St Mark 1:14-31

St Mark 1:14-31 takes us to the start of Jesus' public ministry, and the calling of the disciples:

14 Postquam autem traditus est Joannes, venit Jesus in Galilæam, prædicans Evangelium regni Dei, 15 et dicens: Quoniam impletum est tempus, et appropinquavit regnum Dei: pœnitemini, et credite Evangelio. 16 Et præteriens secus mare Galilææ, vidit Simonem, et Andream fratrem ejus, mittentes retia in mare (erant enim piscatores), 17 et dixit eis Jesus: Venite post me, et faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum. 18 Et protinus relictis retibus, secuti sunt eum. 19 Et progressus inde pusillum, vidit Jacobum Zebedæi, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ipsos componentes retia in navi: 20 et statim vocavit illos. Et relicto patre suo Zebedæo in navi cum mercenariis, secuti sunt eum. 21 Et ingrediuntur Capharnaum: et statim sabbatis ingressus in synagogam, docebat eos.22 Et stupebant super doctrina ejus: erat enim docens eos quasi potestatem habens, et non sicut scribæ. 23 Et erat in synagoga eorum homo in spiritu immundo: et exclamavit, 24 dicens: Quid nobis et tibi, Jesu Nazarene? venisti perdere nos? scio qui sis, Sanctus Dei. 25 Et comminatus est ei Jesus, dicens: Obmutesce, et exi de homine. 26 Et discerpens eum spiritus immundus, et exclamans voce magna, exiit ab eo. 27 Et mirati sunt omnes, ita ut conquirerent inter se dicentes: Quidnam est hoc? quænam doctrina hæc nova? quia in potestate etiam spiritibus immundis imperat, et obediunt ei. 28 Et processit rumor ejus statim in omnem regionem Galilææ.29 Et protinus egredientes de synagoga, venerunt in domum Simonis et Andreæ, cum Jacobo et Joanne. 30 Decumbebat autem socrus Simonis febricitans: et statim dicunt ei de illa. 31 Et accedens elevavit eam, apprehensa manu ejus: et continuo dimisit eam febris, et ministrabat eis.

And after that John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel. [16] And passing by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother, casting nets into the sea (for they were fishermen). [17] And Jesus said to them: Come after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. [18] And immediately leaving their nets, they followed him. [19] And going on from thence a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were mending their nets in the ship: [20] And forthwith he called them. And leaving their father Zebedee in the ship with his hired men, they followed him. [21] And they entered into Capharnaum, and forthwith upon the sabbath days going into the synagogue, he taught them. [22] And they were astonished at his doctrine. For he was teaching them as one having power, and not as the scribes. [23] And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, [24] Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God. [25] And Jesus threatened him, saying: Speak no more, and go out of the man.
[26] And the unclean spirit tearing him, and crying out with a loud voice, went out of him. [27] And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying: What thing is this? what is this new doctrine? for with power he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. [28] And the fame of him was spread forthwith into all the country of Galilee. [29] And immediately going out of the synagogue they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] And Simon' s wife' s mother lay in a fit of a fever: and forthwith they tell him of her.[31] And coming to her, he lifted her up, taking her by the hand; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.


De Lapide first explains the subject of Our Lord's preaching:

Ver. 15. And saying, Because (Gr. ότι) the time, &c. The time, that is, of the advent of Messiah, and the kingdom of heaven. That, indeed, what had been shut for so many thousands of years, Christ by His preaching, His death, and His grace, might open and unclose.

Repent ye: do penance, that ye may detest the sins ye have committed, and determine to change your lives for the better. Beautifully says the Scholiast in S. Jerome, “The sweetness of the apple makes up for the bitterness of the root, the hope of gain makes pleasant the perils of the sea, the expectation of health mitigates the nauseousness of medicine. He who desires the kernel breaks the nut; so he who desires the joy of a holy conscience swallows down the bitterness of penance.”

On the calling of the disciples:

Ver. 19. James the son of Zebedee and John. Again beautifully says the Scholiast, “By this chariot of the four fishermen we are carried up to heaven, as Elias was. On these four corner-stones the Church was first built. By four virtues we are changed into the image of God, being obedient by prudence, acting manfully by justice, trampling on the serpent by temperance, and gaining the grace of God by fortitude.” Theophylact says, “Peter, that is, action, is first called, afterwards John, that is, contemplation.”

On the reasons for the inclusion of the story of the possessed man:

Ver. 23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, i.e., a man having an unclean spirit, that is to say, possessed by a devil. The Greek has, in an unclean spirit, and it is a Hebraism. For the Hebrew uses ב, beth, i.e., in, when one noun governs another in the genitive.

And he cried out, i.e., the spirit, by the mouth of the man possessed, “as though he were suffering torment,” says the Scholiast in S. Chrysostom, “as though in pain, as though not able to bear his strokes.” “For,” as Bede says, “the presence of the Saviour is the torment of the devils.” Christ desired that by this public testimony of the demon concerning Him, in the synagogue of Capernaum (for it is plain from ver. 21 that these things occurred there), the Jews who were gathered there might acknowledge Him to be Messias...

Saying, Speak no more: Arab. shut thy mouth. Wherefore? I answer, First, Because it was not fitting that Christ should be commanded by the devil.

Second, That He might not appear to be a friend of the devil, and to hold intercourse with him. For afterwards it was objected to Christ that He cast out devils by the aid of Beelzebub. By acting as He did, Christ has taught us to shun all dealings with the devil; for he is the sworn enemy of God, and is wholly bent upon injuring and destroying us, even when he promises or brings us any corporal aid. Wherefore, as the Scholiast in Chrysostom saith, “Be silent; let thy silence be My praise. Let not thy voice, but thy torments praise Me. I am not pleased that thou shouldst praise Me, but that thou shouldst go forth.”

Third, To show that we should resist flattery, that it may not stir up any desire of vainglory in our breast.

Fourth, Euthymius says, “He has taught us never to believe the demons, even when they say what is true. For since they love falsehood, and are most hostile to us, they never speak the truth except to deceive. They make use of the truth as it were a kind of bait.” For, liars that they are, they conceal their lies by a colouring of truth. They say certain things that are true at the first, and afterwards interweave with them what is false, that those who have believed the first may believe also the last. For this cause Paul drove out the spirit of Python, who praised him, Acts xvi. 18.

Fifth, Because the demon in an unseasonable manner, and too speedily, disclosed that Christ was Messiah. For this might have injured Him, and turned the people away from Him. For so mighty a secret should be disclosed gradually, and the people be persuaded of its truth by many miracles; for otherwise they would not at first receive it and believe it. This was why (viii. 30) Christ forbids the Apostles also to say that He was Christ. So Maldonatus and others...

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