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To: All

From: Acts 9:31-42

The Growth of the Church


[31] So the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace
and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the
Holy Spirit it was multiplied.

Peter Cures a Paralytic at Lydda


[32] Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to
the saints that lived in Lydda. [33] There he found a man named Aeneas, who
had been bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed. [34] And Peter said to
him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And imme-
diately he rose. [35] And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and
they turned to the Lord.

Peter Raises Tabitha to Life


[36] Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas or
Gazelle. She was full of good works and acts of charity. [37] In those days she
fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
[38] Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him entreating him, “Please come to us without delay.” [39] So
Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the up-
per room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing coats and gar-
ments which Dorcas made while she was with them. [40] But Peter put them all
outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, “Tabitha,
rise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. [41] And
he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he
presented her alive. [42] And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many
believed in the Lord.

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

31. St. Luke breaks his narrative to give an overview of the steady progress of the
Church as a whole and of the various communities that have grown up as a result
of the Christians’ flight from Jerusalem (cf. Acts 2:40, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1, 7; 11:21,
24; 16:5). He emphasizes the peace and consolation the Holy Spirit has brought
them. This note of justified optimism and trust in God confirms that God is with
His Church and that no human force can destroy it (cf. 5:39).

32. Acts now turns to recount St. Peter’s apostolic activity in Palestine. Lydda
(cf. 9:32-35), Joppa (cf. 9:36-43) and Maritime Caesarea (cf. 10:24-28; 12:19)
were some of the cities in which the head of the Apostles preached the Good
News.

“St. Luke goes on to speak about Peter and his visits to the faithful. He does not
want to give the impression that fear is the reason for Peter’s leaving Jerusalem,
and so he first gives an account of the situation of the Church, after indicating,
previously, that Peter had stayed in Jerusalem during the persecution. [...] Peter
acts like a general reviewing his troops to see that they are properly trained and
in good order, and to discover where his presence is most needed. We see him
going in all directions and we find him in all parts. If he makes this present jour-
ney it is because he thinks that the faithful are in need of his teaching and en-
couragement” (Chrysostom, “Hom. on Acts”, 21).

The last report Acts gives of St. Peter deals with his intervention at the Council
of Jerusalem (Chapter 15).

33-35. St. Peter takes the initiative; he does not wait for the paralyzed man to
seek his help. We are told about the man being sick for eight years, to show
how difficult he was to cure—and yet through the power of Jesus Christ he is
cured “immediately”. “Why did Peter not wait for the man to show his faith?
Why did he not first ask him if he wanted to be cured? Surely because it was
necessary to impress the people by means of this miracle” (Chrysostom, “Hom.
on Acts, 21). However, the conversion of the people of Lydda and Sharon was
also the result of Peter’s work: miracles are not designed to make life easier for
the Apostles; their tireless preaching is by no means secondary or superfluous.

36-43. Joppa, (Jaffa, today virtually part of Tel Aviv) is mentioned in the writings
of Tell-el-Amarna where it is called Iapu. Its people were converted to Judaism
in the time of Simon Maccabeus (c. 140 B.C.).

The miracle of the raising of Tabitha by Peter is the first one of its kind reported
in Acts. Here, as in the Gospel, miracles are performed to awaken faith in those
who witness them with good dispositions and a readiness to believe. In this case
the miracle is a kindness God shows Tabitha to reward her virtues, and an encou-
ragement to the Christians of Joppa.

“In the Acts of the Apostles,” St. Cyprian writes, “it is clear that alms not only
free us from spiritual death, but also from temporal death. Tabitha, a woman who
did many ‘good works and acts of charity,’ had taken ill and died: and Peter was
sent for. No sooner had he arrived, with all the diligence of his apostolic charity,
than he was surrounded by widows in tears..., praying for the dead woman more
by gestures than by words. Peter believed that he could obtain what they were
asking for so intensely and that Christ’s help would be available in answer to the
prayers of the poor in whose persons He Himself had been clothed. [...] And so
it was: He did come to Peter’s aid, to whom He had said in the Gospel that He
would grant everything asked for in His name. For this reason He stops the
course of death and the woman returns to life, and to the amazement of all she
revives, restoring her risen body to the light of day. Such was the power of works
of mercy, of good deeds” (”De Opere Et Eleemosynis”, 6).

