Luke xi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Father, hallowed be thy name, &c. See Matthew vi. In the ordinary Greek copies here are all the seven petitions, as in St. Matthew: and so they are in the Protestant Testament. Yet St. Augustine in his Enchiridion, (chap. i. tom. 6, p. 240,) says there were read seven petitions in St. Matthew and only five in St. Luke. We may also take notice, that though in the Greek copies here in St. Luke are all seven petitions of the Lord’s prayer, yet the doxology, for thine is the kingdom, &c. is omitted in all Greek copies, and by the Protestants; which is a new argument and proof, that the said doxology is an addition from the Greek liturgy. (Witham)

Ver. 3. In the Greek it is called epiousion; i.e. supersubstantial. This is not the bread that goeth into the body, but the bread of eternal life, that supports the life of the soul. It is here called daily bread. Receive then daily, what will daily profit you; and continue so to live, that you may be daily in proper dispositions for receiving it. All who are under sin, have received a wound, and must seek for a cure. The cure is this heavenly and most venerable sacrament. (St. Augustine, Serm. ii. de verbo Dei.)

Ver. 4. Christ does not teach us to pray for afflictions of the body, but always enjoins us to pray, that we may not enter into temptation. When, therefore, temptation attacks us, we must beg of God grace to withstand it, that the promise in St. Matthew (chap. x.) may be fulfilled in us, he who perseveres to the end shall be saved. (Ven. Bede in Reg. Brev. 221)

Ver. 5. This parable is not found in any one of the evangelists, except St. Luke. Our Saviour having taught his disciples the aforesaid form of prayer, now shews them the utility and efficacy of prayer in general. He wishes to inculcate the necessity of perseverance in prayer. A friend comes to borrow of another friend at an unseasonable hour; his request is refused; he insists, and obtains, by his perseverance, what he could not have gained without it. Thus also the Almighty wishes to be importuned; he wishes us to pray with zeal and perseverance. This is the model we ought to follow. (Calmet) — God would not exhort us so earnestly to pray, unless he was ready to grant our petitions. Let us blush at our sloth: he is more ready to give than we are to receive. (St. Augustine)

Ver. 8. After our Saviour had given his apostles this form of prayer, knowing that men would recite it with remissness and negligence, and then on account of not being heard, would desist, he teaches here to avoid this pusillanimity in prayer; perseverance in our petitions being the most advantageous. (St. Cyril in St. Thomas Aquinas)

Ver. 9. Our petitions are frequently not immediately granted, that our earnestness and assiduity may be increased; that we may learn to esteem the gifts of God, and preserve them with care, for whatever we procure with labour, we preserve with care, lest by losing it we lose our labour also. (St. Basil in Con. Mon.)

Ver. 10. How comes it to pass then, that many pray, and receive not? To this we answer, that if they approach in a proper manner, and observe the necessary conditions of the petition, they will undoubtedly receive what they ask for; but if, on the contrary, they deviate from this rule, and ask not, as they ought, they will not receive; because as St. James says, you ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss. (Chap. i.) By asking for things that are prejudical to your well-being; or, if for spiritual blessings, you do not receive them, on account of your evil motives. (Origen in St. Thomas Aquinas)

Ver. 14. This possessed person is said in St. Matthew to have been also blind. Upon him, therefore, were wrought three wonders: the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the possessed was delivered; which daily takes place in the persons of such as are converted to the number of true believers: the devil is expelled, and they both receive the light of faith beaming upon their eyes, and having the strings of their silent organs loosed to sound forth the praises of God. (Ven. Bede) — And the multitude, &c. The multitude, though devoid of learning, were constant admirers of the actions of our Lord, whilst the Scribes and Pharisees either denied them, or by a sinister interpretation, ascribed them to the power of the unclean spirit. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 17. And house upon house shall fall. He speaks of a house or family divided, which thereby shall fall to ruin. (Witham)

Ver. 19. Your judges. They will condemn you of injustice, envy, and hatred against me, and blasphemy against God; because when they perform any exorcisms, though they appear but little more than human in their actions, yet you ascribe them to the virtue of God; but when I perform any miracle, though there always appear most evident signs of the power and virtue of God, you ascribe all to the hand and machinations of the devil. (Tirinus)

