Social Justice

Beloved:
I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the holy ones
have been refreshed by you, brother.
Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ
to order you to do what is proper,
I rather urge you out of love,
being as I am, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus.
I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment,
who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me.
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the Gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
And if he has done you any injustice
or owes you anything, charge it to me.
I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay.
May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.
Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord.
Refresh my heart in Christ.
(Philemon 1:7-20)  

 

Scripture Study

no longer as a slave: Philemon is faced with a dilemma. As a slave owner, he is entitled by law to punish the returning Onesimus to the fullest extent (death). As a Christian, however, he must acknowledge that the recent conversion of Onesimus has put him and his slave on an equal footing in the eyes of God (Gal 3:28). In Paul’s mind, there is only one recommended option: Philemon must embrace Onesimus as his brother in the faith, forgive him his wrongdoing, and give him his freedom. Christ has made them brothers, and this creates a new situation that overrides the social and legal expectations that would normally apply when a delinquent slave returned to his owner. These men were once members of the same household, with one in authority over the other; but now they are children of equal standing in the household of God the Father (Philem 3). This is one example of how Paul, who never condemned the institution of slavery directly, worked against it with the gospel (CCC 2414). (St. Jerome, Commentary on Philemon on Philem 15).[1]

Reflection

“Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord.

Sometimes evil circumstances become an occasion for good, and God turns the evil plans of men toward a righteous end. If Onesimus had not fled his master, he would not have come to Paul in prison and there received faith in Christ.

Our modern world rightfully acknowledges slavery as abhorrent. We struggle with the idea that mankind could treat another human being in this manner. But many also struggle with what they read in scripture about slavery as it often seems to condone this practice by failing to condemn it.

This is a struggle for many people to accept Christianity or the idea of God. Why God would allow this type of inhuman behavior to occur. Scripture has told us that God’s ways are not ours and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Is 55:8). So are we capable of trusting God when we do not understand why injustice occurs?

Every Christian, insofar as we can, should contribute to bringing about social justice by living out the example of Christ. He trusted the Father in all things and created change in the world through his lived life of love of the Father and his neighbor. Can we do any less?

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

 

 

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 411.

The Temple

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building.
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
(1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17)  

 

Scripture Study

3:16 you are God’s temple: The Temple in Jerusalem was still standing when this verse was written (a.d. 56). In Paul’s mind the stone sanctuary of the Old Covenant had been replaced by the living body of Christ in the New. He viewed this mystery in three dimensions: the body of every individual Christian is a temple (6:19); the body of every local Church is a temple (3:17); and the body of the universal Church is a temple (Eph 2:19–22).

3:17 If any one destroys: The final scenario outlined in Paul’s building metaphor: careful builders will receive a heavenly reward (3:14); careless builders will pass through purging fires on their way to salvation (3:15); and destructive workers will themselves be destroyed (3:17).[1]

Reflection

“. . . you are the temple of God . . .”

Next time you are at Mass, say to yourself as you prepare to receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ, “I am the Temple of God.” And as you return to your pew, reflect on the reality that you are truly at this point the ‘temple’ that is housing the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection on this wonderful fact will help you realize how extremely important it is to live in the grace of God, and to have a horror of mortal sin, which “destroys God’s temple,” depriving the soul of God’s grace and friendship. Moreover, through this indwelling, we begin to receive an inkling of what heaven will be like.

The presence of the Trinity in the soul in grace invites all Christians to seek a more personal and direct relationship with God, whom we can seek at every moment in the depths of our souls: “Don’t forget that you are God’s temple. The Advocate is in the center of your soul; listen to him and be obedient to his inspirations” (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 57).

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

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 289.

Saving Grace

Beloved:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink, 
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech 
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:1-8, 11-14)  

 

Scripture Study

2:1 But as for you: The Greek is emphatic, drawing a sharp contrast between Titus, whose mission is to propagate true doctrine, and the Jewish teachers, whose destructive ideas were denounced in the preceding context (1:10–16).

