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From: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27

The Basis of Our Faith (Continuation)

[20] But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who
have fallen asleep. [21] For as by a man came death, by a man has come also
the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall
all be made alive. [23] But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at
his coming those who belong to Christ. [24] Then comes the end, when he deli-
vers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authori-
ty and power. [25] For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his
feet. [26] The last enemy to be destroyed is death. [27] “For God has put all
things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in sub-
jection under him,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him.


20-28. The Apostle insists on the solidarity that exists between Christ and Chris-
tians: as members of one single body, of which Christ is the head, they form as
it were one organism (cf. Rom 6:3-11; Gal 3:28). Therefore, once the resurrection
of Christ is affirmed, the resurrection of the just necessarily follows. Adam’s diso-
bedience brought death for all; Jesus, the new Adam, has merited that all should
rise (cf. Rom 5:12-21). “Again, the resurrection of Christ effects for us the resur-
rection of our bodies not only because it was the efficient cause of this mystery,
but also because we all ought to arise after the example of the Lord. For with re-
gard to the resurrection of the body we have this testimony of the Apostle: ‘As by
a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead’ (1 Cor
15:21). In all that God did to accomplish the mystery of our redemption he made
use of the humanity of Christ as an effective instrument, and hence his resurrec-
tion was, as it were, an instrument for the accomplishment of our resurrection”
(”St Pius V Catechism”, I, 6, 13).

Although St Paul here is referring only to the resurrection of the just (v. 23), he
does speak elsewhere of the resurrection of all mankind (cf. Acts 24:15). The
doctrine of the resurrection of the bodies of all at the end of time, when Jesus will
come in glory to judge everyone, has always been part of the faith of the Church;
“he [Christ] will come at the end of the world, he will judge the living and the dead;
and he will reward all, both the lost and the elect, according to their works. And
all those will rise with their own bodies which they now have so that they may re-
ceive according to their works, whether good or bad; the wicked, a perpetual
punishment with the devil; the good, eternal glory with ‘Christ” (Fourth Lateran
Council, “De Fide Catholica”, chap. 1).

23-28. St Paul outlines very succinctly the entire messianic and redemptive work
of Christ: by decree of the Father, Christ has been made Lord of the universe (cf.
Mt 28:18), in fulfillment of Ps 110:1 and Ps 8:7. When it says here that “the Son
himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him”, this must be
understood as referring to Christ in his capacity of Messiah and head of the
Church; not Christ as God, because the Son is “begotten, not created, consub-
stantial with the Father” (”Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed”).

Christ’s sovereignty over all creation comes about in history, but it will achieve
its final, complete, form after the Last Judgment. The Apostle presents that last
event —a mystery to us—as a solemn act of homage to the Father. Christ will offer
all creation to his Father as a kind of trophy, offering him the Kingdom which up
to then had been confided to his care. From that moment on, the sovereignty of
God and Christ will be absolute, they will have no enemies, no rivals; the stage
of combat will have given way to that of contemplation, as St Augustine puts it
(cf. “De Trinitate”, 1, 8).

The Parousia or second coming of Christ in glory at the end of time, when he es-
tablishes the new heaven and the new earth (cf. Rev 21:1-2), will mean definitive
victory over the devil, over sin, suffering and death. A Christian’s hope in this vic-
tory is not something passive: rather, it is something that spurs him on to ensure
that even in this present life Christ’s teaching and spirit imbue all human activities.
“Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth,” Vatican II teaches, “the
expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new
human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That
is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from
the increase of the Kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the
Kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human so-

“When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise -
man dignity, brotherly communion, and freedom—according to the command of
the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from
the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father
an eternal and universal kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and
grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace (”Roman Missal”, preface for the so-
lemnity of Christ the King). Here on earth the Kingdom is mysteriously present;
when the Lord comes it will enter into its perfection” (”Gaudium Et Spes”, 39).

24. “When he delivers the kingdom to God the Father”: this does not quite catch
the beauty of the Greek which literally means “when he delivers the kingdom to
the God and Father”. In New Testament Greek, when the word “Theos” (God) is
preceded by the definite article (”ho Theos”) the first person of the Blessed Trini-
ty is being referred to.

25. “He must reign”: every year, on the last Sunday of ordinary time, the Church
celebrates the solemnity of Christ the King, to acknowledge his absolute sove-
reignty over all created things. On instituting this feast, Pius XI pointed out that
“He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and
firm belief to revealed truths and to the teachings of Christ. He must reign in our
wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our
hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and
cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which
should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or, to use
the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of righteousness unto God (Rom
6:13)” (”Quas Primas”).

27. By “all things” the Apostle clearly means all created beings. In pagan my-
thology, rivalry and strife occurred among the gods and sometimes led to the son
of a god supplanting his father. St Paul wants to make it quite clear that Sacred
Scripture suggests nothing of that kind. No subjection is possible among the
three persons of the Blessed Trinity, because they are one 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.

