Monday, December 31, 2007
(Jn 11, 51-57) They planned to kill Jesus
 He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.  So from that day on they planned to kill him.  So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.  Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves.  They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?"  For the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should inform them, so that they might arrest him.
(CCC 576) In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People: - submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition; - the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God's presence dwells in a special way; - faith in the one God whose glory no man can share. (CCC 596) The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus (Cf. Jn 9:16; 10:19). The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers (Cf. Jn 9:22). To those who feared that "everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation", the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: "It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish" (Jn 11:48-50). The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition (Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19). The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death (Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21). (CCC 2793) The baptized cannot pray to "our" Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. God's love has no bounds, neither should our prayer (Cf. NA 5). Praying "our" Father opens to us the dimensions of his love revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may "gather into one the children of God" (Jn 11:52). God's care for all men and for the whole of creation has inspired all the great practitioners of prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth of love whenever we dare to say "our" Father.
(Jn 11, 45-50) It is better for you that one man should die
 Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.  But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs.  If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation."  But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing,  nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish."
(CCC 2268) The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance (Cf. Gen 4:10). Infanticide (Cf. GS 51 § 3), fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority. (CCC 1746) The imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and other psychological or social factors. (CCC 1759) "An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention" (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means. (CCC 591) Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father's works which he accomplished (Jn 10:36-38). But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new "birth from above" under the influence of divine grace (Cf. Jn 3:7; 6:44). Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfilment of the promises (Cf. Isa 53:1) allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer (Cf. Mk 3:6; Mt 26:64-66). The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of "ignorance" and the "hardness" of their "unbelief" (Cf. Lk 23 34; Acts 3: 17-18; Mk 3:5; Rom 11:25, 20).
(Jn 11, 35-44) Jesus cried out, "Lazarus, come out!"
 And Jesus wept.  So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."  But some of them said, "Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?"  So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.  Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him, "Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days."  Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?"  So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me.  I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me."  And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"  The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go."
(CCC 2603) The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes (Cf. Mt 11:25-27 and Lk 10:21-23). His exclamation, "Yes, Father!" expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father's "good pleasure," echoing his mother's Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father (Cf. Eph 1:9). (CCC 2604) The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John (Cf. Jn 11:41-42). Thanksgiving precedes the event: "Father, I thank you for having heard me," which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: "I know that you always hear me," which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus' prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the "treasure"; in him abides his Son's heart; the gift is given "as well" (Mt 6:21, 33). The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation (Cf. Jn 17 It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father. (CCC 240) Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him“ (Mt 11-27). (CCC 241) For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"; as "the image of the invisible God"; as the "radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature" (Jn 1:1; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3).
(Jn 11, 28-34) Jesus became perturbed and troubled
 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, "The teacher is here and is asking for you."  As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him.  For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him.  So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled,  and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
(CCC 992) God revealed the resurrection of the dead to his people progressively. Hope in the bodily resurrection of the dead established itself as a consequence intrinsic to faith in God as creator of the whole man, soul and body. The creator of heaven and earth is also the one who faithfully maintains his covenant with Abraham and his posterity. It was in this double perspective that faith in the resurrection came to be expressed. In their trials, the Maccabean martyrs confessed: The King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws (2 Macc 7:9). One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him (2 Macc 7:14; cf. 7:29; Dan 12:1-13). (CCC 993) The Pharisees and many of the Lord's contemporaries hoped for the resurrection. Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?" (Mk 12:24; cf. Jn 11:24; Acts 23:6). Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who "is not God of the dead, but of the living" (Mk 12:27). (CCC 994) But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: "I am the Resurrection and the life" (Jn 11:25). It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood (Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40, 54). Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life (Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11), announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah" (Mt 12:39). The sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day (Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22). (CCC 376) By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die (Cf. Gen 2:17; 3:16, 19). The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman (Cf. Gen 2:25), and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice".
(Jn 11, 17-27) I am the resurrection and the life
 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  ow Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away.  And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.  Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."  Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise."  Martha said to him, "I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day."  Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,  and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"  She said to him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
(CCC 988) The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action - culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day and in life everlasting. (CCC 2279) Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable. Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged. (CCC 2278) Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected. (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).
(Jn 11, 5-16) Jesus said to them: Lazarus has died
 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.  Then after this he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."  The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?"  Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.  But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."  He said this, and then told them, "Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him."  So the disciples said to him, "Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved."  But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.  So then Jesus said to them clearly, "Lazarus has died.  And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him."  So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go to die with him."
(CCC 557) "When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51; cf. Jn 13:1). By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: "It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem" (Lk 13:33; cf. Mk 8:31-33; 9:31-32; 10:32-34). (CCC 990) The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality (Cf. Gen 6:3; Ps 56:5; Isa 40:6). The "resurrection of the flesh" (the literal formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to life again (Rom 8:11). (CCC 989) We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day (Cf. Jn 6:39-40). Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you (Rom 8:11; cf. 1 Thess 4:14; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Phil 3:10-11).
John 11(Jn 11, 1-4) This illness is for the glory of God
 Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.  So the sisters sent word to him, saying, "Master, the one you love is ill."  When Jesus heard this he said, "This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
(CCC 658) Christ, "the first-born from the dead" (Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf. Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf. Rom 8:11). (CCC 2776) The Lord's Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church. It is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office and of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Integrated into the Eucharist it reveals the eschatological character of its petitions, hoping for the Lord, "until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26). (CCC 2777) In the Roman liturgy, the Eucharistic assembly is invited to pray to our heavenly Father with filial boldness; the Eastern liturgies develop and use similar expressions: "dare in all confidence," "make us worthy of...." From the burning bush Moses heard a voice saying to him, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground" (Ex 3:5). Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness, for "when he had made purification for sins," he brought us into the Father's presence: "Here am I, and the children God has given me" (Heb 1:3; 2:13). Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry… 'Abba, Father!'… When would a mortal dare call God 'Father,' if man's innermost being were not animated by power from on high?" (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 71, 3: PL 52, 401CD; cf. Gal 4:6). (CCC 623) By his loving obedience to the Father, "unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf. Isa 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will "make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Isa 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19).
(Jn 10, 34-42) The Father is in me and I am in the Father
 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'?  If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and scripture cannot be set aside,  can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?  If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me;  but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize (and understand) that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."  (Then) they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.  He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained.  Many came to him and said, "John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true."  And many there began to believe in him.
(CCC 437) To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Lk 2:11). From the beginning he was "the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world", conceived as "holy" in Mary's virginal womb (Jn 10:36; cf. Lk 1:35). God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit," so that Jesus, "who is called Christ," should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David (Mt 1:20; cf. 1:16; Rom 1:1; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16). (CCC 548) The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him (cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 38). To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask (Cf. Mk 5:25-34; 10:52; etc.). So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God (Cf. Jn 10:31-38). But his miracles can also be occasions for "offense" (Mt 11:6); they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons (Cf. Jn 11:47-48; Mk 3:22). (CCC 444) The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his "beloved Son" (Cf. Mt 3:17; cf. 17:5). Jesus calls himself the "only Son of God", and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence (Jn 3:16; cf. 10:36). He asks for faith in "the name of the only Son of God" (Jn 3:18). In the centurion's exclamation before the crucified Christ, "Truly this man was the Son of God" (Mk 15:39), that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title "Son of God" its full meaning.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
(Jn 10, 22-33) The Father and I are one
 The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter.  And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."  Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me.  But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.  My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand.  The Father and I are one."  The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.  Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?"  The Jews answered him, "We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God."
(CCC 518) Christ's whole life is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his original vocation: When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a "short cut" to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 1: PG 7/1, 932). For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 7: PG 7/1, 937; cf. 2, 22, 4). (CCC 14) Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men. (Mt 10:32; Rom 10:9) First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God. The profession of faith summarizes the gifts that God gives man: as the Author of all that is good; as Redeemer; and as Sanctifier. It develops these in the three chapters on our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, in the Holy Church. (CCC 51) "It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature." (DV 2; cf. Eph 1:9; 2:18; 2 Pt 1:4). (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.
(Jn 10, 19-21) There was a division among the Jews
 Again there was a division among the Jews because of these words.  Many of them said, "He is possessed and out of his mind; why listen to him?"  Others said, "These are not the words of one possessed; surely a demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?"
(CCC 60) The people descended from Abraham would be the trustees of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church (Cf. Rom 11:28; Jn 11:52; 10:16). They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe (Cf. Rom 11:17-18, 24). (CCC 609) By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus "loved them to the end", for "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 13:1; 15:13). In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men (Cf. Heb 2:10, 17-18; 4:15; 5:7-9). Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (Jn 10:18). Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death (Cf. Jn 18:4-6; Mt 26:53). (CCC 2285) Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea" (Mt 18:6; Cf. 1 Cor 8:10-13). Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing (Cf. Mt 7:15).
