Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

To: All

From: Matthew 28:16-20

Appearance in Galilee. The Mission to the World


[16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus
had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some
doubted. [18] And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on
earth has been given to me. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
[20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with
you always, to the close of the age.”

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

16-20. This short passage, which brings to a close the Gospel of St Matthew,
is of great importance. Seeing the risen Christ, the disciples adore him, worship-
ping him as God. This shows that at last they are fully conscious of what, from
much earlier on, they felt in their heart and confessed by their words—that their
Master is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Mt 16:18; Jn 1:49). They are over-
come by amazement and joy at the wonder their eyes behold: it seems almost
impossible, were he not before their very eyes. Yet he is completely real, so
their fearful amazement gives way to adoration. The Master addresses them with
the majesty proper to God: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given
to me.” Omnipotence, an attribute belonging exclusively to God, belongs to him:
he is confirming the faith of his worshippers; and he is also telling them that the
authority which he is going to give them to equip them to carry out their mission
to the whole world, derives from his own divine authority.

On hearing him speak these words, we should bear in mind that the authority of
the Church, which is given it for the salvation of mankind, comes directly from
Jesus Christ, and that this authority, in the sphere of faith and morals, is above
any other authority on earth.

The Apostles present on this occasion, and after them their lawful successors,
receive the charge of teaching all nations what Jesus taught by word and work:
he is the only path that leads to God. The Church, and in it all Christian faithful,
have the duty to proclaim until the end of time, by word and example, the faith
that they have received. This mission belongs especially to the successors of
the Apostles, for on them devolves the power to teach with authority, “for, before
Christ ascended to his Father after his resurrection, he [...] entrusted them with
the mission and power to proclaim to mankind what they had heard, what they
had seen with their eyes, what they had looked upon and touched with their
hands, concerning the Word of Life (1 Jn 1: 1). He also entrusted them with the
mission and power to explain with authority what he had taught them, his words
and actions, his signs and commandments. And he gave them the Spirit to fulfill
their mission” (John Paul II, “Catechesi Tradendae”, 1). Therefore, the teachings
of the Pope and of the Bishops united to him should always be accepted by
everyone with assent and obedience.

Here Christ also passes on to the Apostles and their successors the power to
baptize, that is, to receive people into the Church, thereby opening up to them
the way to personal salvation.

The mission which the Church is definitively given here at the end of St Mat-
thew’s Gospel is one of continuing the work of Christ—teaching men and women
the truths concerning God and the duty incumbent on them to identify with these
truths, to make them their own by having constant recourse to the grace of the
sacraments. This mission will endure until the end of time and, to enable it to do
this work, the risen Christ promises to stay with the Church and never leave it.
When Sacred Scripture says that God is with someone, this means that that per-
son will be successful in everything he undertakes. Therefore, the Church, helped
in this way by the presence of its divine Founder, can be confident of never failing
to fulfill its mission down the centuries until the end of time.

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


19 posted on 06/01/2011 9:55:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies ]


To: All

From: Acts 18:1-8

Paul in Corinth, with Aquila and Priscilla


[1] After this he left Athens and went to Corinth. [2] And he found a Jew named
Aquila, a native of Pontus, lately come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because
Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them;
[3] and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them, and they worked,
for by trade they were tentmakers. [4] And he argued in the synagogue every
sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.

Preaching to Jews and Gentiles


[5] When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with
preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. [6] And when they
opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your
blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
[7] And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a wor-
shipper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. [8] Crispus, the ruler
of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and ma-
ny of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

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

1-11. St Paul must have arrived in Corinth very discouraged by what happened in
Athens, and very short of money. Some time later he wrote: “And I was with you
in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message
were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and po-
wer, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God
...” (1 Cor 2:3-4). He would never forget his experience in the Areopagus before
the Athenians, who “were friends of new speeches yet who paid no heed to them
or what they said; all they wanted was to have something new to talk about”
(Chrysostom, “Hom. on Acts”, 39).

Corinth was a very commercial, cosmopolitan city located on an isthmus be-
tween two gulfs (which are now joined). Ships came to Corinth from all over the
world. Low moral standards, concentration on money-making and voluptuous wor-
ship of Aphrodite meant that Corinth did not seem the best ground for sowing the
word of God; but the Lord can change people’s hearts, especially if he has people
as obedient and zealous as Paul, Silvanus, Timothy and the early Christians in
general. The Athenians’ intellectual pride proved to be a more formidable obstacle
than the Corinthians’ libertarian lifestyle.

Christians should not soft-pedal if they find themselves in situations where paga-
nism and loose living seem to be the order of the day: indeed this should only
spur them on. When addressing his Father at the Last Supper Jesus prayed: “I
do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst
keep them from the evil one” (Jn 17:15).

2. This married couple were probably already Christians when they arrived in Co-
rinth. Since they came from Rome, the indications are that there was a commu-
nity of Christians in the capital from very early on. Aquila and Priscilla (the dimi-
nutive of Prisca) proved to be of great help to Paul from the very beginning of his
work in Corinth.

Later on they both must have returned to Rome (cf. Rom 16:3); and it may well
be that apostolic considerations dictated their movements, as would be the case
with countless Christians after them. “The Christian family’s faith and evangeli-
zing mission also possesses this Catholic missionary inspiration. The sacrament
of marriage takes up and reproposes the task of defending and spreading the faith,
a task which has its roots in Baptism and Confirmation and makes Christian mar-
ried couples and parents witnesses of Christ ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8)
[...].

