Sunday, June 28, 2015

Navarre Bible Commentary:
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 5:21–43
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and besought him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” 29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.   
Catholic Exegesis:
The Second Vatican Council teaches  that if we are to derive the true meaning from the sacred texts,  attention must be devoted “not only to their content but to the unity of the whole of Scripture, the living tradition of the entire Church, and the analogy of faith. […] Everything to do with the interpretation of Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church, which exercises the divinely conferred communion and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (Dei Verbum, 12).
St. John Paul II, when he promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church,  explained that the Catechism "is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium."  He went on to "declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion" (Fidei Depositum).
Cited in the Catechism:
Passages from this Gospel reading are cited in the Catechism in paragraphs 548, 994, 1504 and 2616.
Commentary:
Jairus’ daughter is restored to life. Curing of the woman with a haemorrhage
5:21–43. Both Jairus and the woman with the flow of blood give us an example of faith in Christ’s omnipotence, for only a miracle can cure Jairus’ daughter, who is on her death-bed, and heal this lady, who has done everything humanly possible to get better. Similarly, the Christian should always expect God to help him overcome the obstacles in the way of his sanctification. Normally, God’s help comes to us in an unspectacular way, but we should not doubt that, if it is necessary for our salvation, God will again work miracles. However, we should bear in mind that what the Lord expects of us is that we should every day fulfill his will.

5:22. At the head of each synagogue was the archisynagogist, whose function it was to organize the meetings of the synagogue on sabbaths and holy days, to lead the prayers and hymns and to indicate who should explain the Sacred Scripture. He was assisted in his task by a council and also had an aide who looked after the material side of things.

5:25. This woman suffered from an illness which implied legal impurity (Lev 15:25ff). Medical attention had failed to cure her; on the contrary, as the Gospel puts it so realistically, she was worse than ever. In addition to her physical suffering—which had gone on for twelve years—she suffered the shame of feeling unclean according to the Law. The Jews not only regarded a woman in this position as being impure: everything she touched became unclean as well. Therefore, in order not to be noticed by the people, the woman came up to Jesus from behind and, out of delicacy, touched only his garment. Her faith is enriched by her expression of humility: she is conscious of being unworthy to touch our Lord. “She touched the hem of his garment, she approached him in a spirit of faith, she believed, and she realized that she was cured […]. So we too, if we wish to be saved, should reach out in faith to touch the garment of Christ” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, 6, 56 and 58).

5:30. In all that crowd pressing around him only this woman actually touched Jesus—and she touched him not only with her hand but with the faith she bore in her heart. St Augustine comments: “She touches him, the people crowd him. Is her touching not a sign of her belief?” (In Ioann. Evang., 26, 3). We need contact with Jesus. We have been given no other means under heaven by which to be saved (cf. Acts 4:12). When we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, we obtain this physical contact through the sacramental species. We too need to enliven our faith if these encounters with our Lord are to redound to our salvation (cf. Mt 13:58).

5:37. Jesus did not want more than these three apostles to be present: three was the number of witnesses laid down by the Law (Deut 19:15). “For Jesus, being humble, never acted in an ostentatious way” (Theophylact, Enarratio in Evangelium Marci, in loc.). Besides these were the three disciples closest to Jesus: later, only they will be with him at the transfiguration (cf. 9:2) and at his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (cf. 14:33).

5:39. Jesus’ words are in contrast with those of the ruler’s servants; they say: “Your daughter is dead”; whereas he says: “She is not dead but sleeping.” “To men’s eyes she was dead, she could not be awoken; in God’s eyes she was sleeping, for her soul was alive and was subject to God’s power, and her body was resting, awaiting the resurrection. Hence the custom which arose among Christians of referring to the dead, whom we know will rise again, as those who are asleep” (St Bede, In Marci Evangelium expositio, in loc.). What Jesus says shows us that, for God, death is only a kind of sleep, for he can awaken anyone from the dead whenever he wishes. The same happens with the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus says: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him out of sleep.” And, when the disciples think that it is ordinary sleep he is referring to, our Lord tells them plainly: “Lazarus is dead” (cf. Jn 11:11ff).

