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To: All

From: 2 Peter 1:2-7


[2] May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God
and of Jesus our Lord.

Divine Largesse

[3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life
and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own
glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious
and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the
corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become
partakers of the divine nature.

Christian Virtues

[5] For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith
with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, [6] and knowledge with
self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness
with godliness, [7] and godliness with brotherly affection, and
brotherly affection with love.


1-2. As in other New Testament writings and in ordinary letters of the
time the opening greeting gives the name of the sender, that of the
addressees and the greeting as such.

"Simon": the original Greek text says "Simeon", using the Hebrew form
of the same name (cf. Acts 15:14). To this he adds that of "Peter",
the name the Lord gave him when he promised to make him the head of
the Apostles (cf. In 1:42).

The original addressees of the letter may have been the faithful of
the communities of Greece or Asia Minor (cf. the Introduction).

The greeting contains two words frequently used in this setting "grace
and peace" (cf. 1 Pet 1:2 and note)--which sum up the benefits the
Christian has received. The true "knowledge of God and of Jesus" is a
frequent point of reference in the letter (cf. 1:1, 8; 2:20; 3:18). It
is not just intellectual knowledge, but rather the knowledge that
comes from familiarity with the Lord and conduct consistent with the
faith (cf. 1:5-7). The author emphasizes this point from the very
start, because he wants to forestall the influence of false teachings
which undermine the faith.

"The righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ": this may be a
reference to God the Father AND Jesus; but, given that the Greek text
uses only one definite article, it is probably a title of Jesus Christ,
whom he calls "God and Savior", in the same way as elsewhere he
describes him as "Lord and Savior" (1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18). Thus, the
divinity of Jesus Christ, which is often proclaimed in the New
Testament, is openly acknowledged at the very start of the letter.

3-21. The first part of the letter is an appeal for steadfastness in
the faith and for growth in Christian life. Firstly, he encourages his
readers to pursue virtue; the reasoning he uses is both simple and
profound (vv. 3-11): by his power, God has chosen the Apostles and
conferred on them wonderful graces in which all the faithful share
(vv. 3-4); they must respond to this divine initiative by practicing
virtue so as to reach the goal and fullness to which the Christian is
called (vv. 5-11).

He goes on (vv. 12-21) to remind them that hope in our Lord's second
coming is something well founded, something that belongs to the
deposit of faith: the transfiguration of our Lord was a foretaste of
his final coming (vv. 16-18); it was something foretold in many
prophecies and no one has the right to argue against it (vv. 19-21).
Therefore, the final coming of the Lord is something quite certain and
helps to keep our hope alive.

3-4. In these verses the same pronoun is repeated three times:
"granted to US", called US", "granted to US"; although he may mean all
Christians, it is more likely that he is referring only to the

The basis of Christian morality and of the practice of virtue
(vv. 5-9) is God's initiative in calling the Apostles (v. 3) and
endowing them with graces (promises) sufficient to make all Christians
"partakers of the divine nature".

"His divine power": usually in the Bible calling is attributed to God
the Father (cf., e.g., 1 Pet 1:15; 2:9; 5:10); by emphasizing here
that it is Jesus Christ who calls "by his own glory and excellence",
the author is clearly acknowledging Jesus as God.

"His precious and very great promises": the promises made in the Old
Testament, especially those to do with the coming of the Messiah and
Savior. Jesus Christ brought about the Redemption, whereby all men
have access to the supernatural good things of which the prophets

"Partakers of the divine nature": this succinct phrase sums up the
fruits that the good things (especially grace) produce in Christians.
This sharing in God's own life is both the beginning and the final goal
of Christian life. It is the beginning insofar as it is incorporation
in Christ through Baptism, and brings with it (through grace and
adoptive divine filiation) a sharing in God's own life. It is the
final goal of the Christian life since this participation attains its
fullness and enduring perfection in heaven with the contemplation of
God "as he is" (1 In 3:2 and note on same).

