King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Luke 11

The disciples taught to pray. (1-4) Christ encourages being earnest in prayer. (5-13) Christ casts out a devil, The blasphemy of the Pharisees. (14-26) True happiness. (27,28) Christ reproves the Jews. (29-36) He reproves the Pharisees. (37-54)

Luke 11 Audio:

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The disciples taught to pray

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Christ encourages being earnest in praye

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Christ casts out a devil, The blasphemy of the Pharisees

14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

True happiness

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Christ reproves the Jews

29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.

30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

He reproves the Pharisees

37 And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?

41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

43 Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

44 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.

46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

47 Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

48 Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Father, hallowed be thy name, &c. See Matt. vi. In the ordinary Greek copies here are all the seven petitions, as in S. Matthew: and so they are in the Prot. Testament. Yet S. Aug. in his Enchiridion, (c. i. tom. 6, p. 240,) says there were read seven petitions in S. Matt. and only five in S. Luke. We may also take notice, that though in the Greek copies here in S. Luke are all seven petitions of the Lord’s prayer, yet the doxology, for thine is the kingdom, &c. is omitted in all Greek copies, and by the Protestants; which is a new argument and proof, that the said doxology is an addition from the Greek liturgy. Wi.

Ver. 3. In the Greek it is called epiousion; i.e. supersubstantial. This is not the bread that goeth into the body, but the bread of eternal life, that supports the life of the soul. It is here called daily bread. Receive then daily, what will daily profit you; and continue so to live, that you may be daily in proper dispositions for receiving it. All who are under sin, have received a wound, and must seek for a cure. The cure is this heavenly and most venerable sacrament. S. Austin, Serm. ii. de verbo Dei.

Ver. 4. Christ does not teach us to pray for afflictions of the body, but always enjoins us to pray, that we may not enter into temptation. When, therefore, temptation attacks us, we must beg of God grace to withstand it, that the promise in S. Matthew (chap. x.) may be fulfilled in us, he who perseveres to the end shall be saved. S. Bede in Reg. Brev. 221.

Ver. 5. This parable is not found in any one of the evangelists, except S. Luke. Our Saviour having taught his disciples the aforesaid form of prayer, now shews them the utility and efficacy of prayer in general. He wishes to inculcate the necessity of perseverance in prayer. A friend comes to borrow of another friend at an unseasonable hour; his request is refused; he insists, and obtains, by his perseverance, what he could not have gained without it. Thus also the Almighty wishes to be importuned; he wishes us to pray with zeal and perseverance. this is the model we ought to follow. Calmet. — God would not exhort us so earnestly to pray, unless he was ready to grant our petitions. Let us blush at our sloth: he is more ready to give than we are to receive. S. Austin.

Ver. 8. After our Saviour had given his apostles this form of prayer, knowing that men would recite it with remissness and negligence, and then on account of not being heard, would desist, he teaches here to avoid this pusillanimity in prayer; perseverance in our petitions being the most advantageous. S. Cyril, ex Divo Thoma.

Ver. 9. Our petitions are frequently not immediately granted, that our earnestness and assiduity may be increased; that we may learn to esteem the gifts of God, and preserve them with care, for whatever we procure with labour, we preserve with care, lest by losing it we lose our labour also. S. Basil in Con. Mon.

Ver. 10. How comes it to pass then, that many pray, and receive not? To this we answer, that if they approach in a proper manner, and observe the necessary conditions of the petition, they will undoubtedly receive what they ask for; but if, on the contrary, they deviate from this rule, and ask not, as they ought, they will not receive; because as S. James says, you ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss. Chap. i. By asking for things that are prejudical to your well-being; or, if for spiritual blessings, you do not receive them, on account of your evil motives. Origen ex S. Thoma.

Ver. 14. This possessed person is said in S. Matthew to have been also blind. Upon him, therefore, were wrought three wonders: the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the possessed was delivered; which daily takes place in the persons of such as are converted to the number of true believers: the devil is expelled, and they both receive the light of faith beaming upon their eyes, and having the strings of their silent organs loosed to sound forth the praises of God. Ven. Bede. — And the multitude, &c. The multitude, though devoid of learning, were constant admirers of the actions of our Lord, whilst the Scribes and Pharisees either denied them, or by a sinister interpretation, ascribed them to the power of the unclean spirit. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 17. And house upon house shall fall. He speaks of a house or family divided, which thereby shall fall to ruin. Wi.

