A Rich Young Man – Mark 10:24-27

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus again answering, saith to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God? 25 It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Bede: He says not, how impossible, but “how hard”; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labour.

Theophylact: It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels.

Bede: How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether.

Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to be understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature.

26 Who wondered the more, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved?

Bede: Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though the rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich.

27 And Jesus looking on them, saith: With men it is impossible; but not with God: for all things are possible with God.

Bede: Which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness and pride to charity and lowliness.

Chrysostom: The reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may shew that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the discipline of Christ.

Theophylact: When we listen to God, it becomes possible, but as long as we keep our human notions, it is impossible.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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A Rich Young Man – Mark 10:21-23

21 . . . and [Jesus] said to him: One thing is wanting unto thee: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

Chrysostom: Well too did He say, not eternal life, but “treasure”, saying, “And thou shalt have treasure in heaven”; for since the question was concerning wealth, and the renouncing of all things, He shews that He returns more things than He has bidden us leave, in proportion as heaven is greater than earth.

Theophylact: Because there are many poor who are not humble, but are drunkards or have some other vice, for this reason He says, “And come, follow me.”

22 Who being struck sad at that saying, went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Chrysostom: The increase of acquired wealth lights up a greater flame of covetousness.

23 And Jesus looking round about, saith to his disciples: How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God!

Theophylact: He says not here, that riches are bad, but that those are bad who only have them to watch them carefully; for He teaches us not to have them, that is, not to keep or preserve them, but to use them in necessary things.

Chrysostom: The Lord said this to His disciples, who were poor and possessed nothing, in order to teach them not to blush at their poverty, and as it were to make an excuse to them, and given them a reason, why He had not allowed them to possess any thing.

Bede: There is a great difference between having riches, and loving them; wherefore also Solomon says not, He that hath silver, but, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver” [Eccl 5:10].

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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A Rich Young Man – Mark 10:19-21

19 Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, bear not false witness, do no fraud, honour thy father and mother.

Bede: The righteousness of the law, when kept in its own time, conferred not only earthly goods, but also eternal life on those who chose it. . . . This is the childlike blamelessness which is proposed to us, if we would enter the kingdom of heaven [Mark 10:15].

20 But he answering, said to him: Master, all these things I have observed from my youth. 21 And Jesus looking on him, loved him, . . .

Bede: He confessed with simplicity how he had lived. . . . If however he had been guilty of lying or of dissimulation, by no means would Jesus, after looking on the secrets of his heart, have been said to love him.

Origen: On applying His mind to him, He saw that the man answered with a good conscience.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: It is worthy of enquiry, however, how He loved a man, who, He knew, would not follow Him? But this is so much as to say, that since he was worthy of love in the first instance, because he observed the things of the law from his youth, so in the end, though he did not take upon himself perfection, he did not suffer a lessening of his former love. For although he did not pass the bounds of humanity, nor follow the perfection of Christ, still he was not guilty of any sin, since he kept the law according to the capability of a man, and in this mode of keeping it, Christ loved him.

Bede: God loves those who keep the commandments of the law, though they be inferior; nevertheless, He shews to those who would be perfect the deficiency of the law, for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it [Matt 5:17].

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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A Rich Young Man – Mark 10:17-18

17 And when he was gone forth into the way, a certain man running up and kneeling before him, asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may receive life everlasting?

Bede: A certain man had heard from the Lord that only they who are willing to be like little children are worthy to enter into the kingdom of heaven [Mark 10:15], and therefore he desires to have explained to him, not in parables, but openly, by the merits of what works a man may attain everlasting life.

Theophylact: I wonder at this young man, who when all others come to Christ to be healed of their infirmities, begs of Him the possession of everlasting life, notwithstanding his love of money, the malignant passion which afterwards caused his sorrow.

18 And Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God.

Chrysostom: Because however he had come to Christ as he would to a man, and to one of the Jewish doctors, Christ answered him as Man.