18 posted on 08/14/2010 10:30:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a
city of Judah, [40] and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
[41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit [42] and she exclaimed with a loud
cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! [43]
And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44]
For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my
womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed is she who believed that there would be
a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

The Magnificat

[46] And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, [47] and my spirit rejoices in
God my Savior, [48] for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For
behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; [49] for He who is mighty
has done great things for me, and holy is His name. [50] And His mercy is on
those who fear Him from generation to generation. [51] He has shown strength
with His arm, He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, [52]
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree
[53] He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty
away. [54] He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, [55]
as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.


39-56. We contemplate this episode of our Lady’s visit to her cousin St. Elizabeth
in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: “Joyfully keep Joseph and Mary
company...and you will hear the traditions of the House of David.... We walk in
haste towards the mountains, to a town of the tribe of Judah (Luke 1:39).

“We arrive. It is the house where John the Baptist is to be born. Elizabeth grate-
.fully hails the Mother of her Redeemer: Blessed are you among women, and
blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the
mother of my Lord? (Luke 1:42-43).

“The unborn Baptist quivers...(Luke 1:41). Mary’s humility pours forth in the
“Magnificat”.... And you and I, who are proud—who were proud—promise to be
humble” (St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”).

39. On learning from the angel that her cousin St. Elizabeth is soon to give birth
and is in need of support, our Lady in her charity hastens to her aid. She has no
regard for the difficulties this involves. Although we do not know where exactly
Elizabeth was living (it is now thought to be Ain Karim), it certainly meant a jour-
ney into the hill country which at that time would have taken four days.

From Mary’s visit to Elizabeth Christians should learn to be caring people. “If we
have this filial contact with Mary, we won’t be able to think just about ourselves
and our problems. Selfish personal problems will find no place in our mind” (St.
J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By,” 145)

42. St. Bede comments that Elizabeth blesses Mary using the same words as
the archangel “to show that she should be honored by angels and by men and
why she should indeed be revered above all other women” (”In Lucae Evangelium
Expositio, in loc.”).

When we say the “Hail Mary” we repeat these divine greetings, “rejoicing with
Mary at her dignity as Mother of God and praising the Lord, thanking Him for
having given us Jesus Christ through Mary” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 333).

43. Elizabeth is moved by the Holy Spirit to call Mary “the mother of my Lord”,
thereby showing that Mary is the Mother of God.

44. Although he was conceived in sin—original sin—like other men, St. John the
Baptist was born sinless because he was sanctified in his mother’s womb by the
presence of Jesus Christ (then in Mary’s womb) and of the Blessed Virgin. On
receiving this grace of God St. John rejoices by leaping with joy in his mother’s
womb—thereby fulfilling the archangel’s prophecy (cf. Luke 1:15).

St. John Chrysostom comments on this scene of the Gospel: “See how new and
how wonderful this mystery is. He has not yet left the womb but he speaks by
leaping; he is not yet allowed to cry out but he makes himself heard by his ac-
tions [...]; he has not yet seen the light but he points out the Sun; he has not yet
been born and he is keen to act as Precursor. The Lord is present, so he cannot
contain himself or wait for nature to run its course: he wants to break out of the
prison of his other’s womb and he makes sure he witnesses to the fact that the
Savior is about to come” (”Sermo Apud Metaphr., Mense Julio”).

45. Joining the chorus of all future generations, Elizabeth, moved by the Holy
Spirit, declares the Lord’s Mother to be blessed and praises her faith. No one
ever had faith to compare with Mary’s; she is the model of the attitude a creature
should have towards its Creator—complete submission, total attachment. Through
her faith, Mary is the instrument chosen by God to bring about the Redemption;
as Mediatrix of all graces, she is associated with the redemptive work of her Son:
“This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest
from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, ari-
sing in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her
belief in the promise of salvation and the Precursor leaps with joy in the womb of
his mother [...]. The Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and faith-
fully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf.
John 19:25), in keeping with the Divine Plan, enduring with her only-begotten Son
the intensity of His suffering, associating herself with His sacrifice in her mother’s
heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which was born of
her” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 57f).

The new Latin text gives a literal rendering of the original Greek when it says
“quae credidit” (RSV “she who has believed”) as opposed to the Vulgate “quae
credidisti” (”you who have believed”) which gave more of the sense than a literal

46-55. Mary’s “Magnificat” canticle is a poem of singular beauty. It evokes cer-
tain passages of the Old Testament with which she would ave been very familiar
(especially 1 Samuel 2:1-10).

Three stanzas may be distinguished in the canticle: in the first (verses 46-50)
Mary glorifies God for making her the Mother of the Savior, which is why future
generations will call her blessed; she shows that the Incarnation is a mysterious
expression of God’s power and holiness and mercy. In the second (verses 51-53)
she teaches us that the Lord has always had a preference for the humble, resis-
ting the proud and boastful. In the third (verses 54-55) she proclaims that God, in
keeping with His promise, has always taken care of His chosen people—and now
does them the greatest honor of all by becoming a Jew (cf. Romans 1:3).

“Our prayer can accompany and imitate this prayer of Mary. Like her, we feel the
desire to sing, to acclaim the wonders of God, so that all mankind and all creation
may share our joy” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 144).

