1. Then came together unto Him the Pharisees, and certain of the Scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2. And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, the unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5. Then the Pharisees and Scribes asked Him, "Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?"
6. He answered and said unto them, "Well hath Esaias [Isaiah] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'
8. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [p. 131]
9. And He said unto them, "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10. For Moses said, 'Honour thy father and thy mother;' and, 'Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:'
11. But ye say, 'If a man shall say to his father or mother - It is Corban - that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.'
12. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
Bede, in Marc., 2, 29: The people of the land of Gennesareth, who seemed to be unlearned men, not only come themselves, but also bring their sick to the Lord, that they may but succeed in touching the hem of His garment. But the Pharisees and Scribes, who ought to have been the teachers of the people, run together to the Lord, not to seek for healing, but to move captious questions.
Wherefore it is said, "Then there came together unto Him the Pharisees and certain of the Scribes, coming from Jerusalem; and when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashen hands, they found fault."
Theophylact: For the disciples of the Lord, who were taught only the practice of virtue, used to eat in a simple way, without washing their hands; but the Pharisees, wishing to find an occasion of blame against them, took it up; they did not indeed blame them as transgressors of the law, but for transgressing the traditions of the elders.
Wherefore it goes on: "For the Pharisees and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders."
Bede: For taking the spiritual words of the Prophets in a carnal sense, they observed, by washing the body alone, commandments which concerned the chastening of the heart and deeds, saying, "Wash [p. 132] you, make you clean;" [Isa 1:16] and again, "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." [Isa 52.11]
It is therefore a superstitious human tradition, that men who are clean already, should wash oftener because they eat bread, and that they should not eat on leaving the market, without washing. But it is necessary for those who desire to partake of the bread which comes down from heaven, often to cleanse their evil deeds by alms, by tears, and the other fruits of righteousness. It is also necessary for a man to wash thoroughly away the pollutions which he has contracted from the cares of temporal business, by being afterwards intent on good thoughts and works.
In vain, however, do the Jews wash their hands, and cleanse themselves after the market, so long as they refuse to be washed in the font of the Saviour; in vain do they observe the washing of their vessels, who neglect to wash away the filthy sins of their bodies and of their hearts.
It goes on: "Then the Scribes and Pharisees asked Him, Why walk not thy disciples after the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with common hands?"
Jerome, Hier. in Matt., 15: Wonderful is the folly of the Pharisees and Scribes; they accuse the Son of God, because He keeps not the traditions and precepts of men. But "common" is here put for unclean; for the people of the Jews, boasting that they were the portion of God, called those meats common, which all made use of.
Pseudo-Jerome: He beats back the vain words of the Pharisees with His arguments, as men drive back dogs with weapons, by interpreting Moses and Isaiah, that we too by the word of Scripture may conquer the heretics, who oppose us.
Wherefore it goes on: "Well hath Esaia prophesied of you hypocrites; as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." [Isa 29:13]
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: For since they unjustly accused the disciples not of trangressing the law, but the commands of the elders, He sharply confounds them, calling them hypocrites, as looking with reverence upon what was not worthy of it. He adds, however, the words of Isaiah the prophet, as spoken to them; as though He would say, As those men, of whom it is said, "that they honour God with their lips, whilst their heart is far from Him," in vain pretend to observe the dictates of piety, whilst they honour the doctrines of men, so ye also neglect your soul, of which you [p. 133] should take care, and blame those who live justly.
Pseudo-Jerome: But Pharisaical tradition, as to tables and vessels, is to be cut off, and cast away. For they often make the commands of God yield to the traditions of men.
Wherefore it continues, "For laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold to the traditions of men, as the washing of pots and cups."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Moreover, to convict them of neglecting the reverence due to God, for the sake of the tradition of the elders, which was opposed to the Holy Scriptures, He subjoins, "For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death."
