Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: All

From: Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14

Visit to Jerusalem

[1] Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking
Titus along with me. [2] I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but priva-
tely before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gen-
tiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain. [7] But on the contrary,
when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncir- cumcised,
just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised [8] (for he
who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through
me also for the Gentiles), [9] and when they perceived the grace that was given
to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me
and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and
they to the circumcised; [10] only they would have us remember the poor, which
very thing I was eager to do.

Peter and Paul at Antioch

[11] But when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face, because he
stood condemned. [12] For before certain men came from James, he ate with
the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing
the circumcision party. [13] And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely,
so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. [14] But when I saw
that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas
before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how
can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”


1-10. St Paul had ended his first apostolic journey by returning to Antioch in Sy-
ria, from where he had set out. We know that the Christian community in that ci-
ty, which was an important crossroads of race and culture, had developed as a
providential result of the dispersal of Jerusalem Christians following on Stephen’s
martyrdom (cf. Acts 11:19-26). Some of these refugees had brought the new faith
to Antioch but had confined themselves to preaching and converting Jews. Later,
through the activity of other Christians, Jews of the Diaspora, that is, domiciled
outside Palestine, and pagans also began to adopt the new religion. Barnabas
had been commissioned by the Jerusalem church to organize the young Chris-
tian community in Antioch (cf. Acts 11:19-24). He later chose Paul, who had
been living quietly in Tarsus, to act as his assistant (cf. Acts 11:25-26).

The disciples in Antioch, where the name “Christians” was first used to describe
them, belonged to the whole gamut of social and ethnic backgrounds, as we can
see from the short list of “prophets and teachers” of the church at Antioch (cf.
Acts 13:1-3): some were of African origin, like Symeon “who was called Niger”;
others came from the western Mediterranean, like Lucius of Cyrene; Manaen was
from the household of Herod the tetrarch; and there were Jews from communities
outside Palestine — for example, Barnabas and Saul themselves.

Among these different types, we find some Christians of Jewish background who
felt that pagan converts to Christianity should observe the prescriptions of the Mo-
saic Law (including the detailed precepts which Jewish tradition kept adding to
that Law); these guardians of the gate of entry into the chosen people were requi-
ring that pagan converts be circumcised, as all Jews were.

When these “Judaizers” from Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1) asserted that circumci-
sion was necessary for salvation, they were raising an issue which went much
deeper than simply conforming to the Law of Moses: was the Redemption
wrought by Christ enough, of itself, for attaining salvation, or was it still neces-
sary for people to become part of the people of Israel, conforming to all its ritual

Clearly, this question was a source of considerable division. Acts 15:2 refers to
its causing “no small dissension”. The present passage of Galatians shows that
Paul, receiving a revelation from God, decided to grasp the nettle by stating un-
equivocally that Christ’s redemption — on its own, and alone — brings salvation.
In other words, circumcision was not necessary, nor did the elaborate ritual regu-
lations of Judaism apply to Christians. In Jerusalem Paul expounded “the Gospel”
he had been proclaiming to the Gentiles. He was accompanied by Barnabas, and
by a young disciple, Titus, the son of pagan parents, quite possibly baptized by
Paul himself (cf. Tit 1:4, where he calls him his “true child”), who would later be-
came one of his most faithful co-workers.

1. Between his conversion and the date of his letter, St Paul had visited Jerusa-
lem three times (cf. Acts 9:26; 11:29-30; 15:1-6). Of these three journeys he
here mentions only two, omitting the time he and Barnabas went there (cf. Acts
11:29-30), because that visit was not particularly significant.

The Judaizers’ demands were inadmissible and clearly dangerous. That was why
Paul and Barnabas had opposed them openly at Antioch, and in fact it was their
failure to achieve unity and peace on this point that had led them to go up to the
Holy City to obtain a decision from the Apostles themselves and the priests li-
ving in Jerusalem.

10. The Acts of the Apostles show us how concerned the early Church was
about looking after the material needs of its members. We can see this, for ex-
ample, when it tells us about “serving tables”, which refers to the work of giving
help to the needy: this began to take up more and more time, with the result that
the seven deacons were appointed to allow the Apostles to concentrate on their
own specific work — prayer and the ministry of the word or preaching (cf. Acts 6:

St Paul was faithful to this charge about not forgetting the poor, as we can see
from many references in his letters to collections for the poor (cf. 1 Cor 16:1-3;
2 Cor 8:1-l5; 9:l5; etc.). Indeed, one of the reasons for his last visit to Jerusalem
was to hand over the monies collected in the Christian communities of Greece
and Asia Minor.

