« July 2005 |
Thursday, June 23, 2005
The Lectio Divina
"Lectio Divina" is the particular way by which Catholics read the
Scriptures. It is a reading of the Scriptures that seeks to encounter
God through the sacramentality of the Word. As such, it is not mere
understanding, it is "knowing" the Word of God in the spirit of prayer.
It is in this way that the Catechism explains it as the first
"wellspring of prayer" (nn. 2653-4)
The Church "forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian
faithful ... to learn 'the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ'
(Phil. 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures... Let them
remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of sacred
Scripture so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For 'we
speak to him when we pray; we listen to Him when we read the divine
The above paragraph from the Catechism (n. 2653) puts together two lines
from Dei Verbum par. 25. The quotation from Phil. 3:8
about "the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ" should be -- for the
Christian -- the life-project. St. Paul is not referring here to a
knowledge that is merely informational; he refers to a knowledge that is
existential, that is, one that touches one's being, transforming it in
the power of the resurrection. The second quotation from St. Ambrose
puts the reading of the Scriptures within an ongoing dialogue with God
in prayer. Let it be remembered that it was St. Ambrose whom Augustine
writes about in the Confessions who alternated work with sacred reading
throughout the day.
In paragraph 2654, the Catechism puts the reading of Scriptures within
the monastic tradition of the lectio:
The spiritual writers, paraphrasing Matthew 7:7, summarize in this way
the dispositions of the heart nourished by the word of God in prayer: "Seek
in reading and you will
find in meditating; knock
in mental prayer and it
will be opened to you by contemplation.
Reading must lead to meditation, meditation to prayer and prayer to
contemplation -- the ladder of the lectio divina. Guy the Carthusian
explains how the steps of this ladder lead from one to the other.
Interesting is the process that he describes. One reads by pronouncing
the words and listening to them. Meditation is understanding what the
words or phrases mean. This is a slow process likened to the act of
masticating that involves an internal dialogue between the reader and
the author of the text about the text. Once the text is understood, one
can now pray "from" the text: by petition, adoration, praise or
thanksgiving. Finally, when the Holy Spirit allows it, the reader is
given a glimpse of the mystery thus understood. This is the final stage
of the reading: contemplation -- a glance into God Himself.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
In the early Church, prophecy was considered a charism that was given
for the building up of the community of the faith (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28;
Eph. 4:11). In fact, Paul and Barnabas and even Silas were numbered
among these (Acts 13:1; 15:32). That Jesus himself will be warning his
disciples about false prophets (Mt. 7:15) is interesting in that by the
time the synoptic Gospels were being written (70-90 AD), such false
prophets have arisen to deceive many (Mt. 24:11). In Matthew 24:24,
"False Christs" are even mentioned with "false prophets."
In Acts 13:7-8, one finds the case of a false prophet from among the
Jews who tried prevent the conversion of a high official to
Christianity. But in 2 Peter 2:1, it is clear that the false prophets
will be coming from within the community of faith itself. In 1 Jn.
4:1ff, John says that the false prophets will "go out"; and these are
mentioned together with the anti-christs who have gone out from the
community of faith itself. By the time the Apocalypse was completed the
false prophet has become the ally of all that goes against the Lamb and
His own (cf. Rev. 16:13; 19:20;20:10)
In Matthew 7:16, Jesus tells his disciples the way to distinguish false
prophets: by their fruits ye shall know them. The "fruit" referred to
here are fruits of righteousness that correspond to Paul's "fruits of
the Spirit" (cf. Gal. 5). In 2 Peter 2:1ff one finds a list of the kind
of fruits these false prophets bear:
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there
shall be among you lying teachers who shall bring in sects of
perdition and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves
swift destruction. And many shall follow their riotousness, through
whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through
covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.
... And especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of
uncleanness and despise government: audacious, self willed, they fear
not to bring in sects, blaspheming. ...But these men, as irrational
beasts, naturally tending to the snare and to destruction, blaspheming
those things which they know not, shall perish in their corruption:
Receiving the reward of their injustice, counting for a pleasure the
delights of a day: stains and spots, sporting themselves to excess,
rioting in their feasts with you: Having eyes full of adultery and of
sin that ceaseth not: alluring unstable souls: having their heart
exercised with covetousness: children of malediction.
