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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.

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

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
here.

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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To: All

From: Luke 5:1-11

The Miraculous Catch of Fish and the Calling of the First Disciples


[1] While the people pressed upon Him (Jesus) to hear the word of God, He was
standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. [2] And He saw two boats by the lake, but
the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. [3] Getting into
one of the boats, which was Simon’s, He asked him to put out a little from the
land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. [4] And when He
had ceased speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down
your nets for a catch.” [5] And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and
took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” [6] And when they had
done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
[7] they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And
they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. [8] But when Si-
mon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am
a sinful man, O Lord.” [9] For he was astonished, and all that were with Him, at
the catch of fish which they had taken; [10] And so also were James and John,
sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do
not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” [11] And when they had
brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

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

1. “Just as they do today! Can’t you see? They want to hear God’s message,
even though outwardly they may not show it. Some perhaps have forgotten
Christ’s teachings. Others, through no fault of their own, have never known them
and they think that religion is something odd. But of this we can be sure, that in
every man’s life there comes a time sooner or later when his soul draws the line.
He has had enough of the usual explanations. The lies of the false prophets no
longer satisfy. Even though they may not admit it at the time, such people are
longing to quench their thirst with the teachings of our Lord” (St. J. Escriva,
“Friends of God”, 260).

3. The Fathers saw in Simon’s boat a symbol of the pilgrim Church on earth.
“This is the boat which according to St. Matthew was in danger of sinking and
according to St. Luke was filled with fish. Here we can see the difficult begin-
nings of the Church and its later fruitfulness” (St. Ambrose, “Expositio Evangelii
sec. Lucam in loc.”). Christ gets into the boat in order to teach the crowds —
and from the barque of Peter, the Church, He continues to teach the whole world.

Each of us can also see himself as this boat Christ uses for preaching. External-
ly no change is evident: “What has changed? There is a change inside our soul,
now that Christ has come aboard, as He went aboard Peter’s boat. Its horizon
has been expanded. It feels a greater ambition to serve and an irrepressible de-
sire to tell all creation about the “magnalia Dei” (Acts 2:11), the marvellous do-
ings of our Lord, if only we let Him work” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 265).

4. “When He had finished His catechizing, He told Simon: ‘Put out into the deep,
and lower your nets for a catch.’ Christ is the master of this boat. He it is who
prepares the fishing. It is for this that He has come into the world, to do all He
can so that His brothers may find the way to glory and to the love of the Father”
(”Friends of God”, 260). To carry this task out, our Lord charges all of them to
cast their nets, but it is only Peter He tells to put out into the deep.

This whole passage refers in some way to the life of the Church. In the Church
the bishop of Rome, Peter’s successor, “is the vicar of Jesus Christ because he
represents Him on earth and acts for Him in the government of the Church” (”St.
Pius X Catechism”, 195). Christ is also addressing each one of us, urging us to
be daring in apostolate: ‘”Duc in altum. Put out into deep water!’ Throw aside the
pessimism that makes a coward of you. ‘Et laxate retia vestra in capturam. And
pay out your nets for a catch.’ Don’t you see that you, like Peter, can say: ‘In no-
mine tuo, laxabo rete’: Jesus, if You say so, I will search for souls?” (St. J. Es-
criva, “The Way”, 792).

“If you were to fall into the temptation of wondering, ‘Who’s telling me to embark
on this?’, we would have reply, ‘Christ Himself is telling you, is begging you.’ ‘The
harvest is plentiful enough, but the laborers are few. You must ask the Lord to
whom the harvest belongs to send laborers out for the harvesting’ (Matthew 9:37-
38). Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t say, ‘I’m no good at this sort of thing;
there are others who can do it; it isn’t my line.’ No, for this sort of thing, there is
no one else: if you could get away with that argument, so could everyone else.
Christ’s plea is addressed to each and every Christian. No one can consider him-
self exempt, for whatever reason—age, health or occupation. There are no excu-
ses whatsoever. Either we carry out a fruitful apostolate, or our faith will prove
barren” (”Friends of God”, 272).

5. When Christ gives him these instructions, Peter states the difficulties involved.
“A reasonable enough reply. The night hours were the normal time for fishing, and
this time the catch had yielded nothing. What was the point of fishing by day?
But Peter has faith: ‘But at Your word I will let down the nets.’ He decides to act
on Christ’s suggestion. He undertakes the work relying entirely on the word of
our Lord” (”Friends of God”, 261).

8. Peter does not want Christ to leave him; aware of his sins, he declares his un-
worthiness to be near Christ. This reminds us of the attitude of the centurion who
confesses his unworthiness to receive Jesus into his house (Matthew 8:8). The
Church requires her children to repeat these exact words of the centurion before
receiving the Blessed Eucharist. She also teaches us to show due external reve-
rence to the Blessed Sacrament when going to Communion: by falling down on
his knees Peter also shows that internal adoration of God should be also be ex-
pressed externally.

11. Perfection is not simply a matter of leaving all things but of doing so in order
to follow Christ—which is what the Apostles did: they gave up everything in order
to be available to do what God’s calling involved.

We should develop this attitude of availability, for “Jesus isn’t satisfied ‘going
halves’: He wants the lot” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 155).

If we don’t give ourselves generously we will find it very difficult to follow Jesus:
“Detach yourself from people and things until you are stripped of them. For, says
Pope St. Gregory, the devil has nothing of his own in this world, and naked he
comes to battle. If you go clothed to fight him, you will soon be pulled to the
ground: for he will have something to catch you by” (”The Way”, 149).

*********************************************************************************************
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 02/09/2013 8:54:59 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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