Bede: The sense of the word honour in Scripture is not so much the saluting and paying court to men, as alms-giving, and bestowing gifts; "honour," says the Apostle, "widows who are widows indeed." [1 Tim 5:3]
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Notwithstanding the existence of such a divine law, and the threats against such as break it, ye lightly transgress the commandment of God, observing the traditions of the Elders.
Wherefore there follows: "But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;" understand, he will be freed from the observation of the foregoing command.
Wherefore it continues, "And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother."
Theophylact: For the Pharisees, wishing to devour the offerings, instructed sons, when their parents asked for some of their property, to answer them, what thou hast asked of me is corban, that is, a gift, I have already offered it up to the Lord; thus the parents would not require it, as being offered up to the Lord, (and in that way profitable for their own salvation). [ed. note: the words in the parenthesis are not in Theophylact]
Thus they deceived the sons into neglecting their parents, whilst they themselves devoured the offerings; with this therefore the Lord reproaches them, as transgressing the law of God for the sake of gain. Wherefore it goes on, "Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye;" transgressing, that is, the commands of God, that ye may observe the traditions of men.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Or else it may be said, that the Pharisees taught young persons, that if a man offered a gift in expiation of the injury done to his [p. 134] father or mother, he was free from sin, as having given to God the gifts which are owed to a parent; and in saying this, they did not allow parents to be honoured.
Bede: The passage may in a few words have this sense, Every gift which I have to make, will go to do you good; for ye compel children, it is meant, to say to their parents, that gift which I was going to offer to God, I expend on feeding you, and does you good, oh father and mother, speaking this ironically. Thus they would be afraid to accept what had been given into the hands of God, and might prefer a life of poverty to living on consecrated property.
Pseudo-Jerome: Mystically, again, the disciples eating with unwashed hands signifies the future fellowship of the Gentiles with the Apostles. The cleaning and washing of the Pharisees is barren; but the fellowship of the Apostles, though without washing, has stretched out its branches as far as the sea.
14. And when he had called all the people unto Him, He said unto them, "Hearken unto Me every one of you, and understand:
15. There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
16. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."
17. And when He was entered into the house from the people, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable.
18. And He saith unto them, "Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
19. Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?"
20. And He said, "That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [p. 135]
21. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22. Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: The Jews regard and murmur about only the bodily purification of the law; our Lord wishes to bring in the contrary.
Wherefore it is said, "And when He had called all the people unto Him, He said unto them, Hearken unto Me every one, and understand: there is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him, but the things which come out of a man, those are they which defile a man;" that is, which make him unclean.
The things of Christ have relation to the inner man, but those which are of the law are visible and external, to which, as being bodily, the cross of Christ was shortly to put an end.
Theophylact: But the intention of the Lord in saying this was to teach men, that the observing of meats, which the law commands, should not be taken in a carnal sense, and from this He began to unfold to them the intent of the law.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Again He subjoins, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." For He had not clearly shewn them, what those things are which proceed out of a man, and defile a man; and on account of this saying, the Apostles thought that the foregoing discourse of the Lord implied some other deep thing.
Wherefore there follows: "And when He was entered into the house from the people, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable;" they called it parable, because it was not clear.
Theophylact: The Lord begins by chiding them, wherefore there follows, "Are ye so without understanding also?"
Bede: For that man is a faulty hearer who considers what is obscure to be a clear speech, or what is clear to be obscurely spoken.
Theophylact: Then the Lord shews them what was hidden, saying, "Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot make him common?"
Bede: [p. 136] For the Jews, boasting themselves to be the portion of God, call common those meals which all men use, as shellfish, hares, and animals of that sort. Not even however what is offered to idols is unclean, in as far as it is food and God's creature; it is the invocation of devils which makes it unclean; and He adds the cause of it, saying, "Because it entereth not into his heart."
The principal seat of the soul according to Plato is the brain, but according to Christ, it is in the heart.
