Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Mar 14:1 the evangelists generally use the words pasch and azymes promiscuously, yet St. Mark distinguishes them, being really different. The pasch is used for the 14th day of the moon of the first month. But the 15th day, on which they departed out of Egypt, was the feast of the azymes, or the unleavened bread; which continued seven days, till the 21st day of the moon inclusively. (Ven. Bede) --- Pasch is also used for the sabbath day within the seven days of the solemnity; (John xix. 14.) and also for all the sacrifices made during the seven days of the feast.
Mar 14:2 were not so much afraid of the sedition itself, as of the people delivering Christ out of their hands. (Ven. Bede)
Of precious spikenard. This was a perfume extracted and distilled from the leaves, tops, or stalks, of the plant or herb called nard. It was the custom of the eastern people to pour such precious perfumes on their own heads, or on the heads of their guests whom they had a mind to honour. (Witham) --- this happened six days previous to the pasch. The woman here mentioned was Mary, sister of Lazarus. (John xii. 3.)
Unguenti nardi spicati pretiosi, Greek: murou nardou pistikes polutelous. Both here in St. Mark, and also in St. John, Chap. xii. 3. we read Greek: pistikes, which by the Greek agees with nard, and not with ointment. The interpreters are much divided about the signification of the word Greek: pistikes: some late writers would needs have Greek: pistides to come from Greek: pio or pino, and to signify liquid, but this does not seem well grounded. Others, with St. Augustine, would have Greek: pistikes to be taken from the name of some country or place from whence this precious nard was brought. The most common opinion seems that of St. Hierom [St. Jerome], with whom agree Theophylactus, and Euthymius, that Greek: pistika, derived from Greek: pistis, signifies true and genuine nard, and so of the greatest price and value.
Mar 14:4 was chiefly Judas Iscariot that murmured here. St. John only mentions him; perhaps some others had been excited to complain, by the traitor. This is certain, that if any concurred in murmuring with Judas, they afterwards repented, on hearing the answer given immediately by our Saviour. (Dionysius)
Mar 14:7 here answers the apostles, by informing them that he should not always be with them, but would shortly leave them, as to his corporal presence, though spiritually will remain with them, and their successors, to the end of time. (Matthew xxviii.) --- Behold I am, &c. He will not always be with them, so as to want their services. (Ven. Bede)
Mar 14:10 of the present day shudder at the thought of the horrid and inexpressible crime of Judas, in betraying his Master, his Lord, and his God, and yet do not take care to avoid the like wickedness themselves; for, as often as for a little gain they neglect the duties of faith and charity, they become traitors to God, who is charity and faith. (Ven. Bede)
Whither wilt thou, &c. By these words the disciples teach us to direct our every step according to the will of God; therefore does their Lord tell them, with whom he would eat the pasch, to go two of them into the city. (St. Jerome)
Were is my refectory: where I may eat the pasch, or the paschal supper of the lamb sacrificed? Literally, in the Latin, where is my eating, or my refection? but it is generally agreed that here is meant a place to eat in. (Witham)
This is my Body.
Ubi est refectio mea, ubi pascha manducem? Greek: Pou esti to kataluma, opou pascha ... phago.
Mar 14:22 which I now give, and which you now receive; for the bread is not the figure of Christ, but is changed into the true body of Christ; and he himself says, The bread, which I will give you, is my flesh. (St. John vi.) But the flesh of Christ is not seen, on account of our infirmity; for if we were allowed to see with our eyes the flesh and blood of Jesus, we should not date to approach the blessed sacrament. Our Lord therefore condescending to our weakness, preserves the outward species of bread and wine, but changes the bread and wine into the reality of flesh and blood. (Theophylactus) --- St. John Chrysostom, in his thirtieth sermon on the treason of Judas, says: "Christ is also now present to adorn our table, (altar) the same that was present to adorn that table. For it is not man that causes the elements to become the body and blood of Christ, but the very Christ, the same that was crucified for us: Greek: oude gar anthropos estin o[?] koion ta prokeimena ginesthai soma kai aima christou all autos o staurotheis uper emon christos. The priest stand his vicegerent, and pronounces the words, but the power and grace is of God. He says, this is my body, and the word changes the elements: and as the sentence 'increase and multiply, and fill the earth, was spoken once, but still imparts fecundity to human nature throughout all time: so these words (of consecration) once spoken, constitute an absolute, perfect sacrifice upon every altar of the Church from that day to this, yea even to the time when Christ shall come again at the last day." Greek: Schema pleron esteken o iereus, ta remata phtheggomenos ekeina e de dunamis, kai e charis tou theou esti. touto mou esti to soma, phesi touto to rema metarruthmizei ta prokeimena. Kai kathaper e phone ekeine e legousa "auxanesthe, kai plethunesthe, kai plerosate ten gen," errethe men apax, dia pantos de tou[?] chronou ginetai ergo endunamousa ten phusin ten emeteran pros paidopoiian. outo kai e phone aute apax lechtheisa, kath ekasten trapesan en tais ekklesiais, ex ekeinou mechri semeron, kai mechri tes autou parousias, ten thusian apertismenen epgasetai. (St. John Chrysostom, Serm. xxx, on the treachery of Judas.)