*********************************************************************************************
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 04/19/2013 9:52:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 6:60-69

The Disciples’ Reaction


[60] Many of His (Jesus’) disciples, when they heard of it, said, “This is a hard
saying; who can listen to it?” [61] But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disci-
ples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? [62] Then what
if you were to see the Son of Man ascending where He was before? [63] It is the
Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you
are spirit and life. [64] But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus
knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that
should betray Him. [65] And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can
come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

[66] After this many of the disciples drew back and no longer went with Him.
[67] Jesus said to the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” [68] Simon Peter an-
swered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
[69] and we have believed, and have come to know, that You are the Holy One
of God.”

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

60-62. Many of His listeners find the Eucharistic mystery completely incompre-
hensible. Jesus Christ requires His disciples to accept His words because it is
He who has spoken them. That is what the supernatural act of faith involves –
that act “whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that
the things which He has revealed are true; not because of the intrinsic truth of
the things, viewed by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of
God Himself who reveals them, and who can neither be deceived nor deceive”
(Vatican I, “Dei Filius”, Chapter 3).

As on other occasions, Jesus speaks about future events to help His disciples
believe: “I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place,
you may believe” (John 14:29).

63. Jesus says that we cannot accept this mystery if we think of it in too human
a way, in other words, by just seeking to indulge our senses or having too earth-
bound a view of things. Only someone who listens to His words and receives
them as God’s revelation, which is “spirit and life”, is in a position to accept
them.

66. The promise of the Eucharist, which caused arguments (verse 52) among
Christ’s hearers at Capernaum and scandalized some of them (verse 61), led
many people to give up following Him. Jesus had outlined a wonderful and sal-
vific truth, but those disciples closed themselves to divine grace; they were not
ready to accept anything which went beyond their very limited horizons. The
mystery of the Eucharist does call for a special act of faith. St. John Chrysos-
tom therefore advised Christians: “Let us in everything believe God, and gainsay
Him in nothing, though what it said be contrary to our thoughts and senses. [...]
Let us act likewise in respect to the [Eucharistic] mysteries, not looking at the
things set before us, but keeping in mind His words. For His words cannot de-
ceive” (St. John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St. Matthew”, 82).

67-71. This passage is similar to that at Capernaum where Peter again, in the
name of the Twelve, takes the initiative in expressing his faith in Jesus as Mes-
siah (cf. Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30). Other people present may have been
unbelieving, but the Apostles are not scandalized by our Lord’s words: they say
that they have already a deep-rooted confidence in Him; they do not want to
leave Him. What St. Peter says (verse 68) is not just a statement of human soli-
darity but an expression of genuine supernatural faith — as yet imperfect — which
is the result of the influence of divine grace on his soul (cf. Matthew 16:17).

Although the Twelve stay with Him at this point, Judas will later betray the Mas-
ter. Jesus’ foreknowledge of this future infidelity throws a shadow over His joy at
the loyalty of the Twelve. We Christians should be humble enough to realize that
we are capable of betraying our Lord if we give up using the means He has left
us to cleave to Him. St. Peter’s words (verse 68) are a beautiful aspiration we
can use whenever we feel tempted.

68. Simon Peter expresses the feelings of the Apostles who, through staying
loyal to Jesus, are getting to know Him much better and becoming more close-
ly involved with Him: “Seek Jesus; endeavoring to acquire a deep personal faith
that will inform and direct your whole life. But, above all, let it be your commit-
ment and your program to love Jesus, with a sincere, authentic and personal
love. He must be your friend and your support along the path of life. He alone
has words of eternal life” (Bl. John Paul II, “Address to Students in Guadalajara”,
30 January 1979).

69. “The Holy One of God”: this is what the original text must have said, accor-
ding to most of the Greek codices and the most important early translations.
“The Holy One” is one of the expressions which designate the Messiah (cf.
Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 4:34; Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10), or God Himself (cf. Isaiah
6:3; 43:15; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 John 2:20; etc.). The rendering “the Christ, the Son
of God” found in some translations, including the Vulgate, is supported by less
important Greek manuscripts, and would seem to be an explanation of the mes-
sianic significance of the original phrase.

*********************************************************************************************
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 04/19/2013 9:54:17 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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