Tuesday, September 30, 2008
(Eph 4, 11-16) He gave some as apostles
 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,  so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.  Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love.
(CCC 1575) Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today (Cf. Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I). Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops (Cf. LG 21; Eph 4:11). (CCC 794) Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head (Cf. Col 2:19; Eph 4:11-16), he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation. (CCC 2045) Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ (Cf. Eph 1:22), Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39).
(Eph 4, 7-10) He ascended on high and took prisoners
 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.  Therefore, it says: "He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men."  What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended into the lower (regions) of the earth?  The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
(CCC 456) With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man." (CCC 460) The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pt 1:4): "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939). "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God" (St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B). "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4). (CCC 665) Christ's Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3). (CCC 666) Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father's glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever. (CCC 667) Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Monday, September 29, 2008
(Eph 4, 4-6) One Lord, one faith, one baptism
 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.
 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.
(CCC 814) From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions" (LG 13 § 2). The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). (CCC 866) The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf. Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome. (CCC 173) "Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples… guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house, and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart, and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 1, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 549-552). (CCC 174) "For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same. The Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world…" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 1, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 552-553). The Church's message "is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 5, 20, 1: PG 7/2, 1177).
Ephesians 4(Eph 4, 1-3) Bearing with one another through love
 I, then, 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:
(CCC 1971) To the Lord's Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings, such as Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Colossians 3-4, Ephesians 4-5, etc. This doctrine hands on the Lord's teaching with the authority of the apostles, particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit. "Let charity be genuine.... Love one another with brotherly affection.... Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality" (Rom 12:9-13). This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the Church (Cf. Rom 14; 1 Cor 5-10). (CCC 2790) Grammatically, "our" qualifies a reality common to more than one person. There is only one God, and he is recognized as Father by those who, through faith in his only Son, are reborn of him by water and the Spirit (Cf. 1 Jn 5:1; Jn 3:5). The Church is this new communion of God and men. United with the only Son, who has become "the firstborn among many brethren," she is in communion with one and the same Father in one and the same Holy Spirit (Rom 8:29; Cf. Eph 4:4-6). In praying "our" Father, each of the baptized is praying in this communion: "The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32).
Etichette: prisoner live worthy call received humility gentleness patience preserve unity spirit peace
Sunday, September 28, 2008
(Eph 3, 20-21) To him be glory in the church and in Christ
 Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
(CCC 796) The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist (Jn 3:29). The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom" (Mk 2:19). The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him (Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2). The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb (Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4; 5:27). "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her" (Eph 5:25-26). He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body (Cf. Eph 5:29): This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many… whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church" (Eph 5:31-32). And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh" (Mt 19:6). They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union,… as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "bride" (St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949).
(Eph 3, 17-19) You may be filled with the fullness of God
 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(CCC 1073) The liturgy is also a participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in "the great love with which [the Father] loved us" in his beloved Son (Eph 2:4; 3:16-17). It is the same "marvelous work of God" that is lived and internalized by all prayer, "at all times in the Spirit" (Eph 6:18). (CCC 1074) "The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows" (SC 10). It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. "Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men" (John Paul II, CT 23). (CCC 2714) Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit "that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith" and we may be "grounded in love" (Eph 3:16-17). (CCC 2718) Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. The mystery of Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
(Eph 3, 13-16) For this reason I kneel before the Father
 So I ask you not to lose heart over my afflictions for you; this is your glory.  For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
(CCC 239) By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood (Cf. Isa 66:13; Ps 131:2), which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard (Cf. Ps 27:10; Eph 3:14; Isa 49:15): no one is father as God is Father. (CCC 2214) The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood (Cf. Eph 3:14) this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother (Cf. Prov 1:8; Tob 4:3-4) is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God's commandment (Cf. Ex 20:12). (CCC 1995) The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man" (Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16), justification entails the sanctification of his whole being: Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.... But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life (Rom 6:19, 22).
(Eph 3, 8-12) To preach the inscrutable riches of Christ
 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.
