King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Luke 18

The parable of the importunate widow. (1-8) The Pharisee and the publican. (9-14) Children brought to Christ. (15-17) The ruler hindered by his riches. (18-30) Christ foreshows his death. (31-34) A blind man restored to sight. (35-43)

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The parable of the importunate widow

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The Pharisee and the publican

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Children brought to Christ

15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

The ruler hindered by his riches

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.

29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Christ foreshows his death

31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

A blind man restored to sight

35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.

40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,

41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Always to pray, i.e. to pray daily, and frequently; (Wi.) and also to walk always in the presence of God, by a spirit of prayer, love, and sorrow for sin.

Ver. 2. This judge, who feared not God, nor cared for man, yet yielded to the importunity of the widow, represents the absolute and sovereign power of God. But we must not suppose the Almighty has any of the faults we see in this iniquitous judge. Comparisons are not meant to hold good in every particular. The only consequence to be drawn from the present parable, is this: if a man, who has neither piety nor tenderness for his fellow creatures, yield to the importunity of a widow, who is not wearied out with repeating her petitions; how much more will God, who is full of bounty and tenderness to man, and only seek occasions to grant him his gifts, hear the prayers of the fervent, and fill with benedictions the petitioner, who can continue like the widow to importune his interference, and can beg without languor or discouragement? Calmet.

Ver. 3. Avenge me; i.e. do me justice. It is a Hebraism. Wi.

Ver. 4. And he would not for a long time. The Almighty does not always hear us as soon as we could wish, nor in the manner that seems best to us; but if we are not always heard according to our desires, we always are as far as is conducive to our salvation. He sometimes delays, in order to exercise our patience, and increase our ardour: sometimes he grants, in his anger, what, in him mercy, he would refuse. Let us then pray always, desire always, love always. Desire always, and you pray always. This is the continual voice of prayer, which the Almighty demands of you. You are silent, when you cease to love. The cooling of charity, is the silence of the heart. S. Aug. in Ps. xxxvii. Wi.

Ver. 5. She weary me out.[1] This, as much as I am able to find out, seems the literal signification both of the Latin and Greek text. Wi.

Ver. 8. In the Greek, although he suffer for the present the elect to be oppressed. V. — Our divine Redeemer adds, this, to shew that faith must necessarily accompany our prayers. For whosoever prays for what he does not believe he shall obtain, will pray in vain; let us, therefore, entreat the Father of mercies to grant us the grace of prayer, and firmness in faith; for faith produces prayer, and prayer produces firmness of faith. S. Aug. de verb. Dom. Serm 36. — But of this there is little left on the earth, and there will be still less at the second coming of the Son of God.

Ver. 9. In this chapter we have three examples of prayer: one of the persevering widow; another of the poor publican, who solicits the divine mercy by the acknowledgment of his crimes; and the third of the proud Pharisee, who only goes to the temple to pronounce his own panegyric, and enter upon a accusation of his humble neighbour, whose heart is unknown to him. Calmet.

Ver. 11. The Pharisee standing. The Greek is, standing by himself, i.e. separated from the rest. Some understand this term, standing, as if in opposition to kneeling or prostrating, which they suppose to be the general posture in which the Jews offered up their prayers, and that of the humble publican. The Christians borrowed this practice from them. We see the apostles and disciples praying on their knees: Acts vii. 59, ix. 40, xx. 36. In the Old Testament, we see the same observed. Solomon, (3 K. viii. 54.) Daniel, (vi. 10.) and Micheas, (vi. 6.) prayed in that posture. Others however, think that the people generally prayed standing, as there were neither benches nor chairs in the temple. Calmet. — There are four ways by which men are guilty of pride: 1st, By thinking they have any good from themselves; 2nd, by thinking that though they have received it from above, it was given them as due to their own merits; 3rd, by boasting of the good they do not possess; and fourthly, by desiring to be thought the only persons that possess the good qualities of which they thus pride themselves. The pride of the Pharisee seems to have consisted in attributing to himself alone the qualities of which he boasted. S. Greg. mor. l. xxiii, c. 4. — He who is guilty of publicly speaking against his neighbour, is likewise the cause of much damage to himself and others. 1st, He injures the hearer; because if he be a sinner, he rejoices to find an accomplice; if he be just, he is tempted to vanity, seeing himself exempt from the crimes with which others are charged. 2nd, He injures the Church, by exposing it to be insulted for the defects of its members. 3rd, He causes the name of God to be blasphemed; for, as God is glorified by our good actions, so is he dishonoured by sin. 4th, He renders himself guilty, by disclosing that which it was his duty not to have mentioned. S. Chrys. Serm. de Phar. et Pub.

Ver. 12. See how the Pharisee here, by pride, lays open to the enemy his heart, which he had in vain shut against him by fasting and prayer. It is in vain to defend a city, if you leave the enemy a single passage, by which he may enter in. S. Greg. mor. l. xix. c. 12.

Ver. 14. If any one should ask why the Pharisee is here condemned for speaking some few words in his own commendation, and why the like sentence was not passed on Job, who praised himself much more; the difference is evident: the former praised himself without any necessity, merely with an intention of indulging his vanity, and extolling himself over the poor publican; the latter, being overwhelmed with misery, and upbraided by his friends, as if, forsaken of God, he suffered his present distress in punishment of his crimes, justifies himself by recounting his virtues for the greater glory of God, and to preserve himself and others in the steady practice of virtue, under similar temptations. Theophylactus.

Ver. 34. They understood well enough the sense of the words he spoke to them. But they could not understand how they could be reconciled with the idea they had previously conceived of the Messias. They were scandalized in the first place, to think that God should suffer any thing inflicted by man; they were scandalized in the second place, to hear that sufferings and death could lead to victory and empire; and lastly, they were scandalized, (their own feelings taking the alarm) lest they should be forced to imitate their Master in this part which he had chosen for himself. A.

Ver. 35. This blind man is, according to some interpreters, different from the other two whom Jesus Christ cured as he was going out of Jericho. V. — See Matt. xx. 29. and Mark x. 46. et dein.

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[1] V. 5. Sugillet me, upopiaze me. The Greek word literally signifies, lest she give me strokes on the face, that make me appear black and blue; which were called, upopia. This word, upopiazein, is only used in one other place in the New Testament, (1 Cor. ix. 27.) where S. Paul says, castigo, or contundo corpus meum. Now, as we cannot imagine that this judge feared lest the widow should beat him in this shameful manner, the word metaphorically seems to imply, lest she should injuriously upbraid and continually reproach me.