Studies and Meditations on this Sundays Scripture Readings: July 28, 2013


#1

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name..."

To help us prepare for this coming Sunday, here are the readings, studies and reflections for this coming Sunday's Scripture readings. This Sunday is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Here
are the Scripture readings from the U.S. Catholic bishops website.

My own weekly study on the Sunday Readings can be found here at my website.

Here are three short audio reflections on the readings by Sister Ann Shields, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Fr. Robert Barron.

Scripture scholar Fr. Francis Martin's video meditations on the Sunday Scripture readings can be found here.

The Navarre Bible Commentary for each reading can be viewed here.

Further study resources for the Readings: St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study can be found here, Catholic Matters can be found catholicmatters.com/sunday.htmhere, the* Catena Aurea ("Golden Chain") of St. Thomas Aquinas can be found here, and the *Haydock Commentary can be found here.

Please consider supporting those who provide these free resources.

Discussion, questions and charitable comments are always welcome. Have a blessed week!

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#2

**The Navarre Bible Commentary

First Reading - From: Genesis 18:16-33

Abraham Intercedes For Sodom
----------------------------**
[16] then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. [17] The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, [18] seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? [19] No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." [20] Then the Lord said, "Because the outcry again Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, [21] I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know."

[22] So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the Lord. [23] Then Abraham drew near and said, "Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? [24] Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? [25] Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" [26] And the Lord said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake." [27] Abraham answered, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. [28] Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there." [29] Again he spoke to him, and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it." [30] Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there." [31] He said, "Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it." [32] Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." [33] And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.


Commentary:

18:16-33. When interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham argues in terms of collective responsibility, as understood in ancient times in Israel: the entire people shared the same fate even though not all of them sinned, for the sin some affected all. According to that way of looking at things, if there were enough just people in the city (Abraham did not dare go below ten) God would not have destroyed it. This way of thinking also shows how the salvation of many (even if they are sinners) can come through the faithfulness of a few, thereby preparing the way to see how the salvation of all mankind is brought about by the obedience of one man alone, Jesus Christ.

The final outcome of this episode shows that, even though he destroys these cities, God saves the righteous who live in them. God does not punish the just man along with the sinner (as Abraham thought); a person is allowed to perish or is saved depending on his personal behavior. This truth, which is found in the Bible from the start, will be given special emphasis in the teaching of the prophets, particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel (cf. Jer 31:29-30; Ezek 18), who stress individual and personal responsibility before God.


*Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.*


#3

**The Navarre Bible Commentary

Second Reading - From: Colossians 2:12-14

Defense of Sound Teaching in the Face of Heresy (Continuation)
--------------------------------------------------------------**
[12] And you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. [13] And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, [14] having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.


Commentary:

11-12. This is a reference to another error which the Judaizers were trying to spread at Colossae and which was already treated in detail in the letters to the Galatians and the Romans--the idea that it was necessary for Christians to be circumcised. Physical circumcision affects the body, whereas what the Apostle, by analogy, calls "the circumcision of Christ", that is, Baptism, puts off the "body of flesh" (an expression which seems to refer to whatever is sinful in man). "We, who by means of (Christ) have reached God, have not been given fleshly circumcision but rather spiritual circumcision ...]; we receive it by the mercy of God in Baptism" (St Justin, "Dialogue with Trypho", 43, 2). "By the sacrament of Baptism, whenever it is properly conferred in the way the Lord determined and received with the proper dispositions of soul, man becomes truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life, as the Apostle says: [Col 2:12 follows]" (Vatican II, "Unitatis Redintegratio", 22).

As on other occasions (cf. Rom 6:4), St Paul, evoking the rite of immersion in water, speaks of Baptism as a kind of burial (a sure sign that someone has died to sin), and of resurrection to a new life, the life of grace. By this sacrament we are associated with Christ's death and burial so as to be able to rise with him. "Christ by his resurrection signified our new life, which was reborn out of the old death which submerged us in sin. This is what is brought about in us by the great sacrament of Baptism: all those who receive this grace die to sin ...] and are reborn to the new life" (St Augustine, "Enchiridion", 41-42).

13-14. This is one of the central teachings of the epistle--that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. The basic purpose of his mediation is to reconcile men with God, through the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the life of grace, which is a sharing in God's own life.

Verse 14 indicates how Christ achieved this purpose--by dying on the Cross. All who were under the yoke of sin and the Law have been set free through his death.