11-14. In his dealing with Jews, St Paul sometimes gave way in secondary mat-
ters, provided that this did not take from the essence of the Gospel: he had Ti-
mothy, whose mother was Jewish, circumcised “because of the Jews that were
in those places” (Acts 16:3), and he himself kept to Jewish practices in order to
allay suspicion and jealousy (cf. Acts 21:22-26). Similarly, he recommends pa-
tience and certain understanding towards those “weak” in the faith, that is, Chris-
tians of Jewish origin who held on to some Jewish observances connected with
fast days, clean and unclean food and abstinence from the flesh of animals sacri-
ficed to idols (cf. Rom 14:2-6; 1 Cor 10:23-30). But on the key issue of Christians’
freedom from the Mosaic Law, the Apostle was always firm and unambiguous,
relying on the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem.

Paul’s correction of Peter did not go against the latter’s authority. On the con-
trary, if it had been just anyone, the Teacher of the Gentiles might have let the
matter pass; but because it was Cephas, that is, the “rock” of the Church, he
had to take action in order to avoid the impression being given that Christians
of Gentile origin were obliged to adopt a Jewish lifestyle.

Far from undermining the holiness and unity of the Church, this episode demon-
strated the great spiritual solidarity among the Apostles, St Paul’s regard for the
visible head of the Church, and Peter’s humility in correcting his behavior. St Au-
gustine comments: “He who was rebuked was worthier of admiration and more
difficult to imitate than he who made the rebuke [...]. This episode serves as a
fine example of humility, the greatest of Christian teachings, because it is
through humility that charity is maintained” (”Exp. in Gal.”, 15).

12. When he speaks of these Judaizers as coming “from James”, this does not
mean that they had been sent by that Apostle. It is, rather, a reference to their
coming from Jerusalem, where, after the persecution organized by Herod Agrippa
and the forced flight of St Peter (cf. Acts 12-17), St James the Less remained as
bishop. But what is probable is that these Christians, who had not given up the
Mosaic Law and Jewish observances, made use of that Apostle’s name: as “the
brother of the Lord”, he enjoyed universal veneration and respect.

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.

15 posted on 10/05/2010 11:33:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies ]

To: All

From: Luke 11:1-4

The Our Father

[1] He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His
disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught His disciples.”
[2] And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father, hallowed be Thy
name. Thy Kingdom come. [3] Give us each day our daily bread; [4] and forgive
us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead
us not into temptation.’”


1-4. St. Luke gives us a shorter form of the Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father, than
St. Matthew (6:9-13). In Matthew there are seven petitions, in Luke only four.
Moreover, St. Matthew’s version is given in the context of the Sermon on the
Mount and specifically as part of Jesus’ teaching on how to pray; St. Luke’s is
set in one of those occasions just after our Lord has been at prayer — two diffe-
rent contexts. There is nothing surprising about our Lord teaching the same
thing on different occasions, not always using exactly the same words, not al-
ways at the same length, but always stressing the same basic points. Natural-
ly, the Church uses the longer form of the Lord’s Prayer, that of St. Matthew.

“When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus, ‘Teach us to pray’, He replied by sa-
ying the words of the ‘Our Father’, thereby giving a concrete model which is also
a universal model. In fact, everything that can and must be said to the Father is
contained in those seven requests which we all know by heart. There is such
simplicity in them that even a child can learn them, but at the same time such
depth that a whole life can be spent meditating on their meaning. Isn’t that so?
Does not each of those petitions deal with something essential to our life, direc-
ting it totally towards God the Father? Doesn’t this prayer speak to us about
‘our daily bread’, ‘forgiveness of our sins, since we forgive others’ and about pro-
tecting us from ‘temptation’ and ‘delivering us from evil?’” (John Paul II, “General
Audience”, 14 March 1979).

The first thing our Lord teaches us to ask for is the glorification of God and the
coming of His Kingdom. That is what is really important — the Kingdom of God
and His justice (cf. Matthew 6:33). Our Lord also wants us to pray confident that
our Father will look after our material needs, for “your Heavenly Father knows
that you need them all” (Matthew 6:32). However, the Our Father makes us as-
pire especially to possess the goods of the Holy Spirit, and invites us to seek
forgiveness (and to forgive others) and to avoid the danger of sinning. Finally the
Our Father emphasizes the importance of vocal prayer. “’Domine, doce nos ora-
re. Lord teach us to pray!’ And our Lord replied: ‘When you pray say: “Pater nos-
ter, qui es in coelis”... Our Father, who art in Heaven...’. What importance we
must attach to vocal prayer!” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 84).