Gloss [ed. note: It is probable that most, if not all the Glosses which cannot be found, are from St. Thomas himself, and this one is especially like his language, as may be seen by referring to Summa, 2, 2, Q148, Art 1, and 1, Q119, Art 1, in both of which places also he quotes the passages in St. Matthew parallel to this part of St. Mark.] It says therefore into his heart, that is, into his mind, which is the principal part of his soul, on which his whole life depends; wherefore it is necessary, that according to the state of his heart a man should be called clean or unclean, and thus whatsoever does not reach the soul, cannot bring pollution to the man.
Meats therefore, since they do not reach the soul, cannot in their own nature defile a man; but an inordinate use of meats, which proceeds from a want of order in the mind, makes men unclean.
But that meats cannot reach the mind, He shews by that which He adds, saying, "But into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats." This however He says, without referring to what remains from the food in the body, for that which is necessary for the nourishment and growth of the body remains. But that which is superfluous goes out, and thus as it were purges the nourishment, which remains.
Augustine: For some things are joined to others in such a way as both to change and be changed, just as food, losing its former appearance, is both itself turned into our body, and we too are changed, and our strength is refreshed by it.
[ed. note: The last words of this comment are not in St. Augustine, but in Bede, who took them originally from St. Jerome's Commentary on Matthew, from whence most of Bede's remarks on this passage are taken word for word. As the sentence marked Bede is not found in him, it probably belongs to the Gloss, and his name has been transferred from the former sentence.] Further, a most subtle liquid, after the food has been prepared and digested in our veins, and other arteries, by some hidden channels, called from a Greek word, pores, passes through us, and goes into the draught.
Bede: Thus then it is not meat that makes men unclean, but wickedness, which works in us [p. 137] the passions which come from within.
Wherefore it goes on: "And He said, That which cometh out of a man, that defileth a man."
Gloss.: The meaning of which He points out, when He subjoins, "for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts."
And thus it appears that evil thoughts belong to the mind, which is here called the heart, and according to which a man is called good or bad, clean or unclean.
Bede: From this passage are condemned those men who suppose that thoughts are put into them by the devil, and do not arise from their own evil will. The devil may excite and help on evil thoughts, he cannot be their author.
Gloss.: From evil thoughts, however, evil actions proceed to greater lengths, concerning which it is added, adulteries, that is, acts which consist in the violation of another man's bed; fornications, which are unlawful connexions between persons, not bound by marriage; murders, by which hurt is inflicted on the person of one's neighbour; thefts, by which his goods are taken from him; covetousness, by which things are unjustly kept; wickedness, which consists in calumniating others; deceit, in overreaching them; lasciviousness, to which belongs any corruption of mind or body.
Theophylact: An evil eye, that is, hatred and flattery, for he who hates turns an evil and envious eye on him whom he hates, and a flatterer, looking askance at his neighbour's goods, leads him into evil; blasphemies, that is, faults committed against God; pride, that is, contempt of God, when a man ascribes the good, which he does, not to God, but to his own virtue; foolishness, that is, an injury against one's neighbour.
Gloss. [ed. note: see Summa 2, 2, Q46, 1, and 1, 2, Q1, 1]: Or, foolishness consists in wrong thoughts concerning God; for it is opposed to wisdom, which is the knowledge of divine things. It goes on: "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." For whatsoever is in the power of a man, is imputed to him as a fault, because all such things proceed from the interior will, by which man is master of his own actions.
24. And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it; but He could not be hid.
25. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet:
26. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
27. But Jesus said unto her, "Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs."
28. And she answered and said unto Him, "Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs."
29. And He said unto her, "For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter."
30. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
Theophylact: After that the Lord had finished His teaching concerning food, seeing that the Jews were incredulous, He enters into the country of the Gentiles, for the Jews being unfaithful, salvation turns itself to the Gentiles.
Wherefore it is said, "And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Tyre and Sidon were places of the Canaanites, therefore the Lord comes to them, not as to His own, but as to men, who had nothing in common with the fathers to whom the promise was made. And therefore He comes in such a way, that His coming should not be known to the Tyrians and Sidonians.