The Mosaic Law, to which the scribes and Pharisees added so many precepts as to make it unbearable, had become (to use St Paul's comparison) like a charge sheet against man, because it imposed heavy burdens but did not provide the grace needed for bearing them. The Apostle very graphically says that this charge sheet or "bond" was set aside and nailed on the Cross--making it perfectly clear to all that Christ made more than ample satisfaction for our crimes. "He has obliterated them," St John Chrysostom comments, "not simply crossed them out; he has obliterated them so effectively that no trace of them remains in our soul. He has completely canceled them out, he has nailed them to the Cross ...]. We were guilty and deserved the most rigorous of punishments because we were all of us in sin! What, then, does theSon of God do? By his death on the Cross he removes all our stains and exempts us from the punishment due to them. He takes our charge-sheet, nails it to the Cross through his own person and destroys it" ("Hom. On Col, ad loc.").


*Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.*


#4

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

Gospel Reading - From: Luke 11:1-13

The Our Father
--------------**
[1] He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught His disciples." [2] And He said to them, "When you pray, say: `Our Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. [3] Give us each day our daily bread; [4] and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.'"

Effective Prayer

[5] And He (Jesus) said to them (the disciples), "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; [6] for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; [7] and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'? [8] I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. [9] And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. [10] For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks find, and to him who knocks it will be opened. [11] What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; [12] or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? [13] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"


Commentary:

1-4. St. Luke gives us a shorter form of the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, than St. Matthew (6:9-13). In Matthew there are seven petitions, in Luke only four. Moreover, St. Matthew's version is given in the context of the Sermon on the Mount and specifically as part of Jesus' teaching on how to pray; St. Luke's is set in one of those occasions just after our Lord has been at prayer--two different contexts. There is nothing surprising about our Lord teaching the same thing on different occasions, not always using exactly the same words, not always at the same length, but always stressing the same basic points. Naturally, the Church uses the longer form of the Lord's Prayer, that of St. Matthew.

"When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus, Teach us to pray', He replied by saying the words of theOur Father', thereby giving a concrete model which is also a universal model. In fact, everything that can and must be said to the Father is contained in those seven requests which we all know by heart. There is such simplicity in them that even a child can learn them, but at the same time such depth that a whole life can be spent meditating on their meaning. Isn't that so? Does not each of those petitions deal with something essential to our life, directing it totally towards God the Father? Doesn't this prayer speak to us about our daily bread',forgiveness of our sins, since we forgive others' and about protecting us from temptation' anddelivering us from evil?'" ([Pope] John Paul II, "General Audience", 14 March 1979).

The first thing our Lord teaches us to ask for is the glorification of God and the coming of His Kingdom. That is what is really important--the Kingdom of God and His justice (cf. Matthew 6:33). Our Lord also wants us to pray confident that our Father will look after our material needs, for "your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all" (Matthew 6:32). However, the Our Father makes us aspire especially to possess the goods of the Holy Spirit, and invites us to seek forgiveness (and to forgive others) and to avoid the danger of sinning. Finally the Our Father emphasizes the importance of vocal prayer. "Domine, doce nos orare. Lord teach us to pray!' And our Lord replied:When you pray say: "Pater noster, qui es in coelis"... Our Father, who art in Heaven...'. What importance we must attach to vocal prayer!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 84).

  1. Jesus often went away to pray (cf. Luke 6:12; 22:39ff). This practice of the Master causes His disciples to want to learn how to pray. Jesus teaches them to do what He Himself does. Thus, when our Lord prays, He begins with the Word "Father!": "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46); see also Matthew 11:25; 26:42, 53; Luke 23:34; John 11:41; etc.). His prayer on the Cross, "My God, My God,..." (Matthew 27:46), is not really an exception to this rule, because there He is quoting Psalm 22, the desperate prayer of the persecuted just man.

Therefore, we can say that the first characteristic prayer should have is the simplicity of a son speaking to his Father. "You write: To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes, failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petition: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself:to get acquainted!'" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 91).

  1. "Hallowed be Thy name": in this first petition of the Our Father "we pray that God may be known, loved, honored and served by everyone and by ourselves in particular." This means that we want "unbelievers to come to a knowledge of the true God, heretics to recognize their errors, schismatics to return to the unity of the Church, sinners to be converted and the righteous to persevere in doing good." By this first petition, our Lord is teaching us that `we must desire God's glory more than our own interest and advantage." This hallowing of God's name is attained "by prayer and good example and by directing all our thoughts, affections and actions towards Him" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 290-293).

Continued below...


