St. Thomas Aquinas,
Catena Aurea (Golden Chain),
Gospel of Mark, Chapter
(John Henry Parker, v. I, J.G.F. and J. Rivington:London, 1842)
1. And as he went
out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Master, See what manner
of stones and what buildings are here!
2. And Jesus answering said to him, See you these great buildings? there
shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
BEDE; Because after the founding of the Church of Christ, Judea was to be
punished for her treachery, the Lord fitly, after praising the devotedness
of the Church in the person of the poor widow, goes out of the temple, and
foretold its coming in, and the contempt in which the buildings now so
wonderful were soon to be held, wherefore it is said, And as he went out of
the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Master, see what manner of
stones and what buildings are here!
THEOPHYL. For, since the Lord had spoken much concerning the destruction of
Jerusalem, His disciples wondered, that such numerous and beautiful
buildings were to be destroyed; and this is the reason why they point out
the beauty of the temple, and He answers not only that they were to be
destroyed, but also that one stone should not be heft upon another:
wherefore it goes on: And Jesus answering said to him, See you these great
buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be
thrown down. Now some may endeavor to prove that Christ's words were false,
by saying that many ruins were left, but this is not at all the point; for
though some ruins had been left, still at the consummation of all things one
stone shall not be left upon another. Besides it is related, that Ælius
Adrian overturned the city and the temple from the foundation, so that the
word of the Lord here spoken was fulfilled.
BEDE; But it was ordered by Divine power that after that the grace of the
faith of the Gospel was made known through the world, the temple itself with
its ceremonies Should be taken away; lest perchance some one weak in the
faith, if he saw that these things which had been instituted by God still
remained, might by degrees drop from the sincerity of the faith, which is in
Christ Jesus, into carnal Judaism.
PSEUDO-JEROME; Here also the Lord enumerates to His disciples the
destruction of the last time, that is of the temple, with the people, and
its letter; of which one stone shall not be left upon another, that is, no
testimony of the Prophets upon those, to whom the Jews perversely applied
them, that is, on Ezra, Zerubbabel, and the Maccabees.
BEDE; Again, when the Lord left the temple, all the edifice of the law and
the frame work of the commandments were destroyed, so that nothing could be
filled up by the Jews; and now that the head has been taken away, all the
limbs fight one against the other.
3. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter
and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all
these things shall be fulfilled?
5. And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive
6. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive
7. And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be you not troubled:
for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
8. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and
there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and
troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
BEDE; Because the Lord, when some were praising the buildings of the temple,
had plainly answered that all these were to be destroyed, the disciples
privately inquired about the time and the signs of the destruction which was
foretold; wherefore it is said: And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, over
against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all
these things shall be fulfilled. The Lord sits upon the mount of Olives,
over against the temple, when He discourses upon the ruin and destruction of
the temple, so that even His bodily position may be in accordance with the
words which He speaks, pointing out mystically that, abiding in peace with
the saints, He hates the madness of the proud. For the mount of Olives marks
the fruitful sublimity of the Holy Church.
AUG. In answer to the disciples, the Lord tells them of things which were
from that time forth to have their course; whether He meant the destruction
of Jerusalem which occasioned their question, or His own coming through the
Church, (in which He ever comes even to the end, for we know that He comes
in His own, when His members are born day by day,) or the end itself, in
which He will appear to judge the quick and the dead.
THEOPHYL. But before answering their question, He strengthens their minds
that they may not be deceived, wherefore there follows: And Jesus answering
them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you?
And this He says, because when the sufferings of the Jews began, some arose
professing to be teachers, wherefore there follows: For many shall come in
my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
BEDE; For many came forward, when destruction was hanging over Jerusalem,
saying that they were Christs, and that the time of freedom was now
approaching. Many teachers of heresy also arose in the Church even in the
time of the Apostles; and many Antichrists came in the name of Christ, the
first of whom was Simon Magus, to whom the Samaritans, as we read in the
Acts of the Apostles, listened, saying, This man is the great power of God:
wherefore also it is added here, And shall deceive many.
