King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 9

The transfiguration. (1-13) An evil spirit cast out. (14-29) The apostles reproved. (30-40) Pain to be preferred to sin. (41-50)

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The transfiguration

1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.

7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.

10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

An evil spirit cast out

14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.

27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

The apostles reproved

30 And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it.

31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,

37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

Pain to be preferred to sin

41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 4. The law and the prophets were signified by Moses and Elias; both bear testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ’s mission, which was effectually to close the old, and open the new dispensation. By the apparitions of these two illustrious personages, we learn also that sometimes, though not often, there is, by the permission of heaven, a certain intercourse between the living and the dead. B.

Ver. 5. Peter had forgotten that the glorious kingdom of Christ was not of this world, but in heaven only; that himself and the other apostles, clothed as they were with their mortality, could not participate in immortal joys; and that the mansions in the house of the Father are not raised with human hands. He again shewed that he knew not what he said, by wishing to make three tabernacles, one for the law, one for the prophets, and one for the gospel, since these three cannot be separated from each other. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 9. Risen from the dead. The disciples believed the resurrection of the dead, but they knew not what Christ meant by by his rising from the dead. Their thoughts were filled with the idea of a glorious kingdom in this world, in which they should enjoy great dignities and offices under the Messias. Wi.

Ver. 10. The Jews here confound the two comings of Jesus Christ. The Baptist, in the spirit of Elias, will precede the first, and Elias in person, the second coming of Christ.

Ver. 14. The multitude were so solicitous to see Christ that they saluted him when yet a great way off. Some imagine that the countenance of our Saviour, being rendered more beautiful by his transfiguration, attracted the attention and admiration of the people. Theophy.

Ver. 20. Let those blush who pretend to affirm, that all men come into this world clear of original sin, and perfectly innocent like Adam when first created. For why should this child be tormented by a cruel devil, if he had not been under the guilt of original sin, as it is clear, beyond dispute, that he could not be guilty of any actual transgression? Ven. Bede.

Ver. 22. The answer of our Lord is adapted to the petition of the child’s father. He had said: If thou canst do any thing, have mercy on us: and Christ answered: If thou canst believe, &c. Thus when the leper said: If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean, he answered: I will, be thou made clean. Ven Bede. — [1]All things are possible to him that believeth. The sense is not, as if he that believeth could do all things; but that any thing might be done by the divine power and goodness, in favour of him that had a firm and lively faith. Wi.

Ver. 23. If the man believed, as he said, why does he add, help my unbelief? It may be answered: because faith is manifold; their is a faith of beginners, and a faith of the perfect. The incipient faith this man already possessed, and he besought our Saviour to help him to the higher degrees of this virtue. No one becomes great and perfect all at once, but must first set off with small beginnings, and thus gradually ascend to the height of perfection. Thus the man, who, by the inspiration of grace has received imperfect faith, may be said at the same time to believe, and still to be incredulous. Ven. Bede. — Here we are taught that our faith is weak, and has need of support and increase from God’s assistance. When tears accompany our faith, they obtain for us the grant of our petitions. S. Jerom.

Ver. 26. Him whom the devil had made like to the dead, the goodness of Christ, by his charitable touch, restored to life. Thus proving at once both his divinity and humanity; the former by his wonderful cure of healing, and the latter by performing this cure by a touch of the hand. Ven. Bede. — The devil could not inflict a real death on the child, on account of the dissent of the Author of life. S. Chrys.

Ver. 27. This person, whom the apostles had forbidden to work miracles in the name of Christ, believed indeed in Christ, but did not follow him, on account of the great poverty of the apostles: he was not perfect, nor had he left all things to follow Christ. The apostles therefore concluded, that such a one was not worthy to work miracles in the name of their divine Master. But for this indiscretion, Christ rebukes them, saying , do not, &c. T.

Ver. 31. They could not comprehend what he said; and this not so much through the dulness and stupidity of their understandings, as through their personal affection to him; and because knowing him to be God, they could not conceive how a God could die. Nic. de Lyra.

Ver. 37. Who followeth not us, in that special manner, as Christ’s apostles did. Wi.

Ver. 40. Here we may find that no one, however poor, can be excused from good works; since there is no one who is not able to give at least a cup of cold water; and we are assured that he will not lose his reward. Nic. de Lyra.

Ver. 43. Where their worm dieth not. These words are taken out of Isaias lxvi. 24; and are to be expounded of the punishments, and fruitless repentance of the wicked in the next world. Wi.

Ver. 48. [2]For every one shall be salted with fire. The sense seems to be, that every wicked unrepenting sinner (of whom it was before said, that their worm dieth not) shall be severely and continually punished, though not consumed by the fire of hell. — And every victim shall be salted with salt; that is, even good men shall be cleansed and purified by trials and sufferings in this world, as some victims were to be salted by the law. Lev. ii. 13. Wi.

Ver. 49. Become unsavoury; i.e. if he, who has once received the faith, should apostatize from it, what is there that can possibly convert him from his wicked ways? since even the salt, with which he was salted, is become unsavoury, i.e. the doctrines he formerly received are no longer of any use. Nic. de Lyra.

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[1] V. 22. Omnia possibilia sunt credenti, dunata to pisteuont.

[2] V. 48. Omnis enim igne salietur, et omnis victima sale salietur, pas gar puri alisthesetai, kai pasa thusia ali alisthesetai.