Day 341: Eternal Weight of Glory

Acts 20:1-12 At Troas, we see another confirmation that the Christians met to celebrate the Eucharist on Sundays, the first day of the week and the day of Christ’s Resurrection. Their meetings were known simply as the “breaking of the bread,” so references along those lines indicate a Eucharistic celebration. Even the structure of the liturgy, with its preaching on the Gospel and sharing of the Eucharist, is familiar in the Mass in the present day. (CCC 1193, 1329, 1343, 2180-2183, 2698)

Ch 20:13-38 Wanting to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem, Paul decided to leave Ephesus after meeting with the elders of the city. His heartfelt address to them recalled his trials and efforts in his nearly three years in the city and encouraged the Church leaders to keep the Faith strong even amid the adversity and persecution. Paul was detached from his own life and safety and always risked arrest and even death wherever he went-the very persecution that Christ promised his disciples would experience. (CCC 1716)

Ch 20:28-30 Guardians: The Greek episkopos is the source of the word “bishop.” The terminology of the Church’s hierarchy and particular ministerial offices would be worked out in more precise terms in the years to come. Bishops are the direct successors to the Apostles. As the chief shepherds, they are appointed to lead and watch over the flock of Christ. 

Obtained with his blood: The Church was instituted by Christ himself through his act of redemption as the means for human persons to find salvation. Because she offers the Sacraments as the source of sanctifying grace for the faithful, the Church is the Sacrament of Salvation for all the world. (CCC 181, 780)

Ch 20:32 Grace: By grace we have the gift of faith and the means to grow ever closer to God; by grace we are justified and granted salvation. 

To build you up: This refers to the Word of God; the Gospel serves as spiritual nourishment and a source of growth in the life of Christ. The Church has always venerated the Scriptures, which, together with Sacred Tradition, make up the Deposit of Faith. 

Sanctified: The Holy Spirit sanctifies the faithful and bestows on them various charisms, or gifts, for building up of the Christian community. (CCC 798, 2017-2025)

Ch 20:33-35 Paul preached without pay and earned his living as a tentmaker (cf. Acts 18:3). 

It is more blessed...receive: This saying attributed to Christ appears nowhere in the four Gospels; it is part of the oral tradition of the Church. The Gospel message was transmitted almost exclusively by word of mouth for many years before it was set down in writing. (CCC 126)

Ch 20:36 Kneeling is a traditional posture for prayer, a gesture of humility and adoration. It is retained in the Church’s liturgies. Since the human person is composed of both body and spirit, it is fitting that prayer involves the senses with physical gestures as well as a contemplative reflection with both mind and heart. An appropriate prayer posture helps us to express our interior dispositions in an outward, physical way. (CCC 2636, 2702-2703)

2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Letters of recommendation were not unusual in the first century. Representatives of governments and other authorities assigned to a particular task in another city would bring a letter of introduction and a written mandate as their credentials. The early Church, in sending forth its evangelizers, would have them bring letters of recommendation as well. Paul’s adversaries in Corinth may have had such a letter, authentic or not, ostensibly from the Apostles; Paul struck at the heart of Christian witness by saying that their life must be likened to a living letter when speaking about Christ. (CCC 700)

Ch 3:4-18 Against his critics, Paul explained that the Law of the New Covenant, which is written on the heart, is superior to the Old Law written on stone. With God’s revelation in Christ, the “veil” that had obscured the meaning of the Old Testament had been removed, and the Gospel preached by Christ gave Scripture its complete meaning and fulfillment. Whereas the Law proved to be an unbearable burden, Christ through the Holy Spirit sets us free by bestowing upon us the grace to live the charity of Christ, which is the perfection of the Law. (CCC 121-123, 128-130, 133-135, 1965-1972)

Ch 3:5-6 Our sufficiency: Paul claimed no special talent for preaching. He makes it abundantly clear that it is the grace of God that makes him effective. When God calls us to a particular mission, he also gives the necessary graces.

