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From: 1 John 3:7-10

A Child of God Does Not Sin

[7] Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is
righteous, as he is righteous. [8] He who commits sin is of the devil;
for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God
appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. [9] No one born of God
commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because
he is born of God. [10] By this it may be seen who are the children of
God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right
is not of God, nor he who does not love his


6-9. This passage acts as a preface to v. 10, where the Apostle spells
out the criteria for distinguishing the children of God from the
children of the devil--the practice of Christian virtues and the
keeping of the commandments of God, especially that of brotherly love.

To understand correctly what St John is saying here, it is useful to
remember his controversy with the false teachers (the Gnostics): these
were trying to deceive the faithful (v. 7) and claimed to have a
special knowledge of God (gnosis), which put them above good and evil,
so that what the Church regarded as sin they saw as morally indifferent
and as incapable of undermining the union with God they claimed they

To identify these heretics, the Apostle has recourse to words of our
Lord: "the tree is known by its fruit" (Mt 12:33). Thus, the genuine
Christian is recognized by deeds of righteousness (v. 7), that is, by
keeping the commandments of God and leading a holy life. And the
qualities essential to the Christian life are incompatible with sin;
these qualities are--divine filiation ("he is born of God": v. 9),
intimate union with Christ ("who abides in him": v. 6), and sanctifying
grace, together with the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy
Spirit (this seems to be what the expression "God's nature abides in
him" means: v. 9). Thus it is understandable that "No one who abides in
him (Christ) sins" (v. 6).

In fact, as long as "God's nature abides in him...he cannot sin"
(v. 9). Clearly St John does not mean that a Christian is incapable of
sinning; at the start of the letter he said, "If we say we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves" (1:8). What he wants to make quite clear is that
no one can justify his own sin by the device of claiming to be a child
of God: the righteousness of the children of God reflects itself in
their actions, whereas "he who commits sin is of the devil" (v. 8), for
sin cuts one off from God and means one has submitted to the slavery of
the devil.

The ancient heresy has grown up again, in a way, in our own time: there
are those who claim that union with God is not broken by transgression
of commandments, even in grave matter, provided one does not withdraw
one's "fundamental option" for God. Against this error, the Magisterium
of the Church reminds us that "care must be taken not to reduce mortal
sin to an act of 'fundamental option'--as is commonly said today--
against God, intending thereby an explicit and formal contempt for God
or neighbor. For mortal sin exists also when a person knowingly and
willingly, for whatever reason chooses something gravely disordered. In
fact, such a choice already includes contempt for the divine law, a
rejection of God's love for humanity and the whole of creation: the
person turns away from God and loses charity" ("Reconciliatio et
Paenitentia", 17).

10. "Children of the devil": this is a common Semitic way of speaking
meaning "the devil's supporters". In St John's writings we find
references to "children of the devil" (cf. Jn 8:44; Acts 13:10) and to
people who are "of the devil" (v. 8), and Judas is even called a
"devil" (Jn 6:70; but he never uses an expression like "born of the
devil". Therefore, the expressions "children of the devil" and
"children of God" cannot be put on the same plane.

Also, "children of God" refers here primarily to the moral dimension of
Christian life, as a description (the opposite of "the children of the
devil") of those whose actions show they are on God's side. However,
being children of God has a radically different meaning from being
children of the devil, because it derives from something transcendental
--God's causing the Christian to partake of his own divine nature
through the life of grace (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2 and notes on same).

The criteria for distinguishing the two groups mentioned are: the
practice of righteousness, that is, striving for holiness and fighting
against sin, reviewed in the previous section (vv. 3-9), and the
practice of brotherly love, as we shall see in the next section (vv.

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.

5 posted on 01/04/2006 9:20:31 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: John 1:35-42

The Calling of the First Disciples

[35] The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples;
[36] and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb
of God!" [37] The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed
Jesus. [38] Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them,
"What do you seek?" And they said to Him, "Rabbi" (which means
Teacher), "where are You staying?" [39] He said to them, "Come and
see." They came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him
that day, for it was about the tenth hour. [40] One of the two who
heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
[41] He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found
the Messiah' (which means Christ). [42] He brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon, the son of John? You
shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).


