Ver. 2. Mention is made in the gospels, of a woman who was a sinner, (Luke vii.) of Mary of Bethania, the sister of Lazarus, (John xi. and xii. Mark xiv. Matt. xxvi.) and of Mary Magdalene, who followed Jesus from Galilee, and ministered to him. Many think all this to belong to one and the same person: others think these were three distinct persons. See the arguments on both sides in Alban Butler's Lives of Saints, July 22d; and also more at large in the dissertations upon the three Marys, at the conclusion of the harmony in the Bible de Vence.
Ver. 3. The wife of Chusa, Herod's steward. Lit. his procurator, as in the Rheims translation. The Greek signifies one that provides for another, or manages his concerns. The same word is used, Matt. xx. 8. and Gal. iv. 2. Wi.
--- The Greek word is epitropou. It was the custom of the Jews, says S. Jerom, that pious women should minister of their substance, meat, drink, and clothing, to their teachers going about with them. But as this might have given cause of scandal among the Gentiles, S. Paul mentions that he allowed it not. 1 Cor. ix. 5. 12. They thus ministered to our Lord and his apostles of their worldly substance, from whom they received spiritual riches.
Ver. 8. Ears to hear, let him hear, &c. i.e. he that is willing to hear the word of God, and diligently comply with what is therein commanded, let him be attentive to the words of Christ. For the sight, hearing, and other senses, were not given to man to be used only as beasts use them, but likewise that they might profit his soul to eternal life. Tirinus.
Ver. 9. After the multitude had left our divine Saviour, his disciples wishing thoroughly to understand the meaning of his instructions, came to him, and desired he would give them an explanation of the parable. Tirinus.
Ver. 14. The sense of the Greek text is: they produce no fruit that arrives at maturity. V.
Ver. 16. Our Lord calls himself the lighted candle, placed in the middle of the world. Christ was by nature God, and by dispensation man: and thus, not unlike a torch placed in the middle of a house, does our Lord, seated in the soul of man, illumine all around him. But by the candlestick, is understood the Church, which he illuminates by the refulgent rays of his divine word. S. Maximus.
--- By these expressions, Jesus induces his audience to be very diligent, and quite alive in the momentous affair of salvation; informing them that they are placed in the public view of the whole world. S. Chry. hom. xv. in Matt.
Ver. 18. He here exhorts his audience to attend to what he was about to deliver, and to apply themselves with all their attention to the divine word; for he who has a desire of hearing the word, shall also receive the grace and power of understanding it. But the man who has no desire of hearing it, though from his learning he might expect to understand it, shall not understand it, because he does not willingly attend to the divine admonitions; hence it is said, Whosoever hath, to him also shall be given. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 20. These brethren were not the sons of the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, as Helvidius wickedly taught; nor yet the sons of Joseph, by another wife; for, as S. Jerom writeth, not only Mary, but Joseph also, observed virginity. Contra Helvidium, c. ix. et ibidem, c. viii.
--- In the scriptural idiom, cousins are called brethren. B.
Ver. 21. There is no tie of affinity and friendship so proper, and so becoming man, as that made by faith in Christ, and strengthened by charity. Tirinus.
Ver. 22. And they launched forth: lit. they went up. The sense is, being gone abroad, they set forward, or launched forth, as in the Prot. translation. Wi.
Ver. 23. And they were filled; i.e. the little ship was filled with water. Wi.
Ver. 24. In this Christ evidently shews two distinct natures; his human nature, denoted by his sleep; and his divine nature by stilling the tempest at sea. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 25. After Christ had appeased the storm at sea, the disciples, all astonishment at the miracle, began to whisper to each other, saying, Who is this? not that the disciples were ignorant of whom they were speaking, but they wondered at his mighty works, and at the glory of his divine power. S. Amb.
Ver. 26. Here S. Matt. relates the history of the two demoniacs, whilst S. Mark and S. Luke speak only of one; but the man mentioned in these two evangelists, was a man of some consideration and consequence, for whose cure the country was deeply interested. S. Austin de concord. evang.
Ver. 28. This is not a voluntary confession, which merits a reward, but a forced acknowledgment, extorted against their wills. Like fugitive servants, who, when they meet their masters, think of nothing but of deprecating punishment. The devils think our Lord is come down upon earth to judge them. S. Jerom.
--- The torment from which this devil desires to be freed, is the pain and affliction he would suffer by being forced to yield to the power of Christ, in leaving the man; not the general torment of hell, to which he knew he was unchangeably and irrevocably condemned. He was also tormented with the fear, lest he should be now consigned to those eternal pains before his time, as it is expressed in S. Matt. For, though the evil spirits are unavoidably condemned, and already suffer the chief torments of hell, yet the rigorous fulfilment of all is deferred to the day of judgment. Jans. conc. Evang.
Ver. 30. He did not put the question through ignorance of his name, but that his answer might shew forth the divine power in a more glorious manner; as also for our instruction, that knowing the great number of our invisible enemies, we might work out our salvation with fear and trembling, placing all our confidence in God. Dion. Carth.
Ver. 32. If, says S. Athanasius, the infernal spirits have no power over such impure beasts as swine, with much greater reason then are they deprived of power over man, who is made after God's own image, and redeemed by the blood of his son, Christ Jesus. We should therefore fear only God, and despise the devil. In vit. S. Ant.
Ver. 33. This event shews what was before asserted, that many devils had possession of the man. The obstinacy of the Sadducees, who denied the existence of evil spirits, was thus likewise refuted; as well as the cavils of certain moderns, who pretend that these effects which appeared in the demoniacs, were not produced by the power of the devil, but were the consequences of some violent natural malady. Jans. conc. Evang.
Ver. 41. See this explained in Matt. ix. and Mark v.
Ver. 43. All her substance; (olon ton bion) i.e. all that she had to live upon.
Ver. 45. All denied that they had designedly touched him, though, on account of the pressure of the crowd, many unwillingly touched him. Menochii Commentaria.
Ver. 48. Para tou arcisunagwgou, which some interpret, from the house of the ruler. M.
--- In vain do you trouble him. Idem. Ibid.
Ver. 55. This returning of the souls again, to reanimate the bodies of those whom Christ and his apostles raised from death, (and especially Lazarus, who had been dead four days) doth evidently prove the immortality of the soul. From this place we may also conclusively infer against our adversaries, who say, that every one goeth straight to heaven or hell, that it is not probable that they were called from the one or the other; and therefore from some third place.