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To: All

From: Exodus 17:8-13

A battle against the Amalekites


[8] Then came Amalek and fought with Israel at Rephidim. [9] And Moses said
to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will
stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” [10] So Joshua did
as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went
up to the top of the hill. [11] Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel pre-
vailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. [17] But Moses’
hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon
it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the
other side; so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. [13] And
Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

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Commentary:

17:8-16 In addition to the shortages of food and water the Israelites also had to
cope with attacks from other groups in the desert over rights to wells and pas-
tures. Their confrontation with the Amalekites shows that the same God as alle-
viated their more pressing needs (hunger and thirst) will protect them from ene-
my attack.

The Amalekites were an ancient people (cf. Num 24:20; Gen 14:7; 36:12, 16;
Judg 1:16) who were spread all over the north of the Sinai peninsula, the Negeb,
Seir and the south of Canaan; they controlled the caravan routes between Ara-
bia and Egypt. In the Bible they appear as a perennial enemy of Israel (cf. Deut
25:17-18; 1 Sam 15:3; 27:8, 30) until in the time of Hezekiah (1 Chron 4:41-43)
the oracle about blotting out their memory finds fulfillment (v. 14). The mention
of Joshua leading the battle and of Aaron and Hur helping Moses to pray point
to the fact that after Moses political-military and religious authority will be split,
with the priests taking over the latter.

With the rod in his hand, Moses directs the battle from a distance, but his main
involvement is by interceding for his people, asking God to give them victory. The
Fathers read this episode as a figure of the action of Christ who, on the cross
(symbolized by the rod), won victory over the devil and death (cf. Tertullian, Ad-
versus Marcionem, 3, 18; St. Cyprian, Testimonia, 2, 21).

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


4 posted on 10/19/2019 9:37:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2

Staying true to Scripture


[14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,
knowing from whom you have learned it [15] and how from childhood you have
been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for sal-
vation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is inspired by God and
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteous-
ness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good
work.

Dedication to preaching


[1] I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the
living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: [2] preach the word,
be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfail-
ing in patience and in teaching.

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

14-15. “Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed”: this is sound ad-
vice — that Timothy should not relinquish the truth which he learned from his mo-
ther and from the Apostle: “Religion, of its nature, must be passed on in its en-
tirety to children with the same fidelity as it has been received by the parents
themselves; we have no right to take religion and do with it what we will; rather,
it is we who must follow religion wherever it leads us” (St Vincent of Lerins,
“Commonitorium”, 5).

Assiduous meditation on the Word of God and reflection on our experience in the
light of faith make for deeper understanding of revealed truth; but the essential
meaning of the truths of faith does not change, because God does not contradict
himself. Progress in theology consists in obtaining this deeper understanding of
the content of Revelation and relating it to the needs and the insights of people
in each culture and period of history. In this connexion Paul VI wrote: “We also
insisted on the grave responsibility incumbent upon us, but which we share with
our Brothers in the Episcopate, of preserving unaltered the content of the Catho-
lic faith which the Lord entrusted to the Apostles. While being translated into all
expressions, this content must be neither impaired nor mutilated. While being
clothed with the outward forms proper to each people, and made explicit by theo-
logical expression which takes account of different cultural, social and even racial
milieux, it must remain the content of the Catholic faith just exactly as the eccle-
sial Magisterium has received it and transmits it” (”Evangelii nuntiandi”, 65).

16. Due to the conciseness of the Greek language (which often omits the verb
“to be”), this verse can also be translated as “All scripture inspired by God is pro-
fitable”; cf. the RSV note. Paul is explicitly stating here that all the books of the
Bible are inspired by God, and are therefore of great help to the Church in its mis-
sion.

The books of Sacred Scripture enjoy special authority because “the divinely re-
vealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scrip-
ture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For Holy
Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and
canonical the books of the Old and New Testaments, whole and entire, with all
their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church
herself. To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while
he employed them in this task, made full use of their powers and faculties so that,
though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned
to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more. Since, therefore, all that the
inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the
Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully
and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wish-
ed to see confided to the Sacred Scripture” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”, 11).

Therefore, the Bible is very useful in preaching and teaching, in theological re-
search and for one’s own spiritual advancement and that of others. Referring to
the training of future priests, the Second Vatican Council recommends that they
“receive a most careful training in Holy Scripture, which should be the soul, as
it were, of all theology” (”Optatam totius”, 16).