35-39. Through these words of the Baptist, these two disciples are
moved by grace to approach the Lord. John's testimony is an example of
the special graces God distributes to attract people to Himself.
Sometimes He addresses a person directly by stirring his soul and
inviting him to follow Him; at other times, as in the present case, He
chooses to use someone close to us who knows us, to bring us to meet

The two disciples already had a keen desire to see the Messiah; John's
words move them to try to become friends of our Lord: it is not merely
natural curiosity but Christ's personality which attracts them. They
want to get to know Him, to be taught by Him and to enjoy His company.
"Come and see" (John 1:39; cf. 11:34)--a tender invitation to begin
that intimate friendship they were seeking. Time and personal contact
with Christ will be needed to make them more secure in their vocation.
The Apostle St John, one of the protagonists in this scene, notes the
exact time it took place: "it was about the tenth hour", roughly four
in the afternoon.

Christian faith can never be just a matter of intellectual curiosity;
it affects one's whole life: a person cannot understand it unless he
really lives it; therefore, our Lord does not at this point tell them
in detail about His way of life; He invites them to spend the day with
Him. St Thomas Aquinas comments on this passage saying that our Lord
speaks in a lofty, mystical way because what God is (in Himself or in
grace) can only be understood through experience: words cannot describe
it. We grow in this understanding by doing good works (they
immediately accepted Christ's invitation and as a reward "they saw"),
by recollection and by applying our mind to the contemplation of divine
things, by desiring to taste the sweetness of God, by assiduous
prayer. Our Lord invited everyone to do all this when He said, "Come
and see", and the disciples discovered it all when, in obedience to our
Lord, "they went" and were able to learn by personal experience,
whereas they could not understand the words alone (cf. "Commentary on
St John, in loc".).

40-41. The Evangelist now gives us the name of one of the two
disciples involved in the previous scene; he will mention Andrew again
in connection with the multiplication of the loaves (John 6:8) and the
last Passover (John 12:22).

We cannot be absolutely sure who the second disciple was; but since the
very earliest centuries of the Christian era he has always been taken
to be the Evangelist himself. The vividness of the account, the detail
of giving the exact time, and even John's tendency to remain anonymous
(John 19:16; 20:2; 21:7,20) seem to confirm this.

"St John the Apostle, who pours into his narrative so much that is
first-hand, tells of his first unforgettable conversations with
Christ. `"Master where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and
see." They went and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him
that day, for it was about the tenth hour.'

"This divine and human dialogue completely changed the life of John and
Andrew, and Peter and James and so many others. It prepared their
hearts to listen to the authoritative teaching which Jesus gave them
beside the Sea of Galilee" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ is Passing By", 108).

Those hours spent with our Lord soon produce the first results of
apostolate. Andrew, unable to contain his joy, tells Simon Peter the
news that he has found the Messiah, and brings him to Him. Now, as
then, there is a pressing need to bring others to know the Lord.

"Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell Him your story. I don't want
to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like
you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the
Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ
earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you
lost your balance then and didn't recover it. Your complacency wasn't
quite replaced by true peace until you freely said 'yes' to God,
because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And
in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you
abandon Him" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 1).

42. What was it like when Jesus looked at someone? From what He says
here, He seems both imperious and tender. On other occasions His glance
is enough to invite a person to leave everything and follow Him, as in
the case of Matthew (Matthew 9:9); or He seems to be full of love, as
in His meeting with the rich young man (Mark 10:21), or He seems angry
or sad, because of the Pharisees' unbelief (Mark 2:5), or
compassionate, towards the widow of Nain (Luke 7:13). He is able to
move Zacchaeus' heart to conversion (Luke 19:5); and He Himself is
moved by the faith and generosity of the poor widow who gave in alms
everything she had (Mark 12:41-44). His penetrating look seems to lay
the soul bare to God and provoke one to self-examination and
contrition--as happened to the adulterous woman (John 8:10) and to
Peter who, after denying Christ (Luke 22:61) wept bitterly (Mark

"You shall be called Cephas": naming something is the same as taking
possession of the thing named (cf. Genesis 17:5; 22:28; 32:28; Isaiah
62:2). Thus, for example, Adam when he was made lord of creation, gave
names to creating things (Genesis 2:20). "Cephas" is the Greek
transcription of an Aramaic word meaning stone, rock: therefore, St.
John, writing in Greek, has to explain the meaning of the word Jesus
used. Cephas was not a proper name, but our Lord put it on Peter to
indicate his role as His vicar, which He will later on reveal (Matthew
16:16-18): Simon was destined to be the stone, the rock, of the

The first Christians regarded this new name as so significant that they
used it without translating it (cf. Galatians 2:9, 11, 14); later its
translation "Peter" (Petros, Petrus) became current, pushing the
Apostle's old name--Simon--into the background.

"Son of John": ancient manuscripts include variants, such as "son of

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.

6 posted on 01/04/2006 9:21:25 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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