St. Sebastian
Feast of St. Sebastian

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2742-2745, 2757 – Perservering in Love, Praying Without Ceasing

clock September 10, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss praying without ceasing. Supporting material comes from the “Homily on First Thessalonians” by St. John Chrysostom.

IV. Perservering in Love

2742 "Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."33 St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints."34 For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing."35 This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer.

2743 It is always possible to pray: the time of the Christian is that of the risen Christ who is with us always, no matter what tempests may arise.36 Our time is in the hands of God:

It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.37

2744 Prayer is a vital necessity. Proof from the contrary is no less convincing: if we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, we fall back into the slavery of sin.38 How can the Holy Spirit be our life if our heart is far from him?

Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy.... For it is impossible, utterly impossible, for the man who prays eagerly and invokes God ceaselessly ever to sin.39
Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned40

2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father's plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. "Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."41

He "prays without ceasing" who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.42


2757 "Pray constantly" (⇒ 1 Thess 5:17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable.

In his “Homily on First Thessalonians” (10), St. John Chrysostom discusses prayer without ceasing.

Ver. 17, 18. Pray without ceasing; In every thing giving thanks: for this is the will of God.

Always to give thanks, this is a mark of a philosophic soul. Have you suffered any evil? But if you will, it is no evil. Give thanks to God, and the evil is changed into good. Say thou also as Job said, Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever. Job 1:21 For tell me, what such great thing have you suffered? Has disease befallen you? Yet it is nothing strange. For our body is mortal, and liable to suffer. Has a want of possessions overtaken you? But these also are things to be acquired, and again to be lost, and that abide here. But is it plots and false accusations of enemies? But it is not we that are injured by these, but they who are the authors of them. For the soul, he says, that sins, itself shall also die. Ezekiel 18:4 And he has not sinned who suffers the evil, but he who has done the evil.

Upon him therefore that is dead you ought not to take revenge, but to pray for him that you may deliver him from death. Do you not see how the bee dies upon the sting? By that animal God instructs us not to grieve our neighbors. For we ourselves receive death first. For by striking them perhaps we have pained them for a little time, but we ourselves shall not live any longer, even as that animal will not. And yet the Scripture commends it, saying that it is a worker, whose work kings and private men make use of for their health. Sirach 11:3 But this does not preserve it from dying, but it must needs perish. And if its other excellence does not deliver it when it does injury, much less will it us.


33  ⇒ 1 Thess 5:17; ⇒ Eph 5:20.
34 ⇒ Eph 6:18.
35 Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C.
36 Cf. ⇒ Mt 28:20; Lk 8:24[ETML:XC/].
37 St. John Chrysostom, Ecloga de oratione 2: PG 63, 585.
38 Cf. ⇒ Gal 5:16-25.
39 St. John Chrysostom, De Anna 4, 5: PG 54, 666.
40 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Del gran Mezzo della preghiera.
41 ⇒ Jn 15:16-17.
42 Origen, De orat. 12: PG 11, 452c.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2083-2086, 2133-2134 – The First Commandment

clock June 18, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections begin the discussion on the first commandment. Supporting material comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “Homily 71 on Matthew”.



2083 Jesus summed up man's duties toward God in this saying: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."1 This immediately echoes the solemn call: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD."2
God has loved us first. the love of the One God is recalled in the first of the "ten words." the commandments then make explicit the response of love that man is called to give to his God.

Article 1


I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.3
It is written: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."4

I. "You Shall Worship the Lord Your God and Him Only Shall You Serve"

2084 God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: "I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." the first word contains the first commandment of the Law: "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him.... You shall not go after other gods."5 God's first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him.

2085 The one and true God first reveals his glory to Israel.6 The revelation of the vocation and truth of man is linked to the revelation of God. Man's vocation is to make God manifest by acting in conformity with his creation "in the image and likeness of God":

There will never be another God, Trypho, and there has been no other since the world began . . . than he who made and ordered the universe. We do not think that our God is different from yours. He is the same who brought your fathers out of Egypt "by his powerful hand and his outstretched arm." We do not place our hope in some other god, for there is none, but in the same God as you do: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.7

2086 "The first commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. When we say 'God' we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his authority. He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us? Hence the formula God employs in the Scripture at the beginning and end of his commandments: 'I am the LORD.'"8


2133 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength" (⇒ Deut 6:5).

