Friday, June 29, 2012

Book of Acts chapter 10 verses 1-8

vv. 1-4          Although we are saved by and through faith (e.g. Eph 2:8-9. [But see verse 10]), alms (deeds of charity) hold great importance to God as to the genuineness of our faith. See Heb 6:10; 13:16; Gal 6:10; Titus 2:14; 3:8, 14; Matthew 25:34-46.

The entire book of James is also devoted to the importance of works of charity (good deeds). But what is the RISK in over-emphasizing one or the other?

See also the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 1814-16, 2447 below. Answer the questions highlighted and embedded within those CCC paragraphs.  

vv. 5-8 (with v. 22)            Why do you think the angel didn’t tell Cornelius about Jesus, but instead, Peter would tell him (see Acts 10: 34-43)? How do these questions fit with Matthew 28:19-20 and 1 Peter 1:10-12?  How does that compare with the angel’s words to Mary, Joseph, Zachariah, and the shepherds in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels?  What is the difference? (Matt 1:20, 24; 2:13,19; Luke 1:13, 30; 2:8-11). 

For Church teaching about angels, see CCC 331-350 below.

1814 Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God." (What does it mean to you to commit one’s “entire self to God”?).  For this reason (What does the word here, THIS, refer to?)  the believer seeks to know and do God's will. (What is our responsibility once we know God’s will, even if we don’t particularly like His will in any given circumstance? How difficult is that for you to do?) "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith "work[s] through charity." See Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6

1816 The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: "All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks." (Please read that last sentence slowly again. The Church has in the past been called, “The Church Militant.” Note St. Paul’s comments about our battle armor in Ephesians 6:10-18 and consider how you might enhance your battle armor). Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (There are many ways to deny Jesus besides actually saying the words as St. Peter did [see for example Luke 22:54-62). What are some other ways we can deny Jesus?).

2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.242 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.243 (Note the two types of works of mercy. What do you think about St. Paul’s comment in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5?). Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:244

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.245Lk 3:11 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.246 Lk 11:41 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?247 Jas 2:15-16; 1 Jn 3:17.

331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him."192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"193

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195

333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgment.200

350 Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: "The angels work together for the benefit of us all" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3, ad 3).

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