Ver. 24. Man, &c. By this one man is meant the whole Jewish people, out of whom the unclean spirit had been driven by the law. (St. Ambrose) — For as long as they were in Egypt, they lived after the manners of the Egyptians, and were the habitation of the unclean spirit; but it was expelled from them, when they slew the paschal lamb in figure of Christ, and escaped destruction by sprinkling themselves with its blood. (St. Cyril in St. Thomas Aquinas) — But the evil spirit returned to his former habitation, the Jews, because he saw them devoid of virtue, barren, and open for his reception. And their latter state is worse than their former; for more wicked demons possessed the breasts of the Jews than before. Then they raged against the prophets only; but now they persecute the Lord himself of the prophets: therefore have they suffered much greater extremities from Vespasian and Titus, than from Egypt and Babylon; for besides being deprived of the merciful protection of Providence, which before watched over them, they are destitute of all grace, and delivered up to a more poignant misery, and a more cruel tyranny of the devil. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xliv. on S. Matt.)

Ver. 26. The last state, &c. But these words are also addressed to us Christians, who may often, and with reason, fear lest the vice we think extinguished in us, again return and seize on our slothful and careless souls, finding them cleansed indeed from the filth of sin by the grace of baptism, but destitute of every ornamental and protective virtue. It brings with it seven other evil spirits, by which we must understand every vicious inclination. (Ven. Bede) — The latter state of these souls is worse than the former; because having been delivered from all former sins, and adorned with grace, if they again return to their iniquities a much more grievous punishment will be due for every subsequent crime. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xliv. on S. Matt.)

Ver. 28. Menounge, imo vero, yes indeed. Our Saviour does not here wish to deny what the woman had said, but rather to confirm it: indeed how could he deny, as Calvin impiously maintained, that his mother was blessed? By these words, he only wishes to tell his auditors what great advantage they might obtain by attending to his words. For the blessed Virgin, as St. Augustine says, was more happy in having our Saviour in her heart and affections, than in having conceived him in her womb. (Tirinus)

Ver. 29. But the sign of Jonas. Instead of a prodigy in the heavens or in the air, I will give you one in the bosom of the earth, more wonderful than that of the prophet Jonas, who came out alive from the belly of the fish, which had swallowed him. Thus I will return alive from the bosom of the earth three days after my death. (Calmet) — He gave them a sign, not from heaven, for they were unworthy to behold it, but from the deep; the sign of his incarnation, not of his divinity; of his passion, not of his glory. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 31. Queen of the South shall condemn this generation, not by exercising the power of judgment against them, but by having performed an action which, when put in competition with theirs, will be found superior to them. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 34. If thy eye be single. As when the eyes of the body are pure, and free from the mixture of bad humours, the whole body is lightsome; so if the eyes of the mind, viz. reason, faith and understanding, are not infected with the pestiferous humours of envy, avarice, and other vices, the whole mind will be illuminated by the presence of the Holy Ghost. Take care, therefore, lest by giving way to these vices, the light which is in thee be turned into darkness. (Barradius)

Ver. 36. The whole shall be lightsome. Not only all thy body, but all about thee; all thy ways and actions. (Witham)

Ver. 38. Washed, &c. There was nothing ordained by the law concerning this washing of the hands, which the Pharisees observed before taking meat. Christ and his apostles washed their hands when they pleased, without looking for any mystery in such things, or making to themselves vain obligations in frivolous and indifferent things. They did not neglect what was ordained by the law in certain cases for purification; but beside that, they observed nothing more. (Calmet)