Wherefore it continues: "and entered into a house, and would have no man know it." For the time had not come for His dwelling with the Gentiles and bringing them to the faith, for this was not to be, till after His cross and resurrection.
Theophylact: Or else, His reason for coming in secret was that the Jews should not find occasion of blame against Him, as if He had passed over to the unclean Gentiles.
It goes on: "But He could not be hid."
Pseudo-Augustine, Quaest e Vet. et N. Test. 77: But if He wished to do so and could not, it appears [p. 139] as if His will was impotent; it is not possible however that our Saviour's will should not be fulfilled, nor can He will a thing, which He knows ought not be.
Therefore when a thing has taken place, it may be asserted that He has willed it. But we should observe that this happened amongst the Gentiles, to whom it was not time to preach; nevertheless not to receive them, when they came to the faith of their own accord, would have been to grudge them the faith.
So then it came to pass that the Lord was not made known by His disciples; others, however, who had seen Him entering the house, recognized Him, and it began to be known that He was there. His will therefore was that He should not be proclaimed by His own disciples, but that others should come to seek Him, and so it took place.
Bede, in Marc., 2, 30: Having entered also into the house, He commanded His disciples not to betray who He was to anyone in this unknown region, that they, on whom He had bestowed the grace of healing, might learn by His example, as far as they could, to shrink from the glory of human praise in the shewing forth of their miracles; yet they were not to cease from the pious work of virtue, when either the faith of the good justly deserved that miracles should be done, or the unfaithfulness of the wicked might necessarily compel them. For He Himself made known His entry into that place to the Gentile woman, and to whomsoever He would.
Pseudo-Aug.: Lastly, the Canaanitish woman came in to Him, on hearing of Him; if she had not first submitted herself to the God of the Jews, she would not have obtained their benefit. Concerning her it continues: "For a woman, whose daughter had an unclean spirit, as soon as she had heard of Him, came in and fell at His feet."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Now by this the Lord wished to shew His disciples that He opened the door of faith even to the Gentiles, wherefore also the nation of the woman is described when it is added, "The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophenician by nation," that is, from Syria and Phaenice.
It goes on: "and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter."
Augustine, de Con. Evan., 2, 49: It appears however that some question about a discrepancy may be raised, because it is said that the Lord was in the house when the woman came, asking about her daughter. When, however, Matthew says that His disciples had suggested to Him, [p. 140] "Send her away, for she crieth after us," [Matt 15:23] He appears to imply nothing less than that the woman uttered supplicating cries after the Lord, as He walked. How then do we infer that she was in the house, except by gathering it from Mark, who says that she came in to Jesus, after having before said that He was in the house? But Matthew in that he says, "He answered her not a word," gave us to understand that He went out, during that silence, from the house; thus too the other events are connected together, so that they now in no way disagree.
It continues: "But He said unto her, Let the children be first filled."
Bede: The time will come when even you who are Gentiles will obtain salvation; but it is right that first the Jews who deservedly are wont to be called by the name of children of God's ancient election, should be refreshed with heavenly bread, and that so at length, the food of life should be ministered to the Gentiles.
There follows: "For it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: These words He uttered not that there is in Him a deficiency of virtue, to prevent His ministering to all, but because His benefit, if ministered to both Jews and Gentiles who had no communication with each other, might be a cause of jealousy.
Theophylact: He calls the Gentiles dogs, as being thought wicked by the Jews; and He means by bread, the benefit which the Lord promised to the children, that is, to the Jews. The sense therefore is, that it is not right for the Gentiles first to be partakers of the benefit, promised principally to the Jews. The reason, therefore, why the Lord does not immediately hear, but delays His grace, is, that He may also shew that the faith of the woman was firm, and that we may learn not at once to grow weary in prayer, but to continue earnest till we obtain.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: In like manner also to shew the Jews that He did not confer healing on foreigners in the same degree as to them, and that by the discovery of the woman's faith, the unfaithfulness of the Jews might be the more laid bare. For the woman did not take it ill, but with much reverence assented to what the Lord had said.
