Day 357: Truth and Love









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

2 John 1-3 This Epistle touches on the same general topics as his first letter but in a more abbreviated form. 

The elder: A term used in the Apostolic Church interchangeably with "priest" or "bishop." These specific terms for the various Church offices had not yet become universal. Here, it refers to the letter writer, John. 

The elect lady and her children: The Church and her faithful. The Church has from the beginning referred to herself with the feminine pronoun in recognition of her status as the Bride of Christ. 

All who know the truth: The Catholic Church is entrusted with the Deposit of Faith, and the Holy Spirit keeps the Church faithful to the truth in her teachings on faith and morals. Other Christian communities, not united to the Catholic Church, possess elements of the truth but not its fullness. (CCC 2040) 


2 John 4-6 Christ taught that the entire moral law—all the Commandments and the Beatitudes—are summarized in the Great Commandments: you shall love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Later, he gave his New Commandment: we should love one another as Christ himself has loved us. If we truly live out these Commandments of Love, we automatically keep all of the Commandments. 

Some of your children: Based on the tone of this Epistle, John probably did not mean that some are following the truth to the exclusion of others; rather, those he had come to know had been shown to be faithful. (CCC 1823, 2055, 2093, 2196, 2822) 


2 John 7-11 Those of the "antichrist" refused to recognize Christ as the Son of God, fully God and fully man. John related that anyone who did not uphold this doctrine of Christ was a heretic and should be shunned. The situation with these false teachers seems to have become more pronounced since the time of John's first letter. In the culture of the day, any kind of greeting or hospitality implied closeness, commonality, and friendship. To associate in such a way with those who had rejected basic Christian teaching would have scandalized others by conveying approval or complicity in their errant beliefs. (CCC 465, 675, 2088) 


2 John 12-13 The children of your elect sister: This refers to the faithful of the Christian community in Ephesus. The various local churches, or dioceses, united in Christ and in the Faith of the Apostles, form one universal Church. (CCC 752)

1 Timothy 4:1-16 The false teachers of Ephesus had promoted, among other things, Jewish dietary laws. Judaizers were Jewish converts who believed that Gentile converts should be circumcised and embrace the Mosaic Law prior to being received into the Church at Baptism. Other false teachers promoted an asceticism that forbade marriage. The best defense against these errors, Paul told Timothy, was to preach the truth with conviction and to live an exemplary and virtuous life, which would confirm his authority as a leader in the Church. (CCC 2518) 


Ch 4:1 In later times: This expression as well as others such as "end times" refers not only to the end of the world but also to the present era. In a certain sense, the world entered its final age with the establishment of the New Covenant, which is God's final phase in the history of salvation. The redemptive Sacrifice and Resurrection of Christ is the culmination of God's plan to draw all people to himself. Scripture frequently refers to false prophets, confused teachings, and persecutions as the world draws nearer to its end. (CCC 37, 672) 


Ch 4:10 savior of all: This phrase should not be taken in support of the idea of universal salvation. Rather, it means that the offer of salvation in Christ is universal and that anyone who sincerely responds to the invitation in faith will be saved. Like Paul, our hope is founded upon a personal encounter with Christ, who calls us to share in his eternal life. (CCC 389, 528, 594, 1058, 2812) 


Ch 4:12-13 Paul's intent here was to say that Timothy's relative youth might make him timid or work against his credibility with some. Nevertheless, his consistent preaching and example of fidelity and love will go far in winning over the hearts of the faithful. (CCC 131-132)

Ch 4:14 Timothy was ordained a bishop by the imposition of hands. The Greek presbuteriou, translated as "elders," or "presbyters," refers to the ordained ministry of the priesthood. The laying on of hands was used in a variety of liturgical actions, including the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation. As a bishop and successor to the Apostles, Timothy possessed the sacred power to lay hands upon men in order to ordain them bishops, priests, or deacons. (CCC 1312-1314, 1554, 1556, 1573-1576, 2686) 


Ch 5:1-2 Because the Christian community is a family that forms part of Christ's Mystical Body, Paul advised Timothy to treat everyone like a family member, respecting the position of elders as well as the relative innocence of those who are younger. Implicitly, everything must be done in a spirit of familial love. (CCC 2212-2214) 


Ch 5:3-16 Widows, particularly those who had no children or close relatives, were largely dependent upon the Church for their support. They would often form a group within the Christian community, vowing not to remarry and dedicating themselves to charitable work and prayer. Paul drew a distinction here between "real widows," who were older, had no family, and had shown themselves to be good and virtuous Christians, and "younger widows," who perhaps were not mature enough to commit themselves to celibate service and, therefore, should remarry.  Paul was emphatic here about the obligation of children and other relatives to provide for widows within their families. (CCC 2208-2211) 


Ch 5:10 Washed the feet of the saints: In a time of unpaved roads and sandals, footwashing was a gesture of hospitality performed for guests. At the Last Supper, Christ washed the feet of his disciples as a symbol of humble service to others. (CCC 1337) 


Ch 5:17-25 Elders, or presbyters, are those men ordained to the priesthood. Paul called for strong commitment and virtuous lives among these church leaders and stated that they deserved, in justice, the material support of the faithful. 

Two or three witnesses: In Jewish Law, at least two witnesses were needed for a charge to be made in court. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands: Candidates for priestly office must be carefully examined before ordination; to ordain unqualified candidates would be detrimental to the Church. (CCC 1306-1310, 1554, 2122, 2686) 


Ch 5:23 Timothy's unspecified health issues could have been some form of food poisoning from contaminated food or water, whose symptoms could be alleviated by wine. 


Ch 6:1-2 In the first century, as many as half of the residents of Ephesus were slaves. Paul did not confront the moral issue of slavery, which was an accepted institution at the time, but on more than one occasion in Scripture he did write about the relationship between slave and master, stressing the inherent dignity of all persons and the equality of all before God. Here, his focus is on the slaves, who ought to give their masters respect and perform their work in an exemplary manner. When both slave and master are Christians, they are brothers. Instead of using their fraternal relationship as an occasion to disrespect their masters, slaves should sanctify their work all the more out of love of God and for their brother. Everyone can serve God regardless of his or her position in society. (CCC 1828, 2414) 


Ch 6:3-10 Attachment to possessions and fame are incompatible with living the Gospel and lead to a sinful life. Detachment from worldly goods and vanity are absolutely necessary for a serious spiritual life and Christian charity. We ask the Lord to supply our basic necessities so we can serve him and others in a dignified and effective way. 


Ch 6:11-21 In contrast to the worldly preacher of the previous passage, Paul urged Timothy to lead a virtuous and holy life and to preach and defend the faith courageously. Those who are wealthy must be urged to be detached from riches and to stay focused on using their wealth for the good of others. (CCC 2145) 


Ch 6:16 Dwells in inapproachable light: God's divine life far transcends our human experience and capacity, yet he desires to adopt us as his children and communicate this divine life to us. God's self-revelation provides us the opportunity to respond to his love for us through prayer and deeds of charity. (CCC 52) 


Ch 6:20-21 The faith with which Timothy had been entrusted is precious and sacred; it must be preserved and taught without corruption in the midst of many conflicting claims and philosophies. The Church and her bishops in union with the Pope are guardians of truth until the end of time. (CCC 74-84)

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

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for calling us your children and making us into your children in your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We ask you to please help us to walk in faith. Help us to walk in hope. And help us to walk in love. In all things. In all ways. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”