St Mark 2: 1-17

The second chapter of St Mark's Gospel opens with the story of the healing a man with palsy, and continues with the calling of St Matthew (Levi):

1 Et iterum intravit Capharnaum post dies, 2 et auditum est quod in domo esset, et convenerunt multi, ita ut non caperet neque ad januam, et loquebatur eis verbum. 3 Et venerunt ad eum ferentes paralyticum, qui a quatuor portabatur. 4 Et cum non possent offerre eum illi præ turba, nudaverunt tectum ubi erat: et patefacientes submiserunt grabatum in quo paralyticus jacebat. 5 Cum autem vidisset Jesus fidem illorum, ait paralytico: Fili, dimittuntur tibi peccata tua. 6 Erant autem illic quidam de scribis sedentes, et cogitantes in cordibus suis: 7 Quid hic sic loquitur? blasphemat. Quis potest dimittere peccata, nisi solus Deus? 8 Quo statim cognito Jesus spiritu suo, quia sic cogitarent intra se, dicit illis: Quid ista cogitatis in cordibus vestris? 9 Quid est facilius dicere paralytico: Dimittuntur tibi peccata: an dicere: Surge, tolle grabatum tuum, et ambula?  10 Ut autem sciatis quia Filius hominis habet potestatem in terra dimittendi peccata (ait paralytico), 11 tibi dico: Surge, tolle grabatum tuum, et vade in domum tuam. 12 Et statim surrexit ille: et, sublato grabato, abiit coram omnibus, ita ut mirarentur omnes, et honorificent Deum, dicentes: Quia numquam sic vidimus.13 Et egressus est rursus ad mare, omnisque turba veniebat ad eum, et docebat eos. 14 Et cum præteriret, vidit Levi Alphæi sedentem ad telonium, et ait illi: Sequere me. Et surgens secutus est eum. 15 Et factum est, cum accumberet in domo illius, multi publicani et peccatores simul discumbebant cum Jesu et discipulis ejus: erant enim multi, qui et sequebantur eum. 16 Et scribæ et pharisæi videntes quia manducaret cum publicanis et peccatoribus, dicebant discipulis ejus: Quare cum publicanis et peccatoribus manducat et bibit Magister vester? 17 Hoc audito Jesus ait illis: Non necesse habent sani medico, sed qui male habent: non enim veni vocare justos, sed peccatores.

[1] And again he entered into Capharnaum after some days. [2] And it was heard that he was in the house, and many came together, so that there was no room; no, not even at the door; and he spoke to them the word. [3] And they came to him, bringing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four. [4] And when they could not offer him unto him for the multitude, they uncovered the roof where he was; and opening it, they let down the bed wherein the man sick of the palsy lay. [5] And when Jesus had seen their faith, he saith to the sick of the palsy: Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.[6] And there were some of the scribes sitting there, and thinking in their hearts: [7] Why doth this man speak thus? he blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins, but God only? [8] Which Jesus presently knowing in his spirit, that they so thought within themselves, saith to them: Why think you these things in your hearts? [9] Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy: Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk? [10] But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)[11] I say to thee: Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. [12] And immediately he arose; and taking up his bed, went his way in the sight of all; so that all wondered and glorified God, saying: We never saw the like. [13] And he went forth again to the sea side; and all the multitude came to him, and he taught them. [14] And when he was passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting at the receipt of custom; and he saith to him: Follow me. And rising up, he followed him. [15] And it came to pass, that as he sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat down together with Jesus and his disciples. For they were many, who also followed him.[16] And the scribes and the Pharisees, seeing that he ate with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat and drink with publicans and sinners? [17] Jesus hearing this, saith to them: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners.

Commentary by De Lapide

On the healing of the man with palsy and the forgiveness of his sins:

Ver. 5. Son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Hear Bede, “When He is about to heal, He first forgives the man his sins, to show that he was suffering for his faults.” For men are afflicted with bodily ills, either for the increase of merit, as Job and the martyrs; or for the preservation of humility, as Paul; or for the correction of sin, as the sister of Moses, and this paralytic; or for the glory of God, as the man who was born blind; or for a beginning of damnation, as Herod.

Bede adds that this paralytic was carried by four bearers, to signify that a man in the faith of his soul is lifted up by four virtues to deserve soundness, namely, by prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance.

On St Matthew:

Ver. 14. He saw Levi (the son) of Alphæus, i.e., He saw Matthew, who by another name is called Levi before he was called by Christ, for after his vocation he is always called Matthew. 0f Alphæus, i.e., the son, as the Syriac expresses it. This Alphæus is a different person from the Alphæus who was the husband of Mary of Cleopas, who was the father of James the Less and Jude (Matt. x. 3). Luke and Mark call Matthew Levi, out of regard for his good name, because this name of Levi was known but to few. But he calls himself Matthew, to humiliate himself, and to profess openly that he was a sinner and a publican.

And rising up, &c., i.e., leaving everything. Wherefore Bede saith, “He left his own possessions who was wont to seize those of others. He left also the accounts of his taxes imperfect, and not cast up, because the Lord had so inflamed him that he straightway followed Him who called him.”

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