2134 The first commandment summons man to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him above all else.

St. John Chrysostom in his “Homily 71 on Matthew” discusses the first commandment.

For since the first commandment was this, You shall love the Lord your God, thinking that He would afford them some handle, as though He would amend it, for the sake of showing that Himself too was God, they propose the question. What then says Christ? Indicating from what they were led to this; from having no charity, from pining with envy, from being seized by jealousy, He says, You shall love the Lord your God. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

But wherefore like this? Because this makes the way for that, and by it is again established; For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light; John 3:20 and again, The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. And what in consequence of this? They are corrupt, and become abominable in their ways. And again, The love of money is the root of all evils; which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith; 1 Timothy 6:10 and, He that loves me, will keep my commandment.

But His commandments, and the sum of them, are, You shall love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself. If therefore to love God is to love one's neighbor, For if you love me, He says, O Peter, feed my sheep, John 21:16-17 but to love one's neighbor works a keeping of the commandments, with reason does He say, On these hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:40


1 ⇒ Mt 22:37; cf. ⇒ Lk 10:27:". . . and with all your strength."
2 ⇒ Deut 6:4.
3 ⇒ Ex 20:2-5; cf. ⇒ Deut 5:6-9.
4 ⇒ Mt 4:10.
5 ⇒ Deut 6:13-14.
6 Cf. ⇒ Ex 19:16-25; ⇒ 24:15-18.
7 St. Justin, Dial. cum Tryphone Judaeo 11, 1: PG 6, 497.
8 Roman Catechism 3, 2,4.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 2052-2055; 2075 – The Ten Commandments and the Greatest Commandment

clock June 14, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss the ten commandments and the greatest commandment. Supporting material comes from the homilies of St. John Chrysostom.



"Teacher, what must I do . . .?"

2052 "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" To the young man who asked this question, Jesus answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the "One there is who is good," as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then Jesus tells him: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments." and he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor: "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother." Finally Jesus sums up these commandments positively: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."1

2053 To this first reply Jesus adds a second: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."2 This reply does not do away with the first: following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments. The Law has not been abolished,3 but rather man is invited to rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfillment. In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus' call to the rich young man to follow him, in the obedience of a disciple and in the observance of the Commandments, is joined to the call to poverty and chastity.4 The evangelical counsels are inseparable from the Commandments.

2054 Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter. He preached a "righteousness [which] exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees"5 as well as that of the Gentiles.6 He unfolded all the demands of the Commandments. "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill.' . . . But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."7

2055 When someone asks him, "Which commandment in the Law is the greatest?"8 Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets."9 The Decalogue must be interpreted in light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the Law: the commandments: "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.10


2075 "What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" - "If you would enter into life, keep the commandments" (⇒ Mt 19:16-17).

St. John Chrysostom comments on the 19th Chapter of Matthew in his “Homily 64 on Matthew”.

Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed You; what shall we have therefore?

All which? O blessed Peter; the rod? The net? The boat? The craft? These things do you tell me of, as all? Yea, says he, but not for display do I say these things, but in order that by this question I may bring in the multitude of the poor. For since the Lord had said, If you will be perfect, sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven; Matthew 19:21lest any one of the poor should say, What then? If I have no possessions, can I not be perfect? Peter asks, that you, the poor man, may learn, that you are made in no respect inferior by this: Peter asks, that you may not learn from Peter and doubt (for indeed he was imperfect as yet, and void of the Spirit), but that, having received the declaration from Peter's Master, you may be confident.

For like as we do (we make things our own often when speaking of the concerns of others), so did the apostle, when he put to Him this question in behalf of all the world. Since that at least he knew with certainty his own portion, is manifest from what had been said before; for he that had already received the keys of the Heavens, much more might feel confidence about the things hereafter.

But mark also how exactly his reply is according to Christ's demand. For He had required of the rich man these two things, to give that he had to the poor, and to follow Him. Wherefore he also expresses these two things, to forsake, and to follow. For behold we have forsaken all, says he, and have followed You. For the forsaking was done for the sake of following, and the following was rendered easier by the forsaking, and made them feel confidence and joy touching the forsaking.


