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From: 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24

We are Children of God

[1] See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of
God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did
not know him. [2] Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear
what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for
we shall see him as he is.

Loving One Another (Continuation)

[21] Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
[22] and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his command-
ments and do what pleases him. [23] And this is his commandment, that we
should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just
as he has commanded us. [24] All who keep his commandments abide in him,
and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which
he has given us.


1-24. This entire chapter shows how moved the Apostle is when he contem-
plates the marvelous gift of divine filiation. The Holy Spirit, who is the author of
all Sacred Scripture, has desired John to pass on to us this unique revelation:
we are children of God (v. 1).

It is not easy to divide the chapter into sections, because the style is very cy-
clic and colloquial and includes many repetitions and further thoughts which
make for great vividness and freshness. However, we can distinguish an ope-
ning proclamation of the central message (vv. 1-2) and emphasis on two re-
quirements of divine filiation — rejection of sin in any shape or form (vv. 3-10),
and brotherly love lived to the full (vv. 11-24).

1. “We should be called children of God”: the original Hebrew expression,
which reads “we are called...”, is also used by our Lord in the Beatitudes (cf.
Mt 5:9): “to be called” means the same as “to be called by God”; and in the
language of the Bible, when God gives someone a name he is not simply con-
ferring a title but is causing the thing that the name indicates (cf., e.g., Gen
17:5), for the word of God is efficacious, it does what it says it will do; hence,
St John’s adding: “and so we are.”

Therefore, it is not just a matter of a metaphorical title, or a legal fiction, or
adoption human-style: divine filiation is an essential feature of a Christian’s life,
a marvelous fact whereby God gratuitously gives men a strictly supernatural
dignity, an intimacy with God whereby they are “domestici Dei”, “members of
the household of God” (Eph 2:19). This explains the tone of amazement and
joy with which St John passes on this revelation.

This sense of divine filiation is one of the central points in the spirituality of
Opus Dei. Its founder wrote: “We do not exist in order to pursue just any hap-
piness. We have been called to penetrate the intimacy of God’s own life, to
know and love God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and to
love also — in that same love of the one God in three divine Persons — the an-
gels and all men.

“This is the great boldness of the Christian faith—to proclaim the value and dig-
nity of human nature and to affirm that we have been created to obtain the dig-
nity of children of God, through the grace that raises us up to a supernatural
level. An incredible boldness it would be, were it not founded on the promise
of salvation given us by God the Father, confirmed by the blood of Christ, and
reaffirmed and made possible by the constant action of the Holy Spirit” (”Christ
Is Passing By”, 133).

“The world does not know us, (because) it did not know him”: these words are
reminiscent of our Lord’s at the Last Supper: “the hour is coming when whoever
kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because
they have not known the Father, nor me” (Jn 16:2-3). Divine filiation brings with
it communion and a mysterious identification between Christ and the Christian.

2. The indescribable gift of divine filiation, which the world does not know (v. 1),
is not fully experienced by Christians, because the seeds of divine life which it
contains will only reach their full growth in eternal life, when we see him “as he
is”, “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12); “this is eternal life, that they know thee the on-
ly true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3). In that direct
sight of God as he is, and of all things in God, the life of grace and divine filia-
tion achieve their full growth. Man is not naturally able to see God face to face;
he needs to be enlightened by a special light, which is given the technical theo-
logical name of “lumen gloriae”, light of glory. This does not allow him to “take
in” all God (no created thing could do that), but it does allow him to look at God

Commenting on this verse, the “St Pius V Catechism” explains that “beatitude
consists of two things—that we shall behold God such as he is in his own na-
ture and substance; and that we ourselves shall become, as it were, gods. For
those who enjoy God while they retain their own nature, assume a certain ad-
mirable and almost divine form, so as to seem gods rather than men” (I, 13, 7).

“When he appears”: two interpretations are possible, given that in Greek the
verb has no subject: “when (what we shall be) is revealed we shall be as he is”;
or, as the New Vulgate translates it, “when he (Christ) is revealed we will be
like him (Christ)”. The second interpretation is the more likely.

19-22. The Apostle reassures us: God knows everything; not only does he
know our sins and our frailties, he also knows our repentance and our good
desires, and he understands and forgives us (St Peter, on the Lake of Tiberias,
made the same confession to Jesus: “Lord, you know everything, you know
that I love you”: Jn 21:17).