(Jn 10, 16-18) I lay my life down on my own
 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.  This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father."
(CCC 703) The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature (Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10): It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son (Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer). (CCC 2274) Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual.... It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence" (CDF, Donum vitae I, 2). (CCC 2275) "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival" (CDF, Donum vitae I, 3). It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material" (CDF, Donum vitae I, 5). "Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity" (CDF, Donum vitae I, 6) which are unique and unrepeatable.
(Jn 10, 11-15) I will lay down my life for the sheep
 I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.  This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
(CCC 2319) Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God. (CCC 2272) Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae" (CIC, can. 1398), "by the very commission of the offense" (CIC, can. 1314), and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law (Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324). The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. (CCC 2273) The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: "The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death" (CDF, Donum vitae III). "The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.... As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights" (CDF, Donum vitae III).
(Jn 10, 10) I came so that they might have life
 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
(CCC 291) "In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God… all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (Jn 1:1-3). The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him "all things were created, in heaven and on earth… all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:16-17). The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the "giver of life", "the Creator Spirit" (“Veni, Creator Spiritus”), the "source of every good" (Cf. Nicene Creed: DS 150; Hymn “Veni, Creator Spiritus”; Byzantine Troparion of Pentecost vespers, "O heavenly King, Consoler"). (CCC 2270) Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (Cf. CDF, Donum vitae I, 1). Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you (Jer 1:5; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11). My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth (Ps 139:15). (CCC 2271) Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish (Didache 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320). God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes (GS 51 § 3).
(Jn 10, 7-9) Whoever enters through me will be saved
 So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
(CCC 2609) Once committed to conversion, the heart learns to pray in faith. Faith is a filial adherence to God beyond what we feel and understand. It is possible because the beloved Son gives us access to the Father. He can ask us to "seek" and to "knock," since he himself is the door and the way (Cf. Mt 7:7-11, 13-14). (CCC 543) Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations (Cf. Mt 8:11 10:5-7; 28:19). To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word: The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest (LG 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32). (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).
(Jn 10, 4-6) The sheep recognize his voice
 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.  But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."  Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
(CCC 764) "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself" (LG 5). The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is (Lk 12:32; cf. Mt 10:16; 26:31; Jn 10:1-21). They form Jesus' true family (Cf. Mt 12:49). To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own (Cf. Mt 5- 6). (CCC 754) "The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep (LG 6; Cf. Jn 10:1-10; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-31; Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4; Jn 10:11-16).
John 10(Jn 10, 1-3) He calls his own sheep by name
 "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.  But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(CCC 2416) Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory (Cf. Mt 6:26; Dan 3:79-81). Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. (CCC 2415) The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity (Cf. Gen 128-31). Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation (Cf. CA 37-38). (CCC 2417) God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image (Cf. Gen 2:19-20; 9:1-4). Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice, if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives. (CCC 2418) It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.
(Jn 9, 35-41) I do believe, Lord, and he worshiped him
 When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"  Jesus said to him, "You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he."  He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.  Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."  Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?"  Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.
(CCC 30) "Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice" (Ps 105:3). Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, "an upright heart", as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God. You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. And man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you (St. Augustine, Conf. 1, 1, 1: PL 32, 659-661). (CCC 151) For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his "beloved Son", in whom the Father is "well pleased"; God tells us to listen to him (Mk 1:11; cf. 9:7). The Lord himself said to his disciples: "Believe in God, believe also in me" (Jn 14:1). We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (Jn 1:18). Because he "has seen the Father", Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him (Jn 6:46; cf. Mt 11:27). (CCC 152) One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. For "no one can say "Jesus is Lord", except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3), who "searches everything, even the depths of God…. No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God" (1 Cor 2:10-11). Only God knows God completely: we believe in the Holy Spirit because he is God. The Church never ceases to proclaim her faith in one only God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Jn 9, 24-34) I do know that I was blind and now I see
 So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner."  He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see."  So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"  He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"  They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses!  We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from."  The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.  It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.  If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything."  They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out.
(CCC 600) To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27-28; cf. Ps 2:1-2). For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness (Cf. Mt 26:54; Jn 18:36; 19:11; Acts 3:17-18). (CCC 601) The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of "the righteous one, my Servant" as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin (Isa 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8:34-36; Acts 3:14). Citing a confession of faith that he himself had "received", St. Paul professes that "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23). In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant (Cf. Isa 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35). Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant (Cf. Mt 20:28). After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles (Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45).
