Saturday, March 26, 2011

THE COMMON OF DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH


THE COMMON OF DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH

Readings for the Common of Doctors[1][2]

725 READING I FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

First Option

1 Kings 3:11-14

The LORD said to Solomon:
"Because you have asked for this not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for,
such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like.
And if you follow me by keeping my statutes and commandments,
as your father David did,
I will give you a long life."
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Commentary on
1 Kgs 3:11-14

Solomon has just offered a huge holocaust (“…a thousand holocausts”) and in response God offers to grant him a request. Because Solomon, in humility, asks for “understanding” rather than a selfish boon, God grants him an understanding heart. Solomon is also granted long life if he follows God’s commandments as King David had done.


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Second Option

Wisdom 7:7-10, 15-16

I prayed, and prudence was given me;
I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne,
And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her,
Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand,
and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her,
And I chose to have her rather than the light,
because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.
Now God grant I speak suitably
and value these endowments at their worth:
For he is the guide of Wisdom
and the director of the wise.
For both we and our words are in his hand,
as well as all prudence and knowledge of crafts.
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Commentary on
Wis 7:7-10, 15-16

This selection from the Book of Wisdom is part of Solomon’s Speech. Here he recalls that he “prayed” for Wisdom (see also 1 Kings 3:6-9 and 2 Chronicles 1:8-10) and it was given, a great prize valued above his riches. Solomon goes on to pray that he can speak of Wisdom so that he might share what he has learned with others.

CCC: Wis 7:16-17 2501
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Third Option

Sirach 15:1-6

He who fears the LORD will do this;
he who is practiced in the law will come to wisdom.
Motherlike she will meet him,
like a young bride she will embrace him,
Nourish him with the bread of understanding,
and give him the water of learning to drink.
He will lean upon her and not fall,
he will trust in her and not be put to shame.
She will exalt him above his fellows;
and in the midst of the assembly she will open his mouth
and fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
and clothe him with the robe of glory.
Joy and gladness he will find,
an everlasting name he will inherit.
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Commentary on
Sir 15:1-6

In this passage the son of Sirach (author of the work) extols the search for Wisdom and the blessings that come from it. He personifies wisdom as the bride who will support and guide the one who wins her. In prior verses Wisdom is connected with adherence to the Law; here that pursuit will provide him with honor in the eyes of God.

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Fourth Option

Sirach 39:6e-10

If it pleases the LORD Almighty,
he who studies the law of the Most High
will be filled with the spirit of understanding;
He will pour forth his words of wisdom
and in prayer give thanks to the LORD,
Who will direct his knowledge and his counsel,
as he meditates upon his mysteries.
He will show the wisdom of what he has learned
and glory in the law of the LORD'S covenant.
Many will praise his understanding;
his fame can never be effaced; *
Unfading will be his memory,
through all generations his name will live;
Peoples will speak of his wisdom,
and in assembly sing his praises.
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Commentary on
Sir 39:6e-10

This section of Sirach (38:24-39:11) is devoted to the vocations of the craftsman and the scribe. In this passage he speaks of the vocation of the scribe or teacher of the faith. That person must devote all their energy to study of the Law, Wisdom and the Prophets. The scribe’s work will be guided by the spirit, to which they must be constantly open. Those who are successful will be remembered through all generations – a statement fulfilled in the memorialization of the saints.

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726 READING I FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT

DURING THE SEASON OF EASTER

First Option
Acts 2:14a, 22-24, 32-36

On the day of the Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed to them:
"You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
"God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father
and poured it forth, as you both see and hear.
For David did not go up into heaven, but he himself said:
The Lord said to my Lord,
'Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.'
Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified."
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Commentary on
Acts 2:14a, 22-24, 32-36

This is the first of the six professions (“kerugma” or proclamations) in Acts about the resurrection set immediately following the Pentecost event. In this proclamation, Peter, speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem (many of whom would have been in the crowd that saw Jesus crucified) first tells them that “This man (Jesus)” demonstrated through “signs and wonders” that he was the Christ. He then makes the accusation “you killed” and concludes with “But God raised him up…”.He reminds them that David had been made the promise of an eternal dynasty (quoting
Psalm 16:8-11) that had been fulfilled in the resurrected Messiah, Jesus.

