Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

To: All

From: Hebrews 2:9-11

Jesus, Man’s Brother, was Crowned with Glory and Honor Above the Angel

[9] But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels,
crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the
grace of God he might taste death for every one.

[10] For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing
many sons to glory should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through
suffering. [11] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one
origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren.


9. The words “who for a little while was made lower than the angels” refer to Je-
sus in the crisis of his Passion and Death, when he freely humbled himself and
lowered himself to suffer punishment and death — sufferings to which angels are
not subject.

“For a little while” is a translation of the Greek word which the New Vulgate ren-
ders as “paulo minus” (a little less than), and which also occurs in Hebrews 2:7
in the quotation from Psalm 8. The RSV translation in both instances is “for a
little while”.

Every human creature, including Christ as man, can be seen in some sense as
lower than the angels. This inferiority basically has to do with the fact that human
knowledge is inferior to that of angels because it is dependent on sense experi-
ence, and also because angels cannot experience suffering and death. “The an-
gels cannot suffer and are immortal by nature, so that when Christ deigned to
submit to his passion and death he made himself lower than them, not because
he lost his sublimity or in any way was diminished, but because he took on our
weakness. He made himself lower than the angels, not as far as his divinity or
his soul were concerned but only in respect of his body” (”Commentary on Heb.”,
2, 2).

Christ’s self-abasement is a permanent example to us to strive to respond to his
love. St John Chrysostom suggests that we draw from it this practical lesson: “If
he whom the angels worship consented, out of love for us, to become for a time
lower than them, you for your part should endure everything out of love for him”
(”Hom. on Heb.”, 4).

One result of Christ’s passion was his exaltation and glorification. Because Christ
attained victory on the Cross, to the benefit of all mankind, the Cross is the only
route to heaven: “The holy cross is shining upon us”, the Church says. “In the
cross is victory, in the cross is power. By the cross every sin is overcome” (”Li-
turgy of the Hours”, Exaltation of the Cross, Morning Prayer, Ant. 3). But virtue
of Christ’s passion, the Cross is no longer an ignominious scaffold; it is a glorious
throne. Tradition attributes to St Andrew the Apostle these words in praise of the
cross on which he was going to die: “O goodly Cross, glorified by the limbs of our
Lord, O Cross so long desired, so ardently loved, so tirelessly sought and now of-
fered to me: take me to my Master so that he who redeemed me through thee,
may welcome me through thee” (”Ex Passione S. Andreae”, Reading).

Through his death, Christ has been crowned with glory and honor; moreover he
has died on our behalf. His death and glorification are the cause and model of
our salvation and glorification. Sacrifice, atonement and merit are indissolubly
linked to the redemptive work of Christ and constitute a “grace of God”, that is, a
gratuitous gift from God. St Thomas Aquinas explains that “the passion of Christ
is here alluded to in three ways. Firstly, its cause is referred to, for the text says
‘by the grace of God’; then, its usefulness, when it says ‘for every one’; thirdly, its
outcome, when it says ‘might taste”’ (”Commentary on Heb.”, 2, 3): Jesus did in-
deed, by the will of the Father, experience or “taste” death. His death is de-
scribed as being like a bitter drink which he chose to take in sips, as if savoring
it. The “cup” or chalice of the agony in the garden comes immediately to mind
(cf. Mt 26:39; Mk 14:26; Lk 22:42; In 18:11; cf. also Mt 20:22f and Mk 10:38f).

Christian tradition has seen these words about “tasting death” as underlining that
Christ underwent a most severe passion voluntarily, accepting it to atone for all
the sins of mankind. These words also show that he accepted death without cea-
sing to be Lord of life: “This expression”, St John Chrysostom states, “is very pre-
cise. It does not say ‘that by the grace of God he might die’, for the Lord once he
tasted death delayed there only for a moment and immediately rose [...]. All men
fear death; therefore, to enable us to take death in our stride, he tasted death
even though it was not necessary for him to do so” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 4).

10. After pointing to the results of Christ’s death, the text stresses how appropri-
ate it was that he should be abased in this way: he had to make himself in every
way like his brethren in order to help them.