Ministers of a new covenant: This is a description of Paul’s mission, which was to introduce the world to the Good News of salvation through Christ, whose Death and Resurrection ushered in a new relationship between God and man. (CCC 307, 736, 859, 873, 1541)

Ch 3:14-16 Christ and his redemptive message are found in the Old Testament, albeit under a veil. Typology is the study of those events and figures in the Old Testament that prefigure events and figures in the New Testament. For example, the manna that the Israelites received from Heaven prefigures Christ, the Bread from Heaven, which Christians receive in the Eucharist. Through the teachings of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit, the hidden meaning of the Old Testament is unveiled. (CCC 600, 702, 1094, 2088)

Ch 3:17 The Lord is the Spirit: A statement of the divinity of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit liberates the Christian from the Law not by dispensing the Law but by giving the grace to become a saine.

Spirit of the Lord: One of many terms Paul used to describe the Holy Spirit. (CCC 693, 1731, 1741)

Ch 3:18 We all...changed into his likeness: As we seek greater sanctity, the Holy Spirit gradually but increasingly forms us into the very image of Christ, especially through the purifying effect of suffering. (CCC 1112, 1701-1705)

Ch 4:1-6 Paul expanded upon the authenticity and sincerity of his mission.

We do not lose heart: Despite hardships, Paul kept fulfilling his apostolic mission with the help of grace.

Jesus Christ as Lord: The Greek Kyrios, translated as “Lord,” is used in the Greek Old Testament as the translation for YHWH, the name of God. To call Jesus “Lord” is to profess his divinity. (CCC 209, 446, 464-466, 748, 859, 2257)

Ch 4:4 The god of this world: Paul blamed Satan for deceiving the Corinthians. Christ’s Death and Resurrection is the definitive victory over the Devil, but until the end of time Christ’s disciples will need to struggle with considerable sacrifice against evil to extend the graces of the Redemption throughout the world. (CCC 37, 1701)

Ch 4:6 The prophet Isaiah wrote of how the image of light overcoming darkness was a sign of salvation (cf. Is 60:1-3). Just as the creation of the universe began with light, Paul compared the dawning light of faith as the emergence of the dawn of a new creation. God desires to give the light of faith to every person. (CCC 298, 2583)

Ch 4:7-12 Persecution, suffering, and rejection await all disciples of Christ, just as Christ himself had promised many times. Paul was no exception. By his life he also proved his assertion that grace will strengthen us in whatever pain and difficulties may come our way as long as we remain faithful to Christ. (CCC 1967)

Ch 4:7 Earthen vessels: Although our bodies are fragile and weak, through grace we carry the life of Christ. Applied to the ministers of the Church, Paul used this analogy as a way to explain again that Christ works through him, who dispenses grace to those whom Paul serves. (CCC 1420)

Ch 4:13-18 Hope in the resurrection and everlasting life can help us endure our hardships. A lifetime of pain is trivial in comparison to eternal happiness in Heaven. As we remain faithful, we are gradually being transformed in preparation for the next life, (CCC 988-989, 1817, 2637)

Ch 4:16 Outer man...inner man: The body and the soul, respectively. (CCC 1877, 2711)

Ch 5:1-10 A tentmaker by trade, Paul compared our earthly life to a tent-dwelling to emphasize that our present life is not permanent. The same comparison can be made to the tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant in the wilderness before the Temple was built to house it. While we look forward to life eternal, we must occupy ourselves doing the will of God in the here and now. (CCC 1051, 1420, 2796)

Ch 5:4 Unclothed...further clothed: In Heaven, following the resurrection of the dead, we will have an immortal and glorified body. The Greek thinkers of Paul’s day favored a dualistic view that viewed the next life as casting off the body entirely. (CCC 793, 997, 1042, 1060)

Ch 5:6 The Church will be perfected only in the Kingdom of Heaven and not without going through many tribulations on earth. (CCC 769)