Saturday, December 29, 2007
(Jn 9, 13-23) "He is a prophet."
 They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.  Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.  So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see."  So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." (But) others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them.  So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."  Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.  They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?"  His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.  We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self."  His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue.  For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him."
(CCC 596) The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus (Cf. Jn 9:16; 10:19). The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers (Cf. Jn 9:22). To those who feared that "everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation", the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: "It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish" (Jn 11:48-50). The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition (Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19). The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death (Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21).
John 9(Jn 9, 1-12) "(So) how were your eyes opened?"
 As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.  We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes,  and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.  His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"  Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am."  So they said to him, "(So) how were your eyes opened?"  He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see."  And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."
(CCC 214) God, "He who is", revealed himself to Israel as the one "abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex 34:6). These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. "I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness" (Ps 138:2; cf. Ps 85:11). He is the Truth, for "God is light and in him there is no darkness"; "God is love", as the apostle John teaches (1 Jn 1:5; 4:8). (CCC 1151) Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God (Cf. Lk 8:10). He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures (Cf. Jn 9:6; Mk 7:33 ff.; 8:22 ff). He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover (Cf. Lk 9:31; 22:7-20), for he himself is the meaning of all these signs. (CCC 1504) Often Jesus asks the sick to believe (Cf. Mk 5:34, 36; 9:23). He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands (Cf. Mk 7:32-36; 8:22-25), mud and washing (Cf. Jn 9:6-7). The sick try to touch him, "for power came forth from him and healed them all" (Lk 6:19; cf. Mk 1:41; 3:10; 6:56) and so in the sacraments Christ continues to "touch" us in order to heal us.
(Jn 8, 50-59) Before Abraham came to be, I AM
 I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the one who judges.  Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death."  (So) the Jews said to him, "Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.'  Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?"  Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.'  You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word.  Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.  So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?"  Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM."  So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
(CCC 206) In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the "hidden God", his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men (Cf. Isa 45:15; Judg 13:18). (CCC 590) Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as "He who is not with me is against me"; and his saying that there was in him "something greater than Jonah,… greater than Solomon", something "greater than the Temple"; his reminder that David had called the Messiah his Lord (Cf. Mt 12:6, 30, 36, 37, 41-42), and his affirmations, "Before Abraham was, I AM", and even "I and the Father are one" (Jn 8:58; 10:30). (CCC 653) The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he" (Jn 8:28). The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly "I Am", the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: "What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'" (Acts 13:32-33; cf. Ps 2:7). Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfilment in accordance with God's eternal plan.
(Jn 8, 45-49) I honor my Father, but you dishonor me
 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.  Can any of you charge me with sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God."  The Jews answered and said to him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed?"  Jesus answered, "I am not possessed; I honor my Father, but you dishonor me.
(CCC 2482) "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving" (St. Augustine, De mendacio 4, 5: PL 40: 491). The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). (CCC 2852) "A murderer from the beginning, . . . A liar and the father of lies," Satan is "the deceiver of the whole world" (Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9). Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be "freed from the corruption of sin and death" (Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 125). Now "we know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:18-19). The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil, so that the enemy, who is accustomed to leading into sin, may not surprise you. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?" (St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 4, 30: PL 16, 454; cf. Rom 8:31).
(Jn 8, 43-44) You belong to your father the devil
 Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
(CCC 391) Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy (Cf. Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24). Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil" (Cf. Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9). The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing” (Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800). (CCC 392) Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels (Cf. 2 Pt 2:4). This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God (Gen 3:5)". The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies (1 Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44)." (CCC 394) Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father (Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11). "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8). In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
(Jn 8, 39-42) I came from God and am here
 They answered and said to him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works of Abraham.  But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this.  You are doing the works of your father!" (So) they said to him, "We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God."  Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
(CCC 2318) "In [God's] hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10). (CCC 2258) "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being" (CDF, instruction, Donum vitae, intro. 5). (CCC 2322) From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life. (CCC 2323) Because it should be treated as a person from conception, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed like every other human being. (CCC 2324) Intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. (CCC 2325) Suicide is seriously contrary to justice, hope, and charity. It is forbidden by the fifth commandment. (CCC 2326) Scandal is a grave offense when by deed or omission it deliberately leads others to sin gravely.
