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From: Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8

The Lord calls Isaiah

[1] In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high
and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. [2a] Above him stood the seraphim.
[3] And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

[4] And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called,
and the house was filled with smoke. [5] And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost;
for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean
lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

[6] Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which
he had taken with tongs from the altar. [7] And he touched my mouth, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgi-
ven.” [8] And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who
will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”


6:1-13. As an introduction to what is called the “Book of Immanuel” (7:1-12:6)
we get this account of how the Lord called Isaiah to be a prophet, sending him
to his people at the time of the Syrian-Ephraimite coalition to explain to them
what is going on and how they should act.

The account begins with a theophany (vv. 1-4), which is one of the key points
in this book’s message. God manifests himself seated in the manner of eastern
kings, surrounded by his angelic court (the “seraphim”), who extol the holiness
of the Lord: he clearly is Lord of all. In this vision, God is depicted as the thrice
holy (v. 3), the highest form of superlative available in Hebrew. Being holy im-
plies standing apart — standing above everything else. God stands far above all
other beings and he is their creator. In Hebrew “holy includes the idea of “sa-
cred”. It means that God has none of the limitations and imperfections that cre-
ated beings have.

The holiness and majesty of God fill Isaiah with a sense of his own uncleanness
and that of his people (v. 5). Typically, visions of God in biblical history induce
feelings of fear in the seer; we even see this in the angel’s announcement to
Mary (cf. Lk 1:30): “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.”

“Faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own
insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils
his face (cf. Ex 3:5-6) in the presence of God’s holiness. Before the glory of the
thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: ‘Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean
lips’ (Is 6:5). Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: ‘Depart
from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord’ (Lk 5:8). But because God is holy, he can
forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: ‘I will not execute my
fierce anger . . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst (Hos 11:
9)’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 208).

Isaiah is cleansed and consoled as soon as he humbly acknowledges his un-
worthiness and insignificance before God (vv. 6-7). His instinctive sense of fear is
immediately replaced by a generous and trusting response on the prophet’s part:
he is ready to do what God wants (v. 8). “In their ‘one to one’ encounters with
God the prophets draw light and strength for their mission. Their prayer is not
flight from this unfaithful world, but rather attentiveness to the Word of God. At
times their prayer is an argument or a complaint, but it is always an intercession
that awaits and prepares for the intervention of the Saviour God, the Lord of histo-
ry (cf. Amos 7:2, 5; Is 6:5, 8, 11; Jer 1:6; 15:15-18; 20:7-18)” (Catechism of the
Catholic Church, 2584).

Finally, the Lord entrusts him with his mission. The message he is to deliver is
hard-hitting and full of paradoxes (vv. 9-10). The task given him is not, as one
might at first think, to render the people incapable of hearing and understanding
the word of God that could move their hearts. It is, rather, to tell them that if they
fail to listen to the word of God, their hearts will be blinded: they will not be able
to see things right and, because of that, the sinner will feel no need to take
stock of his position and be converted. The Synoptic Gospels interpret Jesus’
preaching as a fulfillment of what is said here in vv. 9-10 (Mt 13:13-15; Mk 4:11-
12). The Gospel of St John sees these same words as anticipating what will hap-
pen to those who reject Jesus’ message: “Therefore they could not believe. For
Isaiah again said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they
should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for me to heal
them.’ Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (Jn 12:27-
41). And St Paul also uses vv. 9-10 to reproach the Jews of Rome for rejecting
the Good News of salvation in Christ which he is proclaiming to them (cf. Acts

The people’s hardness of heart will merit severe punishment; cities and houses
will he laid waste, but all will not be lost: a holy seed will remain and from it the
tree will grow back again (v. 11-13). These verses carry a message for people in
all ages. Isaiah approaches God in all humility, showing him every reverence,
and at the same time he puts his trust in God. For his part, the Lord cleanses
his chosen ones and sends them out to help in his work of salvation. Origen,
who commented on this passage a number of times, points out: “May burning
coals he brought from the altar of heaven to burn my lips. If the burning coals
of the Lord touch my lips, they will he purified; and when they are purified and
cleansed of all sin, […] my mouth will he opened to the Word of God and I will
not utter another impure word [...]. The seraphim who was sent to purify the pro-
phet’s lips did not purify the lips of the people […]; therefore, they continued to
live in sin, and now they deny the Lord Jesus Christ and curse him from their
unclean mouths. For my part, I pray that the seraphim will come to cleanse my
lips (Homiliae in Isaiam, 1, 4). All we need is the same humble docility that Isai-
ah had: “Having received the grace God, he did not want it to be a gift granted to
him to no avail, without being put to work in everything that needed to be done.
Seeing the seraphim and the Lord of hosts seated on high, on his throne of glory,
he said: ‘Woe me ...’. By speaking thus and making himself ‘unworthy’, he re-
ceived the help of God because He took in account his humility” (ibid., 6:2).
And St John Chrysostom, commenting on Isaiah’s response to God, says that
the prophet shows readiness to carry out his mission to the people because
“since the saints are friends of God, they, too, love all men dearly” (In Isaiam,
6, 5).

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.

3 posted on 02/09/2013 8:51:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

From: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Christ’s Resurrection and His Appearances

[1] Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel,
which you received, in which you stand, [2] by which you are saved, if you hold it
fast — unless you believed in vain.

[3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ
died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that
he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, [5] and that he
appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [6] Then he appeared to more than five
hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fal-
len asleep. [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. [8] Last of
all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. [9] For I am the least of
the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of
God. [10] But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was
not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not
I, but the grace of God which is with me. [11] Whether then it was I or they, so
we preach and so you believed.