Ver. 19. Your judges. They will condemn you of injustice, envy, and hatred against me, and blasphemy against God; because when they perform any exorcisms, though they appear but little more than human in their actions, yet you ascribe them to the virtue of God; but when I perform any miracle, though there always appear most evident signs of the power and virtue of God, you ascribe all to the hand and machinations of the devil. Tirinus.

Ver. 24. Man, &c. By this one man is meant the whole Jewish people, out of whom the unclean spirit had been driven by the law. S. Ambrose. — For as long as they were in Egypt, they lived after the manners of the Egyptians, and were the habitation of the unclean spirit; but it was expelled from them, when they slew the paschal lamb in figure of Christ, and escaped destruction by sprinkling themselves with its blood. S. Cyril ex Divo Thoma. — But the evil spirit returned to his former habitation, the Jews, because he saw them devoid of virtue, barren, and open for his reception. And their latter state is worse than their former; for more wicked demons possessed the breasts of the Jews than before. Then they raged against the prophets only; but now they persecute the Lord himself of the prophets: therefore have they suffered much greater extremities from Vespasian and Titus, than from Egypt and Babylon; for besides being deprived of the merciful protection of Providence, which before watched over them, they are destitute of all grace, and delivered up to a more poignant misery, and a more cruel tyranny of the devil. S. Chrys. hom. xliv. on S. Matt.

Ver. 26. The last state, &c. But these words are also addressed to us Christians, who may often, and with reason, fear lest the vice we think extinguished in us, again return and seize on our slothful and careless souls, finding them cleansed indeed from the filth of sin by the grace of baptism, but destitute of every ornamental and protective virtue. It brings with it seven other evil spirits, by which we must understand every vicious inclination. V. Bede. — The latter state of these souls is worse than the former; because having been delivered from all former sins, and adorned with grace, if they again return to their iniquities a much more grievous punishment will be due for every subsequent crime. S. Chrys. hom. xliv. on S. Matt.

Ver. 28. Menounge, imo vero, yes indeed. Our Saviour does not here wish to deny what the woman had said, but rather to confirm it: indeed how could he deny, as Calvin impiously maintained, that his mother was blessed? By these words, he only wishes to tell his auditors what great advantage they might obtain by attending to his words. For the blessed Virgin, as S. Augustine says, was more happy in having our Saviour in her heart and affections, than in having conceived him in her womb. Tirinus.

Ver. 29. But the sign of Jonas. Instead of a prodigy in the heavens or in the air, I will give you one in the bosom of the earth, more wonderful than that of the prophet Jonas, who came out alive from the belly of the fish, which had swallowed him. Thus I will return alive from the bosom of the earth three days after my death. Calmet. — He gave them a sign, not from heaven, for they were unworthy to behold it, but from the deep; the sign of his incarnation, not of his divinity; of his passion, not of his glory. V. Bede.

Ver. 31. Queen of the South shall condemn this generation, not by exercising the power of judgment against them, but by having performed an action which, when put in competition with theirs, will be found superior to them. V. Bede.

Ver. 34. If thy eye be single. As when the eyes of the body are pure, and free from the mixture of bad humours, the whole body is lightsome; so if the eyes of the mind, viz. reason, faith and understanding, are not infected with the pestiferous humours of envy, avarice, and other vices, the whole mind will be illuminated by the presence of the Holy Ghost. Take care, therefore, lest by giving way to these vices, the light which is in thee be turned into darkness. Barradius.

Ver. 36. The whole shall be lightsome. Not only all thy body, but all about thee; all thy ways and actions. Wi.

Ver. 38. Washed, &c. There was nothing ordained by the law concerning this washing of the hands, which the Pharisees observed before taking meat. Christ and his apostles washed their hands when they pleased, without looking for any mystery in such things, or making to themselves vain obligations in frivolous and indifferent things. They did not neglect what was ordained by the law in certain cases for purification; but beside that, they observed nothing more. Calmet.

