

Mar 1:12  And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the desert. 

The Spirit drove him. The Holy Ghost who dwelt in all His fulness in our Lord, influenced Him to act energetically but at the same time freely. Cf. Led by the Spirit (St Matt. 4:1., St Luke 4:1).

out into the desert, A local tradition points to Quarantania, a district north-west of Jericho, as the scene of our Lord s fasting and temptation.

Mar 1:13  And he was in the desert forty days and forty nights, and was tempted by Satan. And he was with beasts: and the angels ministered to him.

forty days, etc. Satan ( = adversary) perhaps tempted our Lord the whole forty days, but with greater violence at the end.

with beasts. A detail peculiar to St Mark. The district of Quarantania was infested with wild-boars, foxes, leopards, wolves, etc. This closes St Mark s brief mention of the Temptation.

Angels ministered. They supplied our Lord s bodily wants. St Mark defers the account of St John s imprisonment, which is related with his martyrdom in Mk 6:17-29.

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 2:13-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

Mar 2:13 And he went forth again to the sea side: and all the multitude came to him. And he taught them.

He went forth, from the home in Capharnaum (Capernuam) to the sea-shore.

Mar 2:14 And when he was passing by, he saw Levi, the son of Alpheus, sitting at the receipt of custom; and he saith to him: Follow me. And rising up, he followed him.

Levi. This was St Matthew s name before his call to the Apostleship. In like manner, Simon received the name of Peter, and Saul’s name was changed to Paul.

son of Alpheus. Not the same as Alpheus the father of St James the
Less. In the lists of the Apostles, St Matthew and St James the Less
are never classed together, whereas in the case of Apostles who were brothers, the names follow one another.

receipt of custom. The toll-house where taxes on exports and imports were levied. Capharnaum was a thriving business town, whence roads to Tyre, Damascus and Jerusalem, etc., branched off (see Geog. Notes, p. 82).

sitting at the receipt of custom. Therefore Levi was one of the despised class of publicans, classed by the Jews with harlots, heathens and sinners. (See Publicans, Part IV.)

Follow me. Jesus called Levi in spite of his position and bad reputation. It is probable that Levi had previously heard of, or witnessed our Lord’s miracles, and also listened to His discourses, since Jesus had already wrought mighty works in and near Capharnaum.

Mar 2:15 And it came to pass as he sat at meat in his house, many Publicans and sinners sat down together with Jesus and his disciples. For they, with Jesus who also followed him. For they were many, who also followed him.

as he sat at meat in his house. St Luke tells us that Levi made him a great feast in his own house; and there was a great company of
publicans and of others, that were at table with them (St Luke 5:29). It was doubtless a farewell banquet to his old friends, publicans and sinners.

Mar 2:16 And the scribes and the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

seeing that he ate, etc. These Pharisees would not, of course, have sat down and eaten with Levi and his friends, for this would have rendered them “unclean” according to their traditions. They merely came in, as the Oriental custom permitted, to watch the feast.

sinners. Lax Jews, not necessarily Gentiles.

said to his disciples. They may have feared to address our Lord directly, or thought it would be easy to triumph over His disciples, whom they knew to be poor, ignorant men.

Mar 2:17 Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners.

I came not to call, etc. Jesus explains that He frequented sinners that He might convert them, just as a physician visits the sick that he may heal them.

to call the just, said ironically to the Pharisees who were “just” in
their own estimation. Also Jesus was always ready to leave the ninety-nine that He might seek the sheep that was lost (see Mt 18:12-14; Lk 15:3-7).

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 2:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Mar 2:1 And again he entered into Capharnaum after some days.

And again he entered Capharnaum (Capernuam). Probably when the recent ex citement had calmed down.

into Capharnaum. St Matthew adds His own city. Nazareth was His
native town, but Capharnaum was frequently His dwelling-place during His public life, and this would naturally be considered “His own city.” Doubtless when there, He often stayed in the house of St Peter.

After some days. These he had spent (outside of towns) in desert places (Mk 1:45), and in His ministrations elsewhere in Galilee.

Mar 2:2 And it was heard that he was in the house. And many came together, so that there was no room: no, not even at the door. And he spoke to them the word.
Mar 2:3 And they came to him, bringing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four.

It was heard, etc. Hence we may infer that our Lord had come back privately into Capharnaum.

