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To: All

From: Jeremiah 18:18-20

Jeremiah’s Fourth “Confession”

[18] Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law
shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the
prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his

[19] Give heed to me, O LORD,
and hearken to my plea.
[20] Is evil a recompense for good?
Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before thee,
to speak good for them,
to turn away thy wrath from them.


18:18-23. Jeremiah feels hemmed in by his enemies when he proclaims the
word of the Lord, and in this fourth “confession” he expresses how he feels. His
situation causes him great pain. God called him to intercede for the people, and
he has done so; but, although he has sought only their good, they plot against
him (v. 18). These words have been interpreted as an announcement of how the
Jewish authorities schemed against Jesus, seeking to arrest him (cf. Mt 22:15;
Mk 12:13; Lk 20:20). And the resistance that Jeremiah encountered in his prea-
ching is interpreted by St Jerome, in the light of the New Testament, as a prefi-
guring of the difficulties that Jesus would encounter from people “who spread
calumnies and slander to frustrate the work of holy men. So that the truths that
these disciples taught would be rejected as lies, they made the law and the
plans of God the property of their priests and wise men and false prophets (cf.
18:18)” (”Commentarii in Ieremiam”, 4, 18).

The harsh things that Jeremiah says in this prayer (vv. 21-23) are not so much
a desire for vengeance on his part as an assertion of the respect that is owed
to God and his word, which no one has a right to mock (cf. Ps 6; 79; 109).

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 02/26/2013 8:39:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 20:17-28

Third Prophecy of the Passion

[17] And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples
aside, and on the way He said to them, [18] “Behold, we are going up to Je-
rusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes,
and they will condemn Him to death, [19] and deliver Him to the Gentiles to
be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised on the third

The Mother of the Sons of Zebedee Makes Her Request

[20] Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Him, with her sons,
and kneeling before Him she asked Him for something. [21] And He said to her,
“What do you want?” She said to Him, “Command that these two sons of mine
may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, in Your Kingdom.” [22] But
Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink
the cup that I am to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” [23] He said to
them, “You will drink My cup, but to sit at My right hand and at My left is not
Mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
[24] And when the ten heard it they were indignant at the two brothers. [25] But
Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. [26] It shall
not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your ser-
vant, [27] and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; [28] even
as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a
ransom for many.”


18-19. Once again our Lord prophesies to His Apostles about His death and re-
surrection. The prospect of judging the world (cf. Matthew 19:28) might have mis-
led them into thinking in terms of an earthly messianic kingdom, an easy way
ahead, leaving no room for the ignominy of the cross.

Christ prepares their minds so that when the testing time comes they will remem-
ber that He prophesied His passion and not be totally scandalized by it; He des-
cribes His passion in some detail.

Referring to Holy Week, St. Escriva writes: “All the things brought to our mind by
the different expressions of piety which characterize these days are of course di-
rected to the Resurrection, which is, as St. Paul says, the basis of our faith (cf.
1 Corinthians 15:14). But we should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose
sight of a very simple fact which we might easily overlook. We will not be able to
share in our Lord’s Resurrection unless we unite ourselves with Him in His Pas-
sion and Death. If we are to accompany Christ in His glory at the end of Holy
Week, we must first enter into His holocaust and be truly united to Him, as He
lies dead on Calvary” (”Christ Is Passing By”, 95).

20. The sons of Zebedee are James the Greater and John. Their mother, Salo-
me, thinking that the earthly reign of the Messiah is about to be established,
asks that her sons be given the two foremost positions in it. Christ reproaches
them for not grasping the true — spiritual — nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and
not realizing that government of the Church He is going to found implies service
and martyrdom. “If you are working for Christ and imagine that a position of res-
ponsibility is anything but a burden, what disillusionment awaits you!” (St. J.
Escriva, “The Way”, 950).

22. “Drinking the cup” means suffering persecution and martyrdom for following
Christ. “We are able”: the sons of Zebedee boldly reply that they can drink the
cup; their generous expression evokes what St. Paul will write years later: “I can
do all things in Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

23. “You will drink My cup”: James the Greater will die a martyr’s death in Jeru-
salem around the year 44 (cf. Acts 12:2); and John, after suffering imprisonment
and the lash in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 4:3; 5:40-41), will spend a long period of exile
on the island of Patmos (cf. Revelation 1:9).
From what our Lord says here we can take it that positions of authority in the
Church should not be the goal of ambition or the subject of human intrigue, but
the outcome of a divine calling. Intent on doing the will of His Heavenly Father,
Christ was not going to allocate positions of authority on the basis of human
considerations but, rather, in line with God’s plans.

26. Vatican II puts a marked emphasis on this “service” which the Church offers
to the world and which Christians should show as proof of their Christian identity:
“In proclaiming the noble destiny of man and affirming an element of the divine in
him, this sacred Synod offers to cooperate unreservedly with mankind in foste-
ring a sense of brotherhood to correspond to this destiny of theirs. The Church
is not motivated by an earthly ambition but is interested in one thing only — to
carry on the work of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for He came in-
to the world to bear witness to the truth, to save and not to judge, to serve and
not to be served” (”Gaudium Et Spes”, 3 cf. “Lumen Gentium”, 32: “Ad Gentes”,
12; “Unitatis Redintegratio”, 7).

27-28. Jesus sets Himself as an example to be imitated by those who hold au-
thority in the Church. He who is God and Judge of all men (cf. Philippians 2:5-11;
John 5:22-27; Acts 10:42; Matthew 28:18) does not impose Himself on us: He
renders us loving service to the point of giving His life for us (cf. John 15:13); that
is His way of being the first. St. Peter understood Him right; he later exhorted
priests to tend the flock of God entrusted to them, not domineering over them but
being exemplary in their behavior (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-3); and St. Paul also was clear
on this “service”: though He was “free from all men”, He became the servant of
all in order to win all (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19 ff; 2 Corinthians 4:5).

Christ’s “service” of mankind aims at salvation. The phrase “to give His life as a
ransom for many” is in line with the terminology of liturgical sacrificial language.
These words were used prophetically in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.

Verse 28 also underlines the fact that Christ is a priest, who offers Himself as
priest and victim on the altar of the cross. The expression “as a ransom for ma-
ny” should not be interpreted as implying that God does not will the salvation of
all men. “Many”, here, is used to contrast with “one” rather than “all”: there is
only one Savior, and salvation is offered to all.

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 02/26/2013 8:41:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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