1. Jesus often went away to pray (cf. Luke 6:12; 22:39ff). This practice of the
Master causes His disciples to want to learn how to pray. Jesus teaches them
to do what He Himself does. Thus, when our Lord prays, He begins with the
Word “Father!”: “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46); see
also Matthew 11:25; 26:42, 53; Luke 23:34; John 11:41; etc.). His prayer on
the Cross, “My God, My God,...” (Matthew 27:46), is not really an exception
to this rule, because there He is quoting Psalm 22, the desperate prayer of the
persecuted just man.

Therefore, we can say that the first characteristic prayer should have is the sim-
plicity of a son speaking to his Father. “You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God.
But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, succes-
ses, failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgi-
ving and petition: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to
get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!’” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 91).

2. “Hallowed be Thy name”: in this first petition of the Our Father “we pray that
God may be known, loved, honored and served by everyone and by ourselves in
particular.” This means that we want “unbelievers to come to a knowledge of the
true God, heretics to recognize their errors, schismatics to return to the unity of
the Church, sinners to be converted and the righteous to persevere in doing
good.” By this first petition, our Lord is teaching us that ‘we must desire God’s
glory more than our own interest and advantage.” This hallowing of God’s name
is attained “by prayer and good example and by directing all our thoughts, affec-
tions and actions towards Him” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 290-293).

“Thy Kingdom come”: “By the Kingdom of God we understand a triple spiritual
kingdom — the Kingdom of God in us, which is grace; the Kingdom of God on
earth, which is the Catholic Church; and the Kingdom of God in Heaven, which
is eternal bliss [...]. As regards grace, we pray that God reign in us with His
sanctifying grace, by which He is pleased to dwell in us as a king in his throne-
room, and that He keeps us united to Him by the virtues of faith, hope and chari-
ty, by which He reigns in our intellect, in our heart and in our will [...]. As regards
the Church, we pray that it extend and spread all over the world for the salvation
of men [...]. As regards Heaven, we pray that one day we be admitted to that
eternal bliss for which we have been created, where we will be totally happy”
(”ibid.”, 294-297).

3. The Tradition of the Church usually interprets the “bread” as not only material
bread, since “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Here Jesus wants us
to ask God for “what we need each day for soul and body [...]. For our soul we
ask God to sustain our spiritual life, that is, we beg Him to give us His grace, of
which we are continually in need [...]. The life of our soul is sustained mainly by
the divine word and by the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar [...]. For our bodies
we pray for what is needed to maintain us” (”St. Pius X Catechism”, 302-305).

Christian doctrine stresses two ideas in this petition of the Our Father: the first
is trust in Divine Providence, which frees us from excessive desire to accumu-
late possessions to insure us against the future (cf. Luke 12:16-21); the other
idea is that we should take a brotherly interest in other people’s needs, thereby
moderating our selfish tendencies.

4. “So rigorously does God exact from us forgetfulness of injuries and mutual
affection and love, that He rejects and despises the gifts and sacrifices of those
who are not reconciled to one another” (”St. Pius V Catechism”, IV, 14, 16).

“This sisters, is something which we should consider carefully; it is such a se-
rious and important matter that God should pardon us our sins, which have me-
rited eternal fire, that we must pardon all trifling things which have been done to
us. As I have so few, Lord, even of these trifling things, to offer Thee, Thy pardo-
ning of me must be a free gift: there is abundant scope here for Thy mercy.
Blessed be Thou, who endurest one that is so poor” (St. Teresa of Avila, “Way
of Perfection”, Chapter 36).

“And lead us not into temptation”: it is not a sin to “feel” temptation but to “con-
sent” to temptation. It is also a sin to put oneself voluntarily into a situation which
can easily lead one to sin. God allows us to be tempted, in order to test our fide-
lity, to exercise us in virtue and to increase our merits with the help of grace. In
this petition we ask the Lord to give us His grace not to be overcome when put to
the test, or to free us from temptation if we cannot cope with it.

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.

16 posted on 10/05/2010 11:34:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson