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To: All

From: Philippians 3:3-8a

A Warning About Judaizers


[3] For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in
Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. [4] Though I myself have rea-
son for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for
confidence in the flesh, I have more: [5] circumcised on the eighth day, of the
people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the
law a Pharisee, [6] as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness
under the law blameless.

The Righteousness of God Is Better Than That of the Law


[7] But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. [8] Indeed
I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ
Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count
them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.

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

2-3. It was quite common for Roman houses to have a notice at the entrance
which read “Cave canem”, Beware of the dog. St Paul uses these words as a
colorful way of telling the Philippians to be on their guard against Judaizers —
“evilworkers” who instead of helping to build Christ’s building were demolishing
it.

In the Old Testament circumcision showed that one belonged to the people of
Israel; it guaranteed the promises of salvation made by God on Sinai. The Judai-
zers were arguing that all Gentiles who came to the faith should first be circum-
cised. The Apostle calls them “those who mutilate the flesh”, because the cir-
cumcision they were promoting was something purely external, to do with the
flesh, whereas after Christ the only true circumcision is an internal one, circum-
cision of the heart, the work of the Holy Spirit, which is effected by Baptism (cf.
Rom 2:28-29).

4-11. St Paul had no opposition in Philippi; the Philippians in fact, were exem-
plary in their conduct. But prudence leads him to warn them about those who
have been causing trouble in other churches, just in case they venture into Phi-
lippi also. His adversaries cannot argue that he is ignorant of the Law and the
traditions of the chosen people. Just as on another occasion he felt he had to
make it known that he was a Roman citizen (cf. Acts 16:37; 22:25-29), now be-
cause he thinks it will help the spread of the Gospel, he spells out his Jewish
pedigree (cf. 2 Cor 11:22).

Similarly, it is not only lawful for a Christian to claim his civic rights or those
connected with his family or work position: justice or the common good may
demand that he exercise them.

8. St Paul has a great love for his people. In Romans he shows that he would be
ready to accept any sacrifice “for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen of the
flesh” (Rom 9:3f). However, he recognizes that everything in which he gloried be-
fore his conversion is worthless in comparison with the grace of knowledge of
Christ: that is the hidden treasure, the precious pearl referred to in Gospel para-
bles (cf. Mt 13: 44-46). For “once a person experiences the riches of Christ the
Lord, he looks down on everything else: property, wealth and honors he views as
filth. For there is nothing that can compare with that supreme treasure, nothing
that can be placed beside it” (”St Pius V Catechism”, IV, 11, 15).

*********************************************************************************************
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 11/08/2018 8:40:27 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 15:1-10

Parable’s of God’s Mercy


[1] Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him (Jesus).
[2] And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives
sinners and eats with them.”

The Lost Sheep


[3] So He told them this parable: [4] “What man of you, having a hundred sheep,
if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and
go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? [5] And when he has found it, he
lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. [6] And when he comes home he calls toge-
ther his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have
found my sheep which was lost.’ [7] Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in
Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who
need no repentance.

The Lost Coin


[8] “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she lost one coin, does not light
a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? [9] And when
she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice
with me, for I have found the coin which I has lost.’ [10] Just so, I tell you, there
is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

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

1-32. Jesus’ actions manifest God’s mercy: He receives sinners in order to con-
vert them. The scribes and Pharisees, who despised sinners, just cannot under-
stand why Jesus acts like this; they grumble about Him; and Jesus uses the
opportunity to tell these Mercy parables. “The Gospel writer who particularly
treats of these themes in Christ’s teaching is Luke, whose Gospel has earned
the title of ‘the Gospel of mercy’” (Bl. John Paul II, “Dives In Misericordia”, 3).

In this chapter St. Luke reports three of these parables in which Jesus describes
the infinite, fatherly mercy of God and His joy at the conversion of the sinner.

The Gospel teaches that no one is excluded from forgiveness and that sinners
can become beloved children of God if they repent and are converted. So much
does God desire the conversion of sinners that each of these parables ends with
a refrain, as it were, telling of the great joy in Heaven over sinner who repents.

1-2. This is not the first time that publicans and sinners approach Jesus (cf. Mat-
thew 9:10). They are attracted by the directness of the Lord’s preaching and by
His call to self-giving and love. The Pharisees in general were jealous of His influ-
ence over the people (cf. Matthew 26:2-5; John 11:47) a jealousy which can also
beset Christians; a severity of outlook which does not accept that, no matter how
great his sins may have been, a sinner can change and become a saint; a blind-
ness which prevents a person from recognizing and rejoicing over the good done
by others. Our Lord criticized this attitude when He replied to His disciples’ com-
plaints about others casting out devils in His name: “Do not forbid him; for no one
who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon after to speak evil of Me”
(Mark 9:39). And St. Paul rejoiced that others proclaimed Christ and even over-
looked the fact they did so out of self-interest, provided Christ was preached (cf.
Philippians 1:17-18).

5-6. Christian tradition, on the basis of this and other Gospel passages (cf. John
10:11), applies this parable to Christ, the Good Shepherd, who misses and then
seeks out the lost sheep: the Word, by becoming man, seeks out mankind,
which has strayed through sinning. Here is St. Gregory the Great’s commentary:
“He put the sheep on His shoulders because, on taking on human nature, He
burdened Himself with our sins” (”In Evangelia Homiliae”, II, 14).

The Second Vatican Council applies these verses of St. Luke to the way priests
should approach their pastoral work: “They should be mindful that by their daily
conduct and solicitude they display the reality of a truly priestly and pastoral
ministry both to believers and unbelievers alike, to Catholics and non-Catholics;
that they are bound to bear witness before all men of the truth and of the life,
and as good shepherds seek after those too who, whilst having been baptized in
the Catholic Church, have given up the practice of the Sacraments, or even fallen
away from the faith” (”Lumen Gentium”, 28). However, every member of the faith-
ful should show this same kind of concern — expressed in a fraternal way — to-
wards his brothers and sisters, towards everyone on the road to sanctification
and salvation.

7. This does not mean that our Lord does not value the perseverance of the just:
He is simply emphasizing the joy of God and the saints over the conversion of a
sinner. This is clearly a call to repentance, to never doubt God’s readiness to
forgive. “Another fall, and what a fall!... Must you give up hope? No. Humble your-
self and, through Mary, your Mother, have recourse to the merciful Love of Jesus.
A “miserere”, and lift up your heart! And now begin again” (St. J. Escriva, “The
Way”, 711).

8. This silver coin was a “drachma”, of about the same value as a denarius, that
is, approximately a day’s wage for an agricultural worker (cf. Matthew 20:2).

*********************************************************************************************
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 11/08/2018 8:41:19 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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