1 ⇒ Mt 19:16-19.
2 ⇒ Mt 19:21.
3 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:17.
4 Cf. ⇒ Mt 19:6-12, ⇒ 21, ⇒ 23-29.
5 ⇒ Mt 5:20.
6 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:46-47.
7 ⇒ Mt 5:21-22.
8 ⇒ Mt 22:36.
9 ⇒ Mt 22:37-40; cf. ⇒ Deut 6:5; ⇒ Lev 19:18.
10 ⇒ Rom 13:9-10.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 1590-1600 – The Sacrament of Holy Orders In Brief

clock April 21, 2013 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections summarize the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Supporting material comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “On the Priesthood”.


1590 St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: "I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands" (⇒ 2Tim 1:6), and "If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task." (⇒ 1 Tim 3:1) To Titus he said: "This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you" (⇒ Titus 1:5).

1591 The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the "common priesthood of the faithful." Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community.

1592 The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful. the ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching (munus docendi), divine worship (munus liturgicum) and pastoral governance (munus regendi).

1593 Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church (cf St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3,1).

1594 The bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal college and makes him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him. As successors of the apostles and members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the authority of the Pope, successor of St. Peter.

1595 Priests are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to be the bishops' prudent co-workers. They form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church. They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish community or a determinate ecclesial office.

1596 Deacons are ministers ordained for tasks of service of the Church; they do not receive the ministerial priesthood, but ordination confers on them important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop.

1597 The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by a solemn prayer of consecration asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an indelible sacramental character.

1598 The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

1599 In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men.

1600 It is bishops who confer the sacrament of Holy Orders in the three degrees.

The following excerpt comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “On the Priesthood” (Book 3, #4).

4. For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks among heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle, the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, the deep silence within. But if any one should examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as they are, yet are they fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that what has been made glorious has no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excels. 2 Corinthians 3:10 For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon the earth? Are you not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, do you not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! What a marvel! What love of God to man! He who sits on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith! Do these things seem to you fit to be despised, or such as to make it possible for any one to be uplifted against them?

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 583-591, 593-594 The Temple and The One God

clock December 19, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections cover Jesus and the Temple and Jesus’ and Israel’s Faith in the One God. Supporting material comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “Homilies on the Gospel of John”.


583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth.349 At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father's business.350 He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover.351 His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.352

584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce.353He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: "You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"354 After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.355

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain "one stone upon another".356 By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover.357 But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest's house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.358

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church.359 He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God's definitive dwelling-place among men.360 Therefore his being put to bodily death361 presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: "The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father."362


587 If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel's religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine work par excellence, was the true stumbling-block for them.363

588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves.364 Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others", Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."365 He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.366

589 Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them.367 He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet.368 But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"369By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name.370

590 Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as "He who is not with me is against me"; and his saying that there was in him "something greater than Jonah,. . . greater than Solomon", something "greater than the Temple"; his reminder that David had called the Messiah his Lord,371 and his affirmations, "Before Abraham was, I AM", and even "I and the Father are one."372

591 Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father's works which he accomplished.373 But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new "birth from above" under the influence of divine grace.374 Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfillment of the promises375 allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer.376 The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of "ignorance" and the "hardness" of their "unbelief".377


593 Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. The Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.

594 Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Savior God himself (cf ⇒ Jn 5:16-18). Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man (cf ⇒ Jn 1:14), saw in him only a man who made himself God (⇒ Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer.

In his “Homilies on the Gospel of John”, St. John Chrysostom teaches on the episode where Christ drove the money-changers out of the Temple.

2. Another Evangelist writes, that as He cast them out, He said, Make not my Father's house a den of thieves, but this one,

John 2:16

(Make not My Father's house) an house of merchandise.

They do not in this contradict each other, but show that he did this a second time, and that both these expressions were not used on the same occasion, but that He acted thus once at the beginning of His ministry, and again when He had come to the very time of His Passion. Therefore, (on the latter occasion,) employing more strong expressions, He spoke of it as (being made) a den of thieves, but here at the commencement of His miracles He does not so, but uses a more gentle rebuke; from which it is probable that this took place a second time.

