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To: All

From: Sirach 42:15-25


The Splendor of the Created World



[15] will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I
have seen. By the words of the Lord his works are done. [16] The sun looks
down on everything with its light, and the work of the Lord is full of his
glory. [17] The Lord has not enabled his holy ones to recount all his
marvellous works, which the Lord the Almighty has established that the
universe may stand firm in his glory. [18] He searches out the abyss, and
the hearts of men, and considers their crafty devices. For the Most High
knows all that may be known, and he looks into the signs of the age. [19] He
declares what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the tracks of
hidden things. [20] No thought escapes him, and not one word is hidden from
him. [21] He has ordained the splendors of his wisdom, and he is from
everlasting and to everlasting. Nothing can be added or taken away, and he
needs no one to be his counsellor. [22] How greatly to be desired are all
his works, and how sparkling they are to see! [23] All these things live and
remain for ever for every need, and are all obedient. [24] All things are
twofold, one opposite the other, and he has made nothing incomplete. [25]
One confirms the good things of the other, and who can have enough of
beholding his glory?




Commentary:


42:15-50:29 As in the other "parts" of the book, we can say that this one
has two sections to it--a doctrinal section (dealing with the origin of the
universe, God as Creator and provident Lord: 42:15-43:33) and then a sort of
practical section (44:1-50:29), dealing with praise of the ancestors of
Israel to whom God "granted wisdom" (43:33). In this sense, this last part
of Sirach is a recapitulation and a development of the two central ideas
contained in the poems that mark the high point of the book (1:1-2:18 and
24:1-34). In Sirach 1:1 it said that "All wisdom comes from God" and, now in
42:15-43:33, it describes appreciation of the created world as discernment
of that Wisdom that the Lord left imprinted upon it. And similarly, in
24:3-8, it said that Wisdom came from the mouth of the Most High, to dwell
in Israel; and now, in 44:1- 50:29, it describes how Wisdom was at work in
"famous men" who lived in, keeping with the Law. The glory of God is to be
seen in nature and in the history of mankind.

42:15-43:33. This last introductory section marks the climax of the book
message. The author began by establishing that all wisdom comes from God
(1:1-2:21). Then he said that the study of the world and, of man is the,
route to understanding because wisdom can be seen in the laws that God has
built into everything he made (16:24-18:14). Therefore, in the third part of
the book, it said that a person who desires to have wisdom must keep the
commandments (24:1-34), that is, be steeped in "fear of the Lord", which was
the focus, of the fourth part (32; 14-33:18). Now it extols the glory of
God, who creates and rules the world. When it says that "by the words of the
Lord his works are done" (42:15) it must have in mind the first chapter of
Genesis which narrates how God went about his work of creation and
distinguished his works one from another by means of his word ("And God
said ...". Gen 1:3, etc.); but the passage also prepares the way to understand
the Word of God made flesh, as we discover in Jesus Christ in the New
Testament. In the prologue to his Gospel, St. John proclaims that "all
things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was
made" (Jn 1:3; see the note on 1:1-2:21). Thus, God's Revelation reached its
climax in his incarnate Son: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to
our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a
Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created
the world" (Heb 1:1-2).

In his reflection on the glory of God as manifested in creation, Ben Sirach
begins with thoughts on God's wisdom and knowledge (42:15-25) and then goes
on to show how heavenly bodies manifest the glory of God--the sun (43:1-5),
the moon (43:6-8), the stars (43:9-10) and the rainbow (43:11-12). Later he
comments on God's power over the elements--snow, lightning, haiI, thunder,
winds, frost etc. (43:13-27). Finally he ponders the greatness of God over
everything that exists and invites us to worship him as he deserves
(43:27-32), for "the Lord has made all things, and to the godly he has
granted wisdom" (43:33).

"God is infinitely greater than all works (Sir 43:30): 'You have set your
glory above the heavens' (Ps 8:1; Sir 43:28). Indeed, 'God's greatness is
unsearchable' (Ps 8:2). But because he is the free and sovereign Creator,
the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost
being: 'In him we live and move and have our being' 17:28). In the words of
St Augustime God is 'higher than my highest and more inward than my
innermost self' ("Conf., 3, 6, 11)" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church", 300).



Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.


3 posted on 05/26/2005 6:31:44 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Mark 10:46-52


The Blind Man of Jericho



[46] And they (Jesus and His disciples) came to Jericho; and as He was
leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a
blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [47] And
when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and
say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!: [48] And many rebuked
him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of
David, have mercy on me!" [49] And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, He is
calling you." [50] And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to
Jesus. [51] And Jesus said to him, "What do you want Me to do for
you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Master, let me receive my
sight." [52] And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made
you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on
the way.




