Daily Devotional for January 14 – 20
Navarre Commentary on Jesus’ teaching on the Church and government…
At the same time Jesus’ answer provides the key to the right relationship between Church and State. Each must have its own independence and sphere of action, and both should cooperate in those matters which by their very nature require the action of both authorities, as the Second Vatican Council teaches: “The political community and the Church are autonomous and independent of each other in their own fields. Nevertheless, both are devoted to the personal vocation of man, though under different titles. This service will redound the more effectively to the welfare of all insofar as both institutions practise better cooperation according to the local and prevailing situation” (Gaudium et spes, 76).
Jesus also teaches us here that we have a duty to fulfil our obligations as citizens. In this connexion St Paul exhorted the Romans: “Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due” (Rom 13:7).
This was also how the first Christians acted: “As we have been instructed by him [Jesus], we before all others try everywhere to pay your appointed officials the ordinary and special taxes” (St Justin, First Apology, 17, 1).
Prayer: O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee.
*Eastern Vesper Hymn
Luke 20:27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second [g]took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven [h]also; and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”
34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”
39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.
Prayer: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Navarre Commentary on the resurrection…
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the body or the immortality of the soul. They came along to ask Jesus a question which is apparently unanswerable. According to the levirate law (cf. Deut 25: 5ff), if a man died without issue, his brother was duty bound to marry his widow to provide his brother with descendants. The consequences of this law would seem to give rise to a ridiculous situation at the resurrection of the dead.
Our Lord replies by reaffirming that there will be a resurrection; and by explaining the properties of those who have risen again, the Sadducees’ argument simply evaporates. In this world people marry in order to continue their species: that is the primary aim of marriage. After the resurrection there will be no more marriage, because people will not die any more.
Quoting Sacred Scripture (Ex 3:2. 6) our Lord shows the grave mistake the Sadducces make, and he argues: God is not the God of the dead but of the living, that s to say, there exists a permanent relationship between God and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who have been dead for years. Therefore, although these just men have died as far as their bodies are concerned, they are alive, truly alive, in God — their souls are immortal — and they are awaiting the resurrection of their bodies.
Prayer: Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Luke 20:41 And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’
44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”
45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Prayer: O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.
Navarre Commentary….Jesus states that not only is he the son of David but also he is Lord and God; he quotes Psalm 110: the Messiah, a descendant of David, seated at the right hand of God, is called Lord by David himself. In this way Jesus alludes to the mystery of his Incarnation: he is David’s son according to the flesh, and he is God and Lord because he is the Father’s Son, equal to him in everything; which explains why he is David’s Lord even though he was born long after David.
Prayer: O my God relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
*Act of Hope
Luke 21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.[a] 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings [b]for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Navarre Commentary: Our Lord, surrounded by his disciples, watches people putting offerings into the treasury. This was a place in the women’s courtyard, where there were various collection boxes for the offerings of the faithful. Just then, something happens whose significance Jesus wants his disciples to notice: a poor widow puts in two small coins, of very little value. He describes this as the greatest offering of all, praising the generosity of giving alms for this purpose, particularly that of those people who give part of what they need. Our Lord is moved by this tiny offering because in her case it implies a big sacrifice. “The Lord does not look”, St John Chrysostom comments, “at the amount offered but at the affection with which it is offered” (Horn. on Heb, 1). Generosity is of the essence of almsgiving. This woman teaches us that we can move God’s heart if we give him all we can, which will always amount to very little even if we give our very lives. “How little a life is to offer to God!” (J. Escrivá,
Prayer: O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
*Act of Contrition
Luke 21:7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ [d]Therefore do not [e]go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will [f]answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or [g]resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.
Prayer: O my God I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. (Act of Charity)