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To: All

From: 2 Kings 5:14-17

Naaman is cured of leprosy


[14] So he [Naaman] went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan,
according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the
flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

[15] Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came
and stood before him; and he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all
the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” [16] But he
said, “as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will receive none.” And he urged him to
take it, but he refused. [17] Then Naaman said, “If not, I pray you, let there be
given to your servant two mules’ burden of earth; for henceforth your servant will
not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any God but our Lord.

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Commentary:

5:9-14. The scene of Naaman’s arrival at the house of Elisha is full of significance.
Before obtaining a cure his physical ailment, Naaman needs to learn to obey the
prophet’s word. The pomp surrounding Naaman contrasts sharply with the sim-
ple message conveyed by Elisha’s servant; the Syrian is expecting some magi-
cal rite to be performed on his behalf, whereas in fact he is ordered simply to
bathe in the Jordan. Naaman needs to see that the prophet of the Lord is not a
magician or a kind of witch-doctor: it will be God who cleanses him when he
does what he is told.

Naaman will come to see that it is not the waters that cure him, but God him-
self. His obedience needs to be put to the rest: he has to dip in the water seven
times. A similar command to Elisha’s, and an obedience like Naaman’s, are to
be found in the cure Jesus works for the man blind from birth (cf. Jn 9:6-7). Both
these episodes are rightly seen as a prefigurement of baptism, the sacrament in
which, through water and obedience to Christ’s word, man is cleansed from the
leprosy of sin and is given the gift of faith: “The crossing of the Red Sea by the
Hebrews was a figure of holy Baptism, for the Egyptians died but the Hebrews
escaped. This is what the sacrament daily teaches us – that in it sin is drowned
and error destroyed, whereas devotion and innocence cross unscathed. […] Fi-
nally, learn the lesson provided by the book of Kings. Naaman was a Syrian,
and a leper, and there was no one who could cure him […]; he bathed and, fin-
ding he was cured, he realized immediately that it was not the water that cured
him but the gift of God. He doubted prior to being cured; but you, who are alrea-
dy cured, should not have any doubts” (St Ambrose, De mysteriis, 12, 19).

********************************************************************************************
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.


13 posted on 10/09/2010 10:10:06 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Jesus, the Apostle’s Model


[8] Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as
preached in my gospel, [9] the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters
like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. [10] Therefore I endure every-
thing for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which in
Christ Jesus goes with eternal glory. [11] The saying is sure: If we have died with
him, we shall also live with him; [12] if we endure, we shall also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us; [13] if we are faithless, he remains faithful
— for he cannot deny himself.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

8. “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead”: the Resurrection is the climax of our faith
(cf. 1 Cor 15) and the fixed reference point for Christian living, for we know that
“Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has domi-
nion over him” (Rom 6:9). Therefore, Christ lives on in a glorified condition: “Christ
is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and
then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory. No, Christ
is alive. Jesus is Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God
does not abandon his own” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 102).

“As preached in my gospel”: literally, “according to my gospel”; Jesus’ glorious
resurrection and his descent from David were key points in St Paul’s preaching.

9-10. The trials which St Paul was experiencing in prison on account of his prea-
ching of the Gospel constitute an entitlement to heaven, for “martyrdom makes
the disciple like his master, who willingly accepted death for the salvation of the
world, and through it he is conformed to him by the shedding of blood” (”Lumen
Gentium”, 42). This is a shining example of the Communion of Saints at work,
for, when a Christian links his suffering to Christ’s passion, that suffering contri-
butes to the Redemption: “Therefore he is carrying out an irreplaceable service.
In the Body of Christ, which is ceaselessly born of the Cross of the Redeemer,
it is precisely suffering permeated by the spirit of Christ’s sacrifice that is the ir-
replaceable mediator and author of the good things which are indispensable for
the world’s salvation. It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the
way for the grace which transforms human souls. Suffering, more than anything
else, makes present in the history of humanity the powers of the Redemption”
(John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 27).

Throughout history many pastors of the Church have suffered persecution on
account of their fidelity to Christ. St John Chrysostom, shortly before going into
exile, expressed his feelings in this way: “For me, this world’s evils are some-
thing I despise; and its good things are an object of scorn. I am not afraid of po-
verty nor do I have any desire for riches; I am not afraid of death nor do I have
any desire to live unless it be to your advantage” (”Ante Exiltum Hom.”, 1).

11-13. “The saying is sure”: this is a technical expression used a number of
times in the Pastoral Epistles to attract attention to especially important state-
ments (cf. note on 1 Tim 1:15). Here it introduces a poetic section in the form
of a hymn of four verses, each consisting of a pair of contrasting phrases (of
the type the Semitic mind loves). It is quite possible that this hymn was used
in very early baptismal liturgy, given that it has to do with the intimate union of
the baptized person with Christ, who died and is now risen; it also encourages
Christians to stay faithful in the face of adverse circumstances even if that
means martyrdom.

Thus, the first verse deals with the beginning of Christian life. Dying to sin and
rising to the life of grace are Pauline expressions (cf. Rom 6:34) which point to
the fact that in Baptism the Christian becomes a sharer in the passion, death
and burial of the Lord, and also in the glory of his resurrection. Grace is the
supernatural life and that life will attain its full form in heaven.

The two following verses deal with the stark choice the Christian has to make
in the face of difficulties — endurance, or denial of the faith (cf. Mt 10:33; Lk 12:
9); the hymn puts special emphasis on endurance, using as it does terminolo-
gy proper to athletics (cf. Heb 12:1-3); also, the verb used in the second part
of each phrase is in the future tense, as if an unlikely possibility were being dis-
cussed: “In the event of our denying him...”. And (what is most important) the
Christian’s faithfulness is orientated towards Christ: “we shall reign with him.”
“To persevere is to persist in love, ‘per Ipsum et cum Ipso et in Ipso...’. Indeed
we can also interpret this as: “He himself, with me, for me and in me” (St. J.
Escriva, “Furrow”, 366).

The last verse breaks the pattern because it does not counterpose attitude and
result but rather man’s infidelity and Christ’s fidelity: “If we are faithless, he re-
mains faithful.” This paradox of our Lord’s love marks the climax of the hymn,
which is a kind of poem extolling Christian endurance based on our Lord’s eter-
nal faithfulness. “We Christians have the right to proclaim the royalty of Christ.
Although injustice abounds, although many do not desire the kingdom of love,
the work of salvation is taking place in the same human history as harbors evil”
(St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 186).

*********************************************************************************************
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.


14 posted on 10/09/2010 10:10:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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