Tuesday, January 12, 2010


“St. Hilary of Poitiers”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. Hilary [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Hilary

Readings and Commentary:

1 John 2:18-25

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.

Commentary on
1 Jn 2:18-25

After telling his community that they were armed by their knowledge of Christ against evil, the Apostle now tells them that his hour is near. Christ has died and is risen and the second coming must be approaching. He warns them to be alert and watch out for the antichrist. (This designation occurs only in the writings of St. John. In Matthew and Mark they are called false messiahs, in St. Paul’s letters the same person(s) is designated “lawless one.”) This group of antichrists mentioned by the Biblical Authors seems to indicate a group of persons who were teaching falsely about Jesus.

St. John identifies these antichrists as individuals who schismatically leave the faith community, holding false premises. He then tells those who are faithful to be steadfast because they are anointed in the truth. It clearly establishes the sameness of essence in God the Father and God the Son. Anyone who denies one denies both and anyone who teaches that neither exists is a “False Teacher.”

St. John continues encouraging his followers to remain faithful to what they were taught about the Father and the Son. In doing so they open the door to eternal life, and they may stand with confidence before the Son when he returns on the last day.

CCC: 1 Jn 2:18 670, 672, 675; 1 Jn 2:20 91, 695; 1 Jn 2:22 675; 1 Jn 2:23 454
Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."

R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
Commentary on
Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

We are given the reference point used in Hebrews 5:1-10. The psalmist, David, reflects upon the call to service of the people. The final verse specifically mentions the High Priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). Like other kings of the time, he also performed priestly functions.
Psalm 110 thanks God for earthly authority, recognizing that it is only through the Lord's strength that authority is exercised. The psalmist uses Melchizedek as an arch-example, he was a secular king in the time of Abraham who ruled on the spiritual side as well. Though he was not of the Hebrew race, he was none the less chosen by God to be priest, not of the line of Aaron. Since the ancient text refers neither to his lineage nor his death, his office is seen as eternal, “You are a priest forever.

CCC: Ps 110 447; Ps 110:1 659; Ps 110:4 1537
Matthew 5:13-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses Its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Commentary on
Mt 5:13-19

In this selection from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus uses allegory to push the Word of God into the world. He tells his disciples they are an integral part of the faith of the people in God. As seasoning is to food, so is the Word of God to the faith. They must remain steadfast so they do not lose the zeal for God that is the taste of that seasoning. It is the taste which sets it apart.

He uses a second allegory, light, to provide still more direction. The light of faith will be seen by all because it is reflected in the actions of those who believe. The light of faith serves to guide others to God, where they may otherwise become lost in darkness and wander into paths of desolation. The light that pours from the disciples will be seen as a gift, not from them, but from the Father, and the Father will be glorified because of the light.

Those who believed that Jesus came to destroy the Jewish faith and laws are refuted in the next part of the passage. The Lord tells them that he did not come to destroy the Law of Moses, even though he disagreed with the way some of those laws were being implemented. Rather he came to fulfill it; essentially he gave the law a reinterpretation through his own revelation.

CCC: Mt 5:13-16 782, 2821; Mt 5:14 1243; Mt 5:16 326; Mt 5:17-19 577, 592, 1967; Mt 5:17 2053

St. Hilary of Poitiers, pray for us! We can ask for prayers from this faithful servant of God knowing that he basks in the Glory of the Heavenly Kingdom. His life and deeds were a testament to faith in God and faith in God’s Only Begotten Son, Jesus. We who are the recipients of wisdom he and the other patristic fathers illuminated with their writing and deeds may find it difficult to understand the challenges faced in the very early Church. It was a time of struggle from within and persecution from without. Doctrine had not been concretized by tradition and the great Christological Heresies were rampant as logic battled with faith, attempting to understand how God the Father and God the Son were not two gods but one.

St. Hilary came into this time of struggle (early fourth century – 368). He brought a voice of faith in the mystery of a Triune God and battled against those who would deny God’s essence. He fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel, following Christ’s own instruction to the first disciples. His was an unshuttered lamp set high upon a lampstand. He illuminated with his words like the Heavenly Jerusalem – the city set upon a hill.

On this, his feast day, we give thanks and praise to God who gave him the gifts he so boldly and bravely used to proclaim truth to the world. We ask for his intercession, may he pray that we be true to our faith and steadfast in the teachings of the Church he loved and served.


[1] The Icon is “St. Hilary of Poitiers” Artist and Date are UNKNOWN 
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL).  This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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