And wherefore, says one, did Christ do this same, and use such severity against these men, a thing which He is nowhere else seen to do, even when insulted and reviled, and called by them 'Samaritan' and 'demoniac'? For He was not even satisfied with words only, but took a scourge, and so cast them out. Yes, but it was when others were receiving benefit, that the Jews accused and raged against Him; when it was probable that they would have been made savage by His rebukes, they showed no such disposition towards Him, for they neither accused nor reviled Him. What say they?

John 2:18

What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that You do these things?

Do you see their excessive malice, and how the benefits done to others incensed them more (than reproofs)?

At one time then He said, that the Temple was made by them a den of thieves, showing that what they sold was gotten by theft, and rapine, and covetousness, and that they were rich through other men's calamities; at another, a house of merchandise, pointing to their shameless traffickings. But wherefore did He this? Since he was about to heal on the Sabbath day, and to do many such things which were thought by them transgressions of the Law, in order that He might not seem to do this as though He had come to be some rival God and opponent of His Father, He takes occasion hence to correct any such suspicion of theirs. For One who had exhibited so much zeal for the House was not likely to oppose Him who was Lord of the House, and who was worshipped in it. No doubt even the former years during which He lived according to the Law, were sufficient to show His reverence for the Legislator, and that He came not to give contrary laws; yet since it was likely that those years were forgotten through lapse of time, as not having been known to all because He was brought up in a poor and mean dwelling, He afterwards does this in the presence of all, (for many were present because the feast was near at hand,) and at great risk. For he did not merely cast them out, but also overturned the tables, and poured out the money, giving them by this to understand, that He who threw Himself into danger for the good order of the House could never despise his Master. Had He acted as He did from hypocrisy, He should only have advised them; but to place Himself in danger was very daring. For it was no light thing to offer Himself to the anger of so many market-folk, to excite against Himself a most brutal mob of petty dealers by His reproaches and His blows, this was not the action of a pretender, but of one choosing to suffer everything for the order of the House.

And therefore not by His actions only, but by His words, He shows his agreement with the Father; for He says not the Holy House, but My Father's House. See, He even calls Him, Father, and they are not angry; they thought He spoke in a general way: but when He went on and spoke more plainly, so as to set before them the idea of His Equality, then they become angry.

And what say they? What sign showest Thou unto us, seeing that You do these things? Alas for their utter madness! Was there need of a sign before they could cease their evil doings, and free the house of God from such dishonor? And was it not the greatest sign of His Excellence that He had gotten such zeal for that House?


349 ⇒ Lk 2:22-39.
350 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2 46-49.
351 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2 41.
352 Cf. ⇒ Jn 2 13-14; ⇒ 5:1, ⇒ 14; ⇒ 7:1, ⇒ 10, ⇒ 14; ⇒ 8 2; ⇒ 10:22-23.
353 Cf. ⇒ Mt 21:13.
354 ⇒ Jn 2:16-17; cf. ⇒ Ps 69:10.
355 Cf. ⇒ Acts 2:46; ⇒ 3:1; ⇒ 5:20, ⇒ 21; etc.
356 Cf. ⇒ Mt 24:1-2.
357 Cf. ⇒ Mt 24:3; ⇒ Lk 13:35.
358 Cf ⇒ Mk 14:57-58; ⇒ Mt 27 39-40.
359 Cf. ⇒ Mt 8:4; ⇒ 16:18; ⇒ 17:24-27; ⇒ Lk 17:14; ⇒ Jn 4:22; ⇒ 18:20.
360 Cf. ⇒ Jn 2:21; ⇒ Mt 12:6.
361 Cf. ⇒ Jn 2:18-22.
362 ⇒ Jn 4:21; cf. ⇒ 4:23-24; ⇒ Mt 27:5; ⇒ Heb 9:11; ⇒ Rev 21:22.
363 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2:34; ⇒ 20:17-18; ⇒ Ps 118:22.
364 Cf. ⇒ Lk 5:30; ⇒ 7:36; ⇒ 11:37; ⇒ 14:1.
365 ⇒ Lk 18:9; ⇒ 5:32; cf. ⇒ Jn 7:49; ⇒ 9:34.
366 Cf. ⇒ Jn 8:33-36; ⇒ 9:40-41.
367 Cf. ⇒ Mt 9:13; ⇒ Hos 6:6.
368 Cf. ⇒ Lk 15:1-2, ⇒ 22-32.
369 ⇒ Mk 2:7.
370 Cf. ⇒ Jn 5:18; ⇒ 10:33; ⇒ 17:6,26.
371 Cf. ⇒ Mt 12:6, ⇒ 30, ⇒ 36, ⇒ 37, ⇒ 41-42.
372 ⇒ Jn 8:58; ⇒ 10:30.
373 ⇒ Jn 10:36-38.
374 Cf. ⇒ Jn 3:7; ⇒ 6:44.
375 Cf. ⇒ Is 53:1.
376 Cf. ⇒ Mk 3:6; ⇒ Mt 26:64-66.
377 Cf. ⇒ Lk 23 34; ⇒ Acts 3: 17-18; ⇒ Mk 3:5; ⇒ Rom 11:25, ⇒ 20.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 571-576 – Jesus and Israel

