Luke xviii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Always to pray, i.e. to pray daily, and frequently; (Witham) and also to walk always in the presence of God, by a spirit of prayer, love, and sorrow for sin.

Ver. 2. This judge, who feared not God, nor cared for man, yet yielded to the importunity of the widow, represents the absolute and sovereign power of God. But we must not suppose the Almighty has any of the faults we see in this iniquitous judge. Comparisons are not meant to hold good in every particular. The only consequence to be drawn from the present parable, is this: if a man, who has neither piety nor tenderness for his fellow creatures, yield to the importunity of a widow, who is not wearied out with repeating her petitions; how much more will God, who is full of bounty and tenderness to man, and only seek occasions to grant him his gifts, hear the prayers of the fervent, and fill with benedictions the petitioner, who can continue like the widow to importune his interference, and can beg without languor or discouragement? (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Avenge me; i.e. do me justice. It is a Hebraism. (Witham)

Ver. 4. And he would not for a long time. The Almighty does not always hear us as soon as we could wish, nor in the manner that seems best to us; but if we are not always heard according to our desires, we always are as far as is conducive to our salvation. He sometimes delays, in order to exercise our patience, and increase our ardour: sometimes he grants, in his anger, what, in him mercy, he would refuse. Let us then pray always, desire always, love always. Desire always, and you pray always. This is the continual voice of prayer, which the Almighty demands of you. You are silent, when you cease to love. The cooling of charity, is the silence of the heart. (St. Augustine, in Psalm xxxvii.) (Witham)

Ver. 5. She weary me out.[1] This, as much as I am able to find out, seems the literal signification both of the Latin and Greek text. (Witham)

Ver. 8. In the Greek, although he suffer for the present the elect to be oppressed. (Bible de Vence) — Our divine Redeemer adds, this, to shew that faith must necessarily accompany our prayers. For whosoever prays for what he does not believe he shall obtain, will pray in vain; let us, therefore, entreat the Father of mercies to grant us the grace of prayer, and firmness in faith; for faith produces prayer, and prayer produces firmness of faith. (St. Augustine, de verb. Dom. Serm 36.) — But of this there is little left on the earth, and there will be still less at the second coming of the Son of God.

Ver. 9. In this chapter we have three examples of prayer: one of the persevering widow; another of the poor publican, who solicits the divine mercy by the acknowledgment of his crimes; and the third of the proud Pharisee, who only goes to the temple to pronounce his own panegyric, and enter upon an accusation of his humble neighbour, whose heart is unknown to him. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. The Pharisee standing. The Greek is, standing by himself, i.e. separated from the rest. Some understand this term, standing, as if in opposition to kneeling or prostrating, which they suppose to be the general posture in which the Jews offered up their prayers, and that of the humble publican. The Christians borrowed this practice from them. We see the apostles and disciples praying on their knees: Acts vii. 59, ix. 40, xx. 36. In the Old Testament, we see the same observed. Solomon, (3 Kings viii. 54.) Daniel, (vi. 10.) and Micheas, (vi. 6.) prayed in that posture. Others however, think that the people generally prayed standing, as there were neither benches nor chairs in the temple. (Calmet) — There are four ways by which men are guilty of pride: 1st, By thinking they have any good from themselves; 2nd, by thinking that though they have received it from above, it was given them as due to their own merits; 3rd, by boasting of the good they do not possess; and fourthly, by desiring to be thought the only persons that possess the good qualities of which they thus pride themselves. The pride of the Pharisee seems to have consisted in attributing to himself alone the qualities of which he boasted. (St. Gregory, mor. lib. xxiii, chap. 4.) — He who is guilty of publicly speaking against his neighbour, is likewise the cause of much damage to himself and others. 1st, He injures the hearer; because if he be a sinner, he rejoices to find an accomplice; if he be just, he is tempted to vanity, seeing himself exempt from the crimes with which others are charged. 2nd, He injures the Church, by exposing it to be insulted for the defects of its members. 3rd, He causes the name of God to be blasphemed; for, as God is glorified by our good actions, so is he dishonoured by sin. 4th, He renders himself guilty, by disclosing that which it was his duty not to have mentioned. (St. Chrysostom, Serm. de Phar. et Pub.)

