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From: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

Thanks for Help Received (Continuation)

[12] I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circum-
stances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and
want. [13] I can do all things in him who strengthens me. [14] Yet it was kind
of you to share my trouble.

[19] And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory
in Christ Jesus. [20] To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


10-20. Gratitude is a very characteristic feature of Christian life; in this passage
we can see the noble soul of St Paul, ever appreciative of any sign of affection
and thoughtfulness.

It also shows what great confidence St Paul had in the Philippians; from them
alone did he accept help, for his general policy was not to accept material aid so
as to leave no one in any doubt about the purity of his intentions in preaching the
Gospel (cf. 1 Cor 9:18; 2 Cor 12:14-18). This meant that he was also practicing
the virtue of poverty, being content with what he had.

Financial resources do make a person’s life easier and by helping us meet our
material needs they allow us to cultivate friendship with God and go to the help
of others, but these resources are not an end in themselves; they are only a
means. Therefore there is nothing essentially bad about not having money or
property: one can get to heaven without them. However, if a person is well-to-do
and is attached to his wealth, that is bad. That is what St Paul is saying. “If you
want to be your own masters at all times, I advise you to make a very real effort
to be detached from everything, and to do so without fear or hesitation. Then,
when you go about your various duties, whether personal, family or otherwise,
make honest use of legitimate human resources with a view to serving God, his
Church, your family, your profession, your country, and the whole of mankind.
Remember that what really matters is not whether you have this or lack that,
but whether you are living according to the truth taught us by our Christian faith,
which tells us that created goods are only a means, nothing more. So, do not
be beguiled into imagining that they are in any way definitive” (St. J. Escriva,
“Friends of God”, 118).

13. “In him who strengthens me”: the proposition “in” often refers to the place
“where”, in which case the text would mean that the person who lives in Christ,
who is identified with him, can do all things. However, in biblical Greek it fre-
quently has a causal meaning, in which case the Apostle would be saying that
he can do all things because God lends him his strength.

The difficulties which can arise in apostolic work or in one’s search for personal
holiness are not an insuperable obstacle, for we can always count on God’s sup-
port. So, we need to let ourselves be helped; we need to go to the Lord whenever
we are tempted or feel discouraged (”Thou art the God in whom I take refuge”:
Ps 43:2), humbly recognizing that we need his help, for we can do nothing on our
own. St Alphonsus encourages us always to put our trust in God: “The proud per-
son relies on his strength and he falls; but the humble person, who puts all his
trust in God, holds his ground and does not succumb, no matter how severely
he is tempted” (”The Love of God Reduced to Practice”, 9).

“I have asked you”, St. Escriva says, “to keep on lifting your eyes up to heaven
as you go about your work, because hope encourages us to catch hold of the
strong hand which God never ceases to reach out to us, to keep us from losing
our supernatural point of view. Let us persevere even when our passions rear up
and attack us, attempting to imprison us within the narrow confines of our selfish-
ness; or when puerile vanity makes us think we are the center of the universe.
I am convinced that unless I look upward, unless I have Jesus, I shall never
accomplish anything. And I know that the strength to conquer myself and to win
comes from repeating that cry, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me’
(Phil 4:13), words which reflect God’s firm promise not to abandon his children
if they do not abandon him” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 213).

17-19. Using a metaphor taken from commercial life, the Apostle gives us an in-
sight into the value of generosity. He is not asking the Philippians for donations:
he can survive without them; he is seeking the good that will redound to them
on account of their almsgiving (cf. v. 17): and, given their own limited financial
resources, they are in fact being particularly generous (cf. 2 Cor 8:2).

Since God is the one who rewards men for their actions, then clearly a person
who gives alms ultimately benefits more than he who receives alms. As a reward
for their almsgiving the Philippians will receive nothing less than the eternal glory
won for us by Christ Jesus. And so St Leo the Great recommends that “whoever
gives alms should do so with detachment and joy, for the less he keep back for
himself, the greater will be his gain” (”Tenth Lenten Sermon”).

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.

7 posted on 10/11/2008 11:00:15 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Matthew 22:1-14

The Parable of the Marriage Feast

[1] And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, [2] “The kingdom of hea-
ven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, [3] and
sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they
would not come. [4] Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are in-
vited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’ [5] But they made light of it
and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, [6] while the rest seized
his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. [7] The king was angry,
and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. [8]
Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not
worthy. [9] Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as
many as you find.’ [10] And those servants went out into the streets
and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding
hall was filled with guests.

[11] “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who
had no wedding garment; [12] and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here
without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. [13] Then the king said to
the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness;
there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ [14] For many are called, but few are


1-14. In this parable Jesus reveals how intensely God the Father desires the
salvation of all men—the banquet is the Kingdom of heaven —and the mysterious
malice that lies in willingly rejecting the invitation to attend, a malice so vicious
that it merits eternal punishment. No human arguments make any sense that go
against God’s call to conversion and acceptance of faith and its consequences.

The Fathers see in the first invitees the Jewish people: in salvation history God
addresses himself first to the Israelites and then to all the Gentiles (Acts 13:46).

Indifference and hostility cause the Israelites to reject God’s loving call and there-
fore to suffer condemnation. But the Gentiles also need to respond faithfully to
the call they have received; otherwise they will suffer the fate of being cast “into
outer darkness”.

“The marriage”, says St Gregory the Great (”In Evangelia Homiliae”, 36) “is the
wedding of Christ and his Church, and the garment is the virtue of charity: a per-
son who goes into the feast without a wedding garment is someone who believes
in the Church but does not have charity.”

The wedding garment signifies the dispositions a person needs for entering the
Kingdom of heaven. Even though he belongs to the Church, if he does not have
these dispositions he will be condemned on the day when God judges all man-
kind. These dispositions essentially mean responding to grace.

13. The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the doctrine of the “last things”,
one aspect of which is covered in this verse. Referring to the eschatological di-
mension of the Church, the Council recalls our Lord’s warning about being on the
watch against the wiles of the devil, in order to resist in the evil day (cf. Eph 6:13).
“Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the
Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is
completed (cf. Heb 9:27), we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast
and be numbered among the blessed (cf. Mt 25:31-46) and not, like the wicked
and slothful servants (cf. Mt 25:26), be ordered to depart into the eternal fire (cf.
Mt 25:41), into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth’”
(”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

14. These words in no way conflict with God’s will that all should be saved (cf. 1
Tim 2:4). In his love for men, Christ patiently seeks the conversion of every single
soul, going as far as to die on the cross (cf. Mt 23:37; Lk 15:4-7). St Paul teaches
this when he says that Christ loved us and “gave himself up for us, a fragrant
offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph 5:2). Each of us can assert with the Apostle
that Christ “loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). However, God in his in-
finite wisdom respects man’s freedom: man is free to reject grace (cf. Mt 7:13-14).

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.

8 posted on 10/11/2008 11:01:09 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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