Ver. 41. But yet that which remaineth, give alms.[1] The sense seems not to be of what remaineth, give alms, as some expound it; but by the Greek, the sense is, give alms of what you have, i.e. of your goods, according to your abilities; and as Tobias said to his son, If thou hast much, give much; if little, give a little willingly. (Tobias iv. 9.) — All things are clean unto you. Not that alms without other pious dispositions, will suffice to your salvation; but that other necessary virtues will be given you, by the mercies of God. (Witham) — These are the means I propose to you to gain that interior purity I am speaking of. But will alms suffice to expiate all sorts of crimes? Is it enough for the murderer, the homicide, &c. to give alms? Undoubtedly not. Our Saviour only compares alms-deeds with the exterior washing which the Pharisees affected. As if he had said, “It is not by the washing in common water that you will take out the stains of your souls, but by the works of charity. Charity will be more efficacious to cleanse you than all the waters of the rivers and of the sea.” Or, according to Euthymius, if you wish to cleanse yourselves truly, bring forth worthy fruits of penance, give up ill acquired possessions; and as for the rest, redeem you sins by alms. Thus shall all things be made clean to you, as well within as without the vase. (Calmet)

Ver. 43. Salutations in the market-place, &c. Such as wish to be saluted, and have the first places, that they may appear great, are likened to sepulchres, which are covered externally with ornaments, but are filled inwardly with rottenness. (St. Cyril in St. Thomas Aquinas)

Ver. 44. Sepulchres that appear not. This comparison is partly different from that of Matthew xxiii. 27. For there Christ compares hypocrites to whitened sepulchres, which may be seen and avoided; here he compares them to sepulchres covered with grass, which appear not: yet the comparison, in the main, is the same; that whether they appear or not, still under them is corruption: as the interior of the Pharisees was always full of vice and corruption. (Witham) — Men that walk, &c. Because they bear with them a fair outside, but are made up of nothing but corruption. (St. Ambrose)

Ver. 45. Then one of the lawyers, &c. Correction, which turns to the advantage of the meek, appears always more intolerable to the wicked. Christ denounces woes against the Pharisees for deviating from the right path, and the doctors of the law found them equally applicable to themselves. (St. Cyril in St. Thomas Aquinas) — How miserable is the conscience which, upon hearing the word of God, thinks itself insulted, and always hears the punishment of the reprobate rehearsed as the words of its own condemnation. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 47. Woe to you who build, &c. Not that the building of the monuments of the prophets was in itself blameworthy, but only the intention of these unhappy men, who made use of this outward shew of religion and piety, as a means to carry on their wicked designs against the prince of prophets. (Challoner)

Ver. 48. Build, &c. See the notes Matthew xxiii. 29. (Witham)

Ver. 49. The wisdom of God said. In St. Matthew it is, Behold I send to you prophets and wise men; and in this passage of St. Luke, the wisdom of God saith, I will send, &c.: thus is Christ truly the wisdom of the Almighty God. (St. Ambrose)

Ver. 51. Blood of Zacharias, &c. This Zacharias was, according to some Zacharias the son of Joiada, whom the Jews slew between the temple and the altar. (Theophylactus,—also St. Jerome, who moreover mentions that some editions had Zacharias, son of Joiada.) — This generation. Not that this generation of the Jews should be punished for the crimes of others, but that having before their eyes the severe chastisements their ancestors had received, in punishment of their wickedness, they had not grown better, but had imitated their perversity. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxv. in Matt.)

Ver. 52. You have taken away the key of knowledge. A comparison of a master that locks others out. As if Christ said: you pretend, as masters and teachers, to open and expound the law and the prophets; and by your false doctrine and interpretations, you neither observe the law, nor permit others to observe it. See Matthew xxiii. 13. (Witham) — The key of knowledge is faith; for by faith we come to the knowledge of truth, according to that of Isaiah, How shall they understand, if they have not believed? Cap.[Chap.?] vii, (according to Septuagint) these doctors of the law took away the key of science, by not allowing the people to believe in Christ. (St. Cyril in St. Thomas Aquinas)

Ver. 53. And to oppress (i.e. stop) his mouth about many things.[2] This is the literal signification of the Greek: they started one question upon another, to raise confusion and confound the answers. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 41. Verumtamen quod superest, date eleemosynam plen ta enonta dote eleemosunen; quĉ adsunt, quĉ penes vos sunt. It is not to loipon, &c.

[2] Ver. 53. Et os ejus opprimere de multis: apostomatizein auton peri pleionon.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

He teaches his disciples to pray. Casts out a dumb devil. Confutes the Pharisees; and pronounces woes against them for their hypocrisy.

