Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings 28-December-2022
Posted on 12/28/2022 6:18:43 AM PST by annalex
The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Church of the Holy Innocents, New York City
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Red. Year: A(I).
The blood of Jesus Christ purifies us all from sin
This is what we have heard from Jesus Christ,
and the message that we are announcing to you:
God is light; there is no darkness in him at all.
If we say that we are in union with God
while we are living in darkness,
we are lying because we are not living the truth.
But if we live our lives in the light,
as he is in the light,
we are in union with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin in us,
we are deceiving ourselves
and refusing to admit the truth;
but if we acknowledge our sins,
then God who is faithful and just
will forgive our sins and purify us
from everything that is wrong.
To say that we have never sinned
is to call God a liar
and to show that his word is not in us.
I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.
Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.
If the Lord had not been on our side
when men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive
when their anger was kindled.
Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.
Then would the waters have engulfed us,
the torrent gone over us;
over our head would have swept
the raging waters.
Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.
Indeed the snare has been broken
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.
We praise you, O God,
we acknowledge you to be the Lord;
the noble army of martyrs praise you, O Lord.
The massacre of the innocents
After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
I called my son out of Egypt.
Herod was furious when he realised that he had been outwitted by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or under, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men. It was then that the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah were fulfilled:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loudly lamenting:
it was Rachel weeping for her children,
refusing to be comforted because they were no more.
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The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
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|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|13.||And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him.||Qui cum recessissent, ecce angelus Domini apparuit in somnis Joseph, dicens : Surge, et accipe puerum, et matrem ejus, et fuge in Ægyptum, et esto ibi usque dum dicam tibi. Futurum est enim ut Herodes quærat puerum ad perdendum eum.||αναχωρησαντων δε αυτων ιδου αγγελος κυριου φαινεται κατ οναρ τω ιωσηφ λεγων εγερθεις παραλαβε το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου και φευγε εις αιγυπτον και ισθι εκει εως αν ειπω σοι μελλει γαρ ηρωδης ζητειν το παιδιον του απολεσαι αυτο|
|14.||Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod:||Qui consurgens accepit puerum et matrem ejus nocte, et secessit in Ægyptum :||ο δε εγερθεις παρελαβεν το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου νυκτος και ανεχωρησεν εις αιγυπτον|
|15.||That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.||et erat ibi usque ad obitum Herodis : ut adimpleretur quod dictum est a Domino per prophetam dicentem : Ex Ægypto vocavi filium meum.||και ην εκει εως της τελευτης ηρωδου ινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο του κυριου δια του προφητου λεγοντος εξ αιγυπτου εκαλεσα τον υιον μου|
|16.||Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.||Tunc Herodes videns quoniam illusus esset a magis, iratus est valde, et mittens occidit omnes pueros, qui erant in Bethlehem, et in omnibus finibus ejus, a bimatu et infra secundum tempus, quod exquisierat a magis.||τοτε ηρωδης ιδων οτι ενεπαιχθη υπο των μαγων εθυμωθη λιαν και αποστειλας ανειλεν παντας τους παιδας τους εν βηθλεεμ και εν πασιν τοις οριοις αυτης απο διετους και κατωτερω κατα τον χρονον ον ηκριβωσεν παρα των μαγων|
|17.||Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying:||Tunc adimpletum est quod dictum est per Jeremiam prophetam dicentem :||τοτε επληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο ιερεμιου του προφητου λεγοντος|
|18.||A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.||Vox in Rama audita est ploratus, et ululatus multus : Rachel plorans filios suos, et noluit consolari, quia non sunt.||φωνη εν ραμα ηκουσθη θρηνος και κλαυθμος και οδυρμος πολυς ραχηλ κλαιουσα τα τεκνα αυτης και ουκ ηθελεν παρακληθηναι οτι ουκ εισιν|
13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.