Many came together. St Luke describes the crowd, And it came to
pass on a certain day, as he sat teaching, that there were also Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, that were come out of every town of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem (Lk 5:17).

No room, not even at the door. Our Lord would probably be in a
humble house, and the family room would be on the ground floor and
easy of access. The Orientals were accustomed to enter freely into each other’s dwellings.

the word. Jesus was preaching when the paralytic was let down at His feet. St Matthew and St Luke omit the following details which are peculiar to St Mark:

(a) The paralytic was carried by four
(b) There was a great crowd at the door
(c) They opened the roof.

Mar 2:4 And when they could not offer him unto him for the multitude, they uncovered the roof where he was: and opening it, they let down the bed wherein the man sick of the palsy lay.

uncovered the roof where he was. Oriental houses of the poorer classes have flat roofs. Large beams were placed across at intervals of several feet. Rough ceiling joists were fixed over these. A layer of small poles or brushwood, arranged close together, completed the framework. These three layers were covered with earth or gravel, on which grass grew or flowers were cultivated. Sometimes slabs of stone were placed next to the joists instead of brushwood. The
layer of earth was rolled flat and gradually hardened. Therefore the sick man’s friends would have had to get on to the roof by the outside staircase.

St Luke mentions that they went up upon the roof. They could uncover the roof by scraping away the earth or gravel, and by removing a few slabs or small poles and some of the joists, they could easily let the man down between the beams.

the bed wherein, etc. This was a common pallet or mat used by the poorest. It was just large enough for one person, and could be rolled up when not in use. This explains how the four bearers could let down the sick man either by holding the corners, if, as was usual, the rooms were not more than a few feet high, or by means of ropes. Such a bed could be easily carried away by one person.

Mar 2:5 And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.

their faith, i.e. the faith of the bearers and of the sick man himself. The bearers showed their faith by their persistence in overcoming the obstacles which prevented them from approaching our Lord. The man showed his faith in allowing himself to be thus brought. He believed that our Lord could and would heal him. When God grants blessings to those for whom we pray, He rewards our prayer and faith as well as that of the person for whom we pray, but no grace can be received by one who does not ask or desire it, at least, implicitly.

Son. St Luke gives the word man here. St Matthew adds, be of good
heart (Mt 9:2). Our Lord thus showed His love, and animated the sick man’s confidence. Possibly the thought of his sins made the man sad.

thy sins are forgiven thee. The Jews believed that every temporal
calamity or affliction was sent as a punishment for sin, e.g. And there
were present at that very time some that told Him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (St Luke 13:1). Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (St John 9:3). Jesus, in remitting sin, was verifying St John the Baptist’s words. The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world (St John 1:29), and proving Himself to be the Christ since He exercised the prerogatives of the Messiah. Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and lie shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked : and he hath borne the sins of many and hath prayed for the transgressors (Isa 53:11-12) (see also Jer 31:34, Mic 7:18). None of the Prophets had ever absolved from sin. The sick man must have had true contrition for his sins and earnestly desired forgiveness, otherwise Jesus would not have absolved him.

Mar 2:6 And there were some of the scribes sitting there and thinking in their hearts:

some of the scribes …. thinking in their hearts: likewise the
Pharisees as we learn from St Luke 5:21. The Jews had already
determined to kill Him (St John 5:18), and the Scribes and Pharisees
were there as spies watching our Lord, that they might accuse Him to the synagogue. This is the first of the many conspiracies against our Lord.

Mar 2:7 Why doth this man speak thus? He blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins, but God only?

blasphemeth. By asserting a power which God alone has, viz., that of forgiving sins. To the Scribes who denied our Lord’s divinity, His
word seemed a breach of the second commandment.

Men are guilty of blasphemy

(1) When they speak against God or deny His attributes.
(2) When they ascribe these attributes to creatures.

Mar 2:8 Which Jesus presently knowing in his spirit that they so thought within themselves, saith to them: Why think you these things in your hearts?

knowing in his spirit. It was by His divine Spirit that He read the thoughts of His enemies. He thus proved His divinity, and therefore
His power to forgive sins, for who can forgive sins but God alone? The prophets often knew things by God’s revelations, as when Eliseus (Elisha) convicted Giezi (Gehazi) of lying and disobedience, but Jesus needed no interior illumination (see 2 Kings 5:1-27, esp. 15-27). As God, all was open to Him. Under the new law by the Sacrament of Order, priests receive this divine mission of absolving sinners in God’s name, but under the old law, although the confession of certain sins was enjoined, the Jewish priest had no power to absolve.