Leaving the right way, they have gone astray, ... These are
fountains without water and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the
mist of darkness is reserved. For, speaking proud words of vanity,
they allure by the desires of fleshly riotousness those who for a
little while escape, such as converse in error: Promising them
liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption.
For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave. For
if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and
overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the
former. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of
justice than, after they have known it, to turn back from that holy
commandment which was delivered to them. For, that of the true proverb
has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit; and: The sow
that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Friday, June 17, 2005
The Equivocation of Ka Sandoval and Ka Bularan (INC) II
We have seen how Webster's
given definition of equivocation applies to the way Ka Sandoval and
Ka Bularan explained Acts 14:11 using a Filipino translation that they
made of the expression "The gods have come down to us in human
form." Another way of equivocating is when you use a word with two
or more meanings that derive from different stages in its historical
development. Here is an example:
Years ago, two of our seminarians got ordained to the priesthood and
their picture together was published in our newsletter. Below the
picture was a caption that read: "Our new priests: one is happy
and the other is gay." Everyone got a good laugh at that one,
even the one who was referred to as "gay." What made the caption funny
was the double meaning in the word "gay". Now, when we say "gay" we
would normally mean a person with a homosexual orientation. There was a
time, however, when "gay" was the synonym for "happy."
The same equivocation is employed by Ka Sandoval and Ka Bularan in their
explanation that Jesus is a creature -- a nilalang -- of
God. Their explanation of this aspect was presented as a reaction to Mr.
Soriano's alleged contention that there is no text in the Bible where it
is stated that Christ was created by God. To belie this statement, Ka
Bularan brought out a translation -- allegedly by a certain Juan
Trinidad, SJ -- of Mt. 1:18: "Si Maria ang natagpuang nagdadalangtao, lalang
ng Espiritu Santo." The choice of the translation again favors their
contention that Jesus was a creature of God and works well with the
Pauline statement in Col. 1:15 where He is described as "first-born of
all creation" (in the Filipino translation that they make, "ang panganay
ng lahat ng nilalang").
So where is the equivocation here? The phrase "lalang ng
Espiritu Santo" is, for any Catholic, the equivalent of the English
"by the power of the Holy Spirit" but Ka Sandoval and Ka Bularan would
like to make it appear that it means "created by the Holy Spirit." This
is greatly misleading. What made Juan Trinidad translate Mt. 1:18 in
that way? I would suggest this: the Filipino version of the Nicene Creed
which says "nagkatawangtao Siya, lalang ng Espiritu Santo"
-- conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit ... and
became man. I would further suggest that the meaning of "lalang",
now an unused Filipino word except in Church should be investigated.
Juan Trinidad saw it as the equivalent of the Latin phrase "de
Spiritu Sancto" which has its equivalent in the Nicene confession
of faith. Words change meanings throughout time. Ka Bularan and Ka
Sandoval made use of an old Filipino translation of Mt. 1:18 made by a
long dead Jesuit to prove that Jesus was created by God.
Posted by bible student
at 11:47 AM
Edited on: Friday, June 17, 2005 12:00 PM
The Equivocation of Ka Michael and Ka Bularan of the Iglesya Ni Manalo I
The Websters New World Collegiate Dictionary defines "equivocate" as "to
use equivocal terms in order to deceive, mislead, hedge, etc.; be
deliberately ambiguous. The synonym given is "to lie". A related word is
"equivocal", that is, (1) that can have more than one interpreetation
having two or more meanings; purposely vague misleading or ambiguous;
(2) uncertain;undecided;doubtful, and (3) suspicious; questionable.
It is good to remember these two words because this is the best way to
describe what the ministers of the Iglesya Ni Cristo (1914) did in their
program yesterday when they talked about the nature of Christ.
It is known that the Iglesya Ni Cristo (1914) is one of those
"Christian" cults who profess the belief that Christ is a human being --
and therefore a creature (nilalang) of God -- who was later on
"promoted" to the right hand of God to be sole mediator of salvation. In
their exposition of this belief yesterday, their argument moved in three
1. Show the texts where Christ himself says that he is "only man"
2. Show the text where one can find proof that the belief in "God became
man" is pagan in origin, and -- to strengthen this position -- show that
"God" and "man" cannot coexist in God.