14. When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son.
RABANUS. Here Matthew omits the day of purification when the first-born must be presented in the Temple with a lamb, or a pair of turtle doves, or pigeons. Their fear of Herod did not make them bold to transgress the Law, that they should not present the Child in the temple. As soon then as the rumour concerning the Child begins to be spread abroad, the Angel is sent to bid Joseph carry Him into Egypt.
REMIGIUS. By this that the Angel appears always to Joseph in sleep, is mystically signified that they who rest from mundane cares and secular pursuits, deserve angelic visitations.
HILARY. The first time when he would teach Joseph that she was lawfully espoused, the Angel called the Virgin his espoused wife; but after the birth she is only spoken of as the Mother of Jesus. As wedlock was rightfully imputed to her in her virginity, so virginity is esteemed venerable in her as the mother of Jesus.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. He says not, ‘the Mother and her young Child,’ but, the young Child and His mother; for the Child was not born for the mother, but the mother prepared for the Child. How is this that the Son of God flies from the face of man? or who shall deliver from the enemy’s hand, if He Himself fears His enemies? First; He ought to observe, even in this, the law of that human nature which He took on Him; and human nature and infancy must flee before threatening power. Next, that Christians when persecution makes it necessary should not be ashamed to fly. But why into Egypt? The Lord, who keepeth not His anger for ever, remembered the woes He had brought upon Egypt, and therefore sent His Son thither, and gives it this sign of great reconciliation, that with this one remedy He might heal the ten plagues of Egypt, and the nation that had been the persecutor of this first-born people, might be the guardian of His first-born Son. As formerly they had cruelly tyrannized, now they might devoutly serve; nor go to the Red Sea to be drowned, but be called to the waters of baptism to receive life.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 218. App.) Hear the sacrament of a great mystery. Moses before had shut up the light of day from the traitors the Egyptians; Christ by going down thither brought back light to them that sate in darkness. He fled that he might enlighten them, not that he might escape his foes.
AUGUSTINE. The miserable tyrant supposed that by the Saviour’s coming he should be thrust from his royal throne. But it was not so; Christ came not to hurt others’ dignity, but to bestow His own on others.
HILARY. Egypt full of idols; for after this enquiry for Him among the Jews, Christ leaving Judæa goes to be cherished among nations given to the vainest superstitions.
JEROME. When he takes the Child and His mother to go into Egypt, it is in the night and darkness, when to return into Judæa, the Gospel speaks of no light, no darkness.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. The straitness of every persecution may be called night—the relief from it in like manner, day.
RABANUS. For when the true light withdraws, they who hate the light are in darkness, when it returns they are again enlightened.
CHRYSOSTOM. See how immediately on His birth the tyrant is furious against Him, and the mother with her Child is driven into foreign lands. So should you in the beginning of your spiritual career seem to have tribulation, you need not to be discouraged, but bear all things manfully, having this example.
BEDE. (Hom. in. Nat. Innocent.) The flight into Egypt signifies that the elect are often by the wickedness of the bad driven from their homes, or sentenced to banishment. Thus He, who, we shall see below, gave the command to His own, When they shall persecute you in one city, flee ye to another, first practised what He enjoined, as a man flying before the face of man on earth. He whom but a little before a star had proclaimed to the Magi to be worshipped as from heaven.
REMIGIUS. Isaiah had foretold this flight into Egypt. Lo! the Lord shall ascend on a light cloud, and shall come into Egypt, and shall scatter the idols of Egypt. (Is. 19:1.) It is the practice of this Evangelist to confirm all he says; and that because he is writing to the Jews, therefore he adds, that it might be fulfilled, &c.
JEROME. (Epist. 57.7.) This is not in the LXX; but in Osee according to the genuine Hebrew text we read; Israel is my child, and I have loved him, and, from Egypt have I called my Son; where the LXX render, Israel is my child, and I have loved him, and called my sons out of Egypt.
JEROME. (In Osee 11:2.) The Evangelist cites this text, because it refers to Christ typically. For it is to be observed, that in this Prophet and in others, the coming of Christ and the call of the Gentiles are foreshewn in such a manner, that the thread of history is never broken.
