Studies and Meditations on this Sundays Scripture Readings: November 17, 2013


Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” Jesus answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,’ and 'The time has come.’ Do not follow them!”

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 33rd 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.

Here is a Catholic Bible study podcast (each about an hour long) from the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. The sister leading the study does a really nice job using primarily, I believe, the notes from the St. Charles Borromeo study linked below.

Further study resources for the Readings: St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study can be found here, Catholic Matters can be found here, the Catena Aurea (“Golden Chain”) of St. Thomas Aquinas can be found here, The Sacred Page 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!


**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

1st Reading - From: 2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10

David is Anointed King of Israel at Hebron
------------------------------------------ **
[1] Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. [2] In times past, when Saul was king over us. it was you that led out and brought in Israel; and the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” [3] So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. [4] David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. [5] At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

Capture of Jerusalem

[6] And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”–thinking, “David cannot come in here.” [7] Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. [10] And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.


5:1-5. David’s consecration as king of Israel is told quite simply but the account emphasizes details of primary importance in salvation history: the tribes of the North and the South are all brothers: “we are your flesh and bone” (v. 1); the images of the shepherd (v. 2), David’s original profession, conveys the notion of a ruler and king who governs not for his own advantage but for the welfare of his subjects; David’s covenant with the leaders (v. 3) is in line with the general doctrine of covenant which is the basis of God’s relations with his people, and of those between Israelite and Israelite; the figures given for David’s reigns (seven as king of Judah, forty as king of Judah and Israel) are symbols of plenitude. Even in the New Testament the numbers seven and forty have the same connotation (cf. Mt 4:2; 18:22; Rev 1:11; Acts 4:22; etc.). Hebron, the place where David was also anointed king of Judah, was the main city of the South; within it was the cave of Mach-pelah (cf. Gen 25:9) and close to it was the sacred oak of Mamre. However, it was replaced by Jerusalem perhaps to show that a new kingdom warranted a new royal base.

David is a figure of Jesus Christ on many counts, but they all derive from the fact that he is king: Jesus Christ, too will be acclaimed King of Israel. “But what did it mean for the Lord to be acclaimed the King of Israel? What did it mean to the King of all ages to be recognized as the king of men? Christ did not become the King of Israel in order to demand tributes or to raise armies and make war against the enemies [of Israel]; he became the King of Israel to reign over souls, to give counsel that leads to eternal life, to bring those who were filled with faith, hope and Love to the Kingdom of heaven” (St Augustine, “In loannis Evangelium”, 51, 4).

The liturgy of the Church uses this passage from the hook of Samuel for the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, together with the passage about the crucifixion (Lk 23:35-43). Jesus won his kingdom through his obedience, which has its climax in death on the cross, bringing about the definitive salvation of all mankind.

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.


**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

2nd Reading -From: Colossians 1:12-20

Prayer for Advancement in Holiness;
Exhortation to Gratitude (Continuation)
[l2] Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. [13] He has delivered us from the
dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Hymn in Praise of Christ as Head of All Creation
[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;
[16] for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
[17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
[18] He is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning; the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
[19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things.


12-14. "The dominion of darkness": the condition of enslavement to the devil of a person in the state of sin. As is frequent in Sacred Scripture (cf. Is 58:10; Jn 12:35; 1 Jn 1:5; 2:8; 2 Cor 6:14; Rom 13:11-14; Eph 5:7-13), the simile of movement from darkness to light is used to refer to "redemption" or the change from a condition of sin to one of righteousness and friendship with God, which is effected by infusion of sanctifying grace (cf. St Thomas, "Commentary on Col, ad loc.").

"Light": this is a symbol of the risen Christ and also of the abundance of graces which he won for mankind in his Easter Mystery. It also describes the whole ensemble of supernatural benefits which grace brings with it--goodness, righteousness (or holiness) and truth (cf. Eph 5:9), which lead to the glory of heaven (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). Hence the "rite of light", so richly a symbol of supernatural realities, which has formed part of baptismal liturgy since the first centuries.

The struggle between light and the power of darkness is referred to in many passages of Sacred Scripture (cf. Jn 1:5, 9-11). Darkness means both evil and the power of the Evil One. Before the redemption took place, all men--as a consequence of original sin and their personal sins--were slaves to sin; this slavery darkened their minds and made it difficult for them to know God, who is the true light. Christ our Lord, by carrying out the redemption and obtaining forgiveness for our sins (cf. v. 14), rescued us from the kingdom of darkness from the tyranny of the Evil One, and brought us into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of truth and justice, of love and of peace (cf. "Preface for the Solemnity of Christ the King"), enabling us to enjoy "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom 8:21).