God the Father, who is the beginning and end of all things, desired to bring men
to glory by means of his Son. Christ was to be the author of their salvation and
therefore it was fitting that he should be made perfect through suffering. The Fa-
ther made his Son “perfect” in the sense that by becoming man and therefore
being able to suffer and die, he was fully equipped to be mankind’s representa-
tive. “God has acted in a manner in keeping with his kindness towards us: he
has clothed his first-born in a glory greater than that of all mankind and made him
outstanding as a champion. Suffering is, therefore, a way to attain perfection and
a source of salvation” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 4). By perfectly obeying his Father, offer-
ing his life and especially his passion and death, Christ offers a perfect and su-
perabundant sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of mankind and makes full
atonement to the Father. As a reward for his obedience, Christ, as man, is made
Head of the Church and King of the universe. It is in that sense that he is made
“perfect” by the Father.

Ever since the Redemption, human suffering has become a way to perfection: it
acts as expiation for personal sins, it spurs man to assert his spiritual and trans-
cendental dimension, it makes for solidarity with others and links man to Christ’s
sacrifice. “Suffering must serve for conversion, that is, for the rebuilding of good-
ness in the subject, who can recognize the divine mercy in this call to repen-
tance [...] . But in order to perceive the true answer to the ‘why’ of suffering, we
must look to the revelation of divine love, the ultimate source of the meaning of
everything that exists [...]. Christ causes us to enter into the mystery and to dis-
cover the ‘why’ of suffering, as far as we are capable of grasping the sublimity of
divine love” (Bl. John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 12-13).

11. To accomplish the salvation of men Christ needed to be one of them — to
share, with them, a human nature. This is why Christ is the only “true sanctifier”,
that is, the priest who performs rites and sacrifices, taking things stained by sin
and making them pure and pleasing to God, that is, holy. Our Lord said some-
thing similar in the Gospel: “For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also
may be consecrated in truth” (In 17:19).

“Have all one origin”. Various interpretations have been given to these words.
Most have to do with the parallelism between the first man and Christ (cf. Acts
17:26; Rom 5:15-19), seeing this “origin” as Adam — in which case the text
would mean that Christ and other men are children of Adam. A more usual in-
terpretation sees the “one” origin as being God, thus stressing that Christ’s holy
humanity and the humanity of men both stem from the one Creator and derive
from the first man. In either case, Christ and the rest of men can rightly be called
“brethren”. “As to his divine generation he has no brethren or co-heirs, the only-
begotten Son of the Father, while we mortals are the work of his hands. But if
we consider his birth as man, he not only calls many by the name of brethren,
but treats them as such, since he admits them to share with him the glory of
his paternal inheritance” (”St Pius V Catechism”, I, 3, 10).

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.

4 posted on 10/06/2012 8:47:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

To: All

From: Mark 10:2-16

The Indissolubility of Marriage

[2] And Pharisees came up and in order to test Him asked, “Is it lawful for a man
to divorce his wife?” [3] He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
[4] They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put
her away.” [5] But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote this
commandment. [6] But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and
female.’; [7] ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined
to his wife, [8] and the two shall become one.’ So they are no longer two but one.
[9] What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

[10] And in the house the disciples asked Him about this matter. [11] And He
said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery
against her; [12] and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she
commits adultery.”

Jesus and the Children

[13] And they were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the
disciples rebuked them. [14] But when Jesus saw it He was indignant, and said
to them, “Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs
the Kingdom of God. [15] Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the King-
dom of God like a child shall not enter it.” [16] And He took them in His arms
and blessed them, laying His hands upon them.