CHRYSOSTOM. It is a law of prophecy, that in a thousand places many things are said of some and fulfilled of others. As it is said of Simeon and Levi, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel; (Gen. 49:7.) which was fulfilled not in themselves, but in their descendants. So here Christ is by nature the Son of God, and so the prophecy is fulfilled in Him.
JEROME. Let those who deny the authenticity of the Hebrew copies, shew us this passage in the LXX, and when they have failed to find it, we will shew it them in the Hebrew. We may also explain it in another way, by considering it as quoted from Numbers, God brought him out of Egypt; his glory is as it were that of a unicorn. (Num. 23:22.)
REMIGIUS. In Joseph is figured the order of preachers, in Mary Holy Scripture; by the Child the knowledge of the Saviour; by the cruelty of Herod the persecution which the Church suffered in Jerusalem; by Joseph’s flight into Egypt the passing of the preachers to the unbelieving Gentiles, (for Egypt signifies darkness;) by the time that he abode in Egypt the space of time between the ascension of the Lord and the coming of Anti Christ; by Herod’s death the extinction of jealousy in the hearts of the Jews.
16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. When the infant Jesus had subdued the Magi, not by the might of His flesh, but the grace of His Spirit, Herod was exceeding wrath, that they whom he sitting on his throne had no power to move, were obedient to an Infant lying in a manger. Then by their contempt of him the Magi gave further cause of wrath. For when kings’ wrath is stirred by fear for their crowns, it is a great and inextinguishable wrath. But what did he? He sent and slew all the children. As a wounded beast rends whatsoever meeteth it as if the cause of its smart, so he mocked by the Magi spent his fury on children. He said to himself in his fury, ‘Surely the Magi have found the Child whom they said should be King;’ for a king in fear for his crown fears all things, suspects all. Then he sent and slew all those infants, that he might secure one among so many.
AUGUSTINE. (non occ.) And while he thus persecutes Christ, he furnished an army (of martyrs) clothed in white robes of the same age as the Lord.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 220. App.) Behold how this unrighteous enemy never could have so much profited these infants by his love, as he did by his hate; for as much as iniquity abounded against them, so much did the grace of blessing abound on them.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 373. 3.) O blessed infants! He only will doubt of your crown in this your passion for Christ, who doubts that the baptism of Christ has a benefit for infants. He who at His birth had Angels to proclaim Him, the heavens to testify, and Magi to worship Him, could surely have prevented that these should not have died for Him, had He not known that they died not in that death, but rather lived in higher bliss. Far be the thought, that Christ who came to set men free, did nothing to reward those who died in His behalf, when hanging on the cross He prayed for those who put Him to death.
RABANUS. He is not satisfied with the massacre at Bethlehem, but extends it to the adjacent villages; sparing no age from the child of one night old, to that of two years.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 132. App.) The Magi had seen this unknown star in the heavens, not a few days, but two years before, as they had informed Herod when he enquired. This caused him to fix two years old and under; as it follows, according to the time he had enquired of the Magi.
AUGUSTINE. (Gloss. ord.) Or because he feared that the Child to whom even stars ministered, might transform His appearance to greater or under that of His own age, or might conceal all those of that age: hence it seems to be that he slew all from one day to two years old.
AUGUSTINE. (de Cons. Ev. ii. 11.) Or, disturbed by pressure of still more imminent dangers, Herod’s thoughts are drawn to other thoughts than the slaughter of children, he might suppose that the Magi, unable to find Him whom they had supposed born, were ashamed to return to him. So the days of purification being accomplished, they might go up in safety to Jerusalem. And who does not see that that one day they may have escaped the attention of a King occupied with so many cares, and that afterwards when the things done in the Temple came to be spread abroad, then Herod discovered that he had been deceived by the Magi, and then sent and slew the children.