#5

"Thy Kingdom come": "By the Kingdom of God we understand a triple spiritual kingdom--the Kingdom of God in us, which is grace; the Kingdom of God on earth, which is the Catholic Church; and the Kingdom of God in Heaven, which is eternal bliss ...]. As regards grace, we pray that God reign in us with His sanctifying grace, by which He is pleased to dwell in us as a king in his throne-room, and that He keeps us united to Him by the virtues of faith, hope and charity, by which He reigns in our intellect, in our heart and in our will ...]. As regards the Church, we pray that it extend and spread all over the world for the salvation of men ...]. As regards Heaven, we pray that one day we be admitted to that eternal bliss for which we have been created, where we will be totally happy" ("ibid.", 294-297).

  1. The Tradition of the Church usually interprets the "bread" as not only material bread, since "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Here Jesus wants us to ask God for "what we need each day for soul and body ...]. For our soul we ask God to sustain our spiritual life, that is, we beg Him to give us His grace, of which we are continually in need ...]. The life of our soul is sustained mainly by the divine word and by the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar ...]. For our bodies we pray for what is needed to maintain us" ("St. Pius X Catechism", 302-305).

Christian doctrine stresses two ideas in this petition of the Our Father: the first is trust in Divine Providence, which frees us from excessive desire to accumulate possessions to insure us against the future (cf. Luke 12:16-21); the other idea is that we should take a brotherly interest in other people's needs, thereby moderating our selfish tendencies.

  1. "So rigorously does God exact from us forgetfulness of injuries and mutual affection and love, that He rejects and despises the gifts and sacrifices of those who are not reconciled to one another" ("St. Pius V Catechism", IV, 14, 16).

"This sisters, is something which we should consider carefully; it is such a serious and important matter that God should pardon us our sins, which have merited eternal fire, that we must pardon all trifling things which have been done to us. As I have so few, Lord, even of these trifling things, to offer Thee, Thy pardoning of me must be a free gift: there is abundant scope here for Thy mercy. Blessed be Thou, who endurest one that is so poor" (St. Teresa of Avila, "Way of Perfection", Chapter 36).

Concluded below...


#6

"And lead us not into temptation": it is not a sin to "feel" temptation but to "consent" to temptation. It is also a sin to put oneself voluntarily into a situation which can easily lead one to sin. God allows us to be tempted, in order to test our fidelity, to exercise us in virtue and to increase our merits with the help of grace. In this petition we ask the Lord to give us His grace not to be overcome when put to the test, or to free us from temptation if we cannot cope with it.

5-10. One of the essential features of prayer is trusting perseverance. By this simple example and others like it (cf. Luke 18:1-7) our Lord encourages us not to desist in asking God to hear us. "Persevere in prayer. Persevere even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 101).

9-10. Do you see the effectiveness of prayer when it is done properly? Are you not convinced like me that, if we do not obtain what we ask God for, it is because we are not praying with faith, with a heart pure enough, with enough confidence, or that we are not persevering in prayer the way we should? God has never refused nor will ever refuse anything to those who ask for His graces in the way they should. Prayer is the great recourse available to us to get out of sin, to persevere in grace, to move God's heart and to draw upon us all kinds of blessing from Heaven, whether for the soul or to meet our temporal needs" (St. John Mary Vianney, "Selected Sermons", Fifth Sunday after Easter).

11-13. Our Lord uses the example of human parenthood as a comparison to stress again the wonderful fact that God is our Father, for God's fatherhood is the source of parenthood in Heaven and on earth (cf. Ephesians 3:15). "The God of our faith is not a distant Being who contemplates indifferently the fate of men--their desires, their struggles, their sufferings. He is a Father who loves His children so much that He sends the Word, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, so that by taking on the nature of man He may die to redeem us. He is the loving Father who now leads us gently to Himself, through the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", p. 84).

  1. The Holy Spirit is God's best gift to us, the great promise Christ gives His disciples (cf. John 5:26), the divine fire which descends on the Apostles at Pentecost, filling them with fortitude and freedom to proclaim Christ's message (Acts 2). "The profound reality which we see in the texts of Holy Scripture is not a remembrance from the past, from some golden age of the Church which has since been buried in history. Despite the weaknesses and the sins of every one of us, it is the reality of today's Church and the Church in all times. 'I will pray to the Father,' our Lord told His disciples, 'and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever.' Jesus has kept His promise. He has risen from the dead and, in union with the eternal Father, He sends us the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to give us life" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 12).

*Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States. We encourage readers to purchase
The Navarre Bible for personal study. See Scepter Publishers for details.*


#7

More excellent resources for this Sunday's Readings:

Carl E. Olson

Msgr. Charles Pope

John Bergsma

USCCB

The Word Among Us

Presentation Ministries

Dr. Scott Hahn


#8

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