(Jn 8, 37-38) You are trying to kill me
 I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you.  I tell you what I have seen in the Father's presence; then do what you have heard from the Father."
(CCC 2319) Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God. (CCC 2320) The murder of a human being is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and the holiness of the Creator. (CCC 2321) The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good. (CCC 2268) The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance (Cf. Gen 4:10). Infanticide (Cf. GS 51 § 3), fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority. (CCC 2269) The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger. The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them (Cf. Am 8:4-10). Unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone's death, even without the intention to do so.
(Jn 8, 34-36) If a son frees you, then you will be free.
 Jesus answered them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.  A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains.  So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.
(CCC 2466) In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth (Jn 1:14; 8:12; cf. 14:6). "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness" (Jn 12:46). The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies (Jn 8:32; cf. 17:17). To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth" (Jn 16:13). To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'" (Mt 5:37). (CCC 1741) Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free" (Gal 5: 1). In him we have communion with the "truth that makes us free" (Cf. In 8:32). The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17). Already we glory in the "liberty of the children of God" (Rom 8:21).
(Jn 8, 31-33) The truth will set you free
 Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, 'You will become free'?"
(CCC 601) The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of "the righteous one, my Servant" as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin (Isa 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8:34-36; Acts 3:14). Citing a confession of faith that he himself had "received", St. Paul professes that "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23). In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant (Cf. Isa 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35). Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant (Cf. Mt 20:28). After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles (Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45). (CCC 613) Christ's death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29; cf. 8:34-36; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pt 1:19), and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the "blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:28; cf. Ex 24:8; Lev 16:15-16; 1 Cor 11:25). (CCC 89) There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith (Cf. Jn 8:31-32).
(Jn 8, 29-30) The one who sent me is with me
 The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him."  Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
(CCC 653) The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he" (Jn 8:28). The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly "I Am", the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: "What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'" (Acts 13:32-33; cf. Ps 2:7). Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfilment in accordance with God's eternal plan. (CCC 1693) Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father (Cf. Jn 8:29), and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ's disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father "who sees in secret" (Mt 6:6) in order to become "perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). (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).
(Jn 8, 23-28) Then you will realize that I AM
 He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.  That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."  So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.  I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world."  They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.  So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.
(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 2141) The veneration of sacred images is based on the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. It is not contrary to the first commandment. (CCC 2130) Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim (Cf. Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; Jn 3:14-15; Ex 25:10-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 7:23-26). (CCC 2132) The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it" (St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18, 45: PG 32, 149C; Council of Nicaea II: DS 601; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1821-1825; Vatican Council II: SC 126; LG 67). The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone: Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 81, 3 ad 3).
Friday, December 28, 2007
(Jn 8, 21-22) Jews said, He is not going to kill himself?
 He said to them again, "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come."  So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"
(CCC 1019) Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men. (CCC 1020) The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. […]. (CCC 2281) Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God. (CCC 2282) If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. (CCC 2283) We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.
(Jn 8, 12-20) I am the light of the world
 Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  So the Pharisees said to him, "You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified."  Jesus answered and said to them, "Even if I do testify on my own behalf, my testimony can be verified, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I come from or where I am going.  You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.  And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me.  Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified.  I testify on my behalf and so does the Father who sent me."  So they said to him, "Where is your father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also."  He spoke these words while teaching in the treasury in the temple area. But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
(CCC 2465) The Old Testament attests that God is the source of all truth. His Word is truth. His Law is truth. His "faithfulness endures to all generations" (Ps 119:90; Cf. Prov 8:7; 2 Sam 7:28; Ps 119:142; Lk 1:50). Since God is "true," the members of his people are called to live in the truth (Rom 3:4; cf. Ps 119:30). (CCC 2466) In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. "Full of grace and truth," he came as the "light of the world," he is the Truth (Jn 1:14; 8:12; cf. 14:6). "Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness" (Jn 12:46). The disciple of Jesus continues in his word so as to know "the truth [that] will make you free" and that sanctifies (Jn 8:32; cf. 17:17). To follow Jesus is to live in "the Spirit of truth," whom the Father sends in his name and who leads "into all the truth" (Jn 16:13). To his disciples Jesus teaches the unconditional love of truth: "Let what you say be simply 'Yes or No.'" (Mt 5:37).
Etichette: light world follows darkness life testimony verified judge testify know treasury temple arrested
(Jn 8, 7-11) Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more
 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."  Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.  Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more."
