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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 2. Ven. Bede gives a beautiful explanation of this miracle. He says that it represents the Gentiles, who were converted to the faith by the apostles. The legion represents the innumerable vices to which they were subject, neither restrained by the laws of God nor man, but breaking through every restraint, and wallowing in all kinds of uncleanness. Ven. Bede. — The three evangelists agree in the expulsion of the legion of devils, except that S. Matt. makes mention of two demoniacs, and SS. Mark and Luke only of one. The difficulty is thus solved by S. Austin. S. Mark and S. Luke only mention one, as being more generally known, and particularly frightful in the neighbourhood. S. Aug.
Ver. 7. I adjure thee by God. The same is, I earnestly beg of thee not to torment me, by sending me into hell, and confining me in the abyss, there to be more tormented than I am at present. See S. Luke viii. 31. Wi.
Ver. 9. My name is Legion. Spirits have no names, only with respect to our language. These devils say their name is Legion, because they are many. Wi.
Ver. 13. Jesus Christ permitted the devil to destroy these swine, that from their destruction, the men of that country might take the alarm, and be converted. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 17. Astonished at the miracle that had been performed, and displeased with the loss of their herds, they refused the Saviour of the world entrance into their country. Theophy. — It is observed that all Christ's miracles, except this, and the blasted fig-tree, were of the beneficent kind. We cannot but pity the wretched blindness of the Gerasens, in driving Jesus from their coasts. As a just judgment of God, their city was the first that fell into the hands of the Romans, in the fatal war under Vespasian.
Ver. 18. That he might be with him; i.e. as one of his disciples. S. Amb. says Christ did not grant his request, lest they might think that he sought to be glorified by men, in having always in his company a man out of whom he had cast so many devils. Christ himself seems to give us another reason, that the man might go, and publish in his own country the miracles done by Jesus. Wi.
Ver. 19. And he admitted him not: By Christ's conduct on this occasion, he teaches his disciples that they ought sometimes to make known their own good works, when either the glory of God or the edification of their neighbour were likely to be advanced by such a manifestation: otherwise they ought to conceal them, out of a spirit of humility. Dion. Carth.
Ver. 20. Decapolis, a territory on the eastern borders of the sea of Tiberias, and is so called, from ten principal towns that compose it. V.
Ver. 23. S. Matt. says: my daughter is even now dead. The sense in both is exactly the same. S. Matt. attended rather to the thoughts of Jairus, than to his words; for, as he left her dying, he could not reasonably hope to find her still in the same state; and, as he expected she was already dead, when he spoke this to Jesus, S. Matt. relates what the man thought at that instant, not what he said. S. Aug.
Ver. 28. Touch his garment. Almighty God is pleased to give occasionally to the relics and clothes of his pious and faithful servants, a degree of virtue. See Acts v, and xix, where the very shadow of S. Peter, and the handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched the body of S. Paul, and were brought to the sick, cured their diseases, and banished the wicked spirits. See S. Chrysostom, T. 5. contra Gent. in vit. Babylœ. S. Basil saith: "he that toucheth the bone of a martyr, receiveth in some degree holiness of the grace or virtue that is therein. Bas. in Psalm cxv.
Ver. 30. Virtue that hath proceeded from him. Virtue to heal this woman's malady proceeded from Christ, though she touched but his coat: so when the saints by their relics and garments perform miracles, the grace and force thereof cometh from our Saviour; they being but the means of instruments of the same. B.
Ver. 35. Ruler of the synagogue. His house is understood.
Ver. 36. Only believe. Dissenters grossly abuse this and other similar texts of Scripture, to prove that faith alone will suffice for justification; whereas God only declares, that he requires a faith in his almighty power for the performance of miracles, and that without this necessary predisposition, he will not do any miracles. See v. 5, of the following chapter.
Ver. 41. Only three resurrections from the dead are mentioned as performed by our Saviour: one just dead; one carried out to be buried; and Lazarus, already in his tomb. These represent the different states of sinners dead in sin, some more desperate than others. To such as have been for years in sin, and have none to intercede for them, we must apply the words of Christ, suffer the dead to bury the dead. Ven. Bede, and S. Aug. de verb. Dom. serm. 44.