Wherefore it goes on, "And she answered and said unto Him, Truth, Lord, but the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs."
Theophylact: As if she had said, The Jews have the whole of that bread which comes down from heaven, [p. 141] and Thy benefits also; I ask for the crumbs, that is, a small portion of the benefit.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Her placing herself therefore in the rank of dogs is a mark of her reverence; as if she said, I hold it as a favour to be even in the position of a dog, and to eat not from another table, but from that of the Master himself.
Theophylact: Because therefore the woman answered with much wisdom, she obtained what she wanted; wherefore there follows, "And He said unto her, &c." He said not, My virtue hath made thee whole, but for this saying, that is, for thy faith, which is shewn by this saying, "go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter."
It goes on: "And when she was come into her house, she found her daughter laid upon the bed, and the devil gone out."
Bede: On account then of the humble and faithful saying of her mother, the devil left the daughter; here is given a precedent for catechising and baptizing infants, seeing that by the faith and the confession of the parents, infants are freed in baptism from the devil, though they can neither have knowledge in themselves, or do either good or evil.
Pseudo-Jerome: Mystically however the Gentile woman, who prays for her daughter, is our mother the Church of Rome. Her daughter afflicted with a devil, is the barbarian western race, which by faith hath been turned from a dog into a sheep. She desires to take the crumbs of spiritual understanding, not the unbroken bread of the letter.
Theophylact: The soul of each of us also, when he falls into sin, becomes a woman; and this soul has a daughter who is sick, that is, evil actions; this daughter again has a devil, for evil actions arise from devils. Again, sinners are called dogs, being filled with uncleanness. For which reason we are not worthy to receive the bread of God, or to be made partakers of the immaculate mysteries of God; if however in humility, knowing ourselves to be dogs, we confess our sins, then the daughter, that is, our evil life, shall be healed.
31. And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, He came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
32. And they bring unto Him one that was deaf, [p. 142] and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put His hand upon him.
33. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears, and He spit, and touched His tongue;
34. And looking up to heaven, He sighed, and saith unto him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened."
35. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
36. And He charged them that they should tell no man: but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;
37. And were beyond measure astonished, saying, "He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."
Theophylact: The Lord did not wish to stay in the parts of the Gentiles, lest He should give the Jews occasion to say, that they esteemed Him a transgressor of the law, because He held communion with the Gentiles, and therefore He immediately returns.
Wherefore it is said, "And again departing from the coasts of Tyre, He came through Sidon, to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis."
Bede, in Marc., 2, 31: Decapolis is a region of ten cities, across the Jordan, to the east, over against Galilee [ed. note: It appears, however, from Reland, Pales. v.1, p198, that a portion of Decapolis, including its metropolis, Scythopolis, was on this side Jordan, and therefore this text of St. Mark may be taken literally.] When therefore it is said that the Lord came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis, it does not mean that He entered the confines of Decapolis themselves; for He is not said to have crossed the sea, but rather to have come to the borders of the sea, and to have reached quite up to the place, which was opposite to the midst of the coasts of Decapolis, which were situated at a distance across the sea.
It goes on, "And they bring Him one that was deaf and dumb, and they besought Him to lay hands upon him."
Theophylact: Which is rightly placed after the deliverance of one possessed with a [p. 143] devil, for such an instance of suffering came from the devil.
There follows, "And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers into his ears."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: He takes the deaf and dumb man who was brought to Him apart from the crowd, that He might not do His divine miracles openly; teaching us to cast away vain glory and swelling of heart, for no one can work miracles as he can, who loves humility and is lowly in his conduct. But He puts His fingers into his ears, when He might have cured him with a word, to shew that His body, being united to Deity, was consecrated by Divine virtue, with all that He did. For since on account of the transgression of Adam, human nature had incurred much suffering and hurt in its members and senses, Christ coming into the world shewed the perfection of human nature in Himself, and on this account opened ears, with His fingers, and gave the power of speech by His spittle.
Wherefore it goes on, "And spit, and touched his tongue."