He does not exclude men from goodness, but from a comparison with the goodness of God.

Bede: By this one God, Who is good, we must not only understand the Father, but also the Son, who says, “I am the good Shepherd” [John 10:11]; and also the Holy Ghost, because it is said, “The Father which is in heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask him” [Luke 11:13]. For the One and Undivided Trinity itself, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is the Only and One good God. The Lord, therefore, does not deny Himself to be good, but implies that He is God.

Theophylact: The Lord intended by these words to raise the mind of the young man, so that he might know Him to be God. But He also implies another thing by these words, that when you have to converse with a man, you should not flatter him in your conversation, but look back upon God, the root and fount of goodness, and do honour to Him.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Children – Mark 10:15-16

15 Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.

Origen: He exhorts those of His disciples who are already grown to full stature to condescend to be useful to children, that they may become to children as children, that they may gain children [1 Cor 9:22]; for He Himself, when He was in the form of God, humbled Himself, and became a child.

Bede: If ye have not innocence and purity of mind like that of children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Or else, we are ordered to receive the kingdom of God, that is, the doctrine of the Gospel, as a little child, because as a child, when he is taught, does not contradict his teachers, nor put together reasonings and words against them, but receives with faith what they teach, and obeys them with awe, so we also are to receive the word of the Lord with simple obedience, and without any gainsaying.

16 And embracing them, and laying his hands upon them, he blessed them.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: Fitly does He take them up into His arms to bless them, as it were, lifting into His own bosom, and reconciling Himself to His creation, which in the beginning fell from Him, and was separated from Him.

Bede: Having embraced the children, He also blessed them, implying that the lowly in spirit are worthy of His blessing, grace and love.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Children – Mark 10:13-14

13 And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them.

Theophylact: Now is shewn the great faith of the multitude, who believed that Christ conferred a blessing on the children whom they brought to Him, by the mere laying on of His hands.

Chrysostom: The disciples, out of regard for the dignity of Christ, forbade those who brought them.

14 Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

Chrysostom: Our Saviour, in order to teach His disciples to be modest in their ideas, and to tread under foot worldly pride, takes the children to Him, and assigns to them the kingdom of God.

Origen: If any of those who profess to hold the office of teaching in the Church should see a person bringing to them some of the foolish of this world, and low born, and weak, who for this reason are called children and infants, let him not forbid the man who offers such an one to the Saviour, as though he were acting without judgment. After this He exhorts those of His disciples who are already grown to full stature to condescend to be useful to children, that they may become to children as children, that they may gain children [1 Cor 9:22]; for He Himself, when He was in the form of God, humbled Himself, and became a child.

Chrysostom: The mind of a child is pure from all passions.

Theophylact: “Of such is the kingdom of God,” that is, of persons who have both in their intention and their work the harmlessness and simplicity which children have by nature. For a child does not hate, does nothing of evil intent.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Divorce – Mark 10:10-12

10 And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.

Theophylact: The disciples were offended, as not being fully satisfied with what had been said; for this reason they again question Him.

11 And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: The Lord calls by the name of adultery cohabitation with her who is not a man’s wife; she is not, however, a wife, whom a man has taken to him, after quitting the first; and for this reason he commits adultery upon her, that is, upon the second, whom he brings in. And the same thing is true in the case of the woman. . . . The law indeed forbade what was plainly adultery; but the Saviour forbids this, which was neither plain, nor known to all, though it was contrary to nature.

Bede: In Matthew it is more fully expressed, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication” [Matt 19:9]. The only carnal cause then is fornication; the only spiritual cause is the fear of God, that a man should put away his wife to enter into religion, as we read that many have done. But there is no cause allowed by the law of God for marrying another, during the lifetime of her who is quitted.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: There is no contrariety in Matthew’s relating that He spoke these words to the Pharisees [Matt 19:9], though Mark says that they were spoken to the disciples; for it is possible that He may have spoken them to both.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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