clock December 17, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss Jesus’ relationship with Israel, particularly the Pharisees. Supporting material comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “Sermons on the Gospel of John”.

Article 4


571 The Paschal mystery of Christ's cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God's saving plan was accomplished "once for all"313 by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.

572 The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of "all the Scriptures" that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"314 Jesus' sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was "rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes", who handed "him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified".315

573 Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus' death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels316 and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption.


574 From the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him.317 Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners318--some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession.319 He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning.320

575 Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a "sign of contradiction",321 but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply "the Jews",322 than for the ordinary People of God.323 To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting;324 Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes.325 Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead,326 certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer),327 The custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour.328

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People: - submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition; - the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God's presence dwells in a special way; - faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.

In his “Sermons on the Gospel of John” (52), St. John Chrysostom comments on the relationship between the Pharisees and Jesus.

John 7:45-46

“Then came the officers to the Chief Priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spoke like this Man.”

1. There is nothing clearer, nothing simpler than the truth, if we deal not perversely; just as (on the other hand) if we deal perversely, nothing is more difficult. For behold, the Scribes and Pharisees, who seemed forsooth to be wiser than other men, being ever with Christ for the sake of plotting against Him, and beholding His miracles, and reading the Scriptures, were nothing profited, but were even harmed; while the officers, who could not claim one of these privileges, were subdued by one single sermon, and they who had gone forth to bind Him, came back bound themselves by wonder. We must not only marvel at their understanding, that they needed not signs, but were taken by the teaching alone; (for they said not, Never man wrought miracles thus, but, Never man spoke thus;) we must not, I say, merely marvel at their understanding, but also at their boldness, that they spoke thus to those that had sent them, to the Pharisees, to His enemies, to men who were doing all with a view to gratify their enmity. The officers, says the Evangelist, came, and the Pharisees said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? To come was a far greater deed than to have remained, for in the latter case they would have been rid of the annoyance of these men, but now they become heralds of the wisdom of Christ, and manifested their boldness in greater degree. And they say not, We could not become of the multitude, for they gave heed unto Him as unto a prophet; but what? Never man spoke as this Man. Yet they might have alleged that, but they show their right feeling. For theirs was the saying not only of men admiring Him, but blaming their masters, because they had sent them to bind Him whom it behooved rather to hear. Yet they had not heard a sermon either, but a short one; for when the long mind is impartial, there is no need of long arguments.


313 ⇒ Heb 9:26.
314 ⇒ Lk 24:26-27, ⇒ 44-45.
315 ⇒ Mk 8:31; ⇒ Mt 20:19.
316 Cf. DV 19.
317 Cf. ⇒ Mk 3:6; 14:1.
318 Cf. ⇒ Mt 12:24; ⇒ Mk 2:7, ⇒ 14-17; ⇒ 3:1-6; ⇒ 7:14-23.
319 Cf. ⇒ Mk 3:22; ⇒ Jn 8:48; 10:20.
320 Cf. ⇒ Mk 2:7; ⇒ Jn 5:18; ⇒ 7:12, ⇒ 52; ⇒ 8:59; ⇒ 10:31, ⇒ 33.
321 ⇒ Lk 2:34.
322 Cf. ⇒ Jn 1:19; ⇒ 2:18; ⇒ 5:10; ⇒ 7:13; ⇒ 9:22; ⇒ 18:12; ⇒ 19:38; ⇒ 20:19.
323 ⇒ Jn 7:48-49.
324 Cf ⇒ Lk 13:31.
325 Cf. ⇒ Lk 7:36; ⇒ 14:1.
326 Cf. ⇒ Mt 22:23-34; ⇒ Lk 20:39.
327 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:18.
328 Cf. ⇒ Mk 12:28-34.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 531-537, 562-565 – Jesus’ Hidden Life and Baptism