(CCC 218) In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love (Cf. Deut 4:37; 7:8; 10:15). And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins (Cf. Isa 43:1-7; Hos 2). (CCC 219) God's love for Israel is compared to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"(Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Isa 49:14-15; 62 :4-5; Ezek 16; Hos 11). (CCC 220) God's love is "everlasting" (Isa 54:8): "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you" (Isa 54: 10; cf. 54:8). Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jer 31:3). (CCC 221) But St. John goes even further when he affirms that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8, 16): God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret (Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-16; Eph 3:9-12): God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange. (CCC 424) Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt 16:16). On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church (Cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4, 3: PL 54, 150-152; 51, 1: PL 54, 308-309; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432).
Friday, September 26, 2008
Ephesians 3(Eph 3, 1-7) The Gentiles are members of the same body
 Because of this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ (Jesus) for you Gentiles –  if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit,  (namely, that) the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier.  When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,  that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Of this I became a minister by the gift of God's grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
(CCC 1066) In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name (Eph 1:9). Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the "plan of the mystery" (Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4) and the patristic tradition will call the "economy of the Word incarnate" or the "economy of salvation." (CCC 1067) "The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby 'dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.' For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth 'the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church"'(SC 5 § 2; cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785). For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.
(Eph 2, 21-22) The whole structure is held together
 Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;  in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
(CCC 756) "Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband (LG 6; cf. 1 Cor 3:9; Mt 21:42 and parallels; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; Ps 118:22; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:19-22; Rev 21:3; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 21:1-2). (CCC 797) "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church" (St. Augustine, Sermo 267, 4: PL 38, 1231D). "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members" (Pius XII, encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808). The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God" (2 Cor 6:16; cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:21): Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 24, 1: PG 7/1, 966).
Thursday, September 25, 2008
(Eph 2, 19-20) You are members of the household of God
 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,  built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
(CCC 857) The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways: - she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles" (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14); the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself (Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.); - with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching (Cf. Acts 2:42), the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles (Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14); - she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor" (AG 5): You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son… (Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I).
(Eph 2, 14-18) He came and preached peace
 For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,  abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,  and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.  He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,  for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(CCC 2305) Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:5). By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility" (Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22), he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace" (Eph 2:14). He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt 5:9). (CCC 2304) Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquillity of order" (St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640). Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity (Cf. Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 §§ 1-2).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
(Eph 2, 6-13) You have become near by the blood of Christ
 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;  it is not from works, so no one may boast.  For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.  Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands,  were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.
(CCC 1003) United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains "hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3; cf. Phil 3:20). The Father has already "raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus"(Eph 2:6). Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we "also will appear with him in glory" (Col 3:4). (CCC 2796) When the Church prays "our Father who art in heaven," she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated "with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and "hidden with Christ in God" (Eph 2:6; Col 3:3); yet at the same time, "here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling" (2 Cor 5:2; cf. Phil 3:20; Heb 13:14). [Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven (Ad Diognetum 5: PG 2, 1173).
(Eph 2, 4-5) But God brought us to life with Christ
 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
(CCC 211) The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands" (Ex 34:7). By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4). By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that "I AM"(Jn 8:28 (Gk.). (CCC 654) The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, "so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4; cf. 4:25). Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace (Cf. Eph 2:4-5; I Pt 1:3). It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ's brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: "Go and tell my brethren" (Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17). We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Ephesians 2(Eph 2, 1-3) All of us once lived in the desires of our flesh
 You were dead in your transgressions and sins  in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.  All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
(CCC 2515) Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit" (Cf. Gal 5:16, 17, 24; Eph 2:3). Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins (Cf. Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515).
(Eph 1, 23) Which is his body
 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
(CCC 830) The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311). In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation" (UR 3; AG 6; Eph 1:22-23) which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost (Cf. AG 4) and will always be so until the day of the Parousia. (CCC 831) Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race (Cf. Mt 28:19): All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one.... The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit (LG 13 §§ 1-2; cf. Jn 11:52). (CCC 2044) The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church's mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. "The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God" (AA 6 § 2).
