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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. After the miracles that Christ had performed, though he was not ignorant how much they despised him, yet that there might be no excuse for their disbelief, he condescended to return to them. Theophylactus.
Ver. 3. S. Matt. relates that they asked: Is not this the son of the carpenter? It is not improbable that both questions were asked; it was certainly very natural to take him for a carpenter, who was the son of one. S. Austin. — They were scandalized at his lowly birth and humble parentage. Hence Jesus Christ takes occasion to expose the malice and envy of the Jews, in refusing him, and to shew that the Gentiles would more esteem him. See Luke iv. 25, and John i.
Ver. 13. It was usual for the Jews to prescribe oil as a proper thing to anoint the sick; but its virtue in the present instance, when used by the apostles, was not natural but supernatural, and was derived from him who sent them; because this unction always produced a certain and constant cure in those who were anointed. This miraculous gift of healing the sick with oil, which Christ conferred on his apostles, was a prelude or gradual preparation to the dignity to which he raised this unction, when he established it a perpetual rite in his holy Church. Rutter. — With oil, &c. This anointing the sick, was at least a figure of the sacrament, which Christ was pleased to institute for the spiritual relief of persons in danger of death: and which is fully expressed by S. James, in his Catholic Epistle. C. vi. The Council of Trent says this sacrament was insinuated in S. Mark, and published in the Epistle of S. James. Trid. sess. xiv. c. 1. Wi.
Ver. 14. The Herod here mentioned was the son of Herod, from whom S. Joseph fled with Jesus and Mary into Egypt. S. Chrys. hom. xlix. in Matt. — How great was the envy of the Jews, is easily to be conceived from this passage. They can believe that John is risen from the dead, and appeared in public again, although no one gave testimony that this was the case: but that Jesus, so much favoured by God, who worked so many and so great miracles, should be risen again is incredible, although attested by angels, by apostles, by men, women, and persons of every denomination. They still assert that the body of Jesus was stolen. V. Bede.
Ver. 20. Herod, &c. The sense both of the Latin and Greek text seems to be, that Herod entertained and shewed a particular respect and value for John the Baptist: yet some expound it, that he had a watchful eye over him, and sought only for an occasion to take him off. Wi.
Ver. 26. It is customary, in Scripture, to give the generally prevailing sentiment at the time; thus Joseph is called by the blessed Virgin , the father of Jesus; so now Herod is said to be stricken with sadness, because he appeared to be so to the company at table, though within his own breast, he secretly rejoiced that he had an opportunity of destroying an importuning monitor, with an exterior shew of piety and honour. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 29. Church history informs us, that the Christians were accustomed to frequent this tomb with great piety and respect, till the reign of Julian the apostate, at which time the pagans, through hatred for Christianity, broke open his tomb, and dispersed his bones; but immediately after, thinking it better to burn them, they endeavoured to collect them again. But some religious of a neighbouring convent, joining themselves to the pagans, under pretence of collecting the bones to burn, secreted the greater part of them, and sent them to Philip, at Jerusalem, who sent them to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria; and in the reign of Theodosius, the temple of Serapis was converted into a Christian church, and dedicated to the honour of S. John the Baptist, where his relics were deposited. Gloss. Ordina.
Ver. 37. For two hundred pence. See Matt. xviii. 28. The apostles seem to speak these words ironically, to signify that they had not so much money as could procure a mouthful for each of them. Wi.
Ver. 45. The apostles were in a desert place belonging to Bethsaida, which probably was divided from it by some bay or creek, that ran into the land; and Christ only ordered them to pass over this to the city, where he might afterwards have joined them, when he had sent away the people. But in their passage a great storm arose, and they were driven by an adverse wind to the open sea, towards Capharnaum; or, probably, when they found the wind so violent, afraid of shipwreck if they neared the shore, they rowed out to sea. This reconciles the seeming discrepance of S. Mark and S. John, when notwithstanding the directions Christ had given his disciples to go before him to Bethsaida, we find them going to Capharnaum. Rutter.
Ver. 48. Thus the divine mercy often seems to desert the faithful in the height of tribulation, but God only acts thus, that he may try their patience, and reward them more abundantly. Nic. de Lyra.
Ver. 52. They understood not concerning the loaves; i.e. they did not reflect how great a miracle that was which Christ had lately wrought, otherwise they would not have been so much surprised at his walking upon the sea. Wi.