(CCC 2331) "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image…, God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion" (FC 11). "God created man in his own image … male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27); He blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28); "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created" (Gen 5:1-2). (CCC 2334) "In creating men 'male and female,' God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity" (FC 22; Cf. GS 49 § 2). "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God" (MD 6). (CCC 2335) Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24). All human generations proceed from this union (Cf. Gen 4:1-2, 25-26; 5:1). (CCC 1630) The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. The presence of the Church's minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality. (CCC 1631) This is the reason why the Church normally requires that the faithful contract marriage according to the ecclesiastical form. Several reasons converge to explain this requirement (Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1813-1816; CIC, can. 1108): - Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church; - Marriage introduces one into an ecclesial order, and creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children; - Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses); - The public character of the consent protects the "I do" once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it.
(Jn 8, 5-6) They said this to test him
 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?"  They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
(CCC 2336) Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God's plan strictly: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:27-28). What God has joined together, let not man put asunder (Cf. Mt 19:6). The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality. (CCC 1650) Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mk 10:11-12) - the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence. (CCC 1628) The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear (Cf. CIC, can. 1103). No human power can substitute for this consent (Cf. CIC, can. 1057 § 1). If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid. (CCC 1629) For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed (Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107). In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged (Cf. CIC, can. 1071).
John 8(Jn 8, 1-4) This woman was caught in adultery
 while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them.  Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.  They said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
(CCC 2400) Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage. (CCC 2380) Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire (Cf. Mt 5:27-28). The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely (Cf. Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10). The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry (Cf. Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27). (CCC 2381) Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents' stable union. (CCC 2384) Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself (St. Basil, Moralia 73, 1: PG 31, 849-852). (CCC 1625) The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; "to be free" means: - not being under constraint; - not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law. (CCC 1626) The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage" (CIC, can. 1057 § 1). If consent is lacking there is no marriage.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
(Jn 7, 43-53) Never has anyone spoken like this one
 So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.  Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.  So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?"  The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this one."  So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived?  Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed."  Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,  "Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?"  They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."  Then each went to his own house.
(CCC 574) From the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him (Cf. Mk 3:6; 14:1). Because of certain of his acts - expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners (Cf. Mt 12:24; Mk 2:7, 14-17; 3:1-6; 7:14-23) - some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession (Cf. Mk 3:22; Jn 8:48; 10:20). He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning (Cf. Mk 2:7; Jn 5:18; 7:12; 7:52; 8:59; 10:31, 33). (CCC 575) Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a "sign of contradiction" (Lk 2:34), but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply "the Jews" (Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19), than for the ordinary People of God (Jn 7:48-49). To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting (Cf. Lk 13:31); Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes (Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1). Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead (Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39), certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer) (Cf. Mt 6:18), the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour (Cf. Mk 12:28-34). (CCC 588) Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves (Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1). Against those among them "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others", Jesus affirmed: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Lk 18:9; 5:32; cf. Jn 7:49; 9:34). He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves (Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41). (CCC 595) Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ's Passion, "many… believed in him", though very imperfectly (Jn 12:42; cf. 7:50; 9:16-17; 10:19-21; 19:38-39). This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost "a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith" and "some believers… belonged to the party of the Pharisees", to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, "How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law" (Acts 6:7; 15:5; 21:20).
(Jn 7, 39-42) He said this in reference to the Spirit
 He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.  Some in the crowd who heard these words said, "This is truly the Prophet."  Others said, "This is the Messiah." But others said, "The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he?  Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"
(CCC 694) Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor 12:13). Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified (Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8) as its source and welling up in us to eternal life (Cf. Jn 4:10-14; 7:38; Ex 17:1-6; Isa 55:1; Zech 14:8; 1 Cor 10:4; Rev 21:6; 22:17). (CCC 1287) This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people (Cf. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2). On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit (Cf. Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8), a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost (Cf. Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14). Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age (Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18). Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn (Cf. Acts 2:38). (CCC 1999) The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification (Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39): Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself (2 Cor 5:17-18).
(Jn 7, 37-38) Who thirsts come to me and drink
 On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: 'Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'"
(CCC 950) Communion of the sacraments. "The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate by which we enter into the Church. The communion of saints must be understood as the communion of the sacraments.... The name 'communion' can be applied to all of them, for they unite us to God.... But this name is better suited to the Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings this communion about" (Roman Catechism 1, 10, 24).