St John’s teaching on divine mercy is very clear: if our conscience tells us we
have done wrong, we can seek forgiveness and strengthen our hope in God; if
our conscience does not accuse us, our confidence in God is ardent and bold,
like that of a child who has loving experience of his Father’s tenderness. The
love of God is mightier than our sins, Pope John Paul II reminds us: “When we
realize that God’s love for us does not cease in the face of our sin or recoil be-
fore our offenses, but becomes even more attentive and generous; when we rea-
lize that this love went so far as to cause the Passion and Death of the Word
made flesh who consented to redeem us at the price of his own blood, then we
exclaim in gratitude: ‘Yes, the Lord is rich in mercy’, and even: ‘The Lord is mer-
cy”’ (”Reconciliatio Et Paenitentia”, 22).

This confidence in God makes for confidence in prayer: “If you abide in me, and
my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (Jn
15:7; cf. 14:13f; 16:23, 26-27).

23-24. The commandments of God are summed up here in terms of love for Je-
sus and love for the brethren. “We cannot rightly love one another unless we be-
lieve in Christ; nor can we truly believe in the name of Jesus Christ without bro-
therly love” (St Bede, “In I Epist. S. Ioannis, ad loc.”). Faith and love cannot be
separated (cf. Gal 5:6); our Lord himself told us what would mark his disciples
out — their love for one another (Jn 13:34-35).

Keeping the commandments confirms to the Christian that he is abiding in God:
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (Jn 15:10). More-
over, it ensures that God abides in his soul, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit:
“If you love me you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father,
and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever” (Jn 14:15-16).

“May God be your house and you God’s; dwell in God that God may dwell in
you. God dwells in you to support you; you dwell in God in order not to fall.
Keep the commandments, have charity” (”In I Epist. S. loannis, ad loc.”).

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.

7 posted on 12/29/2012 10:00:45 PM PST by Salvation (("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26))
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To: All

From: Luke 2:41-52

The Finding in the Temple

[41] Now his (Jesus’s) parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the
Passover. [42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to
custom; [43] and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Je-
sus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, [44] but supposing
him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among
their kinsfolk and acquaintances; [45] and when they did not find him, they re-
turned to Jerusalem, seeking him. [46] And after three days they found him in the
temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions;
[47] and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
[48] And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking
for you anxiously.” [49] And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did
you not know that I must be in my Father’s house ?” [50] And they did not under-
stand the saying which he spoke to them.

The Hidden Life of Jesus at Nazareth

[51] And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to
them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. [52] And Jesus increased
in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.


41. Only St Luke (2:41-50) reports the event of the Child Jesus being lost and
then found in the temple, which we contemplate in the “Fifth Joyful Mystery” of
the Rosary.

Only males aged twelve and upwards were required to make this journey. Naza-
reth is about 100 km (60 miles) from Jerusalem as the crow flies, but the hilly na-
ture of the country would have made it a trip of 140 km.

43-44. On pilgrimages to Jerusalem, the Jews used to go in two groups — one of
men, the other of women. Children could go with either group. This explains how
they could go a day’s journey before they discovered the Child was missing when
the families regrouped to camp.

“Mary is crying. In vain you and I have run from group to group, from caravan to
caravan. No one has seen him. Joseph, after fruitless attempts to keep from cry-
ing, cries too.... And you.... And I.

‘Being a common little fellow, I cry my eyes out and wail to heaven and earth...,
to make up for the times when I lost him through my own fault and did not cry”
(St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, Fifth Joyful Mystery).

45. The concern which Mary and Joseph show in looking for the Child should
encourage us always to seek Jesus out, particularly if we lose him through sin.
“Jesus, may I never lose you again.... Now you and I are united in misfortune
and grief, as were united in sin. And from the depths of our being comes sighs
of heartfelt sorrow and burning phrases which the pen cannot and should not re-
cord” (”Holy Rosary”, Fifth Joyful Mystery).

46-47. The Child Jesus must have been in the courtyard of the temple, which
was where the teachers usually taught. Listeners used to sit at their feet, now
and again asking questions and responding to them. This was what Jesus did,
but his questions and answers attracted the teachers’ attention, he was so wise
and well-informed.

48. Ever since the Annunciation our Lady had known that the Child Jesus was
God. This faith was the basis of her generous fidelity throughout her life — but
there was no reason why it should include detailed knowledge of all the sacrifi-
ces God would ask of her, nor of how Christ would go about his mission of re-
demption: that was something she would discover as time went by, contempla-
ting her Son’s life.

49. Christ’s reply is a form of explanation. His words—his first words to be recor-
ded in the Gospel—clearly show his divine Sonship; and they also show his deter-
mination to fulfill the will of his Eternal Father. “He does not upbraid them — Mary
and Joseph—for searching for their son, but he raises the eyes of their souls to
appreciate what he owes him whose Eternal Son he is” (St Bede, “In Lucae Evan-
gelium Expositio, in loc.”). Jesus teaches us that over and above any human au-
thority, even that of our parents, there is the primary duty to do the will of God.
“And once we are consoled by the joy of finding Jesus — three days he was gone!
— debating with the teachers of Israel (Lk 2:46), you and I shall be left deeply im-
pressed by the duty to leave our home and family to serve our heavenly Father”
(St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, Fifth Joyful Mystery”). See note on Mt 10:34-37.