BEDE. (Hom. in Nat. Innocent.) In this death of the children the precious death of all Christ’s martyrs is figured; that they were infants signifies, that by the merit of humility alone can we come to the glory of martyrdom; that they were slain in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof, that the persecution shall be both in Jerusalem whence the Church originated, and throughout the world; in those of two years old are figured the perfect in doctrine and works; those under that age the neophytes; that they were slain while Christ escaped, signifies that the bodies of the martyrs may be destroyed by the wicked, but that Christ cannot be taken from them.
17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. ix.) The Evangelist by this history of so bloody a massacre, having filled the reader with horror, now again sooths his feelings, shewing that these things were not done because God could not hinder, or knew not of them; but as the Prophet had foretold.
JEROME. (In Hierem. 31:15.) This passage of Jeremiah has been quoted by Matthew neither according to the Hebrew nor the LXX version. This shews that the Evangelists and Apostles did not follow any one’s translation, but according to the Hebrew manner expressed in their own words what they had read in Hebrew.
JEROME. By Ramah we need not suppose that the town of that name near Gibeah is meant; but take it as signifying ‘high.’ A voice was heard ‘aloft,’ that is, spread far and wide.’
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Or, it was heard on high, because uttered for the death of the innocent, according to that, The voice of the poor entereth into the heavens. (Ecclus. 35:21.) The ‘weeping’ means the cries of the children; ‘lamentation,’ refers to the mothers. In the infants themselves their death ends their cries, in the mothers it is continually renewed by the remembrance of their loss.
JEROME. Rachel’s son was Benjamin, in which tribe Bethlehem is not situated. How then does Rachel weep for the children of Judah as if they were her own? We answer briefly. She was buried near Bethlehem in Ephrata, and was regarded as the mother, because her body was there entertained. Or, as the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin were contiguous, and Herod’s command extended to the coasts of Bethlehem as well as to the town itself, we may suppose that many were slain in Benjamin.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTINE. (Hil. Quæst. N. and V. Test. 9. 62.) Or, The sons of Benjamin, who were akin to Rachel, were formerly cut off by the other tribes, and so extinct both then and ever after. (see Judg. 20.) Then therefore Rachel began to mourn her sons, when she saw those of her sister cut off in such a cause, that they should be heirs of eternal life; for he who has experienced any misfortune, is made more sensible of his losses by the good fortune of a neighbour.
REMIGIUS. The sacred Evangelist adds, to shew the greatness of the mourning, that even the dead Rachel was roused to mourn her sons, and would not be comforted because they were not.
JEROME. This may be understood in two ways; either she thought them dead for all eternity, so that no consolation could comfort her; or, she desired not to receive any comfort for those who she knew had gone into life eternal.
HILARY. It could not be that they were not who seemed now dead, but by glorious martyrdom they were advanced to eternal life; and consolation is for those who have suffered loss, not for those who have reaped a gain. Rachel affords a type of the Church long barren now at length fruitful. She is heard weeping for her children, not because she mourned them dead, but because they were slaughtered by those whom she would have retained as her first-born sons.
RABANUS. Or, The Church weeps the removal of the saints from this earth, but wishes not to be comforted as though they should return again to the struggles of life, for they are not to be recalled into life.
GLOSS. (ord.) She will not be comforted in this present life, for that they are not, but transfers all her hope and comfort to the life to come.
RABANUS. Rachel is well set for a type of the Church, as the word signifies ‘a sheep’ or ‘seeing;’ (vid. note i, p. 19.) her whole thought being to fix her eye in contemplation of God; and she is the hundredth sheep that the shepherd layeth on his shoulder. Catena Aurea Matthew 2
The Roman Martyrology states: “Commemoration of Saint Anthony, a Monk, who, a man distinguished by grace and preparation, after having led a solitary life, retired, by now an old man in the Monastery of Lérins in Provence, where he piously fell asleep in the Lord.”
He was born in the ancient Roman Province of Valeria (now Hungary), then part of the Hunnic Empire. When he was eight years old, his father died and he was entrusted to the care of the holy Abbot Severinus of Noricum, in modern-day Austria. Severinus, however, died when the boy was in his early teens and Anthony moved in with his uncle, Bishop Constantius of Lorsch, Bavaria (in modern Germany).