clock December 13, 2012 01:02 by author John |

Today’s Catechism sections discuss Jesus’ “hidden life” and baptism. Supporting material comes from St. John Chrysostom’s “Homily 12 on Matthew”.

The mysteries of Jesus' hidden life

531 During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labor. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God,221 a life in the community. From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was "obedient" to his parents and that he "increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man."222

532 Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. The everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: "Not my will. . ."223 The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed.224

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life:

The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus - the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character... A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the "Carpenter's Son", in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work. . . To conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern their brother who is God.225

534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus.226 Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?"227 Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.


The baptism of Jesus

535 Jesus' public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan.228 John preaches "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins".229 A crowd of sinners230 - tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes - come to be baptized by him. "Then Jesus appears." the Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son."231 This is the manifestation ("Epiphany") of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world".232 Already he is anticipating the "baptism" of his bloody death.233 Already he is coming to "fulfill all righteousness", that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.234 The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.235 The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to "rest on him".236 Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism "the heavens were opened"237 - the heavens that Adam's sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father's beloved son in the Son and "walk in newness of life":238

Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him.239

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father's voice, we become sons of God.240


562 Christ's disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them (cf ⇒ Gal 4:19). "For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him" (LG 7 # 4).

563 No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.

564 By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.

565 From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the "Servant", wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the "baptism" of his Passion.

In his “Homily 12 on Matthew”, St. John Chrysostom comments on the baptism of Jesus:

2. Then he suffers Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.

For inasmuch as many supposed that John was greater than He, because John had been brought up all his time in the wilderness, and was son of a chief priest, and was clothed with such raiment, and was calling all men unto his baptism, and had been born of a barren mother; while Jesus, first of all, was of a damsel of ordinary rank (for the virgin birth was not yet manifest to all); and besides, He had been brought up in an house, and held converse with all men, and wore this common raiment; they suspected Him to be less than John, knowing as yet nothing of those secret things—and it fell out moreover that He was baptized of John, which thing added support to this surmise, even if none of those mentioned before had existed; for it would come into their mindthat this man was one of the many (for were He not one of the many, He would not have come with the many to the baptism), but that John was greater than He and far more admirable:— in order therefore that this opinion might not prevail with the multitude, the very heavens are opened, when He is baptized, and the Spirit comes down, and a voice with the Spirit, proclaiming the dignity of the Only Begotten. For since the voice that said, This is my beloved Son, would seem to the multitude rather to belong to John, for It added not, This that is baptized, but simply This, and every hearer would conceive it to be said concerning the baptizer, rather than the baptized, partly on account of the Baptist's own dignity, partly for all that has been mentioned; theSpirit came in form of a dove, drawing the voice towards Jesus, and making it evident to all, that This was not spoken of Johnthat baptized, but of Jesus who was baptized.

And how was it, one may say, that they did not believe, when these things came to pass? Because in the days of Moses also many wonderful works were done, albeit not such as these; and after all those, the voices, and the trumpets, and the lightnings, they both forged a calf, and were joined unto Baal-peor. And those very persons too, who were present at the time, and sawLazarus arise, so far from believing in Him, who had wrought these things, repeatedly attempted even to slay Him. Now if seeing before their eyes one rise from the dead, they were so wicked, why marvel at their not receiving a voice wafted from above? Since when a soul is uncandid and perverse, and possessed by the disease of envy, it yields to none of these things; even as when it is candid it receives all with faith, and has no great need of these.