50. We must remember that Jesus knew in detail the whole course his earthly
life would take from his conception onwards (cf. note on Lk 2:52). This is shown
by what he says in reply to his parents. Mary and Joseph realized that his reply
contained a deeper meaning which they did not grasp. They grew to understand
it as the life of their Child unfolded. Mary’s and Joseph’s faith and their reverence
towards the Child led them not to ask any further questions but to reflect on Je-
sus’ words and behavior in this instance, as they had done so on other occa-

51. The Gospel sums up Jesus’ life in Nazareth in just three words: “erat subdi-
tus illis”, he was obedient to them. “Jesus obeys, and he obeys Joseph and Ma-
ry. God has come to the world to obey, and to obey creatures. Admittedly they
are very perfect creatures — Holy Mary, our mother, greater than whom God a-
lone; and that most chaste man Joseph. But they are only creatures, and yet
Jesus, who is God, obeyed them. We have to love God so as to love his will and
desire to respond to his calls. They come to us through the duties of our ordina-
ry life — duties of state, profession, work, family, social life, our own and other
people’s difficulties, friendship, eagerness to do what is right and just” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 17).

Jesus lived like any other inhabitant of Nazareth, working at the same trade as
St Joseph and earning his living by the sweat of his brow. “His hidden years are
not without significance, nor were they simply a preparation for the years which
were to come after—those of his public life. Since 1928 I have understood clearly
that God wants our Lord’s whole life to be an example for Christians. I saw this
with special reference to his hidden life, the years he spent working side by side
with ordinary men. Our Lord wants many people to ratify their vocation during
years of quiet, unspectacular living. Obeying God’s will always means leaving
our selfishness behind, but there is no reason why it should entail cutting our-
selves off from the normal life of ordinary people who share the same status,
work and social position with us.

“I dream—and the dream has come true—of multitudes of God’s children, sancti-
fying themselves as ordinary citizens, sharing the ambitions and endeavors of
their colleagues and friends. I want to shout to them about this divine truth: If you
are there in the middle of ordinary life, it doesn’t mean Christ has forgotten about
you or hasn’t called you. He has invited you to stay among the activities and con-
cerns of the world. He wants you to know that your human vocation, your profes-
sion, your talents, are not omitted from his divine plans. He has sanctified them
and made them a most acceptable offering to his Father” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ
Is Passing By”, 20).

52. As far as his human nature was concerned Jesus matured like anyone else.
His growth in wisdom should be seen as referring to experiential knowledge —
knowledge acquired by his mind from sense experience and general experience
of life. It can also be taken as referring to the external expression of his wisdom;
in this sense everything he did was done perfectly, in keeping with whatever age
he was at the time.

As man Jesus had three kinds of knowledge: 1. “The knowledge of the blessed”
(vision of the divine essence) by virtue of the hypostatic union (the union of his
human nature with his divine nature in the one person of the Word). This know-
ledge did not allow of any increase. 2. “Infused knowledge”, which perfected his
intellect and which meant that he knew everything, even hidden things; thus he
was able to read men’s hearts. Here again his knowledge was complete; it could
not grow. 3. “Acquired knowledge”: he acquired new knowledge through sense
experience and reflection; logically, this knowledge increased as time went by.

As far as grace, in the strict sense of the word, was concerned, Jesus could not
grow. From the first instant of his conception he possessed grace in all its full-
ness because he was true God by virtue of the hypostatic union. As St Thomas
explains: “The end of grace is the union of the rational creature with God. But
there can neither be nor be conceived a greater union of the rational creature
with God than that which is in the person of Christ [...]. Hence it is clear that
the grace of Christ cannot be increased on the part of grace. But neither can it
be increased on the part of Christ, since Christ as man was a true and full ‘com-
prehensor from the first instant of his conception. Hence there could have been
no increase of grace in him” (”Summa Theologiae”, Ill, q.7, a.12).

However, we can speak of his growing in grace in the sense of the “effects” of
grace. In the last analysis, this matter is one of the mysteries of our faith, which
our minds cannot fully grasp. How small God would be if we were able fully to fa-
thom this mystery! That Christ should conceal his infinite power and wisdom by
becoming a Child teaches our pride a great lesson.

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.

8 posted on 12/29/2012 10:02:05 PM PST by Salvation (("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26))
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