Mar 2:9 Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy: Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say: Arise, take up thy bed and walk?

Which is easier. It was easier, as regards convincing men of His divine power, to claim to forgive sins, than to restore a sick man to health, since no one could assure himself if the sins were really forgiven or not, whereas all could see a visible miracle of healing. To do the latter Jesus must be God, hence He could forgive sins.

Mar 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy):

Son of man. This title is mostly found on the lips of our Lord Himself. The sacred writers rarely apply it to Him. It occurs fourteen times in St Mark’s Gospel. This same title is applied to the Messiah by Daniel 7:13, I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. Jesus uses it to express His perfect humanity. It is also used by St Stephen, who, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55). See also Rev 1:13, 14:14.

on earth. The Son of man on earth could forgive sins, as could the Son of God in Heaven.

power . … to forgive sins. Jesus forgave authoritatively and meritoriously. His priests absolve penitents ministerially.

Mar 2:11 I say to thee: Arise. Take up thy bed and go into thy house.

take up thy bed. The bed or mat was easily rolled up. This proved the man’s perfect cure, as a palsied man cannot even lift a cup to his lips.

Mar 2:12 And immediately he arose and, taking up his bed, went his way in the sight of all: so that all wondered and glorified God, saying: We never saw the like.

immediately. It was a sudden cure, not a gradual return to health ;
so it was in the case of the leper and of St Peter’s mother-in-law. This miracle was worked instantaneously, completely, and publicly.

in the sight of all. They now made way for him to leave.

all wondered. St Matthew gives, the multitudes …. feared and
glorified God (Mt 9:8), that is the common people, for the Scribes and Pharisees still refused to believe.

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:40-45

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

Mar 1:40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him and kneeling down, said to him: If thou wilt thou canst make me clean.

A leper. One afflicted with leprosy a terrible skin disease, and
very common in the East.

The Jews called it “The Finger of God” or “the Stroke.” It is rarely cured, at least in its most malignant forms. It is also extremely loathsome in its worst stages. Scales cover the body, and the members gradually drop off. It resembles a universal cancer. Leprosy is a type of sin. Lepers were considered unclean in general, and were forbidden to approach the dwellings of those not so affected. It should be noted that the biblical use of the term λεπρος (lepros) and it’s cognates does not necessarily indicate that one was afflicted with actual leprosy (today called “Hanson’s Disease”).

Beseeching, kneeling down. One of St Mark s vivid touches.

If thou wilt. The leper’s prayer shows modesty, humility, confidence, submission to God’s will, and a firm faith in Christ’s healing power.

Mar 1:41 And Jesus, having compassion on him, stretched forth his hand and touching him saith to him: I will. Be thou made clean.
Mar 1:42 And when he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him: and he was made clean.

having compassion. A detail peculiar to St Mark.

stretched forth his hand. Jesus touched the leper in spite of the Mosaic prohibition, possibly:

(a) to show that He was “the Lord of the law.”
(b) To prove the virtue of His human nature.
(c) To show His loving compassion for the leper.

Priests were allowed to touch the lepers in pronouncing them clean, and Jesus is our High Priest. Although the Jews were forbidden to touch a corpse, yet Eliseus (Elisha) touched the dead child whom he restored to life (2 Kings 4:4), thus showing that divine miracles are above ritual precepts.

Mar 1:43 And he strictly charged him and forthwith sent him away.

charged him, i.e. He charged him that he should tell no man (St Luke 5:14). Jesus strictly commanded the leper not to noise abroad the miracle. He did not wish to confirm, the Jews in their idea concerning the temporal reign of the Messiah. On other occasions our Lord commanded silence respecting miraculous cures (see page 49).

Jesus in dismissing the leper bids him practice:

1. Humility, see thou tell no man.
2. Obedience, go, shew thyself to the priests.
3. Gratitude, offer for thy cleansing, etc.

Mar 1:44 And he saith to him: See thou tell no one; but go, shew thyself to the high priest and offer for thy cleansing the things that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.

to the high-priest. These words may refer to the one who presided
over the priests then serving in their weekly course, or to the high-priest himself.

the things that Moses commanded. Two living sparrows, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop (a kind of wild marjoram).

