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From: 1 John 2:29-3:6

Not Listening to Heretics (Continuation)

[29] If you know that he is righteous, thou may be sure that every one who
does right is born of him.

We are Children of God

[1] See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of
God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did
not know him. [2] Beloved we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear
what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for
we shall see him as he is.

A Child of God Does Not Sin

[3] And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
[4] Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. [5]
You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. [6] No
one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.


1-24. This entire chapter shows how moved the Apostle is when he contem-
plates the marvelous gift of divine filiation. The Holy Spirit, who is the author of
all Sacred Scripture, has desired John to pass on to us this unique revelation:
we are children of God (v. 1).

It is not easy to divide the chapter into sections, because the style is very cyclic
and colloquial and includes many repetitions and further thoughts which make for
great vividness and freshness. However, we can distinguish an opening proclama-
tion of the central message (vv. 1-2) and emphasis on two requirements of divine
filiation — rejection of sin in any shape or form (vv. 3-10), and brotherly love lived
to the full (vv. 11-24).

1. “We should be called children of God”: the original Hebrew expression, which
reads “we are called...”, is also used by our Lord in the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:9):
“to be called” means the same as “to be called by God”; and in the language
of the Bible, when God gives someone a name he is not simply conferring a ti-
tle but is causing the thing that the name indicates (cf., e.g., Gen 17:5), for the
word of God is efficacious, it does what it says it will do. Hence St John’s ad-
ding: “and so we are”.

Therefore, it is not just a matter of a metaphorical title, or a legal fiction, or adop-
tion human-style: divine filiation is an essential feature of a Christian’s life, a mar-
velous fact whereby God gratuitously gives men a strictly supernatural dignity, an
intimacy with God whereby they are “domestici Dei”, “members of the household
of God” (Eph 219). This explains the tone of amazement and joy with which St
John passes on this revelation.

This sense of divine filiation is one of the central points in the spirituality of Opus
Dei. Its founder wrote: “We do not exist in order to pursue just any happiness.
We have been called to penetrate the intimacy of God’s own life, to know and
love God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and to love also—in
that same love of the one God in three divine Persons—the angels and all men.

“This is the great boldness of the Christian faith—to proclaim the value and digni-
ty of human nature and to affirm that we have been created to obtain the dignity
of children of God, through the grace that raises us up to a supernatural level. An
incredible boldness it would be, were it not founded on the promise of salvation
given us by God the Father, confirmed by the blood of Christ, and reaffirmed and
made possible by the constant action of the Holy Spirit” (”Christ Is Passing By”,

“The world does not know us, (because) it did not know him”: these words are
reminiscent of our Lord’s at the Last Supper: “the hour is coming when whoever
kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because
they have not known the Father, nor me” (Jn 16:2-3). Divine filiation brings with
it communion and a mysterious identification between Christ and the Christian.

2. The indescribable gift of divine filiation, which the world does not know (v. 1),
is not fully experienced by Christians, because the seeds of divine life which it
contains will only reach their full growth in eternal life, when we see him “as he
is”, “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12); “this is eternal life, that they know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (Jn 17:3). In that direct sight of
God as he is, and of all things in God, the life of grace and divine filiation achieve
their full growth. Man is not naturally able to see God face to face; he needs to
be enlightened by a special light, which is given the technical theological name
of “lumen gloriae”, light of glory. This does not allow him to “take in” all God (no
created thing could do that), but it does allow him to look at God directly.

Commenting on this verse, the “St Pius V Catechism” explains that “beatitude
consists of two things—that we shall behold God such as he is in his own nature
and substance; and that we ourselves shall become, as it were, gods. For those
who enjoy God while they retain their own nature, assume a certain admirable
and almost divine form, so as to seem gods rather than men” (I, 13, 7).

“When he appears”: two interpretations are possible, given that in Greek the
verb has no subject: “when (what we shall be) is revealed we shall be as he is”;
or, as the New Vulgate translates it, “when he (Christ) is revealed we will be like
him (Christ)”. The second interpretation is the more likely.

3. “Purifies himself”: Christian hope, which is grounded on Christ, is something
active and it moves the Christian to “purify himself”. This verb is evocative of the
ritual purifications required of priests in the Old Testament prior to engaging in di-
vine service (cf. Ex 19:10; Num 8:21; Acts 21:24); here and in other places in the
New Testament, it means interior purification from sins, that is, righteousness,
holiness (1 Pet 1:22; Jas 4:8). Our model is Jesus Christ, “as he is pure”; he is
the One who has never had sin, the Righteous One (1 Jn 2:29; 3:7); a Christian
has no other model of holiness, as Jesus himself said: “Learn from me” (Mt 11:
29; cf. Jn 14:6). “We have to learn from him, from Jesus, who is our only model.
If you want to go forward without stumbling or wandering off the path, then all you
have to do is walk the road he walked placing your feet in his footprints and ente-
ring into his humble and patient Heart, there to drink from the wellsprings of his
commandments and of his love. In a word, you must identify yourself with Jesus
Christ and try to become really and truly another Christ among your fellow men”
(St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 128).

4-5. “Sin is lawlessness”: although this is not strictly speaking a definition, it
does convey a basic idea: every sin is more than a transgression of a precept
of the moral law; it is above all, an offense against God, the author of that law,
a despising and a rejection of his will.