46-47. “The first fruits of the Holy Spirit are peace and joy. And the Blessed
Virgin had received within herself all the grace of the Holy Spirit” (St. Basil, “In
Psalmos Homilae”, on Psalm 32). Mary’s soul overflows in the words of the Mag-
nificat. God’s favors cause every humble soul to feel joy and gratitude. In the case
of the Blessed Virgin, God has bestowed more on her than on any other creature.
“Virgin Mother of God, He whom the heavens cannot contain, on becoming man,
enclosed Himself within your womb” (”Roman Missal”, Antiphon of the Common
of the Mass for Feasts of Our Lady). The humble Virgin of Nazareth is going to
be the Mother of God; the Creator’s omnipotence has never before manifested
itself in as complete a way as this.

48-49. Mary’s expression of humility causes St. Bede to exclaim: “It was fitting,
then, that just as death entered the world through the pride of our first parents, the
entry of Life should be manifested by the humility of Mary” (”In Lucae Evangelium
Expositio, in loc.”).

“How great the value of humility!—”Quia respexit humilitatem.... It is not of her
faith, nor of her charity, nor of her immaculate purity that our Mother speaks in
the house of Zachary. Her joyful hymn sings: ‘Since He has looked on my hu-
mility, all generations will call me blessed’” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 598).

God rewards our Lady’s humility by mankind’s recognition of her greatness: “All
generations will call me blessed.” This prophecy is fulfilled every time someone
says the Hail Mary, and indeed she is praised on earth continually, without inter-
ruption. “From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of
Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer
in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there
was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in vene-
ration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words:
‘all generations will call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things
for me’” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 66).

50. “And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation”:
“At the very moment of the Incarnation, these words open up a new perspective
of salvation history. After the Resurrection of Christ, this perspective is new on
both the historical and the eschatological level. From that time onwards there is
a succession of new generations of individuals in the immense human family, in
ever-increasing dimensions; there is also a succession of new generations of the
people of God, marked with the sign of the Cross and of the Resurrection and
‘sealed’ with the sign of the paschal mystery of Christ, the absolute revelation of
the mercy that Mary proclaimed on the threshold of her kinswoman’s house:
“His mercy is [...] from generation to generation’ [...].

“Mary, then, is the one who has the “deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s
mercy”. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call
her the “Mother of Mercy”: Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy; in each
one of these titles there is a deep theological meaning, for they express the spe-
cial preparation of her soul, of her whole personality, so that she was able to
perceive, through the complex events, first of Israel, then of every individual and
of the whole of humanity, that mercy of which ‘from generation to generation’
people become sharers according to the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity”
(John Paul II, “Dives In Misericordia”, 9).

51. “The proud”: those who want to be regarded as superior to others, whom they
look down on. This also refers to those who, in their arrogance, seek to organize
society without reference to, or in opposition to, God’s law. Even if they seem to
do so successfully, the words of our Lady’s canticle will ultimately come true, for
God will scatter them as He did those who tried to build the Tower of Babel, thin-
king that they could reach as high as Heaven (cf. Genesis 11:4).

“When pride takes hold of a soul, it is no surprise to find it bringing along with it
a whole string of other vices—greed, self-indulgence, envy, injustice. The proud
man is always vainly striving to dethrone God, who is merciful to all His creatures,
so as to make room for himself and his ever cruel ways.

“We should beg God not to let us fall into this temptation. Pride is the worst sin
of all, and the most ridiculous.... Pride is unpleasant, even from a human point
of view. The person who rates himself better than everyone and everything is
constantly studying himself and looking down on other people, who in turn react
by ridiculing his foolish vanity” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 100).

53. This form of divine providence has been experienced countless times over the
course of history. For example, God nourished the people of Israel with manna
during their forty years in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-35); similarly His angel
brought food to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5-8), and to Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel
14:31-40); and the widow of Sarepta was given a supply of oil which miraculously
never ran out (1 Kings 17:8ff). So, too, the Blessed Virgin’s yearning for holiness
was fulfilled by the incarnation of the Word.

God nourished the chosen people with His Law and the preaching of His prophets,
but the rest of mankind was left hungry for His word, a hunger now satisfied by the
Incarnation. This gift of God will be accepted by the humble; the self-sufficient,
having no desire for the good things of God, will not partake of them (cf. St. Basil,
“In Psalmos Homilae”, on Psalm 33).

54. God led the people of Israel as He would a child whom He loved tenderly: “the
Lord your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went”
(Deuteronomy 1:31). He did so many times, using Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David,
etc., and now He gives them a definitive leader by sending the Messiah—moved by
His great mercy which takes pity on the wretchedness of Israel and of all mankind.

55. God promised the patriarchs of old that He would have mercy on mankind.
This promise He made to Adam (Genesis 3:15), Abraham (Genesis 22:18), David
(2 Samuel 7:12), etc. From all eternity God had planned and decreed that the
Word should become incarnate for the salvation of all mankind. As Christ Himself
put it, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

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.

19 posted on 08/14/2010 10:31:37 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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