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From: 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12

The Lessons of Israel’s History

[1] I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea, [2] and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in
the sea, [3] and all ate the same supernatural food [4] and all drank the same su-
pernatural drink. For they drank them from the supernatural Rock which followed
them, and the Rock was Christ. [5] Nevertheless with most of them God was not
pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

[6] Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did; [10] nor
grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. [11] Now
these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our
instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. [12] Therefore let any one
who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.


1-33. St Paul now points to the lessons which the self-assured and proud Corin-
thians might draw from certain events in the history of Israel (vv. 1-13). He focu-
ses mainly on the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land: during this journey
God worked many wonders (vv. 1-4), but because of their frequent infidelity most
of the Israelites died before the journey was over (vv. 5-10); this, the Apostle con-
cludes, should serve as a lesson to us: if we rely too much on ourselves we run
the risk of being unfaithful to God and deserving rejection, like those Israelites (vv.

St John Chrysostom says that “God’s gifts to the Hebrews were figures of the
gifts of Baptism and the Eucharist which we were to be given. And the punish-
ments meted out to them are figures of the punishment which our ingratitude
will deserve; hence his reminder to be watchful” (cf. “Horn, on 1 Cor”, 23).

In the second part of the chapter (vv. 14-33), St Paul gives the final part of his
reply to the question about food offered to idols, with advice as to how to act in
certain situations.

1-4. The Exodus of the Israelites was marked by many prodigies. St Paul recalls
some of these—God leading the way by day in the form of a pillar of cloud (cf. Ex
13:21-22), the crossing of the Red Sea (cf. Ex 14:15-31); the feeding with man-
na (cf. Ex 16:13-15) and the drinking water which Moses caused to flow out of a
rock (cf. Ex 17:1-7; Num 20:2-13).

St Paul sees the land and the sea as symbolizing two basic elements in Chris-
tian Baptism—the Holy Spirit and the water (cf. “St Pius V Catechism”, II, 2, 9).
By following Moses in the cloud and through the sea, the Israelites were some-
how linked to him, into anticipating the way the Christian is fully incorporated in-
to Jesus through Baptism (cf. Rom 6:3-11).

St Paul calls the manna and the water from the rock “supernatural” food and
drink because these are symbols of the Eucharist (cf. Jn 6:48-51). The Fathers,
in commenting on these verses, stress the superiority of the Eucharist over what
prefigures it: “Consider now which of the two foods is the more sublime [...]. The
manna came down from heaven, it [the Eucharist] is to be found higher than hea-
ven; the manna belonged to heaven, (the Eucharist) to the Lord of heaven; the
manna rotted away if it was kept for another day, (the Eucharist) knows no cor-
ruption because whoever tastes it with the right dispositions will never experience
corruption. For them [the Israelites] the water sprang up from the rock; for you
blood flows from Christ. The water quenched the (Israelites’) thirst for a short while;
the blood cleanses you forever. The Jews drank and were thirsty; you, once you
have drunk, can no longer feel thirst. In their case everything that happened was
symbolic; in yours it is real. If you are amazed by it and yet it was no more than
a shadow, how much more awesome must that reality be whose mere shadow
amazes you” (St Ambrose, “Treatise on the Mysteries”, I, 8, 48).

“The rock was Christ”: in the Old Testament Yahweh was at times described as
the rock (cf. Deut 32:4, 15, 18: 2 Sam 22:32; 23:3; Is 17:10; etc.); as he does
elsewhere (cf., e.g., Rom 9:33; 10:11-13; Eph 4:8). St Paul here applies to Jesus
Christ the prerogatives of Yahweh, thereby showing his divinity. Elsewhere in the
New Testament our Lord is spoken of as the cornerstone (cf. Mt 21:42; Acts 4:
11; Eph 2:20). By referring to the rock as “following them” St Paul may be citing
—without accepting it—a rabbinical legend which claimed that the rod from which
the water gushed continued to stay with the Israelites in the desert.

5-10. In spite of all the marvels God kept doing for the Israelites during the Exo-
dus, only a few of those who left Egypt managed to enter the Promised Land (cf.
Num 26:65). St Paul lists some of the repeated infidelities of the people of Israel
which brought God’s punishment upon them—idolatry (cf. Ex 32), sexual immora-
lity (cf. Num 25), grumbling against God and Moses (cf., for example, Ex 15:23-
25; 16:2-3; 17:2-7; Num 21:4-9; 17:6-15).