These words are so plain, that it is difficult to imagine others more explicit. Their force and import will however appear in a still stronger light, if we consider the formal promise Christ had made to his apostles, as related by St. John, that he would give them his flesh to eat, that same flesh he was to deliver up for the life of the world. He on that occasion confirmed with remarkable emphasis of expression the reality of this manducation, assuring them that his flesh was meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed; and when some of the disciples were shocked at such a proposal, he still insisted that unless they eat his flesh, they should have no life in them. The possibility of it he evinced from his divine power, to be exemplified in his miraculous ascension; the necessity of it he established, by permitting those to abandon him who refused to believe it; and the belief of it he enforced on the minds of his disciples, from the consideration that he, their teacher, was the Son of God, and the author of their eternal salvation. The apostles were deeply impressed with these thoughts, previously to the institution of the holy Eucharist; consequently when they beheld Jesus Christ, just before his death, taking bread into his sacred hands; when after blessing it with solemnity, they heard him say, Take, eat; this is my body, which shall be given for you; they must necessarily have concluded, that it was truly his body, which he now gave them to eat, according to his former promise. And though their reason or senses might have started difficulties, yet all these were obviated by their belief of his being God, and consequently able to effect whatever he pleased, and to make good whatever he said. --- Moreover, if we consult tradition, we shall find that the Greek, as well as the Latin Church, has uniformly declared in favour of the literal sense of Christ's words, as may be seen at large in all Catholic controvertists. The learned author of the Perpetuite de la Foi, and his continuator, Renaudot, in the two additional quarto volumes, have invincibly demonstrated, that the belief of all the Oriental Christians perfectly coincides with that of the Catholic Church, respecting the real presence. Dr. Philip Nicolai, though a Protestant, candidly acknowledges, in his first book of the Kingdom of Christ, p. 22, "that not only the churches of the Greek, but also the Russians, the Georgians, the Armenians, the Judæans, and the Ethiopians, as many of them as believe in Christ, hold the true and real presence of the body and blood of our Lord." This general agreement amongst the many Churches of the Christian world, affords the strongest evidence against Secker and others, who pretend that the doctrine of the real presence is a mere innovation; which was not started till 700 years after Christ's death. For, how will their supposition accord with the belief of the Nestorians and Euthychians, who were separated from the Church of Rome long before that period, and who were found to agree exactly with Catholics concerning this important tenent? --- See this point clearly given in Rutter's Evangelical Harmony.
This is my Blood.
Which shall be shed. With words so explicit, with the unanimous agreement of the Eastern and Western Churches, how can any Dissenters bring themselves to believe that there is nothing more designed, or given, than a memorial of Christ's passion and death? Catholics, who believe in the real presence, do certainly renew in themselves the remembrance of our Saviour's death and passion, with more lively sentiments of devotion than they who believe it to be mere bread and wine. The outward forms of bread and wine, which remain in the Eucharist, are chiefly designed to signify or represent to us three things; viz. 1. The passion of Christ, of which they are the remembrance; 2. the body and blood of Christ, really, though sacramentally present, of which they are the veil; and 3. everlasting life, of which they are the pledge. --- N. B. In speaking of the real presence in the Eucharist, Catholics hold that Christ is corporally and substantially present, but not carnally; i.e. not in that gross, natural, and sensible manner, in which or separated brethren so frequently misrepresent our doctrine.