2:7 model of good deeds: Titus’ own life must be consistent with his preaching, otherwise opponents will make his personal defects a cause for public disgrace (2:8).

2:11 the salvation of all: The grace of Christ invites every person and nation into the covenant family of God. See note on 1 Tim 2:4.

2:13 our blessed hope: The return of Jesus in glory, which Paul often describes as the “appearing” of Christ from heaven (2 Thess 2:8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1, 8; CCC 1130, 1404). our great God and Savior Jesus: The syntax of this statement in Greek indicates that Paul is asserting the divinity of Jesus (Jn 10:33–38; Col 2:9; 2 Pet 1:1). Less likely translations make a distinction between God and Christ in this verse.

2:14 to redeem us: I.e., to purchase us from the bondage of sin and to purify us for a life of divine sonship. People of his own: The expression is taken from the Greek OT. ● Both Ex 19:5 and Deut 7:6 use these words to describe Israel as Yahweh’s special possession by covenant. The nation was set apart as a holy and priestly people called to draw other nations closer to God (Deut 4:6–8; Is 49:6). But since the persistence of sin and weakness prevented Israel from fulfilling this vocation under the Old Covenant, Christ came to reconstitute his covenant people in the Church (1 Pet 2:9) and to empower them to fulfill the mission once given to Israel (Mt 5:14–16). Paul’s words are also reminiscent of the New Covenant oracles of Ezekiel, especially Ezek 37:23.[1]

Reflection

“For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.”

Grace (charis) is a significant word in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s epistles. The use of charisin the New Testament has its roots in the Hebrew word hesed, used in the Old Testament to speak of God’s loving kindness, mercy, and faithfulness.

Greeks often used the word charis to speak of patronage (the support of a patron, such as someone who provided financial or political support). To Greeks, the word charis connoted generosity—generosity that demanded loyalty on the part of the recipient.

It is easy, therefore, to understand why Paul would adapt charis to the Gospel. Christian charis is the gift of salvation by God to all who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God, therefore, is the patron—the benefactor. Just as we could never fully repay a person who left us an inheritance of unimaginable wealth, so also we can never repay God for the gift of salvation. However, if a patron were to grant us unimaginable wealth, we could be faithful to the patron by using the money in a way that would be consistent with the patron’s wishes or values. So also, we can be faithful to the God who gives us salvation by living in accord with God’s will.

 

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

 

 

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 406.

Seeking the face of God

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
(Psalm 24:1-6)  

 

Scripture Study

24:1–2. This first stanza (recording perhaps the words of a Levite or a temple servant on seeing the approach of pilgrims) echoes Genesis 1:1–10: God is the lord of all things because he created them (cf. Ex 9:29; Deut 10:14) and he set the earth upon the seas (in line with ancient eastern cosmogony: cf. Job 38:4–6; Ps 104:5); yet, at the same time God has made himself accessible in the temple. St Paul appeals to the opening words of this psalm, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”, to show that there are no unclean foods, contrary to the view of some Christians of Jewish bent (cf. 1 Cor 10:25–26). These words show that all created things are good.

24:3–6. These verses would have come from an entrance rite at the temple: to a question put by visitors (v. 3), a Levite or porter replies by stating the conditions to be met if one is to receive the Lord’s blessing there (vv. 4–5). Unlike Psalm 15, where there is mention only of proper respect for one’s neighbor (referred to in a condensed way here), there is the additional requirement about not worshipping idols (“what is false”: v. 4). Verse 6 may come from a reply made by incoming pilgrims—identifying themselves as worshippers of the God of Israel.[1]

 

Reflection

“Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.”

What does it mean to “seek the face of God?” The scriptures are full of references about seeking God’s face (Job 33:26; Psalm 11:7; Hosea 5:15; 1 Cor 13:12). The biblical evidence, to me, is overwhelming.  Requesting and expecting the face of God not only seems to be allowable, but encouraged.