CCC: Acts 2:22 547; Acts 2:23 597, 599; Acts 2:33 659, 788; Acts 2:34-36 447, 449; Acts 2:36-38 1433; Acts 2:36 440, 597, 695, 731, 746
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Second Option
Acts 13:26-33

When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
"My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you."
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Commentary on
Acts 13:26b-33

In this passage from Acts we find Paul on his first missionary journey to Asia. He is speaking to a mixed crowd of Jews and Gentiles, explaining that Jesus came to fulfill what was written in the Hebrew Scriptures. He concludes his discourse with a quote from Psalm 2:7
"You are my Son; this day I have begotten you." For the Jews this proclamation by the psalmist would have seemed a natural continuation of the understanding of the Hebrew people in salvation history, that the "chosen people" should enjoy God's promised salvation (in the resurrection). For the Gentiles the adoption by God, implicit in the quote, would be seen as an invitation.

CCC: Acts 13:27-28 597; Acts 13:29 601; Acts 13:31 647; Acts 13:32-33 638; Acts 13:32 653; Acts 13:33 445, 2606
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727 RESPONSORIAL PSALM

First Option

Psalm 19:8,9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
  or:
R. (John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,
  refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
  giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
  or:
R. Your words. Lord, are Spirit and life.

The precepts of the LORD are right,
  rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
   enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
   or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

The fear of the LORD is pure,
   enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
   all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
   or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

They are more precious than gold,
   than a heap of purest gold;
 Sweeter also than syrup
   or honey from the comb.
 R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
   or:
 R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

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Commentary on
Ps 19:8,9, 10, 11


Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise. In this passage we give praise for God’s gift of the Law which guides us in our daily lives. The hymn also extols the virtues of obedience and steadfastness to the Law and its precepts. The passage also reflects the idea that following God’s statutes leads to peace and prosperity.

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Second Option

Psalm 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31

R. (30a) The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Trust in the LORD and do good,
  that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
  and he will grant you your heart's requests.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Commit to the LORD your way;
   trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
   bright as the noonday shall lie your vindication.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

The mouth of the just tells of wisdom
   and his tongue utters what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart,
   and his steps do not falter.
R. The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.


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Commentary on
Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31


 Psalm 37 is a lament containing the plea to be faithful to God and remain steadfast in the time of adversity. The psalmist sings that the faith of the people will bring them salvation and that the Lord is faithful and intercedes for them against the wicked. Salvation comes from the Lord alone is the common message.

This selection of Psalm 37 (the main thrust or which is evil is passing but God and His Law are eternal) exhorts the listener to trust in God and the “light” of truth will show the way of righteousness. The psalm appropriately extols the true teaching of God.

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Third Option

Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

R. (12b) Lord, teach me your statutes.

How can a young man be faultless in his way?
  By keeping to your words.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With all my heart I seek you;
  let me not stray from your commands.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Within my heart I treasure your promise,
  that I may not sin against you.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Blessed are you, 0 LORD;
  teach me your statutes.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare
  all the ordinances of your mouth.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

In the way of your decrees
  I rejoice as much as in all riches.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.


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An acrostic poem; each of the eight verses of the first strophe (aleph) begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each verse of the second strophe (beth) begins with the second letter; and so on for all 22 letters of the alphabet.

The entire work is in praise of the Law, and the joys to be found in keeping it. It is not "legalism" but a love and desire for the word of God in Israel's Law, which is the expression of the Lord's revelation of himself and his will for man.
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728 READING II FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT

1.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 1:18-25

St. Paul begins this selection refuting those who point to Christ’s crucifixion as proof of Jesus’ fallibility by saying that faith, graciously given by God allows the Christian to see the victory in what appears to the scoffers to be a defeat (“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”) St. Paul supports his premise by quoting
Isaiah 29:14 attacking the “wisdom of the wise”. He calls Jesus a stumbling block for the Jews (probably because they expected a Royal Messiah taking power like King David) and again foolishness for the rational gentiles (Greeks) who pride themselves in logic – the cross is not logical for a savior.

St. Paul concludes by telling the community “those who were called”, that it is God who acts in them giving them faith (see also
Romans 9:16) and that in the face of God’s omnipotence all the wisdom and strength of humanity pales in comparison.
CCC: 1 Cor 1:18 268; 1 Cor 1:24-25 272
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2,

1 Corinthians 2 1:10a

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Yet we speak a wisdom to those who are mature,
but not a wisdom of this age,
nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.
Rather we speak God's wisdom, mysterious, hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
and which none of the rulers of this age knew;
for, if they had known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:

What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him,

this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 2 1:10a

As part of his defense of his own Apostolate, St. Paul describes, in rather convoluted terms, an out-of-body experience (although it is described as “a man in Christ,” he is referring to himself) where he was taken to heaven (the “third heaven” is the place where God dwells; the first is earth, the second the stars).  In his vision, he was given “ineffable things,” privileged information that could not be repeated. Rather than helping him, these revelations brought persecution, “a thorn in the flesh.” The Apostle uses a Christ-like response to physical and rhetorical challenges by saying that through his weakness and humility, he is given the power of the Holy Spirit to carry on the Lord’s work.
CCC: 1 Cor 2:7-16 221; 1 Cor 2:7-9 1998; 1 Cor 2:8 446, 498, 598; 1 Cor 2:9 1027; 1 Cor 2:10-15 2038; 1 Cor 2:10-11 152
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3.

1 Corinthians 2:10b-16

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God,
for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it,
because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything
but is not subject to judgment by anyone.

For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?
But we have the mind of Christ.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 2:10b-16

St. Paul continues his discourse on Christian Wisdom and perfection in the spirit. In this passage he talks about the discernment of things of the spirit, and how Christian Wisdom allows the faithful to discern the will of God ("…no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God”). The “will of God” seems foolish to human wisdom (“…to him it is foolishness”). The Christian, however, has access to the Wisdom of God and is guided by it. (“But we have the mind of Christ.”)

CCC: 1 Cor 2:10-15 2038; 1 Cor 2:10-11 152; 1 Cor 2:11 687; 1 Cor 2:16 389
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4.
Ephesians 3:8-12

Brothers and sisters:
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.
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Commentary on
Eph 3:8-12

St. Paul’s dialogue on the unity of all the faithful in Christ is continued in this passage. The apostle pronounces Gentiles as coheirs to the salvation offered by God in Jesus. St. Paul uses the analogy of the “body” to signify the degree to which all are united. He concludes this passage with a summary of the grace and richness offered in proclaiming Christ to the world, using himself as an example.


CCC: Eph 3:8 424; Eph 3:9-12 221; Eph 3:9-11 772; Eph 3:9 1066; Eph 3:12 2778
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5.

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience;
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.
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Commentary on
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13

St. Paul enjoins the Church at Ephesus to holiness and unity as part of his instructions on what it means to live the Christian life. Though one baptism (“the call you have received”) we are united in Christ and through Christ to God the Father. While humility is not listed in the Greek lists as a virtue, the evangelist raises self-effacing service of others to this status (see also 1 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 5:22, and Colossians 3:12).


He goes on speaking of the unity of different parts of the living body of Christ, the Church, saying that different gifts were given (similar lists are found at Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). He begins the list of gifts with those of spiritual leadership: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These have been called to service to others.
CCC: Eph 4-6 1454; Eph 4-5 1971; Eph 4:2 2219; Eph 4:3-5 866; Eph 4:3 814; Eph 4:4-6 172, 249, 2790; Eph 4:7 913; Eph 4:11-16 794; Eph 4:11-13 669; Eph 4:11 1575; Eph 4:13 674, 695, 2045
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6.

2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3

Beloved:
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.

My child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And what you heard from me through many witnesses
entrust to faithful people
who will have the ability to teach others as well.
Bear your share of hardship along with me
like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
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Commentary on
2 Tm 1:13-14; 2:1-3

St. Paul exhorts his protégé, St. Timothy, to safeguard what the Apostle has given him, the Good News of Christ. He tells St. Timothy to hold fast to the Gospel using the indwelling strength of the Holy Spirit and, to pass this authentic teaching along through those he finds who can also teach it to others. He compares this task, in the final verse, to that of a soldier’s duty to a cause.
CCC: 2 Tm 1:12-14 84; 2 Tm 1:12 149; 2 Tm 1:13-14 857; 2 Tm 1:14 1202
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7.

2 Timothy 4:1-5

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come
when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but,
following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.
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Commentary on
2 Tm 4:1-5

The Apostle begins this chapter with a solemn injunction to St. Timothy; “…perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. “ He emphasizes the need to “proclaim the word” persistently and in spite of the barriers he will encounter. St. Paul warns that the task will be difficult and that false teachers will arise with competing doctrines and “myths”.

CCC: 2 Tm 4 2015; 2 Tm 4:1 679
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730 GOSPEL

1.


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."
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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
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2.

Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.
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Commentary on
Mt 7:21-29

This is the final section of the first of five great discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In it he broadens his attack on false prophets to include those who perform acts in his name, but lead lives of sin. He uses the analogy of the house built upon sand and the house built upon rock to indicate that those who have a deep faith and act out of that faith have a strong foundation and can stand against adversity, while those who give the faith lip service, for others to see, but do not have that deep faith will fall. He will not even recognize them when they come before him in final judgment.