3. Show that Christ did not pre-exist, that he was "nilalang"
Apart from the fact that Ka Sandoval and Ka Bularan explained only the
texts that favored their opinion, they even equivocated on the main
texts that they used. And they did it mainly in two ways.
One can equivocate by making use of a word or phrase with two or more
possible meanings as if it meant only one thing. Example. If I say
"Its BARK is loud", one might think of a dog's characteristic sound (in
Filipino, tahol). But how does one answer this question: "Is
there a contradiction between the phrases: "Its BARK is loud" and "Its
BARK is silent?" One who thinks that BARK is a sound only, might answer
that there is. But if I say that BARK in "Its BARK is silent" refers to
the BARK of a tree, then there isn't a contradition. The one word
"bark" simply means two different things.
When presenting their proofs that the belief "God became man" was pagan
in origin, Ka Bularan and Ka Sandoval made use of a Filipino translation
of Acts 14:11 which they flashed on the screen as: "Ang mga diyos ay
bumaba sa atin na nagkatawang tao." The immediate context
of the statement is the reaction of those who witnessed Paul's healing
of a lame man in Lystra (Acts 14:8f). The choice of the passage heavily
favors their contention that the belief in "God made man" is not
Christian but pagan. However, the main Filipino translations in use
today, does not have that kind of translation. Here are the
translations from the TPV and Ang Bibliya:
Ang Bibliya: Ang mga dios ay nagsibaba sa atin sa anyo ng mga
TPV: Nanaog sa atin ang mga dios sa
These renderings agree in substance with modern English translations of
the Bible, like the New American Bible (NAB), the New Living Translation
(NLT), and the New International Version (NIV):
NAB: The gods have come down to us in human form.
gods have come down to us in human form.
NLT: The gods have
come down to us in human bodies.
In all these translations, the idea is that the people of Lystra saw
Paul and Barnabas as gods in human appearance. Hence, the
protest of both apostles to the way people began to treat them (cf. vv.
Where then does the equivocation occur in this explanation? The answer
is in the phrase "nagkatawang tao" ; this is a stock phrase
in the Filipino Catholic's confession of faith: "nagkatawang
tao Siya, lalang ng Espiritu Santo" a translation that was meant to
reflect the Creed of Nicea's "conceived by the power of the Holy
Spirit...and he became man." This is a clear example of equivocation
using the Filipino language for their benefit: "nagkatawang tao" in
theologically imprecise Filipino can sound like a direct translation of
the NLT's rendering that meant "having human appearance" or as intended
by the Catholic Church, an expression referring to the Incarnation. But
in the exposition of the INC ministers, "nagkatawang tao" in Acts 14:11
becomes the origin of the doctrine of the Incarnation, which is
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Ex. 16:18 In Paul's Plea For Generosity
2 Cor. 8:1-15 is the introduction to Paul's collection memo for the
Corinthians which begins in 8:1 and ends in 9:15. In this memo he
informs the Corinthians that Titus and some other designated assistants
(8:18.23) will be making the rounds and collecting the donations of the
Christian communities for the mother Church in Jerusalem. In 8:9-15,
Paul makes a plea for generosity. Drawing from the example of the Lord
Himself (v. 9) and reminding the Corinthians how they were the first to
decide that a collection be made for the mother Church (v. 10), Paul
encourages them to continue what they've begun. Then he writes something
that is valid even today for individuals or groups who are asked for
As long as readiness is there, a man is acceptable with whatever he can
afford; never mind what is beyond his means. This does not mean that to
give relief to others you ought to make things difficult for yourselves:
it is a question of balancing what happens to be your surplus now
against their present need, and one day they may have something to spare
that will supply your own need. That is how we strike a balance: as
scripture says: The man who gathered much had none too much, the
man who gathered little did not go short.
The quotation from Scriptures is actually from Exodus 16:18, an episode
from the "manna" incident. There the Israelites were instructed to
collect manna that will be sufficient for a day. Some of the Israelites,
motivated by greed, gathered more than was necessary; some others were
sparing in the amount of manna they gathered. At the end of the day,
however, everyone discovered that each had gathered what was sufficient.
In short, whether one gathered more or less, there was enough manna for
each one to satisfy the day's hunger.
