Studies and Meditations on this Sundays Scripture Readings: September 22, 2013


#1

"No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

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 25th 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.

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, 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!


#2

For those attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this Sunday will be the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. You can get the readings here:
credobiblestudy.com/calendar/en/2013/9/22
There is also the Douay Rheims and Clementine Vulgate that can be examined side by side with the Haydock commentary and Glossa Ordinaria.


#3

I have to run, but will be back to this later. thanks for the effort fidelis. God bless.

Peace


#4

[quote="irenaeuslyons, post:2, topic:339740"]
For those attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this Sunday will be the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. You can get the readings here:
credobiblestudy.com/calendar/en/2013/9/22
There is also the Douay Rheims and Clementine Vulgate that can be examined side by side with the Haydock commentary and Glossa Ordinaria.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#5

You’re welcome. I’ll be adding a few more resources later on.:slight_smile:


#6

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

First Reading - From: Amos 8:4-7, 9-12

Exploiters denounced
-------------------------------**

[4] Hear this, you who trample upon the needy,
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
[5] saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
[6] that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and sell the refuse of the wheat?”

[7] The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.


Commentary: *

8:1-14. The fourth vision, that of the ripe fruit (vv. 13), introduces a denunciation of injustices (vv. 4-8 and a further description of the “day of the Lord” (vv 9-14). The three things are interconnected. In the vision, the prophet plays with the words (v. 2) “summer fruit”, qayits, and “end”, qets (see RSV notes q and r). In this way he is saying that Israel’s rottenness has run its course (vv. 4-8); nothing can be done about it now – nothing but wait for the day of the Lord’s judgment (vv. 9-14).

In his denunciation of injustices, Amos mentions, specifically, fraud (v. 5) and exploitation of others when they are suffering need (v. 6). Church catechesis uses this and other passages (cf. Deut 24:14-15; 25:13-16; Jas 5:4) to spell out what the virtue of justice involves: “We should not dedicate our lives to the accumulation of money and wealth when there are so many others who struggle to survive in abject poverty; thus shall we heed the warning contained in the words of the prophet Amos: Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, ‘When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale’” (St Gregory Nazianzen, De pauperum amore **Oratio, 14], 24).

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

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

Second Reading - From: 1 Timothy 2:1-8

God Desires the Salvation of All
--------------------------------**
[1] First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, [2] for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. [3] This is good, and it is
acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, [4] who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, [6] who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. [7] For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Men at Prayer, Women at Prayer
------------------------------

[8] I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hand without anger or quarreling.


Commentary:*

  1. St Paul here establishes regulations for the public prayer of all the faithful; it is up to Timothy, as head of the church of Ephesus, to specify these in detail, and to preside over them. He refers to four types of prayer; however, since the first three are almost synonymous, he is probably just stressing the key importance of prayer in the Christian life. St Augustine uses this text to explain the various parts of the Mass: "We take as 'supplications' those prayers which are said in celebrating the Mysteries before beginning to bless (the bread and wine) that lie on the table of the Lord. We understand 'prayers' as meaning those prayers that are said when (the offering) is blessed, consecrated and broken for distribution, and almost the whole Church closes this prayer with the Lord's prayer ...]. 'Intercessions' are made when the blessing is being laid on the people ...]. When this rite is completed and all have received this great Sacrament, the whole ceremony is brought to an end by 'thanksgiving'--which is also the word which concludes this passage of the Apostle's" ("Letter 149", 2, 16).

Continued below...


#8

St Paul orders that prayers be said for all, not just for friends and benefactors and not just for Christians. The Church helps people keep this command by the Prayers of the Faithful or at Mass when “the people exercise their priestly function by praying for all mankind” and “pray for Holy Church, for those in authority, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world” (“General Instruction on the Roman Missal”, 45).

  1. This desire to lead “a quiet and peaceful life” does not in any way imply a relaxation of the demands St Paul makes in other letters. He specifically says that prayers have to be said “for kings and all who are in high positions” because they are responsible for ensuring that civil law is in line with the natural law, and when it is citizens are able to practise religious and civil virtues (to be “godly and respectful”). Rulers have a heavy responsibility and therefore deserve to be prayed for regularly.

St Paul’s instruction to pray for kings and others is particularly interesting if one bears in mind that when he was writing this letter, Nero was on the throne–the emperor who instigated a bloody persecution of Christians. St Clement of Rome, one of the first successors of St Peter at the see of Rome, has left us touching evidence of intercession for civil authority: “Make us to be obedient to your own almighty and glorious name and to all who have rule and governance over us on earth …]. Grant unto them, O Lord, health and peace, harmony and security, that they may exercise without offense the dominion you have accorded them …]. Vouchsafe so to direct their counsels as may be good and pleasing in your sight, that in peace and mildness they might put to godly use the authority you have given them, and so find mercy with you” (“Letter to the Corinthians”, 1, 60-61).

If one bears in mind the injustices and brutality of the world in which Christians lived when St Paul wrote this letter, the tone of his teaching shows that Christianity has nothing to do with fomenting political or social unrest. The message of Jesus seeks, rather, to
change men’s consciences so that they for their part can change society from within by working in an upright and noble way. The Church, through its ordinary magisterium, teaches that “the political and economic running of society is not a direct part of (the Church’s) mission (cf. “Gaudium Et Spes”, 42). But the Lord Jesus has entrusted to her the word of truth which is capable of enlightening consciences. Divine love, which is her life, impels her to a true solidarity with everyone who suffers. If her members remain faithful to this mission, the Holy Spirit, the source of freedom, will dwell in them, and they will bring forth fruits of justice and peace in their families and in the places where they work and live” (SCDF, “Libertatis Conscientia”, 61).

Continued below…


#9

3-4. God's desire that all should be saved is a subject which appears frequently in the Pastoral Epistles (cf. 1 Tim 4:10; Tit 3:4), and so he is often given the title of "Savior" (cf. note on 1 Tim 1:1-2). Here it is given special emphasis: pray for all men (v. 1), particularly those in high positions (v. 2), that all may be saved (v. 6).

Since God wants all men to be saved, no one is predestined to be damned (cf. Council of Trent, "De Iustificatione"). "He came on earth because "omnes homines vult salvos fieri", he wants to redeem the whole world. While you are at your work, shoulder to shoulder with so many others, never forget that there is no soul that does not matter to Christ!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Forge", 865).

God desires man to be free as intensely as he desires his salvation; by making man free he has made it possible for man to cooperate in attaining his last end. "God, who created you without you," St Augustine reminds us, "will not save you without you" ("Sermon", 169, 13).

In order to attain salvation, the Apostle lists as a requirement that one must "come to the knowledge of the truth". "The truth" is firstly Jesus (cf. Jn 14:6; 1 Jn 5:20); knowledge of the truth is the same as knowing the Christian message, the Gospel (cf. Gal 2:5, 14). The human mind needs to come into play if one is to be saved; for, although affections, emotions and good will are also involved, it would be wrong to give them so much importance that the content of the truths of faith is played down. As the original Greek word suggests, this "knowledge" is not just an intellectual grasp of truth: it is something which should have an impact on one's everyday life; knowledge of the faith involves practice of the faith.

"The Church's essential mission, following that of Christ, is a mission of evangelization and salvation. She draws her zeal from the divine love. Evangelization is the proclamation of salvation, which is a gift of God. Through the word of God and the Sacraments, man is freed in the first place from the power of sin and the power of the Evil One which oppress him; and he is brought into a communion of love with God. Following her Lord who 'came into the world to save sinners' (1 Tim 1:15), the Church desires the salvation of everyone. In this mission, the Church teaches the way which man must follow in this world in order to enter the Kingdom of God" (SCDF, "Libertatis Conscientia", 63).

Concluded below...


#10
  1. Verses 5 and 6 compress a series of statements into the rhythmic format of a liturgical hymn, a kind of summarized confession of faith containing the truths one needs to believe in order to be saved (cf. v. 4).

“One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”: the Apostle lays stress on Christ’s humanity, not to deny his divinity (which he explicitly asserts elsewhere: cf. Tit 2: 13) but because it is as man particularly that Christ is mediator; for if the function of a mediator is to join or put two sides in touch, in this particular case it is only as man that he is as it were “distant both from God by nature and from man by dignity of both grace and glory …], and that he can unite men to God, communicating his precepts and gifts to them, and offering satisfaction and prayers to God for them” (“Summa Theologiae”, III, q. 26, a. 2). Christ is the perfect and only mediator between God and men, because being true God and true man he has offered a sacrifice of infinite value (his life) to reconcile men to God.

The fact that Jesus is the only mediator does not prevent those who have reached heaven from obtaining graces and helping to build up the Church’s holiness (cf. “Lumen Gentium”, 49). Angels and saints, particularly the Blessed Virgin, can be described as mediators by virtue of their union with Christ: “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men originates not in any inner necessity but in the disposition of God. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ” (“Lumen Gentium”, 60).

  1. “Ransom”: in the Old Testament God is said to ransom or redeem his people particularly when he sets them free from slavery in Egypt and makes them his own property (cf. Ex 6:6-7; 19:5-6; etc.). The liberation which God will bring about in the messianic times is also described as redemption (cf. Is 35:9) and implies, above all, liberation from sin: “he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Ps. 130:8). The same idea occurs in this verse: Jesus “gave himself” in sacrifice to make expiation for our sins, to set us free from sin and restore to us our lost dignity. “Unceasingly contemplating the whole of Christ’s mystery, the Church knows with all the certainty of faith that the Redemption that took place through the Cross has definitively restored his dignity to man and given back meaning to his life in the world, a meaning that was lost to a considerable extent because of sin” (John Paul II, “Redemptor Hominis”, 10).

“At the proper time”: God’s plan for man’s salvation is eternal, it did not start at a particular time; however, it unfolds gradually in God’s good time (see the note on Eph 1:10).

  1. The raising of the hands at prayer is a custom found among both Jews (cf. Ex 9:29; Is 1:15; etc.) and pagans; it was also adopted by the early Christians, as can be seen from murals in the Roman catacombs.

External stances adopted during prayer should reflect one’s inner attitude: “we extend our arms”, Tertullian explains, “in imitation of the Lord on the Cross; and praying we confess Christ” (“De Oratione”, 14). St Thomas Aquinas, referring to liturgical rites, comments that “what we do externally when we pray helps to move us internally. Genuflections and other gestures of that type are not pleasing to God in themselves; they please him because they are signs of respect whereby man humbles himself interiorly; similarly, the raising of the hands signifies the lifting of the heart” (“Commentary on 1 Tim, ad loc.”).

Everyone should pray regularly (vv. 1-2) and be sure to have the right dispositions; men need to make sure that they do not approach prayer with their thoughts full of earthly ambition; and women need to be sure vanity does not creep in. “Holy hands” refers to the need to pray with a calm conscience, free from anger and spite. We already have our Lord’s teaching that “if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:23-24).

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.


#11

**From the Navarre Bible Commentary

Gospel Reading - From: Luke 16:1-15

The Unjust Steward
------------------**
[1] He (Jesus) also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. [2] And he called him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear from you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' [3] And the steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. [4] I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.' [5] So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' [6] He said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' [7] Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' He said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.' [8] The master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence; for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation that the sons of light. [9] And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

[10] "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. [11] If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? [12] And if you had not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? [13] No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

[14] The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at Him. [15] But He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."

Continued...


#12

Commentary:*

1-8. The unfaithful steward manages to avoid falling on hard times. Of course, our Lord presumes that we realize the immorality of the man’s behavior. What he emphasizes and praises, however, is his shrewdness and effort: he tries to derive maximum material advantages from his former position as steward. In saving our soul and spreading the Kingdom of God, our Lord wants us to apply at least the same ingenuity and effort as people put into their worldly affairs or their attempts to attain some human ideal. The fact that we can count on God’s grace does not in any way exempt us from the need to employ all available legitimate human resources even if that means strenuous effort and heroic sacrifice.

“What zeal people put into their earthly affairs: dreaming of honors, striving for riches, bent on sensuality. Men and women, rich and poor, old and middle-aged and young and even children: all of them the same. When you and I put the same zeal into the affairs of our souls, we will have a living and operative faith: and there will be no obstacle that we cannot overcome in our apostolic undertakings” ([St] J. Escriva, “The Way”, 317).

9-11. “Unrighteous mammon” means temporal good which have been obtained in some unjust, unrighteous way. However, God is very merciful: even this unjust wealth can enable a person to practice virtue by making restitution, by paying for the damage done and then by striving to help his neighbor by giving alms, by creating work opportunities, etc. This was the case with Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, who undertook to restore fourfold anything he had unjustly taken, and also to give half his wealth to the poor. On hearing that, our Lord specifically declared that salvation had that day come to that house (cf. Luke 19:1-10).

Our Lord speaks out about faithfulness in very little things, referring to riches–which really are insignificant compared with spiritual wealth. If a person is faithful and generous and is detached in the use he makes of these temporal riches, he will, at the end of his life, receive the rewards of eternal life, which is the greatest treasure of all, and a permanent one. Besides, by its very nature human life is a fabric of little things: anyone who fails to give them their importance will never be able to achieve great things. "Everything in which we poor men have a part–even holiness–is a fabric of small trifles which, depending upon one’s intention, can form a magnificent tapestry of heroism or of degradation, of virtues or of sins.

“The epic legends always relate extraordinary adventures, but never fail to mix them with homely details about the hero. May you always attach great importance to the little things. This is the way!” ([St] J. Escriva, “The Way”, 826).

The parable of the unjust steward is a symbol of man’s life. Everything we have is a gift from God, and we are His stewards or managers, who sooner or later will have to render an account to Him.

  1. “That which is another’s” refers to temporal things, which are essentially impermanent. “That which is your own” refers to goods of the spirit, values which endure, which are things we really do possess because they will go with us into eternal life. In other words: how can we be given Heaven if we have proved unfaithful, irresponsible, during our life on earth?

13-14. In the culture of that time “service” involved such commitment to one’s master that a servant could not take on any other work or serve any other master.

Our service to God, our sanctification, requires us to direct all our actions towards Him. A Christian does not divide up his time, allocating some of it to God and some of it to worldly affairs: everything he does should become a type of service to God and neighbor–by doing things with upright motivation, and being just and charitable.

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.


#13

Thank you for all your scripture research and sharing it with us…a blessing for us all. may God continue to bless and reward your work and efforts with an abundance of His great graces.

Pax Christi

PS: I have found that reading…studying/thinking…meditating on the Sunday Scriptures…just a little…makes the Great Assembly (Holy Sacrifice of Mass) on Sunday…a much, much richer anticipation of it…and an incredibly deeper sustaining experience…no matter how great or not so great the homily…I have some ownership of…and…responsibility to…The Word. Likewise, Holy Communion…becomes a richer Communion…with the Lord…because of a much richer knowledge of who He is…and what he has done…as the Word made flesh.


#14

Hi, Fidelis,

This particular parable of the unjust steward had me puzzled for some time--why would he have the debtors write down a smaller amount on the note? I always thought that that was cheating the employer, so why was he commended for his actions?

However, after reading the commentary on this post and on your website (which is awesome, btw), I finally understood. It was the usurious interest he was removing. I guess I'm a slow learner but now it fell into place.

Good job and thanks!


#15

[quote="Lancer, post:13, topic:339740"]
Thank you for all your scripture research and sharing it with us...a blessing for us all. may God continue to bless and reward your work and efforts with an abundance of His great graces.

Pax Christi

PS: I have found that reading...studying/thinking...meditating on the Sunday Scriptures...just a little...makes the Great Assembly (Holy Sacrifice of Mass) on Sunday...a much, much richer anticipation of it...and an incredibly deeper sustaining experience...no matter how great or not so great the homily...I have some ownership of...and...responsibility to...The Word. Likewise, Holy Communion...becomes a richer Communion...with the Lord...because of a much richer knowledge of who He is...and what he has done...as the Word made flesh.

[/quote]

You're very welcome, Lancer! One thing that I found out years ago is that the Readings proclaimed at Sunday Mass are so beautiful and profound that no one can expect to even partially appreciate them by a quick reading and short homily. But with just a little background and reflection, they can come alive in a new way.


#16

I puzzled over this passage too for a long time before I finally “got it”. Jesus isn’t really commending anyone in this story; he is just making the point using a worldly example-- the point being that, if the people of this world are so enthusiastic and adept at using the things of this world to get what’s valuable to them, why don’t “the children of light” (i.e. Christians) use the gifts that God has sent their way to strive for the the more important things of heaven?

Thanks for the kind words about the website, BTW. :slight_smile:


#17

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