1-12. This kind of scene occurs often in the Gospel. The malice of the Phari-
sees contrasts with the simplicity of the crowd, who listen attentively to Jesus’
teaching. The Pharisees’ question aimed at tricking Jesus into going against the
Law of Moses. But Jesus Christ, Messiah and Son of God, has perfect under-
standing of that Law. Moses had permitted divorce because of the hardness of
that ancient people: women had an ignominious position in those primitive tribes
(they were regarded almost as animals or slaves); Moses, therefore, protected
women’s dignity against these abuses by devising the certificate of divorce; this
was a real social advance. It was a document by which the husband repudiated
his wife and she obtained freedom. Jesus restores to its original purity the digni-
ty of man and woman in marriage, as instituted by God at the beginning of crea-
tion. “A man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they
become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24): in this way God established from the very be-
ginning the unity and indissolubility of marriage. The Church’s Magisterium, the
only authorized interpreter of the Gospel and of the natural law, has constantly
guarded and defended this teaching and has proclaimed it solemnly in countless
documents (Council of Florence, “Pro Armeniis”; Council of Trent, “De Sacram.
Matr.”; Pius XI, “Casti Connubii”; Vatican II, “Gaudium Et Spes”, 48; etc.).

Here is a good summary of this doctrine: “The indissolubility of marriage is not a
caprice of the Church nor is it merely a positive ecclesiastical law. It is a precept
of natural law, of divine law, and responds perfectly to our nature and to the super-
natural order of grace” (St. J. Escriva, “Conversations”, 97). Cf. note on
Matthew 5:31-32.

5-9. When a Christian realizes that this teaching applies to everyone at all times,
he should not be afraid of people reacting against it: “It is a fundamental duty of
the Church to reaffirm strongly [...] the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage.
To all those who, in our times, consider it too difficult, or indeed impossible, to
be bound to one person for the whole of life, and to those caught up in a culture
that rejects the indissolubility of marriage and openly mocks the commitment of
spouses to fidelity, it is necessary to reaffirm the good news of the definitive
nature of that conjugal love that has in Christ its foundation and strength (cf.
Ephesians 5:25).

“Being rooted in the personal and total self-giving of the couple, and being re-
quired by the good of the children, the indissolubility of marriage finds its ultimate
truth in the plan that God has manifested in His revelation: He wills and He com-
municates the indissolubility of marriage as a fruit, a sign and a requirement of
the absolutely faithful love that God has for man and that the Lord Jesus has for
the Church.

“Christ renews the first plan that the Creator inscribed in the hearts of man and
woman, and in the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony offers ‘a new heart’:
thus the couples are not only able to overcome ‘hardness of heart’ (Matthew 19:
8), but also and above all they are able to share the full and definitive love of
Christ, the new and eternal Covenant made flesh. Just as the Lord Jesus is the
‘faithful witness’ (Revelation 3:14), the ‘yes’ of the promises of God (cf. 2 Corin-
thians 1:20) and thus the supreme realization of the unconditional faithfulness
with which God loves His people, so Christian couples are called to participate
truly in the irrevocable indissolubility that binds Christ to the Church, His bride,
loved by Him to the end (cf. John 13:1).

“To bear witness to the inestimable value of the indissolubility and fidelity of mar-
riage is one of the most precious and most urgent tasks of Christian couples in
our time” (Bl. John Paul II, “Familiaris Consortio”, 20).

13-16. This Gospel account has an attractive freshness and vividness about it
which may be connected with St. Peter, from whom St. Mark would have taken
the story. It is one of the few occasions when the Gospels tell us that Christ be-
came angry. What provoked His anger was the disciples’ intolerance: they felt
that these people bringing children to Jesus were a nuisance: it meant a waste
of His time; Christ had more serious things to do than be involved with little chil-
dren. The disciples were well-intentioned; it was just that they were applying the
wrong criteria. What Jesus had told them quite recently had not registered:
“Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever re-
ceives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me” (Mark 9:37).

Our Lord also stresses that a Christian has to become like a child to enter the
Kingdom of Heaven. “To be little you have to believe as children believe, to love
as children love, to abandon yourself as children do..., to pray as children pray”
(St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, Prologue).

Our Lord’s words express simply and graphically the key doctrine of man’s divine
sonship: God is our Father and we are His sons and daughters, His children; the
whole of religion is summed up in the relationship of a son with His good Father.
This awareness of God as Father involves a sense of dependence on our Father
in Heaven and trusting abandonment to His loving providence—in the way a child
trusts its father or mother; the humility of recognizing that we can do nothing by
ourselves; simplicity and sincerity, which make us straightforward and honest in
our dealings with God and man.

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.

5 posted on 10/06/2012 8:48:46 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies ]

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

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