This miracle of the ever sufficient food from heaven is interpreted in
the Book of Deuteronomy as a lesson about the Word of God:
He fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to
make you understand that man does not live on bread alone but that man
lives on everything that comes from the mouth of Yahweh. (Deut. 8:3)
God provides what is sufficient; and He provides according to His Word,
human greed (getting more than is sufficient) and laziness (getting less
than is sufficient) notwithstanding. This would be one of the meanings
of the manna incident in Ex. 16:18 if understood from within the Mosaic
discourse in Deut. 8:3. But Paul seems to draw a social implication
from Ex. 16:18, an implication that is suggested by the whole of verses
The sons of Israel did this (cf. verse 16). They gathered it some more,
some less. When they measured in an omer what they had gathered,
the man who had gathered more had not too much, the man who had gathered
less had not too little. Each found he had gathered what he needed.
The omer that is mentioned here is a measuring device that
can contain one-tenth of an ephah (16:36). I would suggest that since
everyone was required to keep only the manna that can be contained in an omer,
those who had gathered more than an omer gave the extra manna to those
who had less than an omer. Thus, in the end, each Israelite had
manna that was equivalent to one omer. It is the "balance" that
Paul mentions in 2 Cor. 8:9-15: one's lack now will be filled up by the
abundance of the other so that no one will be in need.
We are daily faced by inequalities in our society. If we look hard at
the things we have, we may find out that we have more than we need. We
may even find out that we have in abundance is precisely what another
lacks in his/her need. Perhaps it is time we give up what we have in
abundance to fill up the need we find in others so that we can
contribute to the betterment of our society.
Monday, June 13, 2005
2 Corinthians For The 11th Week
From June 13-18 we have the following reading selections from 2
Monday, 2 Cor. 6:1-10
Paul is here continuing an argument that he had begun in 5:11. His
ministry is that of applying the graces of the reconciliating already
effected by Christ to the Corinthians. He now invites the Corinthians
to open their hearts to himself and to be reconciled to God. To
himself, because Paul has shown himself to be a minister of that
reconciliation effected by God in Christ (5:18-20.6:3-10). To God,
because He is the one who, ultimately, calls the Corinthians to the
grace of reconciliation (cf. 6:1).
Tuesday, 2 Cor. 8:1-9
The beginning of Paul's discourse on the collection for Jerusalem.
This ends in 9:15. In this introduction, Paul narrates to the
Corinthians how the Christians in Macedonia though at that time were
having problems still insisted on taking on the responsibility of
passing the collection for the mother church in Jerusalem. Paul asks
the Corinthians to do better than the Macedonians since they --
compared to this latter -- are in a better condition to make a
Wednesday, 2 Cor. 9:6-11
Still on the collection. One can take these passages as a collection
of motivations for generosity.
Thursday, 2 Cor. 11:1-11
Paul expresses here a concern that he has also voiced in his letter to
the Galatians: that his community is falling for another gospel. The
concern is due to the appearance of some "apostles" who've come with
credentials and are drawing the Corinthians away from Paul. Against
these credentials, Paul will demonstrate his own (cf. 11:21b ff)
Friday, 2 Cor. 11: 18.21-30
Paul presents the credentials that he has as an apostle. He had
already shown that he is a a minister of the New Covenant (cf.
3:1-4:15) Here he goes directly to the question of whether or not he
is "inferior" to others who come with the credentials supposedly from
the mother Church.
Saturday, 2 Cor. 12:1-10
Paul's "foolishness" is due to the fact that he has allowed himself to
be drawn to "boasting" about his credentials. Here he continues to
present his credentials saying that if the Corinthians think him a
fool, it is because of his love for them. The visionary whom Paul
alludes to here is himself.
Posted by bible student
at 1:20 PM
An Article On The Deity of Christ by Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger, the famous textual critic whom the "Ang Tamang Daan"
INC-panelists like to cite in their favor has an article on the Divinity
The Comma Iohannaeum (The Johanine Comma)
The Johanine Comma is a gloss on 1 Jn. 5:7 that subsequently -- through
the work of copyists -- found its way into the main text to make it read:
And there are Three who give
testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And
these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on
earth: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are
one. (1 Jn. 5:7)
So-called "Non Trinitarian Churches" think that the inclusion of the
gloss into the main text was done to bolster the doctrine of the
Trinity. But is this the only explanation? The so-called "Trinitarian"
doctrine cannot be traced to a date earlier than the year 800 AD, about
the time when the gloss found its way into some manuscripts of
the Latin version of 1 John. The Latin Church already believed in the
Trinity even before this date. Second, the gloss can only be found in
Latin manuscripts and never in any Greek manuscript prior to the edition
published by Erasmus -- then still a Catholic Canons Regular of St.