Stately, fear-minded worshipers might scoff at face-statements as too brash, too disrespectful, too irreverent, too assuming.   Casual, face-seeking worshipers might balk at overly transcendent worship language as too distant, too cold, unworshipful, and mood-killing.  The reality, as in many instances, lies somewhere in between.  And perhaps a good marker of being somewhere in the middle is a fully authentic willingness to say or sing, “Lord, I want to see your face,” while in the back of your mind remembering, “but I know that is a potentially dreadful and awesome request.”

Such balanced face-seeking in worship actually makes the face-seeking all the more rich and meaningful.  It ups the ante of the request instead of cheapening the manifest presence of the Almighty One.  It’s my hope that we all can grow in seeking God’s face together.

– Zac Hicks

 

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

 

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 99–100.

All Things In Christ

10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.

15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:10-19)   

Scripture Study

4:13 I can do all things: I.e., Paul can endure the extremes of earthly life, from peace and prosperity to affliction and destitution. The hidden source of his strength is not in himself but in the Lord Jesus, who enables him to take everything in stride and live detached from the need for physical comforts (Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5).
4:18 the gifts you sent: The tangible assistance delivered to Paul by Epaphroditus. His appreciation goes out to the Philippians for this sacrifice of their resources (Heb 13:16). Paul’s situation in Rome, where he lived as a prisoner in his own rented quarters, would have made their monetary assistance all the more welcome (Acts 28:16, 30). According to Phil 4:15–16, the Philippians were consistently generous in supporting his ministry in this way.
4:19 God will supply: Generosity is richly rewarded by the Lord (Lk 6:38; 2 Cor 9:6–8).[1]

 

Reflection

“In him who strengthens me.”

The preposition “in” often refers to the place “where”, in which case the text would mean that the person who lives in Christ, who is identified with him, can do all things. However, in biblical Greek it frequently has a causal meaning, in which case the Apostle would be saying that he can do all things because God lends him his strength.

The difficulties which can arise in apostolic work or in one’s search for personal holiness are not an insuperable obstacle, for we can always count on God’s support. So, we need to let ourselves be helped; we need to go to the Lord whenever we are tempted or feel discouraged (“Thou art the God in whom I take refuge”: Ps 43:2), humbly recognizing that we need his help, for we can do nothing on our own. “The proud person relies on his strength and he falls; but the humble person, who puts all his trust in God, holds his ground and does not succumb, no matter how severely he is tempted” (The Love of God, 9).[2]

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

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 362.
[2] Saint Paul’s Captivity Letters, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 119.

Children of Light

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ 
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”
(Luke 16:1-8)   

Scripture Study

16:1 a steward: A head servant who handled the business affairs of his master’s estate. Like the prodigal son (15:13), this manager wasted his master’s goods.

16:6 hundred measures of oil: About 800 gallons. The steward reduces the debt 50 percent.

16:7 hundred measures of wheat: About 1,000 bushels. The debt is reduced 20 percent.

16:8 his prudence: The master, although cheated by the debt reduction, commends the steward for his shrewdness. He recognizes that the steward’s last-minute efforts proved successful in winning the favor of the debtors and making his financial future more secure. The unjust strategy of the steward shows that he was motivated by an entirely selfish concern for his own temporal welfare. Jesus points to the steward as both an example and a warning. (1) As an example, the steward shows how to expend every effort in making use of our means to prepare for the future. Just as his cunning won him a comfortable living in the “houses” of his master’s debtors (16:4), so believers are challenged to make friends by almsgiving in order to be received into “eternal habitations” (16:9). (2) As a warning, the steward is intended to characterize the attitude of the Pharisees, who have been listening to Jesus since 15:2 and who are charged with being “lovers of money” in 16:14. It is implied that the Pharisees are despising God by their devotion to mammon, i.e., they seek not eternal riches but the esteem of men and the temporal comforts of this world (16:13).[1]

 

Reflection

“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”

The unfaithful steward manages to avoid falling on hard times. Of course, our Lord presumes that we realize the immorality of the man’s behavior. What he emphasizes and praises, however, is his shrewdness and effort: he tries to derive maximum material advantage from his former position as steward. We are called children of light for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Children of light manifest the kind of spiritual and moral goodness that everyone recognizes.

