Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

By Karmie Varya
John 20:1–2, 11–18
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-boni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.     

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, paragraphs 443, 640, 641, 645, 654, 659, 660 2174 and 2795.
Commentary
The empty tomb (20:1–10)
20:1–2. All four Gospels report the first testimonies of the holy women and the disciples regarding Christ’s glorious resurrection, beginning with the fact of the empty tomb (cf. Mt 28:1–15; Mk 16:1ff; Lk 24:1–12) and then telling of the various appearances of the risen Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was one of the women who provided for our Lord during his journeys (Lk 8:1–3); along with the Virgin Mary she bravely stayed with him right up to his final moments (Jn 19:25), and she saw where his body was laid (Lk 23:55). Now, after the obligatory sabbath rest, she goes to visit the tomb. The Gospel points out that she went “early, while it was still dark”: her love and veneration led her to go without delay, to be with our Lord’s body.

The appearance to Mary Magdalene (20:11–18)
20:11–18. Mary’s affection and sensitivity lead her to be concerned about what has become of the dead body of Jesus. This woman out of whom seven demons were cast (cf. Lk 8:2) stayed faithful during his passion and even now her love is still ardent: our Lord has freed her from the Evil One and she responded to that grace humbly and generously.
After consoling Mary Magdalene, Jesus gives her a message for the Apostles, whom he tenderly calls his “brethren”. This message implies that he and they have the same Father, though each in an essentially different way: “I am ascending to my Father”—my own father by nature—“and to your Father”—for he is your father through the adoption I have won for you by my death. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, shows his great mercy and understanding by gathering together all his disciples who had abandoned him during his passion and were now in hiding for fear of the Jews (v. 19).

Mary Magdalene’s perseverance teaches us that anyone who sincerely keeps searching for Jesus Christ will eventually find him. Jesus’ gesture in calling his disciples his “brethren” despite their having run away should fill us with love in the midst of our own infidelities.

20:15. From Jesus’ dialogue with Mary Magdalene, we can see the frame of mind all his disciples must have been in: they were not expecting the resurrection.

20:17. “Do not hold me”: the use of the negative imperative in the Greek, reflected in the New Vulgate (“noli me tenere”) indicates that our Lord is telling Mary to release her hold on him, to let him go, since she will have another chance to see him before his ascension into heaven.

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Navarre Bible Commentary:
Monday, 16th Week in Ordinary Time

Life Line Jonah by Wayne Forte
Matthew 12:38–42
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.     

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, paragraphs 590, 627, 635, 678 and 994.
Commentary
The sign of Jonah
12:39–40. This sign the Jews were asking for would have been a miracle or some other prodigy; they wanted Jesus, incongruously, to confirm his preaching—given with such simplicity—by dramatic signs. Our Lord replies by announcing the mystery of his death and resurrection, using the parallel of the case of Jonah: “No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Jesus’ glorious resurrection is the “sign” par excellence, the decisive proof of the divine character of his person, of his mission and of his teaching.

When St Paul (1 Cor 15:3–4) confesses that Jesus Christ “was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures” (words that later found their way into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Creed used in the Mass), he must have had this passage particularly in mind. We can see another allusion to Jonah in the words our Lord spoke shortly before his ascension: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead” (Lk 24:45–46).

12:41–42. Nineveh was a city in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) to which the prophet Jonah was sent. The Ninevites did penance (Jn 3:6–9) because they recognized the prophet and accepted his message; whereas Jerusalem does not wish to recognize Jesus, of whom Jonah was merely a figure. The queen of the South was the queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia, who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1–10) and was in awe of the wisdom with which God had endowed the King of Israel. Jesus is also prefigured in Solomon, whom Jewish tradition saw as the epitome of the wise man. Jesus’ reproach is accentuated by the example of pagan converts, and gives us a glimpse of the universal scope of Christianity, which will take root among the Gentiles.

There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about “something greater” than Jonah or Solomon having come: really, he is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.

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, July 20, 2014

Navarre Bible Commentary:
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Parable of Leaven by James B. Janknegt
Matthew 13:24–43
24 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
31 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
34 All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.     

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, paragraphs 333, 827 and 1034.
Commentary
The parable of the weeds
13:24–25. “The situation is clear: the field is fertile and the seed is good; the Lord of the field has scattered the seed at the right moment and with great skill. He even has watchmen to make sure that the field is protected. If, afterwards, there are weeds among the wheat, it is because men have failed to respond, because they—and Christians in particular—have fallen asleep and allowed the enemy to approach” (St JosemarĂ­a Escrivá, Christ Is Passing By, 123).