11-13. The events in the history of Israel mentioned in the Old Testament foretell
things which will happen when Christ comes (cf. note on 1 Cor 10:1-4); they are
also instructive for us. Here St Paul emphasizes that however many benefits God
showers on us, no one should think that his eternal salvation is assured. “The
greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the
sight of the Lord” (Sir 3:20); one must continually implore God’s help and not re-
ly on one’s own strength.

At the same time St Paul recalls God’s faithfulness (cf. also Phil 1:6; 1 Thess 5:
24; 2 Thess 3:3): God never allows us to be tempted beyond our strength, he al-
ways gives us the graces we need to win out. “If anyone plead human weakness
to excuse himself for not loving God, it should be explained that he who demands
our love pours into our hearts by the Holy Spirit the fervor of his love (cf. Rom 5:5);
and this good spirit our heavenly Father gives to those that ask him (cf. Lk 9:13).
With reason, therefore, did St Augustine pray: “Give what thou commandest, and
command what thou pleasest” (”Confessions”, X, 29,31 and 37). As, then, God
is ever ready to help us, especially since the death of Christ the Lord, by which
the prince of this world was cast out, there is no reason why anyone should be
disheartened by the difficulty of the undertaking. To him who loves, nothing is dif-
ficult” (”St Pius V Catechism”, III, 1, 7).

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 03/02/2013 7:53:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 13:1-9

The Need for Repentance

[1] There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. [2] And he answered them,
“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Gali-
leans, because they suffered thus? [3] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you
will all likewise perish. [4] Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell
and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others
who dwelt in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all like-
wise perish.”

Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

[6] And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and
he came seeking fruit on it and found none. [7] And he said to the vinedresser,
‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none.
Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ [8] And he answered him, ‘Let it
alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. [9] And if it bears
fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”


1-5. Our Lord used current events in his teaching. The Galileans referred to here
may be the same as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (5:37). The episode
was fairly typical of the times Jesus lived in, with Pilate sternly suppressing any
sign of civil unrest. We do not know anything about the accident at Siloam other
than what the Gospel tells us.

The fact that these people died in this way does not mean that they were worse
than others, for God does not always punish sinners in this life (cf. Jn 9:3). All
of us are sinners, meriting a much worse punishment than temporal misfortune:
we merit eternal punishment; but Christ has come to atone for our sins, he has
opened the gates of heaven. We must repent of our sins; otherwise God will not
free us from the punishment we deserve. “When you meet with suffering, the
Cross, your thought should be: what is this compared with what I deserve?” (St.
J. Escriva, “The Way”, 690)

3. “He tells us that, without Holy Baptism, no one will enter the Kingdom of
heaven (cf. Jn 3:5); and, elsewhere, that if we do not repent we will all perish (Lk
13:3). This is all easily understood. Ever since man sinned, all his senses rebel
against reason; therefore, if we want the flesh to be controlled by the spirit and
by reason, it must be mortified; if we do not want the body to be at war with the
soul, it and all our senses need to be chastened; if we desire to go to God, the
soul with all its faculties needs to be mortified” (St John Mary Vianney, “Selec-
ted Sermons”, Ash Wednesday).

6-9. Our Lord stresses that we need to produce plenty of fruit (cf. Lk 8:11-15) in
keeping with the graces we have received (cf. Lk 12:48). But he also tells us that
God waits patiently for this fruit to appear; he does not want the death of the sin-
ner; he wants him to be converted and to live (Ezek 33:11) and, as St Peter tea-
ches, he is “forbearing towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that
all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). But God’s clemency should not lead us
to neglect our duties and become lazy and, comfort-seeking, living sterile lives.
He is merciful, but he is also just and he will punish failure to respond to his

“There is one case that we should be especially sorry about—that of Christians
who could do more and don’t; Christians who could live all the consequences of
their vocation as children of God, but refuse to do so through lack of generosity.
We are partly to blame, for the grace of faith has not been given us to hide but
to share with others (cf. Mt 5:15f). We cannot forget that the happiness of these
people, in this life and in the next, is at stake. The Christian life is a divine won-
der with immediate promises of satisfaction and serenity—but on condition that
we know how to recognize the gift of God (cf. Jn 4:10) and be generous, not
counting the cost” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 147).

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.

6 posted on 03/02/2013 7:54:11 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies ]

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