In saving our soul and spreading the Kingdom of God, our Lord wants us to apply at least the same ingenuity and effort as people put into their worldly affairs or their attempts to attain some human ideal. The fact that we can count on God’s grace does not in any way exempt us from the need to employ all available legitimate human resources even if that means strenuous effort and heroic sacrifice in living as children of light.

 

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, Introduction to the Gospels, in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 137–138.

 

The Power of Forgiveness

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ 
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents.”
(Luke 15:1-10)   

Scripture Study

15:1–2. This is not the first time that publicans and sinners approach Jesus (cf. Mt 9:10). They are attracted by the directness of our Lord’s preaching and by his call to self-giving and love. The Pharisees in general were jealous of his influence over the people (cf. Mt 26:2–5; Jn 11:47), a jealousy which can also beset Christians; a severity of outlook which does not accept that, no matter how great his sins may have been, a sinner can change and become a saint; a blindness which prevents a person from recognizing and rejoicing over the good done by others. Our Lord criticized this attitude when he replied to his disciples’ complaints about others casting out devils in his name: “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me” (Mk 9:39). And St Paul rejoiced that others proclaimed Christ and even overlooked the fact they did so out of self-interest, provided Christ was preached (cf. Phil 1:17–18).

15:5–6. Christian tradition, on the basis of this and other Gospel passages (cf. Jn 10:11), applies this parable to Christ, the Good Shepherd, who misses and then seeks out the lost sheep: the Word, by becoming man, seeks out mankind, which has strayed through sinning. Here is St Gregory the Great’s commentary: “He put the sheep on his shoulders because, on taking on human nature, he burdened himself with our sins” (In Evangelia homiliae, 2, 14).

15:7. This does not mean that our Lord does not value the perseverance of the just: he is simply emphasizing the joy of God and the saints over the conversion of a sinner. This is clearly a call to repentance, to never doubt God’s readiness to forgive.[1]

 

Reflection

“there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

We had received our transfer orders and knew from the housing waiting list at our new duty station that it would be at least six months before something would open up. When we showed up to move into our temporary quarters, we discovered that the prior tenants had kept dogs in the downstairs bathroom which left a permanent smell and stain on floors, all the way through to the concrete. Amazingly, after a good dose of bleach, the smell and stain were gone.

We often see our sins like that smelly stain – believing that nothing could never make us clean. But when we humbly acknowledge our brokenness and turn to God, that’s when his power of forgiveness goes to work, making us as clean as the day we were baptized. This is the true joy of this parable. Luke shows us God’s love and mercy for sinful human beings. Trust that every time you turn to him in repentance, you will come away feeling washed clean from front to back, from top to bottom, and from head to toe.

 

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

 

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 137–138.

Eternal Hope

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.”
(John 6:37-40)   

Scripture Study

37. The fault is theirs not his, but Jesus explains the situation in terms of what we now call efficacious grace. They come who are given to him by the Father and Jesus cannot but welcome all that the Father gives. The use of a global neuter certainly insinuates that the faithful come to Christ in the social unity of a body.

38. It is towards this body that Jesus must carry out the salvific will of his father, which is the program of his life.

39. That program or will of his Father is described as Jesus’ task, namely, to lose nothing of the ‘entrusted all’, but to save completely even to the resurrection on the last day.