Augustine -- in 1520. The Greek churches therefore never had no recourse
to a gloss for their belief in the Trinity. Both these facts can only
mean one thing: the belief in the Trinity antedates the Johanine
Could there have been a motive for introducing the gloss into the main
text of 1 Jn. 5:7 that would make it a conscious effort to pervert the
Christian faith? Was there anything in the year 800 or thereabouts that
made the Catholic Church want to "change" the belief in God? I don't
think there is any except the desire of the so-called "non-Trinitarians"
to blame the Catholic Church for their not being a part of it. The fact
is, all so-called "Christian Churches" who are Non-Trinitarian
were founded AFTER the Protestant churches have emerged. This can only
mean one thing: the "non-Trinitarian" belief is but an attempt to
"correct" a supposed impurity in Christian doctrine
introduced by the Catholic Church. In other words, the "non-Trinitarian"
belief is a modern teaching that arises from the need to make one's
beliefs look original in the face of opposition and antagonism to
Was the Johanine comma introduced so as to bolster belief in the
Trinity? As explained above, no. One should rather say, that it was the
belief in the Trinity already deeply rooted that made a copyist move a
marginal gloss into the main text of 1 Jn. 5:7.
Note: Michael Sandoval and Ramil Parva of the program "Ang Tamang Daan"
join the other "non-Trinitarian" Churches in making it look like that
the Johanine Comma is the basis of the Trinitarian faith, which -- as we
explained above -- is a preposterous claim.
Posted by biblista
at 10:33 AM
Edited on: Monday, June 13, 2005 10:52 AM
Categories: New Testament
Saturday, June 11, 2005
I Believed, Thus I Spoke
Since then we have the same spirit of faith according to that which is
written -- I believed therefore I spoke -- we too believe and
therefore speak * knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will
raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. (2 Cor.
In 2 Cor. 4:13, St. Paul quotes from a text of the psalms. Our modern
translations usually associate the quotation with Psalm 116:10 "I
believed, therefore I spoke" on the basis of the Hebrew Massoretic
text. The LXX however has the same line as the first verse of Psalm 115
which appears thus:
1I believed therefore I spoke,
I was greatly afflicted.
so, in a moment of madness, I said
"Every man is a liar"
3What shall I give back to the Lord
for all that he has
4I shall raise the cup of salvation
shall call on the Lord's name.*
6Precious before the Lord
is the death of his holy ones
Lord, I am your servant
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid.
have broken my chains.
8To you will I offer a sacrifice of praise
will pay my vows to the Lord
before all his people
the halls of the house of the Lord
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
The LXX's Psalm 115 is -- as it stands -- the soul's expression of
thanksgiving to God who has proven Himself faithful and liberating. In
Psalm 114, the same soul had been asking to be saved from death. God
responded, showing His favor to the suppliant, and therefore, Psalm 115
which is the psalmist's thanksgiving for a prayer that has been heard.
Here, the psalmist takes note of the "death of His holy ones" which he
realizes is precious in the eyes of the Lord. St. Paul, associates this
"death" to the daily dying that the ministers of the new covenant
undergo. The psalm ends with the assurance of victory, not defeat; the
resounding voice of praise in the midst of the God's house. Hence St.
Paul writes that inspite of the sufferings, "everything indeed is for
you so that the grace bestowed (cf. Ps. 115:3, LXX) in abundance on more
and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of
God. (2 Cor. 4:15)" In the light of this, what does "I believed,
therefore I spoke" mean? It is clear that St. Paul understood the line
as reflecting the situation of his apostolate. He proclaimed what he
believed in, and so is afflicted, thus the experience of Christ's death
in the apostolate.