1-58. Some of the Corinthian Christians were objecting to the doctrine of the re-
surrection of the dead, because this was a belief with which Greeks were unfami-
liar, even those Greeks who held that the soul was immortal. Given the great im-
portance of this doctrine, St Paul replies at length, pointing first to the historical
fact of Christ’s resurrection (vv. 1-11 ) and how it necessarily connects up with
the resurrection of the dead in general (vv. 12-34). He then goes on to discuss
what form this resurrection will take (vv. 35-58). This epistle, which began with
an exposition on Jesus Christ crucified, the power and wisdom of God (cf. 1:18-
2:5), ends with a development of doctrine on the resurrection of Christ and the
consequent resurrection of the members of his mystical body.

To understand what St Paul is saying it is useful to bear in mind that here he is
referring only to the glorious resurrection of the just. Elsewhere in Sacred Scrip-
ture it is clearly stated that all men will rise from the dead (cf., e.g., Jn 5:28-29;
Acts 24:15).

1-11. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the essential doctrines of the
Catholic faith, explicitly stated in the first creeds or symbols of the faith. It is in
fact the supreme argument in favor of the divinity of Jesus and his divine mission:
our Lord proclaimed it many times (cf., e.g., Mt 16:21-28; 17:22-27; 20:17-19),
and by rising from the dead he provided the sign which he had promised those
who did not believe him (cf. Mt 12:38-40).

This point is so important that the primary role of the Apostles is to bear witness
to Christ’s resurrection (cf. Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:15; etc.); the proclamation of the
resurrection of the Lord is the very core of apostolic catechesis (cf., e.g., the dis-
courses of St Peter and St Paul reported in the Acts of the Apostles).

3-8. On the verbs “deliver” and “receive” see the note on 1 Cor 11:23-26. St Paul
reminds the Corinthians of certain basic points in his preaching — that Jesus
Christ died for our sins; “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures” (a statement which has passed directly into
the Creed) and was seen by many people.

It should be pointed out that the Greek verb translated as “appeared” refers to
being seen by the eye. This is relevant to studying the nature of the appearances
of the risen Jesus: St Paul is speaking of true, ocular, sight; there seems to be
no way this can be identified with imagination or intellectual vision.

The appearances of the risen Christ are a direct proof of the historical fact of his
resurrection. This argument gains special force when one remembers that at the
time this letter was written many people who had seen the risen Lord were still
alive (v. 6). Some of the appearances referred to by St Paul are also mentioned
in the Gospels and in Acts — that to Peter (cf. Lk 24:34), those to the Apostles
(cf., e.g., Lk 24:36-49; Jn 20:19-29), that to St Paul himself (cf. Acts 9:1-6);
others — that to James and to the five hundred brethren — are mentioned only

The importance of this passage is enhanced by the fact that it is the earliest do-
cumentary record earlier than the Gospels — of our Lord’s resurrection, which had
taken place scarcely twenty years earlier.

4. “Was buried”: in recounting the death of Christ, all four evangelists expressly
mention that his body was buried (cf. Mt 27:57-61 and par.). St Paul also con-
firms the fact in this letter, written very soon after the time, thereby confirming
a tradition which had come down from the beginning (v. 3). The fact that Christ’s
body was buried eliminates any doubt about his death, and underlines the mira-
cle of the Resurrection: Jesus Christ rose by his own power, rejoining his soul
with his body, and leaving the tomb with the same human body (not merely the
appearance of a body) as died and was buried, although now that body was glori-
fied and had certain special properties (cf. note on 15:42-44). The Resurrection,
therefore, is an objective, physical event, witnessed to by the empty tomb (cf.
Mt 28:1ff and par) and by Christ’s appearances.

“He was raised on the third day”: Jesus died and was buried on the evening of
Good Friday; his body lay in the tomb the entire sabbath, and rose on the Sun-
day. It is correct to say that he rose on the third day after his death, even though
it was not a full seventy-two hours later.

“According to the scriptures”: St Paul may be referring to certain passages of the
Old Testament which — “after” the event — were seen to foreshadow the Resurrec-
tion — for example, the episode of Jonah (chaps. 1-2), which Jesus in fact applied
to himself (cf. Mt 12:39-40; cf. also Hos 6:1-2 and Ps 16:9-10).

9-10. St Paul’s humility, which leads him to think that his past faults render him
unworthy of the grace of the apostolate, is precisely what gives God’s grace scope
to work in him. “Admit outright that you are a servant whose duty it is to perform
very many services. Do not pride yourself on being called a son of God: let us re-
cognize grace, yet be mindful of our nature; do not be proud of having rendered
good service, of having done what you were supposed to do. The sun fulfills its
function; the moon obeys, the angels carry out their charge. The Lord’s chosen in-
strument for the Gentiles says, ‘I am unfit to be called an apostle, because I per-
secuted the church of God’ (1 Cor 15:9) [...]. Neither should we seek to be praised
on our own account” (St Ambrose, “Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam”, VIII, 32).

However, the grace of God is not enough on its own. As in St Paul’s case, man’s
cooperation is needed, because God has chosen to rely on our free response to
grace: “God, who created you without you, will not save you without you” (St Au-
gustine, “Sermon” 169, 13). And, commenting on St Paul’s words — “Not I, but the
grace of God which is with me” — Augustine points out, “that is, not just me, but
God with me; and therefore not the grace of God alone, nor myself alone, but the
grace of God and myself” (”De Gratia Et Libero Arbitrio”, V, l2).

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 02/09/2013 8:53:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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