Now from the time of the Passion of our Lord there ceased not amongst the
Jewish people, who chose the seditious robber and rejected Christ the
Savior, either external wars or civil discord; wherefore it goes on: And
when you shall bear of wars and rumors of wars, be you not troubled. And
when these come, the Apostles are warned not to be afraid, or to leave
Jerusalem and Judea, because the end was not to come at once, nay was to be
put off for forty years. And this is what is added: for such things must
needs be; but the end shall not be yet, that is, the desolation of the
province, and the last destruction of the city and temple.
It goes on: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against
THEOPHYL. That is, the Romans against the Jews, which Josephus relates
happened before the destruction of Jerusalem. For when the Jews refused to
pay tribute, the Romans arose, in anger; but because at that time they were
merciful, they took indeed their spoils, but did not destroy Jerusalem. What
follows shows that God fought against the Jews, for it is said, And there
shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines.
BEDE; Now it is on record that this literally took place at the time of the
Jewish rebellion. But kingdom against kingdom, the pestilence of those whose
word spreads as a canker, dearth of the word of God, the commotion of the
whole earth, and the separation from the true faith, may all rather be
understood of heretics who, by fighting one against the other, bring about
the triumph of the Church.
9. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to
councils; and in the synagogues you shall be beaten: and you shall be
brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10. And the Gospel must first be published among all nations.
11. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought
beforehand what you shall speak, neither do you premeditate: but whatsoever
shall be given you in that hour, that speak you: for it is not you that
speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the
son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them
to be put to death.
13. And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall
endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
BEDE; The Lord shows how Jerusalem and the province of Judea merited the
infliction of such calamities, in the following words: But take heed to
yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues
you shall be beaten. For the greatest cause of destruction to the Jewish
people was, that after slaying the Savior, they also tormented the heralds
of His name and faith with wicked cruelty.
THEOPHYL. Fitly also did He premise a recital of those things which
concerned the Apostles, that in their own tribulations they might find some
consolation in the community of troubles and sufferings. There follows: And
you shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony
against them. He says kings and rulers, as, for instance, Agrippa, Nero, and
Herod. Again, His saying, for my sake, gave them no small consolation, in
that they were about to suffer for His sake. For a testimony against them,
means, as a judgment beforehand against them, that they might be
inexcusable, in that though the Apostles were laboring for the truth, they
would not join themselves to it.
Then, that they might not think that their preaching should be impeded by
troubles and dangers, He adds: And the Gospel must first be published among
AUG. Matthew adds: And then shall the end come. Mark, however, by the word
first means before the end come.
BEDE; Ecclesiastical historians testify that this was fulfilled, for they
relate that all the Apostles long before the destruction of the province of
Judea were dispersed to preach the Gospel over the whole world, except James
the son of Zebedee and James the brother of our Lord, who had before shed
their blood in Judea for the word of the Lord. Since then the Lord knew that
the hearts of the disciples would be saddened by the fall and destruction of
their nation, He relieves them by this consolation, to let them know that
even after the casting away of the Jews, companions in their joy and
heavenly kingdom should not be wanting, nay that many more were to be
collected out of all mankind then perished in Judea.
GLOSS. Another anxiety might also arise in the breasts of the disciples.
Lest therefore after hearing that they were to be brought before kings and
rulers, they should fear that their want of science and eloquence should
render them unable to answer, our Lord consoles them by saying, But when
they shall lead you and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you
shall speak, but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak you.
BEDE; For when we are led before judges for Christ's sake, all our duty is
to offer up our will for Christ. As for the rest, Christ Himself who dwells
in us speaks for us, and the grace of the Holy Ghost shall be given us, when
we answer. Wherefore it goes on: For it is not you that shall speak, but the
THEOPHYL. He also foretells to them a worse evil, that they should suffer
persecution from their relations. Wherefore there follows: Now the brother
shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children
shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to
death; and you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
BEDE; This has often been seen in time of persecution, nor can there be any
firm affection amongst men who differ in faith.
THEOPHYL. And this He says, that on hearing it, they might prepare
themselves to bear persecutions and ills with greater patience. Then He
brings them consolation, saying, And you shall be hated of all men for my
name's sake; for the being hated for Christ's sake is a sufficient reason
for suffering persecutions patiently, for it is not the punishment, but the
cause, that makes the martyr. Again, that which follows is no small comfort
amidst persecution: But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be