5:40–42. Like all the Gospel miracles the raising of the daughter of Jairus demonstrates Christ’s divinity. Only God can work miracles; sometimes he does them in a direct way, sometimes by using created things as a medium. The exclusively divine character of miracles—especially the miracle of raising the dead—is noticed in the Old Testament: “The Lord wills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1 Sam 2:6), because he has “power over life and death” (Wis 16:13). And also in the Old Testament God uses men to raise the dead to life: the prophet Elijah revives the son of the widow of Sarepta by “crying to the Lord” (cf. 1 Kings 17:21), and Elisha prevails on him to raise the son of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:33).

In the same way, in the New Testament the apostles do not act by their own power but by that of Jesus to whom they first offer fervent prayer: Peter restores to life a Christian woman of Joppa named Tabitha (Acts 9:36ff); and Paul, in Troas, brings Eutychus back to life after he falls from a high window (Acts 20:7ff). Jesus does not refer to any superior power; his authority is sovereign: all he has to do is give the order and the daughter of Jairus is brought back to life; this shows that he is God.

Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." St Jerome  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Overview of Pope Francis' Encycylical

Below is video from a press conference from the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas. The speaker is Dr. Benedict Nguyen, who was one of my professors during my studies at the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University.

Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey, Diocese of Corpus Christi on:The 2nd Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis. Laudato Si' (On The Care For Our Common Home) Part 2of 2: Dr. Benedict NguyenView the 06/18/2015 press conference
Posted by Diocese of Corpus Christi on Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Navarre Bible Commentary:
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Mark 4:26–34
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.   
Catholic Exegesis:
The Second Vatican Council teaches  that if we are to derive the true meaning from the sacred texts,  attention must be devoted “not only to their content but to the unity of the whole of Scripture, the living tradition of the entire Church, and the analogy of faith. […] Everything to do with the interpretation of Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church, which exercises the divinely conferred communion and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (Dei Verbum, 12).
St. John Paul II, when he promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church,  explained that the Catechism "is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium."  He went on to "declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion" (Fidei Depositum).
Cited in the Catechism:
Passages from this Gospel reading are cited in the Catechism in paragraphs 543 and 546.
Commentary:
Parables of the seed and of the mustard seed
4:26–29. Farmers spare no effort to prepare the ground for the sowing; but once the grain is sown there is nothing more they can do until the harvest; the grain develops by itself. Our Lord uses this comparison to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God on earth to grow until the day of harvest (cf. Joel 3:13 and Rev 14:15), that is, the day of the Last Judgment.

Jesus is telling his disciples about the Church: the preaching of the Gospel, the generously sown seed, will unfailingly yield its fruit, independently of who sows or who reaps: it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Cor 3:5–9). It will all happen “he knows not how”, without men being fully aware of it.

The Kingdom of God also refers to the action of grace in each soul: God silently works a transformation in us, whether we sleep or watch, causing resolutions to take shape in our soul—resolutions to be faithful, to surrender ourselves, to respond to grace—until we reach “mature manhood” (cf. Eph 4:13). Even though it is necessary for man to make this effort the real initiative lies with God, “because it is the Holy Spirit who, with his inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is he who leads us to receive Christ’s teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It is he who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be found more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. ‘For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God’ (Rom 8:14)” (St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing By, 135).

4:30–32. The main meaning of this parable has to do with the contrast between the great and the small. The seed of the Kingdom of God on earth is something very tiny to begin with (Lk 12:32; Acts 1:15); but it will grow to be a big tree. Thus we see how the small initial group of disciples grows in the early years of the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 6:7; 12:24), and spreads down the centuries and becomes a great multitude “which no man could number” (Rev 7:9).

This mysterious growth which our Lord refers to also occurs in each soul: “the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Lk 17:21); we can see a prediction of this in the words of Psalm 92:12: “The righteous grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” To allow the mercy of God to exalt us, to make us grow, we must make ourselves small, humble (Ezek 17:22–24; Lk 18:9–14).

Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." St Jerome  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Navarre Bible Commentary:
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Source: Photobucket
John 19:31–37
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” 37 And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”   
Catholic Exegesis:
The Second Vatican Council teaches  that if we are to derive the true meaning from the sacred texts,  attention must be devoted “not only to their content but to the unity of the whole of Scripture, the living tradition of the entire Church, and the analogy of faith. […] Everything to do with the interpretation of Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church, which exercises the divinely conferred communion and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (Dei Verbum, 12).
St. John Paul II, when he promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church,  explained that the Catechism "is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium."  He went on to "declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion" (Fidei Depositum).
Cited in the Catechism:
Passages from this Gospel reading are cited in the Catechism in paragraphs 478, 608, 641, 694, 766, 1225 and 1432.
Commentary:
Jesus’ side is pierced. The burial (19:31–42)
19:31–33. Jesus dies on the Preparation day of the Passover—the Parasceve—that is, the eve, when the paschal lambs were officially sacrificed in the temple. By stressing this, the Evangelist implies that Christ’s sacrifice took the place of the sacrifices of the Old Law and inaugurated the New Alliance in his blood (cf. Heb 9:12).


The Law of Moses required that the bodies should be taken down before nightfall (cf. Deut 21:22–23); this is why Pilate is asked to have their legs broken, to bring on death and allow them to be buried before it gets dark, particularly since the next day is the feast of the Passover.


19:34. The outflow of blood and water has a natural explanation. Probably the water was an accumulation of liquid in the lungs due to Jesus’ intense sufferings. As on other occasions, the historical events narrated in the Fourth Gospel are laden with meaning. St Augustine and Christian tradition see the sacraments and the Church itself flowing from Jesus’ open side: “Here was opened wide the door of life, from which the sacraments of the Church have flowed out, without which there is no entering in unto life which is true life. […] Here the second Adam with bowed head slept upon the cross, that thence a wife might be formed of him, flowing from his side while he slept. O death, by which the dead come back to life!! Is there anything purer than this blood, any wound more healing!” (St Augustine, In Ioann. Evang., 120, 2).


The Second Vatican Council, for its part, teaches: “The Church—that is, the kingdom of Christ—already present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 3).


“Jesus on the cross, with his heart overflowing with love for man, is such an eloquent commentary on the value of people and things that words only get in the way. People, their happiness and their life, are so important that the very Son of God gave himself to redeem and cleanse and raise them up” (St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing By, 165).


19:35. St John’s Gospel presents itself as a truthful witness of the events of our Lord’s life and of their spiritual and doctrinal significance. From the words of John the Baptist at the outset of Jesus’ public ministry (1:19) to the final paragraph of the Gospel (21:24–25), everything forms part of a testimony to the sublime phenomenon of the Word of Life made Man. Here the evangelist explicitly states that he was an eyewitness (cf. also Jn 20:30–31; 1 Jn 1:1–3).


19:36. This quotation refers to the precept of the Law that no bone of the paschal lamb should be broken (cf. Ex 12:46): again John’s Gospel is telling us that Jesus is the true paschal Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (cf. Jn 1:29).


19:37. The account of the Passion concludes with a quotation from Zechariah (12:10) foretelling the salvation resulting from the mysterious suffering and death of a redeemer. The evangelist thereby evokes the salvation wrought by Christ, who, nailed to the cross, has fulfilled God’s promise of redemption (cf. Jn 12:32). Everyone who looks upon him with faith receives the effects of his passion. Thus, the good thief, looking at Christ on the cross, recognized his kingship, placed his trust in him and received the promise of heaven (cf. Lk 23:42–43).


In the liturgy of Good Friday the Church invites us to contemplate and adore the cross: “Behold the wood of the Cross, on which was nailed the salvation of the world”, and from the earliest time of the Church the crucifix has been the sign reminding Christians of the supreme point of Christ’s love, when he died on the cross and freed us from eternal death.

“Your crucifix.—As a Christian, you should always carry your crucifix with you. And place it on your desk. And kiss it before going to bed and when you wake up: and when our poor body rebels against your soul, kiss it again” (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 302).


Source: The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries. Biblical text from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.


Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." St Jerome