Monday, September 22, 2008
(Eph 1, 22) Gave him as head over all things to the church
 And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
(CCC 669) As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body (Cf. Eph 1:22). Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom" (LG 3; 5; cf. Eph 4:11-13). (CCC 753) In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body (Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9). Around this center are grouped images taken "from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage" (LG 6)
(Eph 1, 21) Far above every principality, authority, power
 far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.
 far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(CCC 449) By attributing to Jesus the divine title "Lord", the first confessions of the Church's faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because "he was in the form of God" (Cf. Acts 2:34 - 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6), and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory (Cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11). (CCC 450) From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ's lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not "the Lord" (Cf. Rev 11:15; Mk 12:17; Acts 5:29). "The Church… believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in its Lord and Master" (GS 10 § 3; cf. 45 § 2).
Sunday, September 21, 2008
(Eph 1, 19-20) The surpassing greatness of his power
 and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might,  which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
(CCC 648) Christ's Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father's power "raised up" Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son's humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as "Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead" (Rom 1 3-4; cf. Acts 2:24). St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power (Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16). through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.
(Eph 1, 18) May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened
 May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones,
(CCC 158) "Faith seeks understanding" (St. Anselm, Prosl. prooem.: PL 153, 225A): it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" (Eph 1:18) to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood" (DV 5). In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe" (St. Augustine, Sermo 43, 7, 9: PL 38, 257-258).
Saturday, September 20, 2008
(Eph 1, 17) May give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation
 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.
(CCC 216) God's truth is his wisdom, which commands the whole created order and governs the world (Cf. Wis 13:1-9). God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself (Cf. Ps 115:15; Wis 7:17-21). (CCC 2500) The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos - which both the child and the scientist discover - "from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them" (Wis 13:3, 5). [Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness (Wis 7:25-26). For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail (Wis 7:29-30). I became enamored of her beauty (Wis 8:2).
(Eph 1, 15-16) Remembering you in my prayers
 Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones,  do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
(CCC 2632) Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ (Cf. Mt 6:10, 33; Lk 11:2, 13). There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community (Cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3). It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer (Cf. Rom 10:1; Eph 1:16-23; Phil 19-11; Col 1:3-6; 4:3-4, 12). By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom. (CCC 272) Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor 1:24-25). It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (Eph 1:19-22).
Friday, September 19, 2008
(Eph 1, 14) The first installment of our inheritance
 which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.
(CCC 1107) The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the "guarantee" of their inheritance (Cf. Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22). (CCC 1274) The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord ("Dominicus character") "for the day of redemption" (St. Augustine, Ep. 98, 5: PL 33, 362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22). "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life" (St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3: SCh 62, 32). The faithful Christian who has "kept the seal" until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life "marked with the sign of faith" (Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97), with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection. (CCC 1296) Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father's seal (Cf. Jn 6:27). Christians are also marked with a seal: "It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4, 30). This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial (Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6).
(Eph 1, 13) You have heard the word of truth
 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
(CCC 698) The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him (Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30). Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments. (CCC 706) Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit (Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21). In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself (Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16), in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (Cf. In 11:52). God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the promised Holy Spirit… [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it" (Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14).
Thursday, September 18, 2008
(Eph 1, 11-12) We might exist for the praise of his glory
 In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,  so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
(CCC 1043) Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet 3:13; cf. Rev 21:1). It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph 1:10). (CCC 2746) When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father (Cf. Jn 17). His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church. (CCC 2748) In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ (Cf. Eph 1:10): God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.
(Eph 1, 10) To sum up all things in Christ
 as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
 as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
(CCC 2823) "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ… to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will" (Eph 1:9-11). We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven. (CCC 668) "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living" (Rom 14:9). Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet" (Eph 1:20-22). Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled (Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28). (CCC 772) It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him" (Eph 1:10). St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn (Eph 5:32; 3:9-11; 5:25-27). Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
(Eph 1, 8-9) He made known to us the mystery of his will
 that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight,  he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him
(CCC 1066) In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name (Eph 1:9). Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the "plan of the mystery" (Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4) and the patristic tradition will call the "economy of the Word incarnate" or the "economy of salvation." (CCC 2063) The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person (“I am the Lord.") and addressed by God to another personal subject (“you"). In all God's commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will known to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people: The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor.... The words of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres., 4, 16, 3-4: PG 7/1, 1017-1018).
(Eph 1, 7) In him we have redemption by his blood
 In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace
(CCC 294) The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us "to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph 1:5-6), for "the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 20, 7: PG 7/1, 1037). The ultimate purpose of creation is that God "who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude" (AG 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:28).