Note: There is no mistake here. There is no verse 5 in the
Critical edition I am using. The Massoretic text's Ps 116:1-9 is
equivalent to the LXX Psalm 114 while Ps 116:10-19 is the LXX's Ps. 115.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
The First Stage of Wisdom
Here is the P.
Benedict XVI's reflection on Psalm 110 (111) given during the
Wednesday audience. Here is a link to the NAB
version of Psalm 110 (111)
Posted by bible student
at 6:01 AM
Edited on: Thursday, June 09, 2005 6:08 AM
Categories: Old Testament
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
The Glory of the New Covenant
Today's selection from 2
Corinthians 3:4-11 is best seen within the context that is formed by 2
Cor. 3:1-5:15, which is Paul's argument about the competence to
which he and his companions have been raised by God. This section is
about his group's being ministers of the New Covenant. The contrast is
here made with that of the Old Testament of which Moses was the
minister. By contrasting the glory of both "dispensations", Paul shows
that the new dispensation has a glory that far surpasses the old. The
table below shows how compares and contrasts both covenants:
written in stone
in the Spirit
with a fading splendour
a permanent splendour
The contrast between the old and new dispensations have been given in
v.3 "The letter kills, the Spirit gives life" and developed further here.
The "inferiority" of the Old Covenant, however, does not invalidate it.
In the accompanying gospel reading from Matthew's "Sermon on the Mount",
the Lord explicitly states that the letter of the Law will not pass away
until all are fulfilled. In fact, he calls "great in the kingdom of
heaven" those who teach that the Law must be obeyed. So how do we
understand today's liturgical readings? Paul himself will provide the
synthesis: the Law is fulfilled in Christ; in Him the baptized
live the life of him who has died to the Law so as to live in the Spirit.
This theme, of course, is developed not in the letters to the
Corinthians in the letter about Christian freedom: the letter to the
Posted by biblista
at 9:17 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 6:56 PM
Categories: New Testament
Monday, June 06, 2005
Glory in 2 Cor. 3:4-4:18
Below are the instances of the word "glory" doxa
that is also the theme of 2 Cor. 3:4-4:18. Text is from the Douay-Rheims
2Co 3:7 Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon
stones, was glorious (so that the children of Israel could not
steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his
countenance), which is made void:
2Co 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in
2Co 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more
the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.
2Co 3:10 For even that which was glorious in this part was not
glorified by reason of the glory that excelleth.
2Co 3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that
which remaineth is in glory.
2Co 3:18 But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face,
are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the
Spirit of the Lord.
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of
unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who
is the image of God, should not shine unto them.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.
2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes: that the grace, abounding
through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.
2Co 4:17 For that which is at present momentary and light of our
tribulation worketh for us above measure, exceedingly an eternal
weight of glory.
St. Paul This Week
For the 10th week in Ordinary Time we have St. Paul's 2 Corinthians for
the first reading and we stay with it through the 11th week. Below are
Monday, 2 Cor. 1:1-7
The beginning of the letter. Keywords are "comfort/consolation" on
the one hand and "suffering, suffering with Christ, tribulations" on
the other. The idea is that God comforts those who suffer for the
sake of and in union with Christ so that these in turn can comfort
Tuesday,. 2 Cor. 1:18-22
Paul assures the Corinthians that he was not being insincere when he
was prevented from coming to them. He is a man of his word, he
explains, and this for one reason: because Jesus is the man
of the Father's word, the Divine Affirmation which does not waver.
The reading in fact presents Paul's words about Jesus being God's
"Yes" to man, a "Yes" that never changes to "No."
Wednesday, 2 Cor. 3:4-11
Paul describes the new covenant and its superiority over the old one
in terms of the glory that shown on the face of Moses. This theme of
"glory" goes through to the reading on Friday. Here he speaks of the
glory that shown on Moses' face, a glory however that fades. The
allussion is to Exodus 34:29-35 where the glory of God was reflected
on Moses' skin.
Thursday, 2 Cor. 3:15-4:1,3-6
Why can't the Jews discover Christ in the Law of Moses? The answer
that Paul gives is clear: because Moses' glory required that a veil
be put on his face (cf. Ex. 34:33.35). Not so for the Christians who
contemplate the glory of the Lord with their faces unveiled.