When he was of age, Anthony entered the monastic life, making himself immediately appreciated for his great humility.
In 488, at about 20 years of age, Anthony moved to Italy to take up an eremitical life with a small group of hermits living on an island in Lake Como. He was eventually joined by numerous disciples seeking to emulate his holiness.
Anthony’s fame, which soon spread to the surrounding areas, caused him a curious accident. A man, who had been sentenced to death for killing his wife in a fit of jealousy, took refuge with Anthony to escape punishment, simulating the desire to become his disciple. But Anthony unmasked the hypocrite and threw him out of his cell to face his crime. Naturally, this episode greatly increased his fame and he, disturbed by numerous visitors, finally crossed the Alps and settled in Lérins, where he found the peace he had always sought
He lived in various solitary places until two years before his death he became a Monk at the Abbey of Lérins, where he again was an icon of piety locally and attracted those seeking spiritual aid. The holiness of his life and the miracles he performed, encourage many to visit him.
Saint Ennodius of Pavia wrote a Life of Saint Anthony.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
From: 1 John 1:5-2:2
God Is Light
 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.
Walking in the Light. Rejecting Sin
 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth;  but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;  and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1:5-2:29. This section describes what communion with God is, and the demands it makes on us. We can say there are two parts in the section: the first (1:5-2:11) teaches that communion with God means walking in the light and, therefore, rejecting sin and keeping the commandments. The second (2:12-19) warns the readers to guard against worldly concupiscence and not trust false teachers.
St John is writing as a pastor of souls who has lived the life of the Lord and reflected deeply upon it. His teaching interweaves truths of faith with moral and ascetical demands because he wants Christians to live in a way consistent with their faith. Therefore, the text does not really divide into a doctrinal section and a moral section.
5. "God is light": the imagery of light/darkness was much employed in ancient times--sometimes to promote the notion that the world had two principles, one good and the other evil. In St John the image clearly has a different meaning, one connected with biblical teaching on light. When God reveals himself to men, in one way or another light usually plays a part: examples range from the burning bush (cf. Ex 3:1ff) to the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire (cf. Acts 2:1ff). This imagery is used to show God's sublimity--as we find also in St Paul: "the Lord of Lords…who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see" (1 Tim 6:15-16).
The image of light also helps to show what revelation involves: God has made himself known to us, enlightening our hearts (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). Thus, we can say that God is light, Jesus Christ has made him known to us, and Christian revelation is the splendor of that light. In St John's Gospel the idea of Christ as the light which enlightens the world occurs very often (cf., e.g., Jn 1:4, 9; 8:12; 9:5). St Thomas Aquinas explains, in this connection, that philosophers prior to Christ had a certain light which allowed them to attain some knowledge of God through reason; the people of Israel had much more light, through divine revelation in the Old Testament; angels and saints, because they have greater knowledge of God by virtue of grace have divine light to a special degree; but only the Word of God is the true light, because he is by his very essence the light which enlightens (cf. "Commentary on St John", 1, 9).
The expression "God is light" has also a moral dimension: in God there is no darkness because there is no sin; he is sovereign good and all perfection. The light/darkness imagery, therefore, helps to underline the gravity of sin: "the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (Jn 3:19). Those who lead a holy life are called children of light (Jn 12:36; Lk 16:8; Eph 5:8; 1 Thess 5:5); whereas those who do evil live in darkness (1 Thess 5:4), which is the symbol of sin (Lk 22:53).
St John uses the statement that "God is light" to encourage Christians to live in an upright way; as does St Augustine, who comments that we must be united to God and "darkness should be cast away from us so as to allow light to enter, because darkness is incompatible with light" ("In Epist. Joann. ad Parthos", 1, 5).
6-10. The clause "if we say" introduces three suppositions—very probably claims made by some early heretics, especially Gnostics (who boasted of having attained fullness of knowledge and thought they were incapable of sinning).
