St Mark 3:1-12

St Mark 3:1-12 deals with the healing of a man with a withered hand, and the reaction of the Pharisees and 'Herodians':

Et introivit iterum in synagogam: et erat ibi homo habens manum aridam. 2 Et observabant eum, si sabbatis curaret, ut accusarent illum. 3 Et ait homini habenti manum aridam: Surge in medium. 4 Et dicit eis: Licet sabbatis benefacere, an male? animam salvam facere, an perdere? At illi tacebant. 5 Et circumspiciens eos cum ira, contristatus super cæcitate cordis eorum, dicit homini: Extende manum tuam. Et extendit, et restituta est manus illi.6 Exeuntes autem pharisæi, statim cum Herodianis consilium faciebant adversus eum quomodo eum perderent. 7 Jesus autem cum discipulis suis secessit ad mare: et multa turba a Galilæa et Judæa secuta est eum, 8 et ab Jerosolymis, et ab Idumæa, et trans Jordanem: et qui circa Tyrum et Sidonem multitudo magna, audientes quæ faciebat, venerunt ad eum. 9 Et dicit discipulis suis ut navicula sibi deserviret propter turbam, ne comprimerent eum: 10 multos enim sanabat, ita ut irruerent in eum ut illum tangerent, quotquot habebant plagas. 11 Et spiritus immundi, cum illum videbant, procidebant ei: et clamabant, dicentes: 12 Tu es Filius Dei. Et vehementer comminabatur eis ne manifestarent illum.

1] And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. [2] And they watched him whether he would heal on the sabbath days; that they might accuse him. [3] And he said to the man who had the withered hand: Stand up in the midst. [4] And he saith to them: Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy? But they held their peace. [5] And looking round about on them with anger, being grieved for the blindness of their hearts, he saith to the man: Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his hand was restored unto him.
[6] And the Pharisees going out, immediately made a consultation with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. [7] But Jesus retired with his disciples to the sea; and a great multitude followed him from Galilee and Judea, [8] And from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond the Jordan. And they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing the things which he did, came to him. [9] And he spoke to his disciples that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. [10] For he healed many, so that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had evils.[11] And the unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him: and they cried, saying: [12] Thou art the Son of God. And he strictly charged them that they should not make him known.


Ver. 4. And He saith to them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath-days, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy? But they held their peace. The translator reads άπολέσαι, that is, to destroy. We now read α̉ποκτει̃ναι, i.e, to kill. But to destroy is better. For the Gospel is speaking of a maimed person, who had a withered hand, not of one who was dead. With reference to healing this maimed person, the Scribes had proposed a doubt or scruple, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-days? Christ resolved this doubt by means of another question, not dubious, but plain, Is it lawful to do well on the Sabbath, or to do evil; to save a soul, or to destroy it? (Vulg.). A soul, i.e., a man, says S. Augustine. The meaning is, if any one should not succour or do a kindness to one who is sick or heavily afflicted, like this maimed man, on the Sabbath, when he is able to do it, as I, Christ, am able, he does him an injury; for he refuses him the help which is due to him by the law of love. In a similar sense S. Augustine says, “If thou hast not fed the hungry, thou hast killed him,” because thou hast allowed him to die of hunger. In like manner, if thou hast not delivered him who was about to be killed by a robber, when thou mightest have done so, thou hast slain him; for his death will be reckoned to thee by God for guilt and punishment, in exactly the same manner as if thou hadst killed him thyself. Christ, therefore, signifies that not to do good on the Sabbath to a sick person, when thou art able, is to do him evil. But it is never lawful to do evil. Therefore it is always lawful to do good to such persons, even on the Sabbath. For the Sabbath is devoted to God and good works. And thus it is a more grievous sin to do evil on the Sabbath than upon other days. For by this means the sanctity of the Sabbath is violated, even as by doing good upon it it is the better kept and hallowed.

Ver. 5. And looking round upon them with anger. Being angry at their unbelief, says the Interlinear, showing by His countenance that He was wroth with the blind, and obstinate, and perverse minds of the Scribes, in that they ascribed Christ’s miracles of goodness, which He wrought upon the Sabbath, to a breach of the law enjoining the observance of that day. From hence it is plain that there was in Christ real anger, sorrow, and the rest of the passions and affections, as they exist in other men, only subject to reason. Wherefore anger was in Him a whetstone of virtue. “Anger,” says Franc. Lucas, “is in us a passion; in Christ it was, as it were, an action. It arises spontaneously in us; by Christ it was stirred up in Himself. When it has arisen in us, it disturbs the other faculties of the body and mind, nor can it be repressed at our own pleasure; but when stirred up in Christ, it acts as He wills it to act, it disturbs nothing,—in fine, it ceases when He wills it to cease.”

This is what S. Leo (Epist. 11) says, “The bodily senses were vigorous in Christ without the law of sin; and the reality of His affections was governed by His soul and deity.”

Lactantius says (lib. de Ira Dei ex Posidon.), “Anger is the lust of punishing him by whom you think yourself to have been injured.” Wherefore anger in other men springs from self-love; but in Christ it sprang from love of God, because He loved God perfectly. Hence He was infinitely grieved and angry at offences against God by reason of sin, and committed by sinners, wishing to compensate for those offences by punishing or correcting sinners and unbelievers. Wherefore Christ’s anger was zeal, or seasoned with zeal, even as in the angels and the blessed it is not anger but zeal. (See S. Thomas, 3 p. q. art 9.)

Being grieved at the blindness, Syriac, hardness or callousness, of their hearts. Grieved, Gr. συλλυπούμενος, i.e., condoling with and commiserating them, because, being blinded and hardened by envy and hatred, they would not acknowledge Him to be the Messiah, but spake evil of His kindness to the sick upon the Sabbath-days. It is meant, therefore, that the anger of Jesus did not proceed from the desire of vengeance, but was mingled with pity; and that Jesus was angry with sin, but sorry for sinners, insomuch as He loved them, and strove to save them. Lastly, all such anger is mingled with sorrow; for he that is angry grieves for the evil at which he is angry. Thus the sorrow for the evil causes and sharpens anger, that it may strive to remove the evil at which it is grieved.

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