To understand the scope of this assertion, one needs to start from the fact that
man has been created by God and is ever-dependent on him. So, every sin in-
volves a pretentious desire to be like God (cf. Gen 3:5), to build one’s life without
reference to, or even in opposition to, God. Everyone who sins severs his alle-
giance to God and takes the devil’s side. In this the mystery and “lawlessness”
of sin consists. “This expression,” Bl. John Paul II explains, “which echoes what
St Paul writes concerning the mystery of evil (cf. 2 Thess 2:7), helps us to grasp
the obscure and intangible element hidden in sin. Clearly, sin is a product of
man’s freedom. But deep within its human reality there are factors at work which
place it beyond the merely human, in the border-area where man’s conscience,
will and sensitivity are in contact with the dark forces which, according to St
Paul, are active in the world almost to the point of ruling it (cf. Rom 7:7-24; Eph
2:2; 6:12)” (”Reconciliatio et Paenitentiae”, 14).

Moreover, now that Christ has brought about our Redemption, every sin implies
an offense to our Redeemer; it means crucifying again the Son of God (cf. Heb
6:6). So, St John reminds us about the main purpose of the Incarnation: “he ap-
peared to take away sins” (v. 5). There is an echo here of the words the Apostle
heard the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of
the world!” (Jn 1:29).

Thus, as we profess in the Creed at Mass, “for us men and for our salvation he
(the Word) came down from heaven”. Being true God and therefore completely
exempt from sin (v. 5), he took on our human nature, to burden himself with our
sins and nail them to the Cross. Therefore, the Christian, ransomed from the po-
wer of the devil by the precious blood of Christ, and intimately united
to him by the life of grace, has broken with sin once for 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 01/02/2014 7:53:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: John 1:29-34

The Witness of John (Continuation)

[29] The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [30] This is He
of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for He was before
me.’ [31] I myself did not know Him; but for this I came baptizing with water,
that He might be revealed to Israel.” [32] And John bore witness, “I saw the Spi-
rit descend as a dove from Heaven, and it remained on Him. [33] I myself did not
know Him; but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom
you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy
Spirit.’ [34] And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.”


29. For the first time in the Gospel Christ is called the “Lamb of God”. Isaiah had
compared the sufferings of the Servant of Yahweh, the Messiah, with the sacrifice
of a lamb (cf. Isaiah 53:7); and the blood of the paschal lamb smeared on the door
of houses had served to protect the firstborn of the Israelites in Egypt (cf. Exodus
12:6-7): all this was a promise and prefiguring of the true Lamb, Christ, the victim
in the sacrifice of Calvary on behalf of all mankind. This is why St. Paul will say
that “Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The ex-
pression “Lamb of God” also suggests the spotless innocence of the Redeemer
(cf. 1 Peter 1:18-20; 1 John 3:5).

The sacred text says “the sin of the world”, in the singular, to make it absolutely
clear that every kind of sin is taken away: Christ came to free us from Original
Sin, which in Adam affected all men, and from all personal sins.

The Book of Revelation reveals to us that Jesus is victorious and glorious in Hea-
ven as the slain lamb (cf. Revelation 5:6-14), surrounded by saints, martyrs and
virgins (Revelation 7:9, 14; 14:1-5), who render Him the praise and glory due Him
as God (Revelation 7:10).

Since Holy Communion is a sharing in the sacrifice of Christ, priests say these
words of the Baptist before administering it, to encourage the faithful to be grate-
ful to our Lord for giving Himself up to death to save us and for giving Himself to
us as nourishment for our souls.

30-31. John the Baptist here asserts Jesus’ superiority by saying that He existed
before him, even though He was born after him. Thereby he shows us the divinity
of Christ, who was generated by the Father from all eternity and born of the Virgin
Mary in time. It is as if the Baptist were saying: “Although I was born before Him,
He is not limited by the ties of His birth; for although He is born of His mother in
time, He was generated by His Father outside of time” (St. Gregory the Great,
“In Evangelia Homiliae”, VII).

By saying what he says in verse 31, the Precursor does not mean to deny his
personal knowledge of Jesus (cf. Luke 1:36 and Matthew 3:14), but to make it
plain that God revealed to him the moment when he should publicly proclaim Je-
sus as Messiah and Son of God, and that he also understood that his own mis-
sion as precursor had no other purpose than to bear witness to Jesus Christ.

32-34. To emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Evangelist includes here the
Precursor’s testimony regarding Jesus’ Baptism (cf. the other Gospels, which de-
scribe in more detail what happened on this occasion: Matthew 3:13-17 and para-
graph). It is one of the key points in our Lord’s life, in which the mystery of the
Blessed Trinity is revealed (cf. note on Matthew 3:16).

The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of whom it is said in Genesis 1:2 that He
was moving over the face of the waters. Through this sign of the dove, the Isaiah
prophecies (11:2-5: 42:1-2) are fulfilled which say that the Messiah will be full of
the power of the Holy Spirit. The Baptist points to the great difference between
the baptism he confers and Christ’s Baptism; in John 3, Jesus will speak about
this new Baptism in water and in the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:5; Titus 3:5).

“The Son of God”: it should be pointed out that in the original text this expression
carries the definite article, which means that John the Baptist confesses before
his listeners the supernatural and transcendent character of Christ’s messiahship
— very far removed from the politico-religious notion which Jewish leaders had

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 01/02/2014 7:54:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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