13:25. This weed—cockle—looks very like wheat and can easily be mistaken for it until the ears appear. If it gets ground up with wheat it contaminates the flour and any bread made from that flour causes severe nausea when eaten. In the East personal vengeance sometimes took the form of sowing cockle among an enemy’s wheat. Roman law prescribed penalties for this crime.

13:28. “When the careless servants ask the Lord why weeds have grown in his field, the explanation is obvious: ‘inimicus homo hoc fecit: an enemy has done this.’ We Christians should have been on guard to make sure that the good things placed in this world by the Creator were developed in the service of truth and good. But we have fallen asleep—a sad thing, that sluggishness of our heart! while the enemy and all those who serve him worked incessantly. You can see how the weeds have grown abundantly everywhere” (ibid., 123).

13:29–30. The end of this parable gives a symbolic explanation of why God allows evil to have its way for a time—and for its ultimate extirpation. Evil is to run its course on earth until the end of time; therefore, we should not be scandalized by the presence of evil in the world. It will be obliterated not in this life, but after death; at the Judgment (the harvest) the good will go to heaven and the bad to hell.

The mustard seed; the leaven
13:31–32. Here, the man is Jesus Christ and the field, the world. The grain of mustard seed is the preaching of the Gospel and the Church, which from very small beginnings will spread throughout the world. The parable clearly refers to the universal scope and spread of the Kingdom of God: the Church, which embraces all mankind of every kind and condition, in every latitude and in all ages, is forever developing in spite of obstacles, thanks to God’s promise and aid.

13:33. This comparison is taken from everyday experience: just as leaven gradually ferments all the dough, so the Church spreads to convert all nations. The leaven is also a symbol of the individual Christian. Living in the middle of the world and retaining his Christian quality, he wins souls for Christ by his word and example: “Our calling to be children of God, in the midst of the world, requires us not only to seek our own personal holiness, but also to go out onto all the ways of the earth, to convert them into roadways that will carry souls over all obstacles and lead them to the Lord. As we take part in all temporal activities as ordinary citizens, we are to become leaven acting on the mass” (ibid., 120).

13:34–35. Revelation, God’s plans, are hidden (cf. Mt 11:25) from those who are not disposed to accept them. The evangelist wishes to emphasize the need for simplicity and for docility to the Gospel. By recalling Psalm 78:2, he tells us once more, under divine inspiration, that the Old Testament prophecies find their fulfilment in our Lord’s preaching.

The parable of the weeds explained
13:36–43. While making its way on earth, the Church is composed of good and bad people, just men and sinners: they are mixed in with one another until the harvest time, the end of the world, when the Son of man, in his capacity as Judge of the living and the dead, will divide the good from the bad at the Last Judgment—the former going to eternal glory, the inheritance of the saints; the latter, to the eternal fire of hell. Although the just and the sinners are now side by side, the Church has the right and the duty to exclude those who cause scandal, especially those who attack its doctrine and unity; this it can do through ecclesiastical excommunication and other canonical penalties. However, excommunication has a medicinal and pastoral function—to correct those who are obstinate in error, and to protect others from them.

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, July 18, 2014

Navarre Bible Commentary:
Friday, 15th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 12:1–8
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”     

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, paragraphs 581, 582, 586, 590, 2100 and 2173.
Commentary
The law of the sabbath
12:2. “The sabbath”: this was the day the Jews set aside for worshipping God. God himself, the originator of the sabbath (Gen 2:3), ordered the Jewish people to avoid certain kinds of work on this day (Ex 20:8–11; 21:13; Deut 5:14) to leave them free to give more time to God. As time went by, the rabbis complicated this divine precept: by Jesus’ time they had extended to thirty-nine the list of kinds of forbidden work.
The Pharisees accuse Jesus’ disciples of breaking the sabbath. In the casuistry of the scribes and the Pharisees, plucking ears of corn was the same as harvesting, and crushing them was the same as milling—types of agricultural work forbidden on the sabbath.

12:3–8. Jesus rebuts the Pharisees’ accusation by four arguments—the example of David, that of the priests, a correct understanding of the mercy of God and Jesus’ own authority over the sabbath.

The first example, which was quite familiar to the people, who were used to listening to the Bible being read, comes from 1 Samuel 21:2–7: David, in flight from the jealousy of King Saul, asks the priest of the shrine at Nob for food for his men; the priest gave them the only bread he had, the holy bread of the Presence; this was the twelve loaves that were placed each week on the golden altar of the sanctuary as a perpetual offering from the twelve tribes of Israel (Lev 24:5–9). The second example refers to the priestly ministry to perform the liturgy, priests had to do a number of things on the sabbath but did not thereby break the law of sabbath rest (cf. Num 28:9). On the two other arguments, see the notes on Mt 9:13 and Mk 2:26–27, 28.

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