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To: All

From: Philippians 3:17-4:1

Citizens of Heaven


[17] Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an
example in us. [18] For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you
even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. [19] Their end is destruc-
tion, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on ear-
thly things. [20] But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Sa-
vior, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who will change our lowly body to be like his
glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to him-
self.

Exhortation to Perseverance and Joy


[1] Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand
firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

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Commentary:

17. The Apostle’s teaching goes further than to list a series of truths and rules
for moral behavior: he backs this up with his own life in the service of the Gospel,
and, through it, all men; this is what makes his preaching arresting and convin-
cing.

There is no better teaching than the teacher’s own example,” St John Chrysos-
tom exclaims, commenting on this passage; “by taking this course the teacher
is sure of getting his disciple to follow him. Speak wisely, instruct as eloquently
as you can ..., but your example will make a greater impression, will be more
decisive.... When your actions are in line with your words, nobody will be able
to find fault with you” (”Hom. on Phil, ad loc.”).

This, then, is the standard Christians should aim at. It will help those they come
in contact with to learn how to be hard-working, noble, loyal and sincere people,
or at least to tend in that direction.

One can see from this verse, as from many other passages in his letters, that St
Paul refers to himself now as “me”, now as “us”. In the second case he is proba-
bly also referring to his co-workers; these they should also imitate, for like him
they are imitators of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 4:17). it is quite likely that he is thinking
particularly of Timothy, whose name he put alongside his own at the head of this
letter — and whom he praised in glorious terms in the previous chapter (cf. Phil
2:19, 22).

Imitation of the saints is a very good way to equip oneself to serve others. “Most
earnestly, then, we exhort you”, Pius XII says, “be very solicitous for the salva-
tion of those whom Providence has entrusted to your apostolic labors, maintai-
ning throughout the closest union with our divine Redeemer, by whose strength
we can do all things (cf. Phil 4:13). It is our ardent desire, beloved sons, that you
may emulate those saintly men of old who, by the immensity of their achieve-
ment, bore witness to the power of divine grace. Would that each of you could
on the evidence of the faithful attribute to himself in humble sincerity the words
of the Apostle: ‘I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls’ (2 Cor 12:
15)” (”Menti Nostrae”, 31).

18-19. St Paul points to the bad example given by those (cf. v. 2) who, by uphol-
ding false doctrines or abusing their Christian freedom, lead a life steeped in vice;
they let themselves be controlled by their sensual appetites and they set their
hearts on things which enslave them, which should rather make them blush.
They are enemies of Christ’s cross.

“They glory in their own shame”: they take pride in behavior which is shameful.
This may also be an allusion to circumcision, for Judaizers were proud of a mark
which decency keeps covered.

20-21. “It is nature, flawed by sin, that begets all the citizens of the earthly city,
whereas it is grace alone which frees nature from sin, which begets citizens of
the heavenly city” (”De Civitate Dei”, 15, 2). Christians are “citizens of heaven”
and therefore are called to live a life that is joyful and full of hope, as befits chil-
dren of God.

The effort to live in a manner worthy of members of the commonwealth of heaven
is aided by hope in the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory. The Pa-
rousia, as well as the passion and death of Christ and his subsequent resurrec-
tion, are constant themes in the Apostle’s preaching. Reflection on these mys-
teries helps us to have hope and gives us encouragement in our everyday strug-
gle.

Christ’s resurrection is the cause of our resurrection, for “Christ has been raised
from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man
came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor 15:
20-21). An essential prerequisite for attaining resurrection in glory is the effort to
identify with Christ, in both joy and suffering, in both life and death. “If we have
died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with
him” (2 Tim 2:12). Christ is the Lord of all creation; his authority extends over the
entire universe (cf. Col 1:15-20). If we make the effort that fidelity requires, he will
take our body, which is weak and subject to illness, death and decay, and trans-
form it into a glorious body.

*********************************************************************************************
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 02/23/2013 8:58:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 9:28b-36

The Transfiguration


[28b] [Jesus] took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the moun-
tain to pray. [29] And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was
altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. [30] And behold, two men talked
with him, Moses and Elijah, [31] who appeared in glory and spoke of his depar-
ture, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. [32] Now Peter and those who
were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory
and the two men who stood with him. [33] And as the men were parting from him,
Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths,
one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said.
[34] As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid
as they entered the cloud. [35] And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This
is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” [36] And when the voice had spoken,
Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days
anything of what they had seen.

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

28-36. By His transfiguration Jesus strengthens His disciples’ faith, revealing a
trace of the glory His body will have after the Resurrection. He wants them to rea-
lize that His passion will not be the end but rather the route He will take to reach
His glorification. “For a person to go straight along the road, he must have some
knowledge of the end—just as an archer will not shoot an arrow straight unless
he first sees the target [...]. This is particularly necessary if the road is hard and
rough, the going heavy, and the end delightful” (St. Thomas Aquinas, “Summa
Theologiae”, III, q. 45, a. 1).

Through the miracle of the Transfiguration Jesus shows one of the qualities of glo-
rified bodies—brightness, “by which the bodies of the saints shall shine like the
sun, according to the words of our Lord recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew:
‘The righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father’ (Matthew 13:
43). To remove the possibility of doubt on the subject, He exemplifies this in His
transfiguration. This quality the Apostle (St. Paul) sometimes calls glory, some-
times brightness: ‘He will change our lowly body to be like His glorious body’
(Philippians 3:21); and again, ‘It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory’ (1 Corin-
thians 15:43). Of this glory the Israelites beheld some image in the desert, when
the face of Moses, after he had enjoyed the presence and conversation of God,
shone with such luster that they could not look on it (Exodus 34:29; 2 Corinthians
3:7). This brightness is a sort of radiance reflected by the body from the supreme
happiness of the soul. It is a participation in that bliss which the soul enjoys [...].
This quality is not common to all in the same degree. All the bodies of the saints
will be equally impassible; but the brightness of all will not be the same, for, ac-
cording to the Apostle, ‘There is one glory of the sun, and another of the moon,
and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So it is with the
resurrection of the dead’ (1 Corinthians 15:4f)” (”St. Pius V Catechism”, I, 12, 13).
See also the notes on Matthew 17:1-13; 17:5; 17:10-13; and Mark 9:2-10; 9:7.

31. “And spoke of His departure”: that is, His departure from this world, in other
words, His death. It can also be understood as meaning our Lord’s Ascension.

35. “Listen to Him!”: everything God wishes to say to mankind He has said
through Christ, now that the fullness of time has come (cf. Hebrews 1:1). “There-
fore,” St. John of the Cross explains, “if any now should question God or desire
a vision or revelation, not only would he be acting foolishly but he would be com-
mitting an offense against God, by not fixing his gaze on Christ with no desire for
any new thing. For God could reply to him in this way: ‘If I have spoken all things
to you in My Word, which is My Son, and I have no greater word, what answer
can I give you now, or what can I reveal to you that is greater than this? Fix your
eyes on Him alone, for in Him I have spoken and revealed to you all things, and
in Him you will find even more than what you ask for and desire [...]. Hear Him,
for I have no more faith to reveal, nor have I any more things to declare’” (”Ascent
of Mount Carmel”, Book 2, Chapter 22, 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.


5 posted on 02/23/2013 9:00:44 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies ]

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