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AND looking on, he saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury.

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2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. 3 And he said: Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

Ver. 3.  Whatever we offer to the Almighty with a good intention is acceptable to him; for he regards not the gift, but the heart of the giver.  Ven. Bede.

 

--- God does not appreciate the smallness of the gift, but the greatness of the affection with which it is offered.  S. Chrys. hom. i. ad Hebræos.


4 For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she had. 5 And some saying of the temple, that it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said: 6 These things which you see, the days will come in which there shall not be left a stone upon a stone that shall not be thrown down.

Ver. 6.  It was by the divine dispensation of Providence that this city and temple were destroyed; for had the ancient rites and sacrifices continued, some that were but weak in their faith, might have been filled with astonishment at the sight of these different modes of worship, existing at the same time, and thus have been lead astray from the path of truth.  Ven. Bede.



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7 And they asked him, saying: Master, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when they shall begin to come to pass?

Ver. 7.  Master, when shall these things be? &c.  See the annotations, Matt. xxiv. 3.  Wi.


8 Who said: Take heed you be not seduced; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he; and the time is at hand: go ye not therefore after them.

Ver. 8.  In my name.  They shall not say that they belong to me, or that I sent them: but they shall take to themselves my name, viz. Christ, or Messias, which title is incommunicable to any but myself.  In effect, in less than two centuries, there appeared many false Christs and impostors, who pretended to be the one that was to come, the desired of nations.  Calmet.

 

--- Perhaps this prophecy is yet to be more expressly fulfilled before the dissolution of the world.  Many pious and learned Christians suppose this passage to refer to the time of Antichrist.  A.



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9 And when you shall hear of wars and seditions, be not terrified: these things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet presently. 10 Then he said to them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there shall be great signs.

Ver. 11.  Terrors from heaven.  Josephus, in his history of this war, in which Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, (lib. vii, c. 12) relates, at length, many of the prodigies which were the forerunners of the dreadful end of this unfortunate city.  During a whole year a meteor, like a flaming sword, was seen impending over the city.  There were likewise seen in the air, appearances of chariots and numerous armies, which pressed one upon another.  On the night of Pentecost, the priests, after a confused noise, heard distinctly these words, "Let us go hence;" which are supposed to have been spoken by the angels, who had hitherto guarded and protected the holy city, but now were taking their leave of it.  Josephus was in the Roman camp, before the city, during the siege, and an eye-witness of what passed on the occasion.  A.


12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name's sake.

Ver. 12.  This verse is spoken to the apostles alone; and was verified, by most of them having been martyred and put to death, before the destruction of Jerusalem.  Calmet.



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13 And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. 14 Lay it up therefore into your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer:

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15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.

Ver. 15.  I will give, &c.  In some parts it is said, that Christ himself will speak by the mouths of his disciples, as in this passage of S. Luke; in other places, as S. Matt. C. xvi. that the Father will speak; and S. Matt. C. x. that the Spirit of the Father will speak.  In these different texts there is no contradiction, but a most perfect harmony.  What one of the divine Persons says, all three say; for the voice of the Trinity is only one.  S. Ambrose.


16 And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren, and kinsmen and friends; and some of you they will put to death. 17 And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. 18 But a hair of your head shall not perish.

Ver. 18.  A hair of your head, &c.  A hair shall not perish from the head of the disciples of Christ; because not only their most heroic actions, and their public confessions of his name, but even their passing thoughts shall be crowned with adequate rewards.  Ven. Bede.


19 In your patience you shall possess your souls.

Ver. 19.  In your patience, &c.  We then truly possess our souls, when we live in all things perfect, and from the citadel of virtue command and control all the motions of the mind and heart.  S. Greg. Mag. Moral. v. c. 13.


20 And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army; then know that the desolation thereof is at hand.

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21 Then let those who are in Judea, flee to the mountains; and those who are in the midst thereof, depart out: and those who are in the countries, not enter into it.


22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things may be fulfilled, that are written.

Ver. 22.  Days of vengeance, &c.  These are truly the days of vengeance; days, that will arise to punish this people for having spilt the blood of the Lord.  Ven. Bede.


23 But woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.

Ver. 24.  Whoever reads Josephus's history of the calamities which befell Jerusalem before its destruction, will find none of these terrible menaces unfulfilled.  Seventy thousand were carried away captives in this war.  After the soldiers were weary of killing, Titus ordered the finest of the young men to be kept to adorn his triumph.  The number of captive Jews was so great in Rome, as to make the heathen poet, Rutilius Numantianus, who lived about the year 410, complain of it as a great burden to the empire.

                        Atque utinam nunquam Judea subacta fuisset

                           Pompeii bellis, imperioque Titi;

                        Latius excisæ pestis contagia serpunt

                           Victoresque suos natio victa premit.

 

--- Trodden down, &c.  After Jerusalem had been taken and destroyed by the Romans, another city was built from its ruins, called Ælia, after the name of the emperor Ælius Adrian.  This was inhabited by pagans and some Christians for the Jews were forbidden even to come near it, for more than two or three centuries.  Tertullian informs us, that they even bought, at a great price, permission to see it at a distance, and drop a tear over the ashes of their ancient and ill-fated country.  Thus was Jerusalem trodden under foot, till the time of the nations was accomplished; that is, till Christianity, in every nation, had triumphed over the persecution of paganism.  Calmet.

 

--- Till the times of the nations be fulfilled.  According to the common exposition of this, and some other places, the Jews from the time of the destruction of their temple and city, under Titus Vespasian; and especially from their utter destruction under the emperor Adrian, in punishment of their obstinate blindness, shall remain dispersed through the world under miseries and oppressions, till the gospel hath been preached to all nations; then, not long before the end of the world, the Jews shall be converted, and acknowledge Jesus to be their true Messias.  See Rom. xi. 25.  Wi.




25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;

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26 Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved;

Ver. 26.  The powers of heaven, &c.  Some explain this of the angels, who shall be terrified and tremble at the sight of so many calamities.  Others understand it of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, stars, &c. which shall in some sort, likewise, be confused in the general dissolution.  The prophets often make use of such expressions, when speaking of the fall of monarchies, or the ruin of nations.  The heavens shall be astonished and moved, &c.  Ezech. xxxii. 7.  Joel iii. 15.  Calmet.


27 And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty.

Ver. 27.  The Jews shall not see him corporally, but at the last judgment.  Then, says the Scripture, (Zach. xii. 10.) They shall see him whom they pierced with nails.  But in the ruin of Jerusalem, all who will compare his predictions with the event, can evidently see that this was the day of his coming, so plainly marked in his words.  Every body could see that this was evidently the hand of God that punished them.  Calmet.


28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.

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29 And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: 30 When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; 31 So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. 32 Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly.

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35 For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man. 37 And in the daytime, he was teaching in the temple; but at night, going out, he abode in the mount that is called Olivet.

Ver. 37.  In the mount that is called Olivet.  In this last week, Christ, after preaching in the day-time in the temple, when constantly in the evenings to pray in the garden of Gethsemani, as Judas knew very well.  See C. xxii. v. 39.  Wi.




38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him.
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