Mar 1:45 But he being gone out, began to publish and to blaze abroad the word: so that he could not openly go into the city. but was without in desert places. And they flocked to him from all sides.

began to publish, etc. Did the leper sin by so doing 1 Probably not, as it is most likely that he regarded the prohibition as being prompted by our Lord’s humility. Doubtless the man in his excitement
could not refrain from expressing joy and gratitude; moreover, even if he himself had not published it, the leper’s friends and acquaintances must have perceived his sudden return to perfect health.

not openly go into the city, on account of the crowd, which, attracted by the fame of His miracles, continually followed Him, and impeded His journey.

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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:21-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 31, 2016

Mar 1:21 And they entered into Capharnaum: and forthwith upon the sabbath days going into the synagogue, he taught them.

21. Capharnaum (Capernuam). A city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Many of our Lord’s miracles were worked here (see Geog. Notes, p. 82), e.g. Healing of the centurion’s servant (St Matt. 8:5); Healing of Simon’s wife s mother (St Matt. 8:14); Cure of the paralytic (St Matt. 9:6).

synagogue. This was most likely the synagogue built by the mcenturion, whose son Jesus healed (St Luke 7:5).

Mar 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes.

22. They were astonished, literally were “enraptured.” Jesus won the admiration of the people by His doctrine, which was not based on human traditions, and by His divine eloquence: Never did man speak like this man (St John 7:46).

scribes. Men who copied and explained the law of Moses and the
traditions of the Rabbis. On these, the scribes based all their teaching, whereas Jesus taught as one having authority. I say unto you, was often His introduction to a discourse.

Mar 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

23. with an unclean spirit, more literally “a man in an unclean spirit,” i.e. one under the influence of a spirit that tempted to sins of impurity. St Luke calls the spirit an unclean devil (Mk 4:33).

he cried out. The devil was tortured by the presence of our Lord and
feared expulsion, hence he made the man cry out.

Mar 1:24 Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God.

24. What have we to do with thee? i.e. Why do you interfere with us? In the Vulgate we find in St Luke’s account, Let us alone, what have, etc. These words are omitted in the Greek. If genuine, they are understood by some commentators rather as an expression of horror, an inarticulate cry.

Art thou come to destroy us? That is, to bind them in hell, where their tortures would be greater, and where they could not attack the living. Jesus had come to destroy them. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

I know who thou art. The devils recognised our Lord as the Holy One, i.e. the Messiah, called by Daniel (Dan 9:24) the Saint of Saints. St James 2:19 tells us the devils believe and tremble. It is clear that after our Lord’s death and resurrection they had no doubt of Christ’s divinity.

The words of the unclean spirit show:

(a) The antagonism between Christ, “the Holy One,” and the impure devils.
(b) The superiority of Christ.
(c) The overthrow of Satan’s power.

Mar 1:25 And Jesus threatened him, saying: Speak no more, and go out of the man.

25. Jesus threatened him. Jesus spoke with power and authority, being unwilling to receive testimony from the devils, as it was not yet time for Him to be made known as the Messiah. Hence we find Jesus even forbidding His Apostles to proclaim that He is the Christ (St Mark 8:30). Our Lord proved His divine power by driving out the devil.

Speak no more: literally “be muzzled.” St Mark uses the same expression in describing the Stilling of the Tempest, be still (Mk 4:39. The Greek is φιμωθητι = phimotheti). The expression is exceedingly graphic, being used ordinarily for a beast only (1 Cor. 9:9).

Mar 1:26 And the unclean spirit, tearing him and crying out with a loud voice, went out of him.

26 tearing him. Throwing the man into convulsions, but without injuring him bodily, for St Luke tells us, the devil hurt him not at all. amazed. The original word expresses astonishment and terror.

Mar 1:27 And they were all amazed insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying: What thing is this? What is this new doctrine? For with power he commandeth even the unclean spirits: and they obey him.

They questioned among themselves. One of St Mark’s descriptive
touches. They turned to one another and discussed the miracle.

new doctrine. That preached by Jesus Christ

with power he commandeth. Without ritual ceremonies, but by a
simple word of command.

Mar 1:28 And the fame of him was spread forthwith into all the country of Galilee.

28 the fame, etc. Report of His miracles, which spread quickly.


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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 1:7-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2016

Text in red are my additions.