Theophylact: That He might shew that all the members of His sacred body are divine and holy, even the spittle which loosed the string of the tongue. For the spittle is only the superflous moisture of the body, but in the Lord, all things are divine.
It goes on, "And looking up to heaven, He groaned, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened."
Bede: He looked up to heaven, that He might teach us that thence is to be procured speech for the dumb, hearing for the deaf, health for all who are sick. And He sighed, not that it was necessary for Him to be any thing from His Father with groaning, for He, together with the Father, gives all things to them who ask, but that He might give us an example of sighing, when for our own errors and those of our neighbours, we invoke the guardianship of the Divine mercy.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: He at the same time also groaned, as taking our cause upon Himself and pitying human nature, seeing the misery into which it had fallen.
Bede: But that which He says, "Ephphatha, that is, Be opened," belong properly to the ears, for the ears are to be opened for hearing, but the tongue to be loosed from the bonds of its impediment, that is may be able to speak.
Wherefore it goes on, "And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain."
Where each nature of one and the same Christ [p. 144] is manifestly distinct, looking up indeed into Heaven as man, praying unto God, He groaned, but presently with one word, as being strong in the Divine Majesty, He healed.
It goes on, "And He charged them that they should tell no man."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: By which He has taught us not to boast in our powers, but in the cross and humiliation. He also bade them conceal the miracle, lest He should excite the Jews by envy to kill Him before the time.
Pseudo-Jerome: A city, however, placed on a hill cannot be hid, and lowliness always comes before glory.
Wherefore it goes on, "but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it."
Theophylact: By this we are taught, when we confer benefits on any, by no means to seek for applause and praise; but when we have received benefits, to proclaim and praise our benefactors, even though they be unwilling.
Augustine: If however He, as one Who knew the present and the future wills of men, knew that they would proclaim Him the more in proportion as He forbade them, why did He give them this command? If it were not that He wished to prove to men who are idle, how much more joyfully, with how much greater obedience, they whom He commands to proclaim Him should preach, when they who were forbidden could not hold their peace.
Gloss.: From the preaching however of those who were healed by Christ, the wonder of the multitude, and their praise of the benefits of Christ, increased.
Wherefore it goes on, "And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; he maketh the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak."
Pseudo-Jerome: Mystically, Tyre is interpreted, narrowness, and signifies Judaea, to which the Lord said, "For the bed is grown too narrow," [Isa 28:20] and from which He turns Himself to the Gentiles. Sidon means, hunting, for our race is like an untamed beast, and "sea", which means a wavering inconstancy. Again, the Saviour comes to save the Gentiles in the midst of the coasts of Decapolis, which may be interpreted, as the commands of the Decalogue.
Further, the human race throughout its many members is reckoned as one man, eaten up by varying pestilence, in the first created man; it is blinded, that is, its eye is evil; it becomes deaf, when it listens to, and dumb when it speaks, evil. And they prayed Him to lay His hand upon him, because many just men, and [p. 145] patriarchs, wished and longed for the time when the Lord should come in the flesh.
Bede: Or he is deaf and dumb, who neither has ears to hear the words of God, nor opens his mouth to speak them, and such must be presented to the Lord for healing, by men who have already learned to hear and speak the divine oracles.
Pseudo-Jerome: Further, he who obtains healing is always drawn aside from turbulent thoughts, disorderly actions, and incoherent speeches. And the fingers which are put into the ears are the words and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, of whom it is said, "This is the finger of God." [Ex 8:19; Luke 11:20]
The spittle is heavenly wisdom, which loosens the sealed lips of the human race, so that it can say, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and the rest of the Creed. "And looking up to heaven, he groaned," that is, He taught us to groan, and to raise up the treasures of our hearts to the heavens; because by the groaning of hearty compunction, the silly joy of the flesh is purged away. But the ears are opened to hymns, and songs, and psalms; and He looses the tongue, that it may pour forth the good word, which neither threats nor stripes can restrain.