St John is using the literary technique of parallelism, much employed by Semitic writers: the first sentence states an idea which is repeated and filled out in the later ones. Here, the first statement ("we lie") is later extended to "we deceive ourselves" (v. 8)..., and then to "we make him [God] a liar" (v. 10). This literary device shows that the author of the letter was familiar with this style of writing, very common in the Old Testament.
6-7. Walking in darkness/walking in the light--a graphic description of sinful conduct and upright conduct. St John insists that one cannot justify a life of sin by claiming to have communion with God: "mere confession of faith is in no sense sufficient", St Bede declares, "if that faith is not confirmed by good works" ("In I Epist. S. Ioannis, ad loc.").
"Fellowship with one another": If there were an exact parallelism between the parts of the passage, we would expect it to read "fellowship with him", which is how some Fathers read it. If the text reads differently, it is because mutual communion, the fellowship with the Church to which St John is referring, is a pledge and sign of fellowship with God: "the Church, in Christ, is in the nature of a sacrament--a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 1).
"The blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin": this idea is often found in the Book of Revelation when it says that the blood of Christ sets us free (cf. Rev 1:5), cleanses souls and makes them white (cf. Rev 7:14), ransoms them for God (cf. Rev 5:9) and defeats the enemies of salvation (cf. Rev 12:11). It is made quite clear that the blood of Christ purifies all types of sin, past and present, mortal and venial. (On the blood of Christ as atonement for all sins, see the notes on Heb 9:12, 14.)
8. "If we say we have no sin": the Old Testament often says that all men are sinners (cf. 7:70; Job 9:2; 14:4; 15:14; 25:4; Prov 20:9; Ps 14:1-4; 51; etc.) and this is also clear from the New Testament (cf. especially Rom 3:10-18). The Council of Trent condemns anyone who says "that a man once justified cannot sin again and cannot lose grace" ("De Iustificatione", can. 23).
Loss of the sense of sin is a danger that threatens man in all epochs. The Apostle's warning (to his contemporaries in the first instance) has particular relevance in our own time." "Deceived by the loss of the sense of sin," John Paul II reminds us, "and at times by an illusion of sinlessness which is not at all Christian, the people of today also need to listen again to St John's admonition, as addressed to each one of them personally: 'If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us', and indeed 'the whole world is in the power of the evil one' (1 Jn 5:19). Every individual therefore is invited by the voice of divine truth to examine realistically his or her conscience, and to confess that he or she has been brought forth in iniquity, as we say in the "Miserere" Psalm (cf. Ps 51:7)" ("Reconciliatio Et Paenitentia", 22).
9-10. "If we confess our sins": the Council of Trent quotes this text (without intending to define its exact meaning) when it teaches that confession of sins is of divine institution: 'The Catholic Church has always understood that integral confession of sins was also instituted by the Lord (Jas 5:16; 1 Jn 1:9; Lk 17:14) and is by divine law necessary for all falls after Baptism" ("De Sacramento Paenitentia", chap. 5).
The sacred writer puts emphasis on the interior disposition of the Christian: he should humbly admit that he is a sinner; and St Augustine explains: "If you confess yourself to be a sinner, the truth is in you: the truth is light. Your life does not yet shine as brightly as it might, because there are sins in you; but now you are beginning to be enlightened, because you confess your iniquities" ("In Epist. Joann. Ad Parthos", 1, 6).
"Faithful and just": a translation of two Hebrew words which literally have to do with love and faithfulness. The Old Testament uses this expression to stress that God's faithful love is always ready to forgive.
1-2. In order to make sure that no one makes a wrong appeal to divine mercy so as to justify their continuing to sin, St John exhorts all to avoid sin. It is one thing to acknowledge that we are sinners and to be conscious of our frailty; it is a very different matter to become completely passive or pessimistic, as if it were not possible to avoid offending God. "Jesus understands our weakness and draws us to himself on an inclined plane," St J. Escriva explains. "He wants us to make an effort to climb a little each day. He seeks us out, just as he did the disciples of Emmaus, whom he went out to meet. He sought Thomas, showed himself to him and made him touch with his fingers the open wounds in his hands and side. Jesus Christ is always waiting for us to return to him; he knows our weakness" ("Christ Is Passing By", 75).
