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To: All

From: 1 John 2:12-17

The Apostle’s Confidence in the Faithful

[12] I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his sake
[13] I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
[14] I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Detachment from the World

[15] Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world,
love for the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of
the world. [17] And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does
the will of God abides for ever.


12-14. These verses, which are a kind of aside, are not easy to translate. The
main difficulty has to do with the meaning of the expression, “I am writing (or I
insist) because”. The Greek conjunction may have an explanatory meaning (as
the New Vulgate translates it): “I am writing to you that your sins have been for-
given...”; in which case the Apostle would be trying to build up the Christians’
resistance to the arguments of the heretics; as if he were saying “You can be
sure that your sins have been forgiven...”, that is, that it is you not they, who
are Christians.

However, it is also correct in the context to understand it as being the causal. In
this way the Apostle is invoking his authority over these Christians, confident that
they will listen to him; it is as if he were saying, “I can tell you, and you have the
duty and the right to pay heed to me, because your sins have been forgiven...”.

The way he addresses his readers, calling them little children, children, fathers,
young men, is also open to various interpretations. The first two (little children,
children) are usually taken to mean all Christians, without distinction of age or
the length of time they have been in the Church; whereas the other two (fathers,
young men) would be addressed to those particular groups. However, it is pos-
sible that these are simply rhetorical devices, in which case what is said to
young people is perfectly applicable to older people, and vice versa; this is the
way St Augustine understood it: “Remember that you are fathers; if you forget
Him who is from the beginning, you will have lost your paternity. Also see your-
selves over and over again as young men: strive to win; win so as to be crowned;
be humble in order not to succumb in the struggle” (”In Epist. Joann. Ad Par-
thos”, 2, 7).

“Because you know him who is from the beginning”: a reference to Jesus Christ,
as distinct from the Father, who appears at the start of v. 14. St John puts em-
phasis on knowing, which covers not just theoretical knowledge but more parti-
cularly a knowledge that comes from faith and love (cf. note on 2: 3-6).

13. “The evil one”: the devil is explicitly mentioned several times in this letter; he
is the enemy of the children of God (2:14; 5:18); a sinner from the beginning (3:8);
and has the world in his power (5:18-19; cf. Jn 16:11).

“The Apostle writes: ‘You have overcome the evil one’! And so it is. It is neces-
sary to keep going back to the origin of evil and of sin in the history of mankind
and the universe, just as Christ went back to these same roots in the Paschal
Mystery of his Cross and Resurrection. There is no need to be afraid to call the
first agent of evil by his name — the Evil One. The strategy which he used and
continues to use is that of not revealing himself, so that the evil implanted by
him from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from sys-
tems and from relationships between individuals, from classes and nations — so
as also to become ever more a ‘structural’ sin, ever less identifiable as ‘personal
sin’. In other words, so that man may feel in a certain sense ‘freed’ from sin but
at the same time be ever more deeply immersed in it” (John Paul II, “Letter to
Youth”, 31 March 1985, 15).

15-17. The term “world” has a number of meanings in Sacred Scripture (cf. note
on Jn 17:14-16). Here it has the pejorative sense of enemy of God and man (cf.
also note on Jas 1:26-27), and includes everything that is opposed to God — the
kingdom of sin. Following Christ involves a radical choice: “No one can serve
two masters” (Mt 6:24); “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (Jas 4:4).

“The pride of life”: this is the usual translation in Latin. The original Greek says
more or less “the arrogance of earthly things”; the two translations are compa-
tible because reliance on material things leads to pride.

The list St John gives here of the signs of a worldly life summarizes everything
opposed to fidelity to the love of God. “Lust of the flesh is not limited to disor-
dered sensuality. It also means softness, laziness bent on the easiest, most
pleasurable way, any apparent shortcut, even at the expense of fidelity to God
[...]. We can and ought to fight always to overcome the lust of the flesh, be-
cause, if we are humble, we will always be granted the grace of our Lord.

“St John tells us that the other enemy is the lust of the eyes, a deep-seated
avariciousness that leads us to appreciate only what we can touch. Such eyes
are glued to earthly things and, consequently, they are blind to supernatural re-
alities. We can, then, use this expression of Sacred Scripture to mean that dis-
ordered desire for material things, as well as that deformation which views every-
thing around us — other people, the circumstances of our life and of our age —
in a merely human way.

“Then the eyes of our soul grow dull. Reason proclaims itself capable of under-
standing everything, without the aid of God. This is a subtle temptation which
hides behind the power of our intellect, given by our Father God to man so that
he might know and love him freely. Seduced by this temptation, the human
mind appoints itself the center of the universe, being thrilled with the prospect
that ‘you will be like God’ (Gen 3:5). So filled with love for itself, it turns its back
on the love of God.

“In this way does our existence fall prey unconditionally to the third enemy:
pride of life. It’s not merely a question of passing thoughts of vanity or self-love,
it’s a state of general conceit. Let’s not deceive ourselves, for this is the worst of
all evils, the root of every false step. The fight against pride has to be a constant
battle, to such an extent that someone once said that pride only disappears twen-
ty-four hours after each of us has died. It is the arrogance of the Pharisee whom
God cannot transform because he finds in him the obstacle of self-sufficiency. It
is the haughtiness which leads to despising others, to lording it over them, to
mistreating them. For ‘when pride comes, then comes disgrace’ (Prov 11:2)” (St.
J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 5-6).

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 12/29/2013 7:57:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 2:22-40

Anna’s Prophecy

[36] And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of
Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from
her virginity, [37] and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart
from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] And
coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all
who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Childhood of Jesus

[39] And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. [40] And the child grew
and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.


36-38. Anna’s testimony is very similar to Simeon’s; like him, she too has been
awaiting the coming of the Messiah her whole life long, in faithful service of God,
and she too is rewarded with the joy of seeing Him. “She spoke of Him,” that is,
of the Child — praising God in her prayer and exhorting others to believe that this
Child is the Messiah.

Thus, the birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three diffe-
rent ways — first, by the shepherds, after the angel’s announcement; second, by
the Magi, who were guided by a star; third, by Simeon and Anna, who were in-
spired by the Holy Spirit.

All who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no
matter how insignificant their lives seem in men’s eyes, become instruments the
Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to others. In His plan of redemption God
avails of these simple souls to do much good to all mankind.

39. Before their return to Nazareth, St. Matthew tells us (2:13-23), the Holy
Family fled to Egypt where they stayed for some time.

40. “Our Lord Jesus Christ as a child, that is, as one clothed in the fragility of
human nature, had to grow and become stronger but as the eternal Word of God
He had no need to become stronger or to grow. Hence He is rightly described
as full of wisdom and grace” (St. Bede, “In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.”).

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 12/29/2013 7:58:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies ]

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