"His beloved Son": the Hebrew expression "Son of his love", which is paralleled in the Greek, is one of the ways Jesus Christ is referred to in the New Testament (cf. Mt 12:6; Lk 20:13). A variation, "my Son, the Beloved", is spoken by the voice from heaven, that is, by the Father, at Jesus' baptism (cf. Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22) and at the Transfiguration (cf. Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35).

By speaking in this way St Paul, like St John, is underlining the fact that "God is love" (l Jn 4:8). God's love for us was made manifest by his sending his only Son into the world so that we might live through him (cf. 1 Jn 4:9). By dying on the Cross he won life for us; by redeeming us with his blood he obtained forgiveness for our sins (cf. Col 1:14; Eph 2:4ff): "He revealed to us that God is love, and he gave us the 'new commandment' of love (Jn 13:34), at the same time communicating to us the certainty that the path of love is open for all people, so that the effort to establish universal brotherhood is not a vain one (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 38). By conquering through his death on the Cross evil and the power of sin, by his loving obedience he brought salvation to all" (John Paul II, "Reconciliatio Et Paenitentia", 10).

On the meaning of "redemption" and "forgiveness of sins", see the note on Eph 1:7-8.

  1. We Christians should be grateful to God for his great mercy in deigning to free us from the power of the devil, forgiving our sins and making us worthy to "share in the inheritance of the saints". We have benefited in so many ways: "In addition to the gift itself, he also gives us the power we need so receive it ...]. God has not only honored us by making us share in the inheritance, but has made us worthy to possess it. And so we receive a double honor from God--firstly, the position itself; and secondly, the capacity to measure up to it" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on Col, ad loc."). * Continued on the next post...*


Our sharing in “the inheritance of the saints” enables us to draw on the treasury of spiritual goods which the Church is continually applying to its members–prayers, sacrifices and all kinds of meritorious actions, which benefit every Christian. This “inheritance of the saints”—in which we begin to share in this present life–will be found in its full and permanent form by those who attain everlasting joy. The grace of conversion originates in God’s loving kindness. “Prior to God’s gift of grace, although not every man might be sinful there is nothing that he does or can do which would merit forgiveness or the grace of God. You must realize”, St John of Avila says, “that it is God who has brought you out of darkness into his wonderful light …]. And what caused him to do so was not your past merits or any service you have rendered him, but his kindness alone and the merits of our only mediator, Jesus Christ our Lord” (“Audi, Filia”, 65).

15-20. Now we come to a very beautiful hymn in praise of Christ’s sublime dignity as God and as man. This was a truth deserving emphasis in view of the danger to the faith which the false apostles’ teaching represented (cf. note on vv. 7-8). However, quite apart from the particular situation in Colossae, the sublime teaching contained in this canticle holds good for all times; it is one of the most important Christological texts in St Paul’s writings.

The real protagonist of this passage is the Son of God made man, whose two natures, divine and human, are always linked in the divine person of the Word. However, at some points St Paul stresses his divinity (vv. 16, 17, 18b and 19) and at others his humanity (vv. 15, 18a, 18c and 20). The underlying theme of the hymn is Christ’s total pre-eminence over all creation.

We can distinguish two stanzas in the hymn. In the first (vv. 15-17) Christ’s dominion is stated to embrace the entire cosmos, stemming as it does from his action as Creator: “in him all things were created” (v. 16). This same statement is made in the prologue to the fourth Gospel (cf. Jn 1:3), and it is implied in the Book of Genesis, which tells us that creation was effected by God’s word (cf. Gen 1:3, 6, 9, etc.). Since Christ is the Word of God, he is above all things, and therefore St Paul stresses that all angels–irrespective of their hierarchy or order–come under his sway.

Christ’s pre-eminence over natural creation is followed by his primacy in the economy of supernatural salvation, a second creation worked by God through grace. The second stanza (vv. 18-20) refers to this further primacy of Christ: by his death on the cross, Christ has restored peace and has reconciled all things–the world and mankind–to God. Jews and Gentiles both are called to form part of one body, the Church, of which Christ is the head; and all the celestial powers are subject to his authority.

This passage is, then, a sublime canticle celebrating Christ, the head by virtue of his surpassing excellence and his salvific action. “The Son of God and of the Blessed Virgin”, Pius XII teaches, “must be called the head of the Church for the special reason of his preeminence. For the head holds the highest place. But none holds a higher place than Christ as God for he is the Word of the Eternal Father and is therefore justly called ‘the first-born of all creation’. None holds a higher place than Christ as man, for he, born of the immaculate Virgin, is the true and natural Son of God, and by reason of his miraculous and glorious resurrection by which he triumphed over death he is ‘the first-born from the dead’. And none stands higher than he who, being the ‘one mediator between God and man’ (1 Tim 2:5), admirably unites earth with heaven; who, exalted on the Cross as on his throne of mercy, has drawn all things to himself” (“Mystici Corporis”, 15).

concluded on the next post…


St Paul goes on to say that “in him all things hold together”; “the Son of God has not only created everything: he conserves everything in being; thus, if his sovereign will were to cease to operate for even an instant, everything would return into the nothingness from which he drew everything that exists” (Chrysostom, “Hom. on Col, ad loc.”).