Ch 5:7 We know Christ is always with us. Our certainty of Christ’s presence and love assures us that we will always be assisted and strengthened amid trials and tribulations. (CCC 164)

 Ch 5:8 Away from the body: At the moment of death, the soul is separated from the body and judged. This is referred to as the Particular Judgment. Those souls who have led holy lives will be rewarded with the Beatific Vision of Heaven. Those in the state of grace who lack the perfection of sanctity will undergo purification in Purgatory. Those souls who refused God’s grace and friendship will be eternally separated from God in Hell. The soul will continue to exist apart from the body until it is reunited with the body at the resurrection of the dead, which will occur at the end of time. (CCC 1005, 1021, 1681)

Ch 5:10 At the end of time, each person will appear before the judgment seat to render an account of his or her life. The bodies of both the just and the damned will be reunited with their bodies. The just will receive their eternal reward, while those who rejected Christ and his teachings will be punished. This is referred to as the Last, or Final, Judgment. (CCC 1038)

Ch 5:11-21 Fear of the Lord is a gift of the Holy Spirit that instills fear of offending God or of loving him insufficiently. Christ died for the sins of all people, and all who belong to him become a “new creation” reconciled with God. To continue this mission until he comes again, Christ gave his followers the mandate of preaching to all nations so all people might be brought to repentance and reconciliation with God. (CCC 981, 1424, 1800 2844)

 Ch 5:14 The love of Christ urges us on: This phrase demonstrates that the zeal to spread the Gospel comes from a powerful interior life of love for Jesus Christ. (CCC 616, 851)

Ch 5:15 Grace transforms a Christian so the individual becomes like Christ in the order of love and mercy. (CCC 605, 655, 851)

 Ch 5:16 When Paul was persecuting the Christians, he saw Jesus as a mere man who had been executed for his crimes but had a significant following of disciples. Once he encountered Jesus, he saw him for who he is, the Messiah, the Son of God. (CCC 454)

Ch 5:17 A new creation: The waters of Baptism cleanse us of Original Sin and give us new life in Christ. We die sacramentally with Christ and are raised up with him, created anew. By redeeming humanity, all of creation is made to share in Christ’s Redemption. (CCC 1213-1214, 1263-1265, 1999)

Ch 5:18-19 Just as Christ was sent by the Father to reconcile us to him, so does Christ send forth his ministers today to reconcile us through the Sacraments. (CCC 98, 433, 620, 1442, 1461-1467.)

Ch 5:20-21 He made him to be sin: The Greek amartian, translated as “sin,” has a couple of meanings: one is a transgression of the moral law, and the other is the sacrificial act or victim that atones for sin. The sense here is the latter one. Christ took on our humanity and became the victim in a sacrificial act so “we might become the righteousness of God.” The sacrifice of Christ has infinite value and enables us to be reconciled to the Father. To share in the bounty of Christ’s sacrifice, each individual must exhibit contrition and desire for interior and moral reform. (CCC 602-603, 859, 1424, 1442, 2844)

Proverbs 28:26 True wisdom is not of human origin but comes from God. To trust in one’s own judgment apart from God is reckless. As Paul wrote, “The wisdom of the world is folly with God.” (1 Cor 3:19). For the attainment of true perfection and fulfillment, it is crucial to form judgments and make decisions that reflect God’s judgments and that reflect his Law. The contrary attitude leads to personal degradation. (CCC 1520, 1843, 2547)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you so much for this day. We thank you for a new day, a new Word that you share with us. We thank you so much for the Grace that you pour out on us. We ask you to, please Lord, to come and meet us with your blessings. Come and meet us with your mercy that is new every single day. We ask that you also, like you shone your glory upon Moses and transformed his face, give us your Holy Spirit, that as we are in your presence we look more and more like you. That we come to share more and more in your glory. That we come to share more and more in a heart like yours, in a mind like yours, in a will that is conformed to yours. As often as we hear your Word, Lord God, we ask that you please help us to become more like you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”