Ver. 4. The law and the prophets were signified by Moses and Elias; both bear testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ's mission, which was effectually to close the old, and open the new dispensation. By the apparitions of these two illustrious personages, we learn also that sometimes, though not often, there is, by the permission of heaven, a certain intercourse between the living and the dead. B.
Ver. 5. Peter had forgotten that the glorious kingdom of Christ was not of this world, but in heaven only; that himself and the other apostles, clothed as they were with their mortality, could not participate in immortal joys; and that the mansions in the house of the Father are not raised with human hands. He again shewed that he knew not what he said, by wishing to make three tabernacles, one for the law, one for the prophets, and one for the gospel, since these three cannot be separated from each other. Ven. Bede.
Ver. 9. Risen from the dead. The disciples believed the resurrection of the dead, but they knew not what Christ meant by by his rising from the dead. Their thoughts were filled with the idea of a glorious kingdom in this world, in which they should enjoy great dignities and offices under the Messias. Wi.
Ver. 10. The Jews here confound the two comings of Jesus Christ. The Baptist, in the spirit of Elias, will precede the first, and Elias in person, the second coming of Christ.
Ver. 14. The multitude were so solicitous to see Christ that they saluted him when yet a great way off. Some imagine that the countenance of our Saviour, being rendered more beautiful by his transfiguration, attracted the attention and admiration of the people. Theophy.
Ver. 20. Let those blush who pretend to affirm, that all men come into this world clear of original sin, and perfectly innocent like Adam when first created. For why should this child be tormented by a cruel devil, if he had not been under the guilt of original sin, as it is clear, beyond dispute, that he could not be guilty of any actual transgression? Ven. Bede.
Ver. 22. The answer of our Lord is adapted to the petition of the child's father. He had said: If thou canst do any thing, have mercy on us: and Christ answered: If thou canst believe, &c. Thus when the leper said: If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean, he answered: I will, be thou made clean. Ven Bede.
--- †All things are possible to him that believeth. The sense is not, as if he that believeth could do all things; but that any thing might be done by the divine power and goodness, in favour of him that had a firm and lively faith. Wi.
[†] V. 22. Omnia possibilia sunt credenti, dunata tw pisteuont.
Ver. 23. If the man believed, as he said, why does he add, help my unbelief? It may be answered: because faith is manifold; their is a faith of beginners, and a faith of the perfect. The incipient faith this man already possessed, and he besought our Saviour to help him to the higher degrees of this virtue. No one becomes great and perfect all at once, but must first set off with small beginnings, and thus gradually ascend to the height of perfection. Thus the man, who, by the inspiration of grace has received imperfect faith, may be said at the same time to believe, and still to be incredulous. Ven. Bede.
--- Here we are taught that our faith is weak, and has need of support and increase from God's assistance. When tears accompany our faith, they obtain for us the grant of our petitions. S. Jerom.
Ver. 26. Him whom the devil had made like to the dead, the goodness of Christ, by his charitable touch, restored to life. Thus proving at once both his divinity and humanity; the former by his wonderful cure of healing, and the latter by performing this cure by a touch of the hand. Ven. Bede.
--- The devil could not inflict a real death on the child, on account of the dissent of the Author of life. S. Chrys.
Ver. 27. This person, whom the apostles had forbidden to work miracles in the name of Christ, believed indeed in Christ, but did not follow him, on account of the great poverty of the apostles: he was not perfect, nor had he left all things to follow Christ. The apostles therefore concluded, that such a one was not worthy to work miracles in the name of their divine Master. But for this indiscretion, Christ rebukes them, saying , do not, &c. T.
Ver. 31. They could not comprehend what he said; and this not so much through the dulness and stupidity of their understandings, as through their personal affection to him; and because knowing him to be God, they could not conceive how a God could die. Nic. de Lyra.
CapharnaumCapharnaum (Mt 4:13, etc.), on the Lake of Tiberias; identified by some with Tell Hûm, on the W. shore; by others with Minieh, S.W. of Tell Hûm. --- Capharnaum is situated on the western coast of the sea of Tiberias. Christ having left Nazareth, made the former city the usual place of his abode. There was no city in which he had preached so much, or wrought so many miracles. On this account, he said it was exalted to the heavens; but for its incredulity he threatens it shall be cast down even unto hell. Calmet.
Ver. 37. Who followeth not us, in that special manner, as Christ's apostles did. Wi.
Ver. 40. Here we may find that no one, however poor, can be excused from good works; since there is no one who is not able to give at least a cup of cold water; and we are assured that he will not lose his reward. Nic. de Lyra.
Ver. 43. Where their worm dieth not. These words are taken out of Isaias lxvi. 24; and are to be expounded of the punishments, and fruitless repentance of the wicked in the next world. Wi.
Ver. 48. †For every one shall be salted with fire. The sense seems to be, that every wicked unrepenting sinner (of whom it was before said, that their worm dieth not) shall be severely and continually punished, though not consumed by the fire of hell.
--- And every victim shall be salted with salt; that is, even good men shall be cleansed and purified by trials and sufferings in this world, as some victims were to be salted by the law. Lev. ii. 13. Wi.
[†] V. 48. Omnis enim igne salietur, et omnis victima sale salietur, paV gar puri alisJhsetai, kai pasa qusia ali alisJhsetai.
Ver. 49. Become unsavoury; i.e. if he, who has once received the faith, should apostatize from it, what is there that can possibly convert him from his wicked ways? since even the salt, with which he was salted, is become unsavoury, i.e. the doctrines he formerly received are no longer of any use. Nic. de Lyra.