All created things, then, continue in existence because they share, albeit in a limited way, in Christ’s infinite fullness of existence or perfection. His dominion extends not only over celestial things but also over all material things, however insignificant they may seem: it embraces everything in heaven and in the physical universe.

The sacred text also points to Christ’s supremacy over invisible creation, that is, over the angels and celestial hierarchies (cf. Heb 1:5). If St Paul stresses this fact, it is to expose the errors of those who were depicting Jesus as a creature intermediary between
corporeal beings and spiritual created beings, and, therefore, lower than the angels.

  1. “He is the head of the body, the church”: this image shows the relationship of Christ with the Church, to which he sends his grace in abundance, bearing life to all its members. 'The head," St Augustine says, “is our very Savior, who suffered under Pontius Pilate and now, after rising from the dead, is seated at the right hand of the Father. And his body is the Church …] For the whole Church, made up of the assembly of the faithful–for all the faithful are Christ’s members–has Christ, as its head, who rules his body from on high” (“Enarrationes in Psalmos”, 56, 1).

St Paul unequivocally teaches that the Church is a body. "Now if the Church is a body it must be something one and undivided, according to the statement of St Paul: ‘We, though many, are one body in Christ’ (Rom 12:5). And not only must it be one and undivided, it must also be something concrete and visible, as our Predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, says in his Encyclical “Satis Cognitum”: ‘By the very fact of being a body the Church is visible.’ It is therefore an aberration from divine truth to represent the Church as something intangible and invisible, as a mere ‘pneumatic’ entity joining together by an invisible link a number of communities of Christians in spite of their difference in faith.

“But a body requires a number of members so connected that they help one another. And, in fact, as in our mortal organism when one member suffers the others suffer with it, and the healthy members come to the assistance of those who are ailing, so in the Church individual members do not live only for themselves but also help one another, alleviating their suffering and helping to build up the entire body” (Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis”, 7).

“He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead”: this can be said because he was the first man to rise from the dead, never again to die (cf. 1 Cor 15:20; Rev 1:5), and also because thanks to him it enabled men to experience resurrection in glory (cf. 1 Cor 15:22; Rom 8:11), because they are justified through him (cf. Rom 4:25).

So, just as the previous verses looked to Christ’s pre-eminent role in creations the hymn now focuses on his primacy in a new creation—the rebirth of mankind, and all creation in its train, in the supernatural order of grace and glory. Christ rose from the dead to enable us also to walk in newness of life (cf. Rom 6:4). Therefore, in every way Jesus Christ is “pre-eminent.”

Concluded on the next post…

  1. The word “pleroma” translated here as “fullness”, has two meanings in Greek: one, an active meaning, describes something that “fills” or “completes”; for example, a ship’s full load can be referred to as its “pleroma”. The other meaning is passive, “that which is filled” or “that which is complete”, so that a ship can be said to be “pleroma” when it is fully loaded. In this passage St Paul is using the word in both senses: Christ is the fullness (passive sense) of the Godhead (cf. Col 2:9), because he is full of all the perfections of the divine essence; and he is the fullness (active sense), because he fills the Church and all creation.

St John Chrysostom suggests that “the word ‘fullness’ is to be taken to mean the divinity of Jesus Christ …]. This term has been chosen the better to show that the very essence of the godhead resides in Jesus Christ” (“Hom. on Col, ad loc.”).

Since Christ possesses the divine nature, he also possesses the fullness of the supernatural gifts, for himself and for all mankind. Hence St Thomas’ comment that pleroma “reveals the dignity of the head in so far as it has the fullness of all grace” (Commentary on Col, ad loc.). In this sense, Christ is the fullness of the Church, for as its head he vivifies his body with all kinds of unmerited gifts. Finally, the entire created universe can be termed the “fullness” (“pleroma”) of Christ, because everything that exists in heaven and on earth has been created and is maintained in existence by him (cf. vv. 16-17); they are ever-present to him and are ruled by him (cf. Is 6:3; Ps 139:8; Wis 1:7; etc.). Thus, the world, which was created good (cf. Gen 1:31) tends towards its fulfillment insofar as it clearly reflects the imprint God gave it at the start of creation.

  1. Since Christ is pre-eminent over all creation, the Father chose to reconcile all things to himself through him. Sin had cut man off from God, rupturing the perfect order which originally reigned in the created world. By shedding his blood on the cross, Christ obtained peace for us; nothing in the universe falls outside the scope of his peace-giving influence. He who in the beginning created all things in heaven and on earth has reestablished peace throughout creation.

