Trustworthy Saying

Beloved:
This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Of these I am the foremost.
But for that reason I was mercifully treated,
so that in me, as the foremost,
Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example
for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,
honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Timothy 1:15-17)

Scripture Study

1:15 This saying is trustworthy: this phrase regularly introduces in the Pastorals a basic truth of early Christian faith; cf. 1 Tm 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tm 2:11; Ti 3:8.

1:17 King of ages: through Semitic influence, the Greek expression could mean “everlasting king”; it could also mean “king of the universe.”

Scripture Reflection

The point being emphasized here in this pastoral letter is that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. The Apostle has condensed into very few words God’s plan for the redemption of mankind, which he will go on to say more about later. “The mercy of God is infinite,” says St Francis of Assisi, “and, according to the Gospel, even if our sins were infinite, his mercy is yet greater than our sins. And the Apostle St Paul has said that Christ the blessed came into the world to save sinners” (The Little Flowers of St Francis).

This is, in fact, one of the basic truths of faith and appears in the Creed: “For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven”. He came to save us from the only evil, that which can separate us from God—sin. By his victory over sin, Christ gave men and women the honor of being sons and daughters of God; this new character and status equips them to light up the world around them with the brightness of their Christian lives. (St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing By)

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Our Lady of Sorrows

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
(John 19:25-27)

Scripture Study

19:25 his mother’s sister: Possibly “Salome”, the mother of the apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Mt 27:56; Mk 15:40).

19:26 Woman: The address sounds impersonal to modern readers but was considered polite in biblical antiquity. ● Jesus probably alludes to Gen 3:15, which describes the mother of the Messiah as the “woman” whose offspring conquers the devil (CCC 726, 2618). behold your son!: Jesus honors his Mother by entrusting her to the protective care of the Apostle John, presumably because Mary had no other children to assume the responsibility. The Church maintains that Jesus’ Mother, Mary, remained a virgin throughout her life. These so-called brethren of Jesus are thus his relatives but not children of Mary. Four observations support the Church’s tradition: (1) These brethren are never called the children of Mary, although Jesus himself is (Jn 2:1; 19:25; Acts 1:14). (2) Two names mentioned, James and Joseph, are sons of a different “Mary” in Mt 27:56 (Mk 15:40). (3) It is unlikely that Jesus would entrust his Mother to the Apostle John at his Crucifixion if she had other natural sons to care for her (Jn 19:26–27). (4) The word “brethren” (Gk. adelphoi) has a broader meaning than blood brothers. Since ancient Hebrew had no word for “cousin”, it was customary to use “brethren” in the Bible for relationships other than blood brothers. In the Greek OT, a “brother” can be a nearly related cousin (1 Chron 23:21–22), a more remote kinsman (Deut 23:7; 2 Kings 10:13–14), an uncle or a nephew (Gen 13:8), or the relation between men bound by covenant (2 Sam 1:26; cf. 1 Sam 18:3). Continuing this OT tradition, the NT often uses “brother” or “brethren” in this wider sense. Paul uses it as a synonym for his Israelite kinsmen in Rom 9:3. It also denotes biologically unrelated Christians in the New Covenant family of God (Rom 8:29; 12:1; Col 1:2; Heb 2:11; Jas 1:2; CCC 500). ● John is not just an individual disciple, he is portrayed by the evangelist as an icon of every disciple whom Jesus loves. In this sense, Mary is given to all beloved disciples of Christ, just as every disciple is given to the maternal care of Mary. The assumption here is that family relations are extended beyond the limits of natural lineage, so that every baptized believer has God as a Father, Christ as an eldest brother, Mary as a Mother, and the saints as brothers and sisters (CCC 501, 964, 2679).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. In our Gospel Jesus entrusts care of his mother to St. John. We can see some background for this profound action in The Passion of the Christ, the most provocative and popular religious movie in decades. What I would like to do is simply highlight a theme from the movie that especially struck me when I saw it.

The theme that I would like to emphasize is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We are compelled to see the scenes through her eyes. Early in Luke’s Gospel, we are told that Mary “contemplated these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” She is the theologian par excellence, the one who understands. When she sees Jesus being led away, she weeps and then she says “Amen.”

In scene after scene, we watch her spiritual comprehension. The wonderful scene where she is marked with the Blood of her Son is especially evocative. And then the Pieta depiction at the very end, where we see Mary’s role: to present the sacrifice of her Son to us and for us.

= Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.