Of course, already in this life the Blessed Trinity dwells in the soul
in grace (cf., e.g., Jn 14:17-23; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; and notes on
same). "Our faith teaches us that man, in the state of grace, is
divinized--filled with God" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 103).

Partaking of the divine nature is a basic feature of the Christian
vocation. Pope Pius XII reminds us of this marvelous fact, which is
closely linked to the mystery of the Incarnation: "If the Word
'emptied himself, taking the form of a servant' (Phil 2:7), he did so
in order that his brethren according to the flesh might be made
partakers of the divine nature (cf. 2 Pet 1:4), both during this
earthly exile by sanctifying grace and in the heavenly home by the
possession of eternal beatitude. For this reason the Only-begotten of
the Father chose to become a son of man, that we might be made
conformable to the image of the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:29) and be
renewed according to the likeness of him who created us (cf. Col
3:10)" ("Mystici Corporis", 20).

On this subject, see also the notes on Rom 8:14-15 and Gal 4:6.

5-9. Lists of Christian virtues are also to be found in other parts of
the New Testament (cf., e.g., Gal 5:22-23; 1 Tim 6:11; Rev 2:19). This
passage provides a list which is well conceived from a pedagogical
point of view--simple to remember, because each virtue is linked with
the one before it; and the emphasis is on faith and charity, which
mark the beginning and end of the list. St Ignatius of Antioch
commented on the value of these two theological virtues: "Given an
unswerving faith and love for Jesus Christ, there is nothing in all
this that will not be obvious to you; for life begins and ends with
those two qualities. Faith is the beginning, and love is the end; and
the two together lead to God. All that makes for a soul's perfection
follows in their train, for nobody who professes faith will commit
sin, and nobody who possesses love can feel hatred" ("Letter to the
Ephesians", 14, 1-2).

For Christians, virtues are not an end in themselves but a means
necessary for attaining knowledge of Christ (cf. note on 1:1); but
union with the Lord calls for works, and if we failed to practice
virtues we could not see Christ (v. 9). St Teresa of Avila constantly
stresses the need to combine contemplation and action: "I repeat that
if you have this in view you must not build upon foundations of prayer
and contemplation alone, for, unless you strive after the virtues and
practice them, you will never grow to be more than dwarfs. God grant
that nothing worse than this may happen--for, as you know, anyone who
fails to go forward begins to go back" ("Interior Castle", VII, 4, 9).

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.

9 posted on 06/05/2006 8:08:17 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

Memorial: St. Boniface, Bishop & Martyr

From: Mark 12:1-12

The Parable of the Wicked Tenants

[1] And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a
vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press,
and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another
country. [2] When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to
get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. [3] And they took him
and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. [4] Again he sent to them
another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him
shamefully. [5]And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with
many others, some they beat and some they killed. [6] He had still one
other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will
respect my son.' [7] But those tenants said to one another, 'This is
the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
[8] And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
[9] What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy
the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. [10] Have you not read
the scripture: 'The very stone which the builders rejected has become
the head of the corner; [11] this was the Lord's doing, and it is
marvelous in our eyes'?" [12] And they tried to arrest him but feared
the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against
them; so they left him and went away.


1-12. This parable is a masterly summary of history of salvation. To
explain the mystery of his redemptive death, Jesus makes use of one of
the most beautiful allegories of the Old Testament the so-called "song
of the vineyard," in which Isaiah (5:1-7) prophesied Israel's
ingratitude for God's favors. On the basis of this Isaiah text, Jesus
reveals the patience of God, who sends one messenger after another--the
prophets of the Old Testament--until at last, as the text says, he
sends "his beloved son", Jesus, whom the tenants will kill. This
_expression, as also that which God himself uses to describe Christ at
Baptism (1:11) and the Transfiguration (9:7), points to the divinity of
Jesus, who is the cornerstone of salvation, rejected by the builders in
their selfishness and pride. To the Jews listening to Jesus telling
this parable, his meaning must have been crystal clear. The rulers
"perceived that he had told the parable against them" (v. 12) and that
it was about the fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy (cf. note on Mt

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.

10 posted on 06/05/2006 8:09:24 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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