Mk 1:7 And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.

after me. St John the Baptist was born about six months before our Lord. As no Jew was allowed to preach before his thirtieth year, Jesus began His public life about six months later than St John. I doubt the phrase there cometh after me one, &c, has anything to do with age. More likely it’s picking up on the theme of “before” in verses 2~Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. John is prophesying the coming fulfillment of the foundational purpose of his ministry. Indeed, in Mk 1:9 Jesus will come to the already ministering  Baptist, be baptized by him and then start his own ministry for which the Baptist’s was a prelude.

mightier than I. Note the Baptist’s humility, Jesus is “the Mighty One.” The Greek word ισχυροτερος (ischyroteros) means mighty or powerful one. As the Mighty One Jesus has come to subdue “the strong man” (ισχυρου = ischyrou) Satan (see Mk 3:23-27).

to stoop down. A minute detail proper to St Mark.

and loose. To loose and carry the shoes was the work of the slave, who performed this office for his master, when the latter entered a temple or banqueting hall.

Mk 1:8 I have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

I have baptised you with water, etc. The Baptist exalts Christ’s baptism, which conferred the Holy Ghost, and regenerated the soul.

Mar 1:9 And it came to pass, in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in Jordan.

In those days. Either an indefinite formula referring to St John’s preaching, or more probably a reference to the days of our Lord’s hidden life at Nazareth, which ended when He attained His thirtieth year.

Nazareth. A small despised city on the southern slopes of Galilee. “Can any thing of good come from Nazareth?” (St John 1:46).

in the Jordan. One local tradition points out an ancient ford, near Succoth, as the spot where Jesus was baptized, another refers it to a ford near Jericho. The latter was easier of access.

Mar 1:10 And forthwith coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens open and the Spirit as a dove descending and remaining on him.

forthwith = immediately; both favourite words of St Mark. This adverb, as employed by St Mark, does not always express uninterrupted sequence. Mark’s repeated use of the various forms of the Greek word εὐθύς (= euthus), along with his chronic use of “and,” gives the narrative a fast paced feel and communicates a sense of urgency to it. 

He saw the heavens opened. “He” refers to Jesus Himself, but St John also saw the rent in the heavens, and probably the people present perceived the miracle.

Mar 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

a voice from heaven. During our Saviour s lifetime a miraculous voice was heard three times :

(a) At His Baptism: Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased.
(b) At the Transfiguration: This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him.
(c) In the Temple during Holy Week: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

In verses 10 and 11 note the explicit mention of the three Persons of the Blessed
Trinity. God the Father spoke from Heaven. God the Son stood in the river. God
the Holy Ghost descended “in bodily shape as a dove.”

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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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Catholic Scripture Manual on Mark 9:14-29

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

Text in red are my additions.

Mk 9:14. And coming to his disciples he saw a great multitude about them and the scribes disputing with them.

coming to his disciples. To the nine who were at the foot of the
mountain. This happened the day following (Lk 9:37), as St Luke tells us.This seems to indicate night as the time when the Transfiguration took place.

he saw a great multitude. St Luke adds the multitude met Him.

the scribes disputing with them. They perhaps hoped to overcome
the disciples now that Jesus was absent. Probably they denied that
the Apostles could work miracles, even as they denied that Christ had the power to do so.

Mar 9:15 And presently all the people, seeing Jesus, were astonished and struck with fear: and running to him, they saluted him.

astonished and struck with fear. The original word denotes
extreme terror. The terror of the multitude on seeing Jesus might
arise from several causes.

(a) They did not expect to see Him appear so opportunely.
(b) Something of the glory of the Transfiguration may still have shone on His face, as the face of Moses shone when he came down from Mount Sinai.

running to him, they saluted him. Their fear did not overcome their
joy at seeing Him.

Mar 9:16 And he asked them: What do you question about among you?

he asked them, etc. Jesus inquired of those nearest, What do you question about among you? The father of the lunatic is the only one to answer, falling down on his knees before him saying; Lord,
pity on my son, for he is a lunatic, and suffereth much: for he falleth often into the fire, and often into the water (St Matt. 17:14). These are the ordinary symptoms of epilepsy, which the demon probably aggravated, since the boy was possessed by a dumb spirit. The words he is a lunatic shew that the father connects the boy s convulsions with the changes of the moon.

Mar 9:17 And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit.