1 And it came to pass, that as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

2 And he said to them: When you pray, say: *Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.

3 Give us this day our daily bread.

4 And forgive us our sins: for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

5 And he said to them: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves?

6 For a friend of mine is come off his journey to me, and I have nothing to set before him.

7 And he, from within, should answer and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed: I cannot rise and give thee.

8 Yet if he shall continue knocking: I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend: yet because of his importunity he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth.

9 *And I say to you: Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.

10 For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

11 *And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he, for a fish, give him a serpent?

12 Or, if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion?

13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?

14 *And he was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb. And when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitude wondered.

15 But some of them said: He casteth out devils, *through Beelzebub, the prince of devils.

16 And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven.

17 But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall.

18 And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils.

19 Now if I cast out devils through Beelzebub: through whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

20 But if I by the finger of God cast out devils: doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man, armed, keepeth his court, those things which he possesseth are in peace.

22 But if a stronger than he come upon him and overcome him, he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils.

23 He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest: and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.

25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.

26 Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in, they dwell there. And the last state of that man becometh worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, that a certain woman, from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck.

28 But he said: Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

29 And when the people were gathered together, he began to say: *This generation is a wicked generation: they ask a sign, and a sign shall not be given them, but the sign of Jonas, the prophet.

30 *For as Jonas was a sign to the Ninivites, so shall the Son of man also be to this generation.

31 *The queen of the South shall rise in the judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn them: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold more than Solomon here.

32 The men of Ninive shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, *because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas; and behold more than Jonas here.

33 *No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel: but upon a candlestick, that they that come in may see the light.

34 *The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body, also, will be darksome.

35 Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness.

36 If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome and as a bright lamp shall enlighten thee.

37 And as he was speaking, a certain Pharisee prayed him to dine with him. And going in, he sat down to eat.

38 And the Pharisee began to say, thinking within himself, why he was not washed before dinner.

39 And the Lord said to him: *Now you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup, and of the platter: but your inside is full of rapine and iniquity.

40 Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make also that which is within?

41 But yet that which remaineth, give alms; and behold all things are clean unto you.

42 But wo to you Pharisees, because you tithe mint and rue, and every herb, and pass over judgment, and the charity of God: Now these things you ought to have done, and not to leave the others undone.

43 *Wo to you Pharisees, because you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market-place.

44 Wo to you, because you are as sepulchres that appear not, and men that walk over are not aware.

45 Then one of the lawyers answering, said to him: Master, in saying these things, thou reproachest us also.

46 But he said: Wo to you lawyers also: *because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear, and you yourselves touch not the packs with one of your fingers.

47 Wo to you who build the monuments of the prophets: and your fathers killed them.

48 Truly you bear witness that you consent to the doings of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and you build their sepulchres.

49 Therefore, also, the wisdom of God said: I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute:

50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation,

51 *From the blood of Abel unto the blood of **Zacharias, who was slain between the altar and the temple. Yea, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.

52 Wo to you lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you yourselves have not entered in, and those that were entering in you have hindered.

53 And as he was saying these things to them, the Pharisees and the lawyers began vehemently to urge him, and to oppress his mouth about many things,

54 Lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.



2: Matthew vi. 9.

9: Matthew vii. 7. and xxi. 22.; Mark xi. 24.; John xiv. 13.; James i. 5.

11: Matthew vii. 9.

14: Matthew ix. 32. and xii. 22.

15: Matthew ix. 34.; Mark ii. 22.

29: Matthew xii. 39.

30: Jonas ii. 1.

31: 3 Kings x. 1.; 2 Paralipomenon ix. 1.

32: Jonas iii. 5.

33: Matthew v. 15.; Mark iv. 21.

34: Matthew vi. 22.

39: Matthew xxiii. 25.

43: Matthew xxii. 6.; Mark xii. 39.; Luke xx. 46.

46: Matthew xxiii. 4.

51: Genesis iv. 8. — ** 2 Paralipomenon xxiv. 22.