The Lord also makes a distinction between saying and doing. The metaphor of the “house built upon rock” refers to those who hear the word of the Lord from an authentic source and act upon it. The house built on sand is a metaphor for those who either are not taught authentically (by false prophets) or who do not act upon what they have been given.
CCC: Mt 7:21-27 1970; Mt 7:21 443, 1821, 2611, 2826; Mt 7:28-29 581
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3.

Matthew 13:47-52

Jesus said to the crowds:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore ,
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
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Commentary on
Mt 13:47-52

Jesus concludes his discourse about the Kingdom of Heaven with a final parable about the fisherman’s net. He then makes reference to the disciples’ (and their successor’s) role as “Christian scribes” or teachers of the Kingdom of God. In his description he refers to the “new and the old” being brought out. This reference is to the new teaching from Jesus and the old from the Law and Prophets. The concluding statement emphasizes the importance of the duty of those who instruct the faithful to bring the fullness of the meaning of scripture incorporating not only the vision of the old testament but the fulfillment of it in the light of Christ.

CCC: Mt 13:50 1034; Mt 13:52 1117
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4.

Matthew 23:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not be called 'Rabbi.'
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called 'Master';
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
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Commentary on
Mt 23:8-12

Jesus has launched an attack on the Jewish Leadership for their authoritarian style, placing burdens on the people and seeking places of honor and titles for themselves. In this selection he describes his example of spiritual leadership. He speaks of the humility he exemplifies, placing God the Father in the place of the one true master and all who follow him as servants. See also Luke 14:11
.

CCC: Mt 23:9 2367; Mt 23:12 526
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5. Long Form

Mark 4:1-10, 13-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He said to them,
"Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."
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Commentary on
Mk 4:1-10, 13-20

St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” As in St. Matthew’s Gospel he follows the unvarnished parable with a deeper explanation to the Disciples.


In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. Because this selection gives not only the parable but the Lord’s explanation of its meaning, the only historical note we will make is that, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.


CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707; Mk 4:15-19 2707
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OR Short Form
Mark 4:1-9


On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
"Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."
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Commentary on Mk 4:1-9

The shorter form of the Parable of the Sower omits Jesus’ explanation of the story to his disciples. St. Mark’s Gospel begins a section of teachings on the Kingdom of God through parables. We note that Jesus is teaching from a boat which would provide a natural amphitheater with the ground sloping to the shore. Here the Lord presents the parable of the “Sower.” In the Parable of the Sower from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus uses the rich analogy of the seed (of faith given in Baptism) to show the various courses of faith in human endeavor. As a historical note, at that point in history in that region, when planting a field, the seed was sown first and then the field was plowed.


CCC: Mk 4:4-7 2707
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6.

Luke 6:43-45

Jesus said to his disciples:
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."
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Commentary on
Lk 6:43-45

St. Luke’s Gospel brings us the conclusion of Jesus’ discourse on judgment of others using the analogy of the fruits borne by a tree – good and bad. The intent of this allegory was to expose false prophets – hypocrites who say one thing but do another.  He addresses the issue of false teachers with his analogy of the good and bad fruit. He makes it clear that one can discern if the teacher is authentic or not by the very thing being taught. In this case, those who contradict the Lord are false and should be avoided.

"Jesus is giving us two similes - that of the tree which, if it is good, produces good fruit, and that of the man, who speaks of those things he has in his heart.  'The treasure of the heart is the same as the root of the tree," St. Bede explains.  "A person who has a treasure of the patience and of perfect charity in his heart yields excellent fruit; he loves his neighbor and has all the other qualities Jesus teaches; he loves his enemies, does good to him who hates him, blesses him who curses him, prays for him who calumniates him, does not react against him who attacks him or robs him; he gives to those who ask, does not claim what they have stolen from him, wishes not to judge and does not condemn, corrects patiently and affectionately those who err.  But the person who hase in his heart the treasure of evil does exactly the opposite: he hates his friends, speaks evil of him who loves him and does all the other things condemned by the Lord' (In Lucae Evangelium expositio, 2,6)" [3]

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[1] The picture is “Saint Augustine” by Champaigne, 1660
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible . This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[3] The Navarre Bible, “Gospels and Acts”, Scepter Publishers, Princeton, NJ, © 2002, pp. 395-396

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