Master, I have brought my son to thee. The man had brought his
son, hoping to find Jesus with the disciples.

a dumb spirit. Since St Luke tells us he suddenly crieth out (Lk 9:39), we may conclude the boy could not utter articulate sounds.

Mar 9:18 Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him: and he foameth and gnasheth with the teeth and pineth away. And I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out: and they could not.

wheresoever=whenever. The convulsions were intermittent.

he taketh him, dasheth him, etc. The father describes minutely the
effects of the natural disease of epilepsy, attributing them to the action of the dumb spirit.

I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out. The man had clearly heard of miracles worked by the Apostles.

they could not. He attributes the failure to want of power, not lack of good will. The Apostles had tried to cast out the devil, but had failed signally.

Mar 9:19 Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me.

O incredulous generation. A rebuke to the multitude in general, to the father of the child, and to the Apostles also (indirectly). St Matt.
gives unbelieving and perverse generation (Mt 17:16).

how long shall I be with you? To bear with and to teach you.

Mar 9:20 And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming.

when he had seen him, etc. When the devil in the boy was brought close to Jesus. The devils often troubled their victims thus, when in the presence of Jesus.

Mar 9:21 And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he sad: From his infancy.

How long time is it, etc. Our Lord s question had for object to–

(a) show His compassion.
(6) to elicit faith,
(c) to call attention to the gravity of the boy’s condition.

Mar 9:22 And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us.

if thou canst do anything, etc. These words shew that the man’s faith was very weak.

Mar 9:23 And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Jesus saith to him, If thou canst, etc. A better translation would be, “Jesus said unto him, as for thy,” “if thou canst,” “all things are
possible to him that believeth.” The granting of the grace depended
on the suppliant s faith.

Mar 9:24 And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.

the father …. crying out, with tears said. The man’s tears and
cries shew his earnest desire. He felt the weakness of his own faith ;
he believed, but would fain have a firmer faith.

Mar 9:25 And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him and enter not any more into him.

when Jesus saw the multitude running together. Apparently Jesus
had spoken to His disciples and the man a little apart; doubtless the
boy’s convulsions would have brought the multitude nearer, to see what was happening.

threatened the unclean spirit: “rebuked” (St Luke). This spirit is
characterised as dumb and unclean. These words shew clearly that the boy was possessed. This is an example of a double cure: of healing, and of possession of the devil.

I command thee. Words of authority. He speaks in His own Name, in virtue of His Divinity,

enter not any more. The child was thus preserved from future possession by this same spirit.

Mar 9:26 And crying out and greatly tearing him, he went our of him. And he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead.

crying out and greatly tearing, etc. Thus the devil shewed his impotent rage at being forced to relinquish his prey.

Mar 9:27 But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up (ηγειρεν = egeiren). And he arose (ἀνίστημι = anistēmi = literally, “he stood up”).

The manual offers no comment on this verse. I would like to note the following:

Taking him by the hand. This phrase is used 3 other times in Mark (Mk 1:31 5:41-42; 8:23). The first 2 uses, like the present verse, are related to the theme of resurrection: “And coming to her, he lifted her up (ἐγείρω = egeirō), taking her by the hand; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”  “And taking the damsel by the hand, he saith to her: Talitha cumi, which is, being interpreted: Damsel (I say to thee) arise (ἐγείρω = egeirō). And immediately the damsel rose up (ανεστη = aneste, from anistēmi)”

Mar 9:28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? 

his disciples secretly asked him. Naturally they felt the humiliation of having failed to cast out the evil spirit, and especially as their failure was witnessed by the Scribes, and they knew not to what it was to be attributed, since, hitherto, the devils had been subject to them. Only nine of the Apostles asked this question.

Mar 9:29 And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

he said to them, etc. St Matthew gives a longer answer, Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence thither, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you (Mt 17:19).

This kind. Particular kind of demon. As there are angels of different degrees of power and glory, so there are some demons who surpass their companions in wickedness, strength, and intelligence.

prayer and fasting. Some MSS. omit these words, but they are found in the greater number. Fasting was required to add intensity to prayer, and Origen says it should be practised both by the one possessed and by the exorcist. “The demoniac living luxuriously cannot be delivered from such madness.” (St Chrysoslom.) The exorcist should fast that he may first conquer his own inordinate passions before attacking God’s enemies, the devils. Prayer and fasting predispose man to receive graces from God

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