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
(Eph 1, 4-6) For the praise of the glory of his grace
 As he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love  he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will,  for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
(CCC 52) God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son (1 Tim 6:16, cf. Eph 1:4-5). By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity. (CCC 257) "O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!" (LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer). God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the "plan of his loving kindness", conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: "He destined us in love to be his sons" and "to be conformed to the image of his Son", through "the spirit of sonship" (Eph 1:4-5, 9; Rom 8:15, 29). This plan is a "grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began", stemming immediately from Trinitarian love (2 Tim 1:9-10). It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church (Cf. AG 2-9).
(Eph 1, 3) In Christ with every spiritual blessing
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
(CCC 1078) Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word and gift (eu-logia, bene-dictio). When applied to man, the word "blessing" means adoration and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving. (CCC 1079) From the beginning until the end of time the whole of God's work is a blessing. From the liturgical poem of the first creation to the canticles of the heavenly Jerusalem, the inspired authors proclaim the plan of salvation as one vast divine blessing. (CCC 1080) From the very beginning God blessed all living beings, especially man and woman. The covenant with Noah and with all living things renewed this blessing of fruitfulness despite man's sin which had brought a curse on the ground. But with Abraham, the divine blessing entered into human history which was moving toward death, to redirect it toward life, toward its source. By the faith of "the father of all believers," who embraced the blessing, the history of salvation is inaugurated. (CCC 1081) The divine blessings were made manifest in astonishing and saving events: the birth of Isaac, the escape from Egypt (Passover and Exodus), the gift of the promised land, the election of David, the presence of God in the Temple, the purifying exile, and return of a "small remnant." the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, interwoven in the liturgy of the Chosen People, recall these divine blessings and at the same time respond to them with blessings of praise and thanksgiving. (CCC 1082) In the Church's liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Letter to Ephesians(Eph 1, 1-2) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus
 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are (in Ephesus) faithful in Christ Jesus:  grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(CCC 2030) It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ". From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle. (CCC 2045) Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ (Cf. Eph 1:22), Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39). (CCC 2046) By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, "a kingdom of justice, love, and peace" (Roman Missal, Preface of Christ the King). They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.
(Col 4, 17-18) Fulfill the ministry that you received
 And tell Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord."  The greeting is in my own hand, Paul's. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
 And tell Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you received in the Lord."  The greeting is in my own hand, Paul's. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
(CCC 2039) Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord (Cf. Rom 12:8, 11). At the same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the person's own acts. As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church. (CCC 2040) Thus a true filial spirit toward the Church can develop among Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother's foresight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
(Col 4, 15-16) Greetings to the church in her house
 Give greetings to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nympha and to the church in her house.  And when this letter is read before you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and you yourselves read the one from Laodicea.
(CCC 1655) Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than "the family of God." From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household" (Cf. Acts 18:8). When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved (Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14). These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world. (CCC 1666) The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity. (CCC 1658) We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the "domestic churches," and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden'" (FC 85; cf. Mt 11:28).
(Col 4, 7-14) That you may be perfect
 Tychicus, my beloved brother, trustworthy minister, and fellow slave in the Lord, will tell you all the news of me.  I am sending him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us and that he may encourage your hearts,  together with Onesimus, a trustworthy and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.  Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions; if he comes to you, receive him),  and Jesus, who is called Justus, who are of the circumcision; these alone are my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.  Epaphras sends you greetings; he is one of you, a slave of Christ (Jesus), always striving for you in his prayers so that you may be perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.  For I can testify that he works very hard for you and for those in Laodicea and those in Hierapolis.  Luke the beloved physician sends greetings, as does Demas.
(CCC 2822) Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:3-4). He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish" (2 Pet 3:9; cf. Mt 18:14). His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (Jn 13:34; cf. 1 Jn 3; 4; Lk 10:25-37). This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will. (CCC 2823) "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ… to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will" (Eph 1:9-11). We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven. (CCC 2824) In Christ, and through his human will, the will of the Father has been perfectly fulfilled once for all. Jesus said on entering into this world: "Lo, I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:7; Ps 40:7). Only Jesus can say: "I always do what is pleasing to him" (Jn 8:29). In the prayer of his agony, he consents totally to this will: "not my will, but yours be done" (Lk 22:42; cf. Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38). For this reason Jesus "gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal 1:4). "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10).
Saturday, September 13, 2008
(Col 4, 5-6) Let your speech always be gracious
 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.
(CCC 2500) The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos - which both the child and the scientist discover - "from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them" (Wis 13:3, 5). [Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness (Wis 7:25-26). For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail (Wis 7:29-30). I became enamored of her beauty (Wis 8:2).
(Col 4, 2-4) Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it
 Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving;  at the same time, pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison,  that I may make it clear, as I must speak.
(CCC 2638) As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"; "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" (1 Thess 5:18; Col 4:2). (CCC 2636) The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely (Cf. Acts 12:5; 20:36; 21:5; 2 Cor 9:14). Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel (Cf. Eph 6:18-20; Col 4:3-4; 1 Thess 5:25) but also intercedes for them (Cf. 2 Thess 1:11; Col 1:3; Phil 1:3-4). The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel (2 Tim 2:1; cf. Rom 12:14; 10:1). (CCC 2849) Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony (Cf. Mt 4:1-11; 26:36-44). In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to his battle and his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is "custody of the heart," and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: "Keep them in your name" (Jn 17:11; Cf. Mk 13:9, 23, 33-37; 14:38; Lk 12:35-40). The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch (Cf. 1 Cor 16:13; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:6; 1 Pet 5:8). Finally, this petition takes on all its dramatic meaning in relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle; it asks for final perseverance. "Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake" (Rev 16:15).
Friday, September 12, 2008
(Col 4, 1) You too have a Master in heaven Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, realizing that you too have a Master in heaven.
(CCC 1807) Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor" (Lev 19:15). "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven" (Col 4:1).
(Col 3, 22-25) Whatever you do, do from the heart
 Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others,  knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.  For the wrongdoer will receive recompense for the wrong he committed, and there is no partiality.
(CCC 1929) Social justice can be obtained only in respecting the transcendent dignity of man. The person represents the ultimate end of society, which is ordered to him: What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt (John Paul II, SRS 47). (CCC 1930) Respect for the human person entails respect for the rights that flow from his dignity as a creature. These rights are prior to society and must be recognized by it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of every authority: by flouting them, or refusing to recognize them in its positive legislation, a society undermines its own moral legitimacy (Cf. John XXIII, PT 65). If it does not respect them, authority can rely only on force or violence to obtain obedience from its subjects. It is the Church's role to remind men of good will of these rights and to distinguish them from unwarranted or false claims. (CCC 1931) Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that "everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as 'another self,' above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity" (GS 27 § 1). No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a "neighbor," a brother. (CCC 2235) Those who exercise authority should do so as a service. "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant" (Mt 20:26). The exercise of authority is measured morally in terms of its divine origin, its reasonable nature and its specific object. No one can command or establish what is contrary to the dignity of persons and the natural law.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
(Col 3, 21) Fathers do not provoke your children
 Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.
 Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.
(CCC 2223) Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones" (CA 36 § 2). Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them: He who loves his son will not spare the rod.... He who disciplines his son will profit by him (Sir 30:1-2). Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). (CCC 2224) The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies. (CCC 2225) Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the "first heralds" for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church (LG 11 § 2). A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one's life. (CCC 2226) Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God (Cf. LG 11). The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.
(Col 3, 20) Children obey your parents in everything
 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.
(CCC 2215) Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. "With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?" (Sir 7:27-28). (CCC 2216) Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. "My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching.... When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you" (Prov 6:20-22). "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke" (Prov 13:1). (CCC 2217) As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (Col 3:20; cf. Eph 6:1). Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so. As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2218) The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude (Cf. Mk 7:10-12). For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother (Sir 3:2-6). O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.... Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord (Sir 3:12-13, 16).
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
(Col 3, 18-19) Husbands love your wives
 Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them.
(CCC 2203) In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties. (CCC 2204) "The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church" (Familiaris consortio, 21; cf. Lumen gentium, 11). It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament (Cf. Eph 5:21b: 4; Col 3:18-21; 1Pet 3:1-7). (CCC 2205) The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task. (CCC 2206) The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members' respect for one another. The family is a privileged community called to achieve a "sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children's upbringing" (GS 52 § 1).
(Col 3, 16-17) Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus
 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(CCC 2641) "[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart" (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father (Cf. Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:15-16; 2 Tim 2:11-13). Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this "marvelous work" of the whole economy of salvation (Cf. Eph 1:3-14; Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:20-21; Jude 24-25). (CCC 1156) "The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy" (SC 112). The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: "Address … one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." "He who sings prays twice" (Eph 5:19; St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72,1: PL 36, 914; cf. Col 3:16). (CCC 1157) Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected… with the liturgical action" (SC 112 § 3), according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful (Cf. SC 112): How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face - tears that did me good (St. Augustine, Conf. 9, 6, 14: PL 32, 769-770).
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
(Col 3, 15) Let the peace of Christ control your hearts
 And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.
(CCC 1360) The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all "thanksgiving." (CCC 1359) The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity. (CCC 1361) The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the faithful to his person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered through Christ and with him, to be accepted in him. (CCC 2796) When the Church prays "our Father who art in heaven," she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated "with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and "hidden with Christ in God" (Eph 2:6; Col 3:3); yet at the same time, "here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling" (2 Cor 5:2; cf. Phil 3:20; Heb 13:14). [Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven (Ad Diognetum 5: PG 2, 1173). (CCC 2097) To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission, the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in the Magnificat, confessing with gratitude that he has done great things and holy is his name (cf. Lk 1:46-49). The worship of the one God sets man free from turning in on himself, from the slavery of sin and the idolatry of the world.
(Col 3, 14) Love that is the bond of perfection
 And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.
(CCC 1844 By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all the virtues, "binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14). (CCC 815) What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14). But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion: - profession of one faith received from the Apostles; - common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments; - apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family (Cf. UR 2; LG 14; CIC, can. 205). (CCC 1827) The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which "binds everything together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14); it is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love. (CCC 2633) When we share in God's saving love, we understand that every need can become the object of petition. Christ, who assumed all things in order to redeem all things, is glorified by what we ask the Father in his name (Cf. Jn 14:13). It is with this confidence that St. James and St. Paul exhort us to pray at all times (Cf. Jas 1:5-8; Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6-7; Col 3:16-17; 1 Thess 5:17-18).
Monday, September 8, 2008
(Col 3, 11-13) Christ is all and in all
 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.  Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,  bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
(CCC 2809) The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls "glory," the radiance of his majesty (Cf. Ps 8; Isa 6:3). In making man in his image and likeness, God "crowned him with glory and honor," but by sinning, man fell "short of the glory of God" (Ps 8:5; Rom 3:23; cf. Gen 1:26). From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator (Col 3:10). (CCC 1971) To the Lord's Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings, such as Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Colossians 3-4, Ephesians 4-5, etc. This doctrine hands on the Lord's teaching with the authority of the apostles, particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit. "Let charity be genuine.... Love one another with brotherly affection.... Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality" (Rom 12:9-13). This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the Church (Cf. Rom 14; 1 Cor 5-10). (CCC 2518) The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity (Cf. 1 Tim 4:3-9; 2 Tim 2:22); chastity or sexual rectitude (Cf. 1 Thess 4:7; Col 3:5; Eph 4:19); love of truth and orthodoxy of faith (Cf. Titus 1:15; 1 Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:23-26). There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith: The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed "so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe" (St. Augustine, De fide et symbolo 10, 25: PL 40, 196).
(Col 3, 5-10) Put to death the parts of you that are earthly
 Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming (upon the disobedient).  By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.  But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.  Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.
(CCC 1420) Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life "in earthen vessels," and it remains "hidden with Christ in God" (2 Cor 4:7; Col 3:3). We are still in our "earthly tent," subject to suffering, illness, and death (2 Cor 5:1). This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. (CCC 1852) There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (Gal 5:19-21; cf. Rom 1:28-32; 1 Cor 9-10; Eph 5:3-5; Col 3:5-8; 1 Tim 9-10; 2 Tim 2-5). (CCC 1972) The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who "does not know what his master is doing" to that of a friend of Christ - "For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" - or even to the status of son and heir (Jn 15:15; cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12; Gal 4:1-7. 21-31; Rom 8:15).