Mar 14:25 vine represents the Synagogue, according to Isaias. The vine, or vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel. Of this vine Christ drank for some time; and though many of the branches were become useless, there were yet many that still brought forth fruit. But Christ now going to his passion, declares that it would be no longer acceptable to him, since the figures were not to pass into reality. (Ven. Bede)
Mar 14:26 Christ is seized upon Mount Olivet, whence he ascended into heaven; that we might know that the place on earth where we watch and pray, where we suffer chains without resistance, is the place whence we are to ascend into heaven. (St. Jerome)
Mar 14:27 permitted his disciples to fall, that they might learn not to trust in themselves. To strengthen his prediction, he adduces the testimony of Zacharias the prophet, (xiii. 7.) I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be dispersed. (Theophylactus) ... This text is expressed in other words, being there spoken in the person of the prophet: Strike the pastor, and the sheep shall be dispersed. (Ven. Bede) --- By these words, the prophet prays for the passion of the Lord. The Almighty Father answers his prayer: I will strike the shepherd. The Son is sent by the Father, and is stricken by becoming incarnate and suffering death. (St. Jerome)
Mar 14:37 who were ready to die for me, cannot watch with me! We are here taught a great duty of a Christian life, and that is, to beg of God, that he would give us strength to observe and follow the motions and inspirations of his Holy Spirit, and never to resist the calls of heaven.
Mar 14:45 Lord received the kiss of the traitor, that he might not appear to avoid being delivered up; and at the same time he fulfilled that of the Psalmist, with those who hated peace, I was peaceful. (Psalm cxix. 7.)
Mar 14:46 is Joseph betrayed and sold by his brethren, and pierced in his soul with a sword. (St. Jerome)
Mar 14:47 was Peter, as we learn from St. John xviii. 10. He is here actuated with his usual ardent zeal, calling to mind the example of Phinees, who by executing justice on the wicked, merited the reward of justice, and a continual priesthood. (Ven. Bede) --- St. Mark conceals his master's name, lest he should seem to be publishing the ardour of his zeal for Christ. (Theophylactus)
Mar 14:51 probably was the owner, or the son of the owner of the garden, who hearing the tumult came to see what was the cause. It must have been a young man from the Greek word neaniskos. (Tirinus)
Mar 14:55 the law prescribed there should be only one high priest, yet at this time there were many, being appointed yearly by the Roman governor; and those are here called chief priests who had once been invested with the dignity of high priest, but were at that time out of office. (Theophylactus)
Their evidence did not agree. Others translate, their testimonies were not sufficient; that is, so as to amount to a crime that made him guilty of death. The Greek, as well as the Latin text, may be taken in either sense. The high priest, vexed at this, stood up, and asked him questions, hoping to make him appear guilty by his own confession. (Witham) --- This latter sense is given to the same expression, ver. 59. infra.
Convenientia testimonia non erant. Greek: isai ai marturiai ouk esan. The word Greek: isai may either signify that they did not agree together, or that they were not sufficient to get him condemned, which latter is the opinion of Erasmus, who translates, non erant idonea.
Mar 14:57 has iniquity lied to itself, (Psalm xxvi.) as formerly in the case of the wife of Putiphar against Joseph, (Genesis xxix.) and the elders against Susanna. (Daniel) (St. Jerome)
Mar 14:61 Redeemer was silent, because he knew they would not attend to his words; therefore does he say in St. Luke, If I shall tell you, you will not believe me. (Theophylactus)
Mar 14:63 , in order to excite their hatred against what was said, rent his garments, and thus deprived himself of the priestly dignity, by transgressing the precept; which, speaking of the high priest says: He shall not uncover his head, and his garments he shall not rend. (Leviticus xxi. 10.) (St. Leo the Great) --- By the high priest rending his garments he shews, that the Jewish priesthood, on account of their crimes, was now dissolved; whereas the tunic of Christ, by which the one true Catholic Church is prefigured, was seamless, and not to be divided. (Ven. Bede)
Mar 14:71 this one apostle, Peter, the first and chief in the order of apostles, in whom the Church was figured, both sorts were to be signified, viz. the strong and the weak, because the Church is not without both. (St. Augustine, Serm. xiii. de verb. Do.) --- Again, our Saviour would shew by the example of the chief apostle, that no man ought to presume of himself, when even St. Peter was not secure and immoveable. (St. Augustine, tract. lxvi. in Evan. Joan. and St. Leo, serm. ix. de Pass. Do.)