King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Luke 21

Christ commends a poor widow. (1-4) His prophecy. (5-28) Christ exhorts to watchfulness. (29-38)

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Christ commends a poor widow

1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

His prophecy

5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Christ exhorts to watchfulness

29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 3. Whatever we offer to the Almighty with a good intention is acceptable to him; for he regards not the gift, but the heart of the giver. Ven. Bede. — God does not appreciate the smallness of the gift, but the greatness of the affection with which it is offered. S. Chrys. hom. i. ad Hebræos.

Ver. 6. It was by the divine dispensation of Providence that this city and temple were destroyed; for had the ancient rites and sacrifices continued, some that were but weak in their faith, might have been filled with astonishment at the sight of these different modes of worship, existing at the same time, and thus have been lead astray from the path of truth. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 7. Master, when shall these things be? &c. See the annotations, Matt. xxiv. 3. Wi.

Ver. 8. In my name. They shall not say that they belong to me, or that I sent them: but they shall take to themselves my name, viz. Christ, or Messias, which title is incommunicable to any but myself. In effect, in less than two centuries, there appeared many false Christs and impostors, who pretended to be the one that was to come, the desired of nations. Calmet. — Perhaps this prophecy is yet to be more expressly fulfilled before the dissolution of the world. Many pious and learned Christians suppose this passage to refer to the time of Antichrist. A.

Ver. 11. Terrors from heaven. Josephus, in his history of this war, in which Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, (lib. vii, c. 12) relates, at length, many of the prodigies which were the forerunners of the dreadful end of this unfortunate city. During a whole year a meteor, like a flaming sword, was seen impending over the city. There were likewise seen in the air, appearances of chariots and numerous armies, which pressed one upon another. On the night of Pentecost, the priests, after a confused noise, heard distinctly these words, “Let us go hence;” which are supposed to have been spoken by the angels, who had hitherto guarded and protected the holy city, but now were taking their leave of it. Josephus was in the Roman camp, before the city, during the siege, and an eye-witness of what passed on the occasion. A.

Ver. 12. This verse is spoken to the apostles alone; and was verified, by most of them having been martyred and put to death, before the destruction of Jerusalem. Calmet.

Ver. 15. I will give, &c. In some parts it is said, that Christ himself will speak by the mouths of his disciples, as in this passage of S. Luke; in other places, as S. Matt. C. xvi. that the Father will speak; and S. Matt. C. x. that the Spirit of the Father will speak. In these different texts there is no contradiction, but a most perfect harmony. What one of the divine Persons says, all three say; for the voice of the Trinity is only one. S. Ambrose.

Ver. 18. A hair of your head, &c. A hair shall not perish from the head of the disciples of Christ; because not only their most heroic actions, and their public confessions of his name, but even their passing thoughts shall be crowned with adequate rewards. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 19. In your patience, &c. We then truly possess our souls, when we live in all things perfect, and from the citadel of virtue command and control all the motions of the mind and heart. S. Greg. Mag. Moral. v. c. 13.

Ver. 22. Days of vengeance, &c. These are truly the days of vengeance; days, that will arise to punish this people for having spilt the blood of the Lord. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 24. Whoever reads Josephus’s history of the calamities which befell Jerusalem before its destruction, will find none of these terrible menaces unfulfilled. Seventy thousand were carried away captives in this war. After the soldiers were weary of killing, Titus ordered the finest of the young men to be kept to adorn his triumph. The number of captive Jews was so great in Rome, as to make the heathen poet, Rutilius Numantianus, who lived about the year 410, complain of it as a great burden to the empire.

Atque utinam nunquam Judea subacta fuisset

Pompeii bellis, imperioque Titi;

Latius excisæ pestis contagia serpunt

Victoresque suos natio victa premit.

Trodden down, &c. After Jerusalem had been taken and destroyed by the Romans, another city was built from its ruins, called Ælia, after the name of the emperor Ælius Adrian. This was inhabited by pagans and some Christians for the Jews were forbidden even to come near it, for more than two or three centuries. Tertullian informs us, that they even bought, at a great price, permission to see it at a distance, and drop a tear over the ashes of their ancient and ill-fated country. Thus was Jerusalem trodden under foot, till the time of the nations was accomplished; that is, till Christianity, in every nation, had triumphed over the persecution of paganism. Calmet. — Till the times of the nations be fulfilled. According to the common exposition of this, and some other places, the Jews from the time of the destruction of their temple and city, under Titus Vespasian; and especially from their utter destruction under the emperor Adrian, in punishment of their obstinate blindness, shall remain dispersed through the world under miseries and oppressions, till the gospel hath been preached to all nations; then, not long before the end of the world, the Jews shall be converted, and acknowledge Jesus to be their true Messias. See Rom. xi. 25. Wi.

Ver. 26. The powers of heaven, &c. Some explain this of the angels, who shall be terrified and tremble at the sight of so many calamities. Others understand it of the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, stars, &c. which shall in some sort, likewise, be confused in the general dissolution. The prophets often make use of such expressions, when speaking of the fall of monarchies, or the ruin of nations. The heavens shall be astonished and moved, &c. Ezech. xxxii. 7. Joel iii. 15. Calmet.

Ver. 27. The Jews shall not see him corporally, but at the last judgment. Then, says the Scripture, (Zach. xii. 10.) They shall see him whom they pierced with nails. But in the ruin of Jerusalem, all who will compare his predictions with the event, can evidently see that this was the day of his coming, so plainly marked in his words. Every body could see that this was evidently the hand of God that punished them. Calmet.

Ver. 37. In the mount that is called Olivet. In this last week, Christ, after preaching in the day-time in the temple, when constantly in the evenings to pray in the garden of Gethsemani, as Judas knew very well. See C. xxii. v. 39. Wi.