St. Gregory the Great has this to say about Scripture’s usefulness “for teaching”:
“Anyone preparing to preach in the right way needs to take his points from the
Sacred Scriptures in order to ensure that everything he says is based on divine
authority” (”Moralia”, 18, 26). And the same Father says elsewhere: “What is Sa-
cred Scripture if not a kind of letter from almighty God to his creature? […] There-
fore, please study and reflect on the words of your Creator every day. Learn that
the will of God is by entering deep into the words of that great yearning for hea-
venly delights” (”Epistula ad Theodorum medicum”, 5, 31).

Scripture is also profitable “for reproof”, St. Jerome writes: “Read the divine Scrip-
tures very often, or, to put it better, never let sacred reading matter out of your
hands. Learn what it has to teach, keep a firm hold on the word of faith which ac-
cords with doctrine, so as to be able to exhort others with sound doctrine and win
over your opponents” (”Ad Nepotianum”, 7).

17. “Man of God”: see the note on 1 Tim 6:11. This description shows the basis
of a priest’s dignity. “The priestly vocation is invested with a dignity and greatness
which has no equal on earth. St. Catherine of Siena put these words on Jesus’s
lips: ‘I do not wish the respect which priests should be given to be in any way di-
minished; for the reverence and respect which is shown them is not referred to
them but to Me, by virtue of the Blood which I have given to them to administer.
Were it not for this, you should render them the same reverence as lay people,
and no more. . . . You must not offend them; by offending them you offend Me
and not them. Therefore I forbid it and I have laid it down that you shall not touch
my Christs’” (St. J. Escriva, “In Love with the Church”, 38).

1. The last chapter of the letter, summing up its main themes, is in fact St Paul’s
last will and testament and has the features of that type of document: it begins
in a formal manner (vv. 1-5), protests the sincerity of his dedicated life (vv. 6-8)
and concludes with some very tender, personal messages (vv. 9-22).

The opening is couched in a solemn form (also found in 1 Tim 5:21) similar to a
Greco-Roman will, laying on the heirs an obligation to carry out the testator’s wi-
shes: “I charge you”; a series of imperatives follows. To underline the importance
of what the testator is requesting, God the Father and Jesus Christ are invoked
as witnesses, guarantors of the commitments which will devolve on the heirs. By
swearing this document the testator is performing an act of the virtue of religion,
because he is acknowledging God as Supreme Judge, to whom we must render
an account of our actions.

“Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead”: a graphic, catechetical
expression (cf. Acts 10:42; 1 Pet 4:5), confessing belief in the truth that all men
without exception will undergo judgment by Jesus Christ, from whose decision
there is no appeal. This has become part of the Creed; in a solemn profession
of faith, “The Credo of the People of God”, Pope Paul VI elaborated on this arti-
cle of faith as we have seen in the commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:5 above.

2. “Preach the word”: that is, the message of the Gospel, which includes all the
truths to be believed, the commandments to be kept and the sacraments and
other supernatural resources to be availed of. In the life of the Church the minis-
try of the word has special importance; it is the channel God has established
whereby man can partake of the Gospel; priests have a special duty to preach
the word: “The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of
the living God, which is quite rightly sought from the mouth of priests. For since
nobody can be saved who has not first believed, it is the first task of priests as
co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men. In this way
they carry out the Lord’s command, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gos-
pel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15) and thus set up and increase the people
of God” (Vatican II, “Presbyterorum ordinis”, 4).

“In season and out of season”, that is, even in adverse circumstances (cf. v. 3),
or when hearers are disinclined to accept the Christian message. Timothy and,
like him, all other sacred ministers, ought to behave towards the faithful in ac-
cordance with the demands of Christian life and doctrine. “What do men want,
what do they expect of the priest, the minister of Christ, the living sign of the
presence of the Good Shepherd? We would venture to say that, although they
may not explicitly say so, they need, want and hope for a priest-priest, a priest
through and through, a man who gives his life for them, by opening to them the
horizons of the soul; a man who unceasingly exercises his ministry, whose heart
is capable of understanding, and a man who gives simply and joyfully, in season
and even out of season, what he alone can give – the richness of grace, of divine
intimacy which, through him, God wishes to distribute among men” (A. del Por-
tillo, “On Priesthood”, p. 66).

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


5 posted on 10/19/2019 9:39:04 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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