Commentary:


46-52. "Hearing the commotion the crowd was making, the blind man asks,
`What is happening?' They told him, `It is Jesus of Nazareth.' At
this his soul was so fired with faith in Christ that he cried out,
`Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'


"Don't you feel the same urge to cry out? You who are also waiting at
the side of the way, of this highway of life that is so very short?
You who need more light, you who need more grace to make up your mind
to seek holiness? Don't you feel an urgent need to cry out, `Jesus,
Son of David, have mercy on me'? What a beautiful aspiration for you
to repeat again and again!...


"`Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.' As people have done to
you, when you sensed that Jesus was passing your way. Your heart beat
faster and you too began to cry out, prompted by an intimate longing.
Then your friends, the need to do the done thing, the easy life, your
surroundings, all conspired to tell you: `Keep quiet, don't cry out.
Who are you to be calling Jesus? Don't bother Him.'


"But poor Bartimaeus would not listen to them. He cried out all the
more: `Son of David, have mercy on me.' Our Lord, who had heard him
right from the beginning, let him persevere in his prayer. He does the
same with you. Jesus hears our cries from the very first, but he
waits. He wants us to be convinced that we need Him. He wants us to
beseech Him, to persist, like the blind man waiting by the road from
Jericho. `Let us imitate him. Even if God does not immediately give
us what we ask, even if many people try to put us off our prayers, let
us still go on praying' (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. Matthew",
66).


"`And Jesus stopped, and told them to call Him.' Some of the better
people in the crowd turned to the blind man and said, `Take heart;
rise, He is calling you.' Here you have the Christian vocation! But
God does not call only once. Bear in mind that our Lord is seeking us
at every moment: get up, He tells us, put aside your indolence, your
easy life, your petty selfishness, your silly little problems. Get up
from the ground, where you are lying prostrate and shapeless. Acquire
height, weight and volume, and a supernatural outlook.


"And throwing off his mantle the man sprang up and came to Jesus. He
threw off his mantle! I don't know if you have ever lived through a
war, but many years ago I had occasion to visit a battlefield shortly
after an engagement. There strewn all over the ground, were
greatcoats, water bottles, haversacks stuffed with family souvenirs,
letters, photographs of loved ones...which belonged, moreover, not to
the vanquished but to the victors! All these items had become
superfluous in the bid to race forward and leap over the enemy
defenses. Just as happened to Bartimaeus, as he raced towards Christ.


"Never forget that Christ cannot be reached without sacrifice. We have
to get rid of everything that gets in the way--greatcoat, haversack,
water bottle. You have to do the same in this battle for the glory of
God, in this struggle of love and peace by which we are trying to
spread Christ's Kingdom. In order to serve the Church, the Pope and
all souls, you must be ready to give up everything superfluous....


"And now begins a dialogue with God, a marvelous dialogue that moves us
and sets our hearts on fire, for you and I are now Bartimaeus. Christ,
who is God, begins to speak and asks, `Quid tibi vis faciam?' `What do
you want Me to do for you?' The blind man answers. `Lord, that I may
see.' How utterly logical! How about yourself, can you really see?
Haven't you too experienced at times what happened to the blind man of
Jericho? I can never forget how, when meditating on this passage many
years back, and realizing that Jesus was expecting something of me,
though I myself did not know what it was, I made up my own aspirations:
`Lord, what is it You want! What are You asking of me'? I had a
feeling that He wanted me to take on something new and the cry,
`Rabboni, ut videam', `Master, that I may see,' moved me to beseech
Christ again and again, `Lord, whatever it is that You wish, let it be
done.'


"Pray with me now to our Lord: `doce me facere voluntatem tuam, quia
Deus meus es tu" (Psalm 142:10) (`teach me to do Thy will, for You art
my God'). In short, our lips should express a true desire on our part
to correspond effectively to our Creator's promptings, striving to
follow out His plans with unshakeable faith, being fully convinced that
He cannot fail us....


"But let us go back to the scene outside Jericho. It is now to you
that Christ is speaking. He asks you, `What do you want Me to do for
you?' `Master, let me receive my sight.' Then Jesus answers, `Go your
way. Your faith has made you well.' And immediately he received his
sight and followed Him on His way." Following Jesus on His way. You
have understood what our Lord was asking to from you and you have
decided to accompany Him on His way. You are trying to walk in His
footsteps, to clothe yourself in Christ's clothing, to be Christ
Himself: well, your faith, your faith in the light our Lord is giving
you, must be both operative and full of sacrifice. Don't fool
yourself. Don't think you are going to find new ways. The faith He
demands of us is as I have said. We must keep in step with Him,
working generously and at the same time uprooting and getting rid of
everything that gets in the way" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 195-198).



Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.


4 posted on 05/26/2005 6:34:51 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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