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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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To: All

From: Luke 18:1-8

Persevering Prayer. Parable of the Unjust Judge


[1] And He (Jesus) told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to
pray and not lose heart. [2] He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who
neither feared God nor regarded man; [3] and there was a widow in that city who
kept coming to him saying, ‘Vindicate me against my adversary.’ [4] For a while
he refused; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard
man, [5] yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear
me out by her continual coming.’” [6] And the Lord said, “hear what the unrigh-
teous judge says. [7] And will not God vindicate His elect, who cry to Him day
and night? Will He delay long over them? [8] I tell you, He will vindicate them
speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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

1-8. The parable of the unjust judge is a very eloquent lesson about the effective-
ness of persevering, confident prayer. It also forms a conclusion to Jesus’ tea-
ching about watchfulness, contained in the previous verses (17:23-26). Compa-
ring God with a person like this makes the point even clearer: if even an unjust
judge ends up giving justice to the man who keeps on pleading his case, how
much more will God, who is infinitely just, and who is our Father, listen to the
persevering prayer of His children. God, in other words, gives justice to His elect
if they persist in seeking His help.

1. “They ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Why must we pray?
“1. We must pray first and foremost because we are believers.
“Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limitation and our dependence: we
come from God, we belong to God and we return to God! We cannot, therefore,
but abandon ourselves to Him, our Creator and Lord, with full and complete con-
fidence [...].
“Prayer, therefore, is first of all an act of intelligence, a feeling of humility and
gratitude, an attitude of trust and abandonment to Him who gave us life out of
love.
“Prayer is a mysterious but real dialogue with God, a dialogue of confidence
and love.
“2. We, however, are Christians, and therefore we must pray as Christians.
“For the Christian, in fact, prayer acquires a particular characteristic, which
completely changes its innermost nature and innermost value. The Christian
is a disciple of Jesus; he is one who really believes that Jesus is the Word In-
carnate, the Son of God who came among us on this earth.
“As a man, the life of Jesus was a continual prayer, a continual act of worship
and love of the Father and since the maximum expression of prayer is sacrifice,
the summit of Jesus’ prayer is the Sacrifice of the Cross, anticipated by the
Eucharist at the Last Supper and handed down by means of the Holy Mass
throughout the centuries.
“Therefore, the Christian knows that his prayer is that of Jesus; every prayer of
his starts from Jesus; it is He who prays in us, with us, for us. All those who
believe in God, pray; but the Christian prays in Jesus Christ: Christ is our pra-
yer!
“3. Finally, we must pray because we are frail and guilty.
“It must be humbly and realistically recognized that we are poor creatures, con-
fused in ideas, tempted by evil, frail and weak, in continual need of inner strength
and consolation. Prayer gives the strength for great ideas, to maintain faith, cha-
rity, purity and generosity. Prayer gives the courage to emerge from indifference
and guilt, if unfortunately one has yielded to temptation and weakness. Prayer
gives light to see and consider the events of one’s own life and of history in the
salvific perspective of God and eternity. Therefore, do not stop praying! Let not
a day pass without your having prayed a little! Prayer is a duty, but it is also a
great joy, because it is a dialogue with God through Jesus Christ! Every Sunday,
Holy Mass: if it is possible for you, sometimes during the week. Every day, mor-
ning and evening prayers, and at the most suitable moments!” (Bl. John Paul II,
Audience with Young People, 14 March 1979).

8. Jesus combines His teaching about perseverance in prayer with a serious war-
ning about the need to remain firm in the faith: faith and prayer go hand in hand.
St. Augustine comments, “In order to pray, let us believe; and for our faith not to
weaken, let us pray. Faith causes prayer to grow, and when prayer grows our
faith is strengthened” (”Sermon”, 115).

Our Lord has promised His Church that it will remain true to its mission until the
end of time (cf. Matthew 28:20); the Church, therefore, cannot go off the path of
the true faith. But not everyone will remain faithful: some will turn their backs on
the faith of their own accord. This is the mystery which St. Paul describes as the
rebellion” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and which Jesus Christ announces on other oc-
casions (cf. Matthew 24:12-13). In this way our Lord warns us, to help us stay
watchful and persevere in the faith and in prayer even though people around us
fall away.

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


6 posted on 10/19/2019 9:40:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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