"My little children": it is difficult to translate this and other similar expressions in St John, charged as they are with tenderness and a sense of pastoral responsibility. They express a deep, strong love, like that of Jesus at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 13:33). This same Greek term appears six more times in this letter (2:12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5: 21); at other times he uses words equivalent to our "my little ones" (cf. 2:14, 18) or "dearly beloved" (2:7; 3:2, 21; 4:1, 7, 11; 3 Jn 2, 5, 11). All these expressions reflect how very close St John was to the faithful.
"We have an advocate with the Father": Jesus Christ, who is the only Mediator (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), intercedes for us. He, who has died for our sins (he is "the expiation"), presents his infinite merits to God the Father, by virtue of which the Father pardons us always. The Holy Spirit is also called Paraclete or Advocate insofar as he accompanies, consoles and guides each Christian, and the whole Church, on its earthly pilgrimage (cf. note on Jn 14:16-17).
"St John the Apostle exhorts us to avoid sin", St Alphonsus says, "but because he is afraid we will lose heart when we remember our past faults, he encourages us to hope for forgiveness provided we are firmly resolved not to fall again; he tells us that we have to put our affairs in order with Christ, who died not only to forgive us but also (after dying) to become our advocate with the heavenly father" ("Reflections on the Passion", Chap. 9, 2).
The Flight Into Egypt
 Now when they (the Magi) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the Child, to destroy Him."  And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called My Son."
The Massacre of the Innocents
 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:  "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more."
14. St. John Chrysostom, commenting on this passage, draws a particular attention to Joseph's faithfulness and obedience: "On hearing this, Joseph was not scandalized, nor did he say, `This is hard to understand. You yourself told me not long ago that He would save His people, and not He is not able to save even Himself. Indeed, we have to flee and undertake a journey and be away for a long time...'. But he does not say any of these things, because Joseph is a faithful man. Neither does he ask when they will be coming back, even though the angel had left it open when he said `and remain there till I tell you.' This does not hold him back: on the contrary, he obeys, believes and endures all trials with joy" ("Hom. on St. Matthew", 8).
It is worth noting also how God's way of dealing with His chosen ones contains light and shade: they have to put up with intense sufferings side by side with great joy: "It can be clearly seen that God, who is full of love for man, mixes pleasant things with unpleasant ones, as He did with all the Saints. He gives us neither dangers nor consolations in a continual way, but rather He makes the lives of the just a mixture of both. This was what He did with Joseph" ("ibid".).
15. The text of Hosea 11:1 speaks of a child who comes out of Egypt and is a son of God. This refers in the first place to the people of Israel whom God brought out of Egypt under Moses' leadership. But this event was a symbol or prefiguration of Jesus, the Head of the Church, the New People of God. It is in Him that this prophecy is principally fulfilled. The sacred text gives a quotation from the Old Testament in the light of its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament achieves its full meaning in Christ, and, in the words of St. Paul, to read it without keeping in mind Jesus is to have one's face covered by a veil (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
18. Ramah was the city in which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, concentrated the Israelites he had taken prisoner. Since Ramah was in the land of Benjamin, Jeremiah puts this lament for the children of Israel in the mouth of Rachel, the mother of Benjamin and Joseph. So great was the misfortune of those exiled to Babylon that Jeremiah says poetically that Rachel's sorrow is too great to allow for consolation.
"Rachel was buried in the racecourse near Bethlehem. Since her grave was nearby and the property belonged to her son, Benjamin (Rachel was of the tribe of Benjamin), the children beheaded in Bethlehem could reasonably be called Rachel's children" (St John Chrysostom, "Hom. On St Matthew", 9).
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