40. Human liberty, which has not been expressly envisaged in this ‘giving’ by the Father, is clearly indicated when the salvific will is declared to be this: ‘That everyone (individually) who sees the Son and believes in him may have life everlasting and I will raise him up in the last day’. Belief is a free act. Jesus’ work is to save and resurrect; faith leads to eternal life and final resurrection. On our part we have to believe individually in the Son, in order to have the life everlasting and glorious resurrection which the Father wills for us.[1]

Reflection

“. . . everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life. . .”

How do we come to eternal life? We see the Son and believe. My sense is that this is less an intellectual matter (though it could be, in part) and more one of cultivating a relationship. In John 6, it almost seems like a courtship. People pursue the Lord, and there’s a certain coy quality to these questions and answers, like two lovers-to-be figuring out what’s going on. The Lord comes right out and says it, eventually: Look for food that lasts. Nobody who comes will be rejected. Look for a relationship of faith, and eternal life will be yours.

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

 

 

[1] W. Leonard, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St John,” in A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. Bernard Orchard and Edmund F. Sutcliffe (Toronto;New York;Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1953), 993.

Seeing Christ in Us

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
(1 John 3:1-3)  

 

Scripture Study

3:1 children of God: Believers become sons and daughters of God by the grace of divine generation, which is received by faith (Jn 1:12–13) through the water and Spirit of Baptism (Jn 3:5). Those who are blessed in this way are entitled to God’s love and protection (Jn 16:27; 17:15), empowered to love others as Jesus did (1 Jn 3:16–18; Jn 13:34), and encouraged to direct their hearts, hopes, and prayers to the Father through Christ (Lk 11:1–14; Jn 14:2–3). Note that believers are born of God by grace (1 Jn 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:4), whereas Christ is the “only Son” of the Father by nature (4:9; Jn 1:18; 3:16). Paul implies such a distinction when he describes our sonship in Christ in terms of divine adoption (Gal 4:4–7) (CCC 460, 1692). and so we are: Our dignity as children of God is not in name only. It is the result of truly sharing in his divine nature (1 Jn 3:9; 2 Pet 1:4).

3:2 see him as he is: The glory that awaits believers is nothing less than a direct vision of Christ. John implies in 3:3 what Jesus states explicitly in the Beatitudes: the vision

Reflection

“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

What are you known for? A famous story attributed to Gandhi goes something like this. A reporter was interviewing Gandhi and had learned that he read the New Testament every day. So he asked him, “If you read the Bible every day, why haven’t you become a Christian?” Gandhi’s reported reply was, “I would have become one if I had ever met one.”

The implication was clear. Gandhi had never seen a person called a Christian exhibit behavior that matched what he had read in the Bible about Christian’s. So if someone was asking to speak with a Christian, would people point you out because that is what you were known for? That is the lesson for all Christians to take up each day. To have others know Christ because they know us.

 

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

 

 

 

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 471.

A Different Measuring Stick

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees.
He said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
(Luke 14:12-14)  

 

Scripture Study

14:14. A Christian acts in the world in the same way anyone else does; but his dealings with his colleagues and others should not be based on pursuit of reward or vainglory: the first thing he should seek is God’s glory, desiring heaven as his only reward (cf. Lk 6:32–34).[1] 

Reflection

“when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.”

Most people are familiar with the term quid pro quo, a latin phrase that means if I do something for you, it is with the understanding between us that you in turn will do something for me. In our narcissistic society, with a total focus on the self leads, relationships are not valued but are seen as mechanisms for individuals to obtain personal pleasure or personal gain. 

God calls us to a different type of relationship – one that seeks honor all people through mutual respect and love of neighbor. In a world driven by a false sense of individuality and freedom, it is only in embracing humility that we can experience the true freedom which comes from God. Because in reality, our idea of freedom is warped. We become slaves to an unending and unquenchable desire of self-pleasure. True freedom only comes from an intimate and loving relationship with God. 

Our measuring stick is found in the imitation of Christ and the saints. Let us hold fast to the teachings of Christ as we daily seek to live a life in harmony with the beatitudes and Our Lord’s Prayer.

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

 

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 134.