Friday, 2 Cor. 4:7-15
The privilege of being able to see the glory of God shining on the
face of Jesus is a treasure. Such a treasure however is held in
earthen vessels to show that the privilege comes from God, not from
men. So the apostle's mortality is exposed in persecution and
hardship, showing in his body the death of the Lord so that it can
become life for the Christian community. (See also 4:16)
Saturday (Feast of St. Barnabas)
From Monday to Friday then, there would be a kind of continuous reading
of 2 Corinthians. It will be broken on Saturday to make way for the
selections of readings for the feast of St. Barnabas.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
The Call of Matthew
Consider this an update
of a previous blog on the same topic.
The account of the call of Matthew is intentionally set within the
perspective of a pronouncement story where Jesus' attitude towards
sinners are brought into focus. Publicans like Matthew were considered
to be beyond redemption in Jesus' time. For one, they were considered
enemies of the people. The fact that they collect taxes for the Empire
makes them collaborators with the enemy. Second, they can never get
themselves "cleaned" since the temple will not accept their money.
Hence, they are perpetually unclean, that is, unfit to join the people
of God in worship. When Jesus calls Matthew to join his group, he
actually gives signals to everyone that the idea of
clean-unclean/holy-unholy heretofore seen as undergirding the whole
religious system of the Jews is not recognized by him. It is within this
attitude towards religion that Jesus saying about publicans and
prostitutes getting into the kingdom of heaven ahead of the Pharisees
must be understood. Having said that let me go to a second point...
When the religious leaders of the Jews object to Jesus hobnobbing with
publicans and "sinners" (=the prostitutes) they were objecting to the
fact that Jesus -- an apparent populist religious leader -- is allowing
himself to be rendered ritually unclean, and therefore incapable of
presenting himself before God in His temple. To them, Jesus replies
"Learn what this means: It is mercy I want, not sacrifice."
"It is mercy I want, not sacrifice." The words are
from the Septuagint version of Hosea 6:6. Some contemporary bible
translations would render the pluri-nuanced Hebrew hsd with
"fidelity" "love", or even "piety". Here, the King James Version follows
the Septuagint in translating the word as "mercy." The Greek eleoV
eleos in fact connotes, like hsd the idea of kindness
required by God of men (Mt. 9:13, 23:3). In Mt. 18:33, one finds this
interesting usage of the word: Should you not have pitied... as I
pitied you mercy? This example simply shows that in the English
language, eleoV can have different
nuances with the root meaning "kindness, mercy."
The context of the passage quoted by Jesus in the Matthaean narrative is
that of a prophetic protest against the insincerity of the Israel before
What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
piety (=hsdkm) is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that
early passes away.
For it is love (hsd) that I
desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.
Religion is not primarily about sacrifices and offerings -- a theme that
the prophets constantly harped on. It is about fidelity to God as
expressed in a life obedient to the commandment as summarized in the
words "Love God above all; love your neighbor as yourself. (cf. Mk
12:30-31; Matthew 22:38-39). So when Jesus tells the Pharisees to study
the meaning of Hosea 6:6, he was actually telling them that the current
attitude towards people like the publicans and prostitutes and the
religious system that alienates them does not reflect a real knowledge
Posted by bible student
at 2:18 AM
Edited on: Sunday, June 05, 2005 2:46 AM
Categories: New Testament
Friday, June 03, 2005
Biblenotes is a
website dedicated to the Bible. Specifically, it wishes to present
summaries of each of the books of the Bible for easy reference. The
site is non-Catholic and the summaries presented are sometimes good
sometimes not at all. It is however a website-in-the-making and it
promises a lot. Check
The Heart Of Jesus Broken For Us
From today's Office of the Readings, a selection from St. Bonaventure (1221-1274):
It was a divine decree that permitted one of the soldiers to open his sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the cross, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’. The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.
Posted by bible student
at 9:44 AM
John's Hymn To Love
On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the liturgy gives us a love feast. The
second reading is actually taken from 1 Jn. 4:7-19 which is a passage
that brings together in just one place what John's Gospel tells us about
God's love in Christ. The passage echoes a lot of passages in John:
Jn. 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son
Jn. 13:1 ...having loved his own who were in the world, he
loved them unto the end
Jn. 13:34 (cf. Jn. 15:12)... a new commandment I give unto you:
love one another as I have loved you
Jn. 14:21 He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it
is that loves me, and he that loves me is loved by my Father and I
will love him and manifest myself to him
Jn. 15:9 As the Father has loved me so I also have loved you.