Speak not therefore thus, They believed not, but rather inquire, Did not all things take place which ought to have made thembelieve? For by the prophet also God frames this kind of defense of His own ways in general. That is, the Jews being on the point of ruin, and of being given over to extreme punishment; lest any from their wickedness should calumniate His providence, He says, What ought I to have done to this vineyard, that I have not done? Just so here likewise reflect; what ought to have been done, and was not done? And indeed whenever arguments arise on God's Providence, make use of this kind of defense, against those who from the wickedness of the many try to raise a prejudice against it. See, for instance, what astonishing things are done, preludes of those which were to come; for it is no more paradise, but Heaven that is opened.


221 Cf. ⇒ Gal 4:4.
222 ⇒ Lk 2:51-52.
223 ⇒ Lk 22:42.
224 Cf. ⇒ Rom 5:19.
225 Paul VI at Nazareth, 5 January 1964: LH, Feast of the Holy Family, OR.
226 Cf. ⇒ Lk 2:41-52.
227 ⇒ Lk 2:49 alt.
228 Cf. ⇒ Lk 3:23; ⇒ Acts 1:22.
229 ⇒ Lk 3:3[ETML:C/].
230 Cf. ⇒ Lk 3:10-14; ⇒ Mt 3:7; ⇒ 21:32.
231 ⇒ Mt 3:13-17.
232 ⇒ Jn 1:29; cf. ⇒ Is 53:12.
233 Cf. ⇒ Mk 10:38; ⇒ Lk 12:50.
234 ⇒ Mt 3:15; cf. ⇒ 26:39.
235 Cf. ⇒ Lk 3:22; ⇒ Is 42:1.
236 ⇒ Jn 1:32-33; cf. ⇒ Is 11:2.
237 ⇒ Mt 3:16.
238 ⇒ Rom 6:4.
239 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 9: PG 36, 369.
240 St. Hilary of Poitiers, In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9, 927.

Year of Faith Catechism Study: CCC 222 – 227 – The Implications of Faith in One God

clock November 5, 2012 01:02 by author John |

The Catechism sections for today deal with the implications of faith in one God. A homily by St. John Chrysostom provides the supplemental material. Enjoy!


222 Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.

223 It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty: "Behold, God is great, and we know him not."46 Therefore, we must "serve God first".47

224 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?"48 "What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?"49

225 It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.50

226 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him:

My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.51

227 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

Let nothing trouble you / Let nothing frighten you Everything passes / God never changes Patience / Obtains all Whoever has God / Wants for nothing God alone is enough.52

St. John Chrysostom’s homily on 1 Corinthians 4:7 elaborates on the thought that everything we have is a gift from God.

3. For who makes you to differ? For what have you which thou did not receive?

From this point, dismissing the governed, he turns to the governors. What he says comes to this: From whence is evident that you are worthy of being praised? Why, has any judgment taken place? Any inquiry proceeded? Any essay? Any severe testing? Nay, you can not say it: and if men give their votes, their judgment is not upright. But let us suppose that thou really art worthy of praise and hast indeed the gracious gift, and that the judgment of men is not corrupt: yet not even in this case were it right to be high-minded; for you have nothing of yourself but from God received it. Why then do you pretend to have that which you have not? You will say, you have it: and others have it with you: well then, you have it upon receiving it: not merely this thing or that, but all things whatsoever you have.

For not to you belong these excellencies, but to the grace of God. Whether you name faith, it came of His calling; or whether it be the forgiveness of sins which you speak of, or spiritual gifts, or the word of teaching, or the miracles; you received all from thence. Now what have you, tell me, which you have not received, but hast rather achieved of your own self? You have nothing to say. Well: you have received; and does that make you high-minded? Nay, it ought to make you shrink back into yourself. For it is not yours, what has been given, but the giver's. What if you received it? You received it of him. And if you received of him, it was not yours which you received, and if you but received what was not your own, why are you exalted as if you had something of your own? Wherefore he added also, Now if you received it, why do you glory, as if you had not received it?


46 ⇒ Job 36:26.
47 St. Joan of Arc.
48 I Cor 4:7.
49 ⇒ Ps 116:12.
50 ⇒ Gen 1:26.
51 St. Nicholas of Flue; cf. ⇒ Mt 5:29-30; ⇒ 16:24-26.
52 St. Teresa of Jesus, Poesias 30 in the Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, vol. III, tr. K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez OCD (Washington DC Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1985), 386 no. 9. tr. John Wall.