Ver. 12. See how the Pharisee here, by pride, lays open to the enemy his heart, which he had in vain shut against him by fasting and prayer. It is in vain to defend a city, if you leave the enemy a single passage, by which he may enter in. (St. Gregory, mor. lib. xix. chap. 12.)

Ver. 14. If any one should ask why the Pharisee is here condemned for speaking some few words in his own commendation, and why the like sentence was not passed on Job, who praised himself much more; the difference is evident: the former praised himself without any necessity, merely with an intention of indulging his vanity, and extolling himself over the poor publican; the latter, being overwhelmed with misery, and upbraided by his friends, as if, forsaken of God, he suffered his present distress in punishment of his crimes, justifies himself by recounting his virtues for the greater glory of God, and to preserve himself and others in the steady practice of virtue, under similar temptations. (Theophylactus)

Ver. 34. They understood well enough the sense of the words he spoke to them. But they could not understand how they could be reconciled with the idea they had previously conceived of the Messias. They were scandalized in the first place, to think that God should suffer any thing inflicted by man; they were scandalized in the second place, to hear that sufferings and death could lead to victory and empire; and lastly, they were scandalized, (their own feelings taking the alarm) lest they should be forced to imitate their Master in this part which he had chosen for himself. (Haydock)

Ver. 35. This blind man is, according to some interpreters, different from the other two whom Jesus Christ cured as he was going out of Jericho. (Bible de Vence) — See Matthew xx. 29. and Mark x. 46. et dein.


[1] Ver. 5. Sugillet me, upopiaze me. The Greek word literally signifies, lest she give me strokes on the face, that make me appear black and blue; which were called, upopia. This word, upopiazein, is only used in one other place in the New Testament, (1 Corinthians ix. 27.) where St. Paul says, castigo, or contundo corpus meum. Now, as we cannot imagine that this judge feared lest the widow should beat him in this shameful manner, the word metaphorically seems to imply, lest she should injuriously upbraid and continually reproach me.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

We must pray always. The Pharisee and the publican. The danger of riches. The blind man is restored to sight.

1 And *he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint,

2 Saying: There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God, nor regarded man.

3 And there was a certain widow in that city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adversary.

4 And he would not for a long time. But afterwards he said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard man,

5 Yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will avenge her, lest continually coming, she weary me out.

6 And the Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith:

7 And will not God avenge his elect, who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard?

8 I say to you, he will quickly avenge them. But yet, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?

9 He spoke also this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others.

10 Two men went up into the temple, to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican:

11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, nor such as this publican:

12 I fast twice in the week: I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift his eyes towards heaven: but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I say to you, this man went down to his house justified rather that the other; *because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

15 *And they brought to him also infants, that he might touch them. Which when the disciples saw, they rebuked them.

16 But Jesus, calling them together, said: Suffer children to come to me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

17 Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it.

18 *And a certain ruler asked him, saying: Good master, what shall I do to possess everlasting life?

19 And Jesus said to him: Why dost thou call me good? None is good but God alone.

20 Thou knowest the commandments: *Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Honour thy father and mother.

21 But he said: All these things have I kept from my youth.

22 Now when Jesus had heard this, he said to him: Yet one thing is wanting to thee: sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

23 He having heard these things, was sorrowful: for he was very rich.

24 And Jesus seeing him become sorrowful, said: How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God.

25 For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they that heard it, said: Who then can be saved?

27 He said to them: The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.

28 Then Peter said: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee?

29 He said to them: Amen, I say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

30 Who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting.

31 *Then Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets, concerning the Son of man.

32 For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon:

33 And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death, and the third day he shall rise again.

34 And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.

35 *Now it came to pass, that when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way-side, begging.

36 And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant.

37 And they told him, that Jesus, of Nazareth, was passing by.

38 And he cried out, saying: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.

39 And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.

40 And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought to him. And when he was come near, he asked him,

41 Saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see.

42 And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole.

43 And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.



1: Ecclesiasticus xviii. 22.; 1 Thessalonians v. 17.

14: Matthew xxiii. 12.; Luke xiv. 11.

15: Matthew xix. 13.; Mark x. 13.

18: Matthew xix. 16.

20: Exodus xx. 13.

31: Matthew xx. 17.; Mark x. 32.

35: Matthew xx. 29.; Mark x. 46.