Abide in my love.
Jn. 16:27 For the Father himself loves you because you have
loved me and have believed that I came from God
In 19 instances out of 11 verses, a form of the Greek for "love" (agaph
agape) appears in vv. 7-19 which is an exhortation to love. The
members of the Johanine community are to love because love is the nature
of God (v.7); they who know Him show proof of this knowledge in loving
(v.8). God showed that He is love in sending His Son (9-10) as expiation
for sins. The Spirit that He gave, the Son whom the Father sent -- by
these we know that God has loved us (vv. 13-16). To abide in God means
living in love and letting love have perfection in our lives (v.17).
True love drives out servile fear (v.18). We are able to love because of
God's love (v.19)
In the midst of this exhortation we find this Trinitarian formula:
13. This is the proof that we remain in him
and he in us,
he has given us a share in his Spirit.
ourselves have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son
Saviour of the world.
15. Anyone who acknowledges
that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in
The Spirit, the Father and the Son is God going out of Himself in love,
and the disciple knows this and acknowledges this in the way he lives
the life of love that -- in the words of Paul -- has been poured into
him: because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by
the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. (Rom. 5:5).
Here are some snippets from the passage that are worth reflecting on:
"Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God" (v. 7)
"Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love (v.8)
"In this way, the love of God was revealed to us: God sent His Son
into the world so that we might have life through him. (v. 9; Jn. 3:16)
"If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is brought to
perfection in us" (v. 12; cf. Jn. 17:23)
"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in
him" (v. 16b; Jn. 15:9)
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." (v. 18)
"We love because He first loved us." (v.19)
The Prayer of Tobiah and Sarah
Here is a prayer that newly weds can pray on wedding night:
Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever
Let the heavens and all your creation
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and
and from these two the human race descended.
`It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."
The passage is taken from Tobit 8:5-7. Tobias has just redeemed Sara,
Raguel's daughter, by way of levirate marriage. The prayer is Jewish but
it may as well be used by Christians.
The prayer can be divided into three parts. The opening blessing to God
is characteristic of the berakah. "Baruk Adonay" is the normal
beginning of a berakah -- "Blessed be the Lord." This is the "upward"
motion of the prayer. Then the prayer moves to the remembrance of an
action of God, in this case, the first marriage between Man and Woman,
Adam and Eve. Tobias then professes the purity of his intention in
marrying Sarah. He married her out of a "noble purpose," he proclaims.
The Jerusalem Bible translates this phrase as "singleness of heart". The
Septuagint has ep alhtheiaV, literally "on
account of the true" which perhaps is the reason why the NAB reads
"noble purpose". "Singleness of heart" may be the better translation
since ep alhtheiaV is contrasted with the
phrase for "lustful desire (dia porneian)."
In any case, Tobias professes a pure motive for wedding Sarah and asks
from God one thing: that he and Sarah grow old together.
"Grow to a happy old age" saith Tobias. How many do you think still want
this for their marriage?
Posted by bible student
at 5:17 AM
Edited on: Friday, June 03, 2005 5:27 AM
, Old Testament
2nd Edition of Bible Notes
As already announced at
AgustinongPinoy even Bible Notes will have to be reduced to an HTML
format. Fortunately, we don't have the same problems as
Blogs-AgustinongPinoy. Bible Notes has always been a one-blog-site,
unlike the old AgustinongPinoy which ran on a multi-blog software
(B2Evolution). Because of this, Bible Notes wouldn't that be difficult
to get used to. Even given the limitations of Thingamablog (i.e., lack
of comments and trackbacks), we find no problem going on with our bible
blogs. After all, no one comments or trackbacks.
Perhaps this change will be beneficial for the less-known Otium
Sanctum which contains longer and more technical blogs. Bible Notes
has always been the kind of Bible blogs no one really reads. But hey,
who's complaining! But our work must go on, in season or out, whether
there are readers or none, in the hope that some search engine would
grab our content and one day present it to some student of the bible
spending some time at Google.
The old Bible
Notes are still available here, however, with lots of articles for
Posted by biblista
at 3:43 AM