This reconciliation of all things, ushered in by Christ, is fostered by the Holy Spirit who enables the Church to continue the process of reconciliation. However, we will not attain the fullness of this reconciliation until we reach heaven, when the entire created universe,
along with mankind, will be perfectly renewed in Christ (cf. “Lumen Gentium”, 48).

"The history of salvation–the salvation of the whole of humanity, as well as of every human being of whatever period–is the wonderful history of a reconciliation; the reconciliation whereby God, as Father, in the Blood and the Cross of his Son made man, reconciles the world to himself and thus brings into being a new family of those who have been reconciled.

"Reconciliation becomes necessary because there has been the break of sin from which derive all the other forms of break within man and about him. Reconciliation therefore, in order to be complete, necessarily requires liberation from sin, which is to be rejected in its deepest roots. Thus a close internal link unites “conversion” and “reconciliation”. It is impossible to split these two realities or to speak of one and say nothing of the other (John Paul II, “Reconciliatio Et Paenitentia”, 13).

Jesus Christ also counts on the cooperation of every individual Christian to apply his work of redemption and peace to all creation.The founder of Opus Dei says, in this connection: “We must love the world and work and all human things. For the world is good. Adam’s sin destroyed the divine balance of creation; but God the Father sent his only Son to reestablish peace, so that we his children by adoption, might free creation from disorder and reconcile all things to God” (“Christ Is Passing By”, 112).

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.


**Navarre Bible Commentary

Gospel Reading - From: Luke 23:35-43

The Crucified Christ is Mocked
[35] And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at Him (Jesus), saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!" [36] The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him vinegar, [37] and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!" [38] There was also an inscription over Him, "This is the King of the Jews."

The Good Thief

[39] One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" [40] But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? [41] And we indeed justly: fo r we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." [42] And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come in Your kingly power." [43] And He said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."


  1. The Roman governor's soldiers join the Jewish people and their leaders in mocking Jesus; thus, everyone--Jews and Gentiles--contributed to making Christ's passion even more bitter. But we should not forget that we too make a mockery of our Lord every time we fall into sin or fail to respond sufficiently to grace. This is why St. Paul says that those who sin "crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold Him up to contempt" (Hebrews 6:6).

39-43. The episode of the two thieves invites us to admire the designs of divine providence, of grace and human freedom.&nbs p; Both thieves are in the same position--in the presence of the Eternal High Priest as He offers Himself in sacrifice for them for all mankind. One of them hardens his heart, despairs and blasphemes, while the other repents, prays with confidence to Christ and is promised immediate salvation. "The Lord," St. Ambrose comments, "always grants more than one asks: the thief only asked Him to remember Him, but the Lord says to him, `Truly, I say to you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise.' Life consists in dwelling with Jesus Christ, and where Jesus Christ is there is His Kingdom" ("Expositio Evangelii Sec. Lucam, in loc.). "It is one thing for man to judge someone he does not know; another, for God, who can see into a person's conscience. Among men, confession is followed by punishment; whereas confession to God is followed by salvation" (St. John Chrysostom, "De Cruce Et Latrone").

While we make our way through life, we all sin, but we can all repent also. God is always waiting for us with His arms wide open, ready toforgive us. Therefore, no one should despair: everyone should try to have a strong hope in God's mercy. But no one may presume that he will be saved, for none of us can be absolutely certain of our final perseverance (cf. Council of Trent, "De Justificatione", Canon 16). This relative uncertainty is a spur God gives us to be ever vigilant; this vigilance in turns helps us progress in the work of our sanctification as Christians.

  1. "Many times have I repeated that verse of the eucharistic hymn: "Peto quod petivit latro poenitens," and it always fills me with emotion: to ask like the penitent did! He recognized that he himself deserved that awful punishment.... And with a word he stole Christ's heart and `opened up for himself' the gates of Heaven" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way of the Cross", XII, 4).

  2. In responding to the good thief, Jesus reveals that He is God, for He has power over man's eternal destiny; and He also shows that He is infinitely merciful and does not reject the soul who sincerely repents. Similarly by these words Jesus reveals to us a basic truth of faith: "We believe in eternal life. We believe that the souls of all who die in the grace of Christ--whether they must still make expiation in the fire of Purgatory, or whether from the moment they leave their bodies they are received by Jesus Christ into Paradise like the good thief--go to form the People of God which succeeds death, death which will be totally destroyed on the day of the Resurrection when these souls are reunited with their bodies" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Creed of the People of God", 28).

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.


More helpful resources for this Sunday's Readings:

Ignatius Insight

Msgr. Charles Pope

The Word Among Us (meditation)
The Word Among Us (questions for discussion)

Free Republic Catholic Caucus

Have a blessed Sunday!


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