Ver. 41. But yet that which remaineth, give alms.[1] The sense seems not to be of what remaineth, give alms, as some expound it; but by the Greek, the sense is, give alms of what you have, i.e. of your goods, according to your abilities; and as Toby said to his son, If thou hast much, give much; if little, give a little willingly. Tob. iv. 9. — All things are clean unto you. Not that alms without other pious dispositions, will suffice to your salvation; but that other necessary virtues will be given you, by the mercies of God. Wi. — These are the means I propose to you to gain that interior purity I am speaking of. But will alms suffice to expiate all sorts of crimes? Is it enough for the murderer, the homicide, &c. to give alms? Undoubtedly not. Our Saviour only compares alms-deeds with the exterior washing which the Pharisees affected. As if he had said, “It is not by the washing in common water that you will take out the stains of your souls, but by the works of charity. Charity will be more efficacious to cleanse you than all the waters of the rivers and of the sea.” Or, according to Euthymius, if you wish to cleanse yourselves truly, bring forth worthy fruits of penance, give up ill acquired possessions; and as for the rest, redeem you sins by alms. Thus shall all things be made clean to you, as well within as without the vase. Calmet.

Ver. 43. Salutations in the market-place, &c. Such as wish to be saluted, and have the first places, that they may appear great, are likened to sepulchres, which are covered externally with ornaments, but are filled inwardly with rottenness. S. Cyril ex D. Thoma.

Ver. 44. Sepulchres that appear not. This comparison is partly different from that of Matt. xxiii. 27. For there Christ compares hypocrites to whitened sepulchres, which may be seen and avoided; here he compares them to sepulchres covered with grass, which appear not: yet the comparison, in the main, is the same; that whether they appear or not, still under them is corruption: as the interior of the Pharisees was always full of vice and corruption. Wi. — Men that walk, &c. Because they bear with them a fair outside, but are made up of nothing but corruption. S. Ambrose.

Ver. 45. Then one of the lawyers, &c. Correction, which turns to the advantage of the meek, appears always more intolerable to the wicked. Christ denounces woes against the Pharisees for deviating from the right path, and the doctors of the law found them equally applicable to themselves. S. Cyril ex D. Thoma. — How miserable is the conscience which, upon hearing the word of God, thinks itself insulted, and always hears the punishment of the reprobate rehearsed as the words of its own condemnation. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 47. Wo to you who build, &c. Not that the building of the monuments of the prophets was in itself blameworthy, but only the intention of these unhappy men, who made use of this outward shew of religion and piety, as a means to carry on their wicked designs against the prince of prophets. Ch.

Ver. 48. Build, &c. See the notes Matt. xxiii. 29. Wi.

Ver. 49. The wisdom of God said. In S. Matt. it is, Behold I send to you prophets and wise men; and in this passage of S. Luke, the wisdom of God saith, I will send, &c.: thus is Christ truly the wisdom of the Almighty God. S. Ambrose.

Ver. 51. Blood of Zacharias, &c. This Zacharias was, according to some Zacharias the son of Joiada, whom the Jews slew between the temple and the altar. Theophylactus,—also S. Jerom, who moreover mentions that some editions had Zacharias, son of Joiada. — This generation. Not that this generation of the Jews should be punished for the crimes of others, but that having before their eyes the severe chastisements their ancestors had received, in punishment of their wickedness, they had not grown better, but had imitated their perversity. S. Chrys. hom. lxxv. in Matt.

Ver. 52. You have taken away the key of knowledge. A comparison of a master that locks others out. As if Christ said: you pretend, as masters and teachers, to open and expound the law and the prophets; and by your false doctrine and interpretations, you neither observe the law, nor permit others to observe it. See Matt. xxiii. 13. Wi. — The key of knowledge is faith; for by faith we come to the knowledge of truth, according to that of Isaiah, How shall they understand, if they have not believed? Cap. vii, (according to Septuagint) these doctors of the law took away the key of science, by not allowing the people to believe in Christ. S. Cyril ex D. Thoma.

Ver. 53. And to oppress (i.e. stop) his mouth about many things.[2] This is the literal signification of the Greek: they started one question upon another, to raise confusion and confound the answers. Wi.

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[1] V. 41. Verumtamen quod superest, date eleemosynam plen ta enonta dote eleemosunen; quæ adsunt, quæ penes vos sunt. It is not to loipon, &c.

[2] V. 53. Et os ejus opprimere de multis: apostomatizein auton peri pleionon.