“Just as at the dawn of Christianity Aquila and Priscilla were presented as a mis-
sionary couple (cf. Acts 18; Rom 16:3f), so today the Church shows forth her
perennial newness and fruitfulness by the presence of Christian couples who [...]
work in missionary territories, proclaiming the Gospel and doing service to their
fellowman for the love of Jesus Christ” (John Paul II, “Familiaris Consortio”, 54).

The edict of Claudius (41-54 A.D.) expelling the Jews from Rome was issued be-
fore the year 50. It is referred to by Suetonius, the Roman historian, but the de-
tails of the decree are not known. We do know that Claudius had protected the
Jews on a number of occasions. He gave them the right to appoint the high priest
and to have charge of the temple. Apparently, conflict between Jews and Chris-
tians in Rome led him to expel some Jews from the city, on a temporary basis,
or at least to advise them to leave.

3. St Paul earns his living and manages to combine this with all his preaching of
the Gospel. “This teaching of Christ on work,” John Paul II writes, “based on the
example of his life during his years in Nazareth, finds a particularly lively echo in
the teaching of the Apostle Paul. Paul boasts of working at his trade (he was pro-
bably a tent-maker: cf. Acts 18:3), and thanks to that work he was able even as
an Apostle to earn his own bread” (”Laborem Exercens”, 26).

During this stay of a year and a half in Corinth St Paul wrote some rather severe
letters to the Thessalonians, pointing out to them the need to work: “If any one
will not work, let him not eat. [...] we command and exhort [idlers] in the Lord
Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living” (2 Thess
3:10, 12). St John Chrysostom, commenting on this passage of Acts, says that
“Work is man’s natural state. Idleness is against his nature. God has placed
man in this world to work, and the natural thing for the soul is to be active and
not passive” (”Hom. on Acts”, 35).

Taking Christ’s own example, St. Escriva points out that “Work is one of the
highest human values and a way in which men contribute to the progress of
society. But even more, it is a way to holiness” (”Conversations”, 24). In Jesus’
hands, “a professional occupation, similar to that carried out by millions of peo-
ple in the world, was turned into a divine task. It became a part of our redemp-
tion, a way to salvation” (”ibid”., 55).

In fact, it is in work, in the middle of ordinary activity, that most people can and
should find Christ. God “is calling you to serve him in and from the ordinary, ma-
terial and secular activities of human life. He waits for us everyday [...] in all the
immense panorama of work” (”ibid”., 114). Man thereby finds God in the most
visible, material things, and Christians can avoid the danger of what might be
called “a double life: on one side, an interior life, a life of relation with God; and
on the other, a separate and distinct professional, social and family life, full of
small earthly realities” (”ibid”.).

Like most people Paul spent part of his day working to earn his living. When en-
gaged in work he was still the Apostle of the Gentiles chosen by God, and his
very work spoke to his companions and friends. We should not think that there
was any split between his on-going personal relationship with God, and his apos-
tolic activity or his work —or that he did not work in a concentrated or exemplary
manner.

4. It is easy to imagine the hope and eagerness Paul felt when preaching the Gos-
pel to his fellow Jews. He knew from experience the difficulties they had about re-
cognizing Jesus as the Messiah and accepting the Good News. Paul feels both
joy and sorrow: he is happy because the moment has arrived for the sons of Abra-
ham to receive the Gospel as is their right by inheritance; but he also realizes that
although it brings salvation to some, it spells rejection for those who refuse to
accept it.

Origen spoke in similar terms: “I experience anxiety to speak and anxiety not to
speak. I wish to speak for the benefit of those who are worthy, so that I may not
be taken to task for refusing the word of truth to those who have the ability to
grasp it. But I am afraid to speak in case I address those who are unworthy, be-
cause it means I am giving holy things to dogs and casting pearls before swine.
Only Jesus was capable of distinguishing, among his listeners, those who were
without from those who were within: he spoke in parables to the outsiders and
explained the parables to those who entered with him into the house” (”Dialogue
with Heraclides”, 15).

6. The blindness of the Jews once again causes Paul great sadness; here is fur-
ther evidence of the mysterious resistance to faith of so many of the chosen peo-
ple. As he did in Pisidian Antioch (cf. 13:51), the Apostle shakes the dust from
his clothes to show his break from the Jews of Corinth: their apparent fidelity to
the religion of their forefathers disguises their proud rejection of God’s promises.

He finds himself confronted by the great enigma of salvation history, in which
God dialogues with human freedom. As St Justin writes, “The Jews, in truth, who
had the prophecies and always looked for the coming of Christ, not only did not
recognize him, but, far beyond that, even mistreated him. But the Gentiles, who
had never even heard anything of Christ until his Apostles went from Jerusalem
and preached about him and gave them the prophecies, were filled with joy and
faith, and turned away from their idols, and dedicated themselves to the Unbegot-
ten God through Christ” (”First Apology”, 49, 5).

Paul’s words on this occasion are addressed to the Jews of Corinth, not to Jews
elsewhere. For a long time past he has directed his preaching to Gentiles as well
as Jews. The phrase “From now on I will go to the Gentiles” does not mean that
he will no longer address Jews, for in the course of his apostolic work he conti-
nues to evangelize Jews as well as Gentiles (cf. Acts 18:19; 28:17).

7. Titus Justus had a Roman name and was a Gentile, but the fact that he lived
next door to the synagogue and, in particular, the Greek term used to identify
him as a “worshipper” of God, indicates that he was a convert to Judaism. Cf.
note on Acts 2:5-11.

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


20 posted on 06/01/2011 9:56:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article


FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson