Jesus said to his disciples:Mt 7:21
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
The opening verse of today’s Gospel is my go to line for the “once saved, always saved” crowd. It seems to me that Jesus could be no clearer about the demands of discipleship than He is right here. And there are countless examples from His own lips throughout the Gospels backing up this admonition. There will be those who try to eisegete out of Paul a refutation of what is plain from Jesus’ own teaching, but don’t you believe it.
So basic to a Catholic understanding of how to read Scripture are three concepts. Let me take them directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which got these touchstones from Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation:
The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.
112 1. Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture”. Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.
113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”).
114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith. By “analogy of faith” we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.
The first criterion is most applicable here. Anyone who tries to pit one verse against another, one book against another, or one sacred author against another, is not adhering to authentic biblical scholarship.
Its clear teaching on this and so many other matters is just another reason to love the Catholic faith.
JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU
I am on Day 22 of a little spiritual retreat based on the fine new book Jesus, I Trust in You by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, S.V. This is a lovely little volume filled with great stories, deep wisdom, and thoughtful questions.
Anyway, today the author speaks of the Wedding Feast at Cana, drawing out allusions to Jesus and Mary as the New Adam and the New Eve. But when she mentions Mary’s words, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5) my thoughts went somewhere they haven’t before.
Some have contended that Jesus’ response to Mary’s statement to Him that there is no more wine was a rebuke (Jn 2:3). There are plenty of commentaries that say otherwise, but one need not be a Bible scholar to know that the sinless Jesus, who kept the commandments perfectly, would never dishonor His mother, who was herself sinless.
But, more to the point I wish to draw out, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that after Jesus’ response, Mary says those five words with no further discussion? It seems very likely to me (and this is my new thought on the matter) that this was not the first time Mary uttered these words or, at least, similar ones to these. Mother and Son lived together for thirty years. No other parent or child were ever closer or knew each other more intimately. The God-Man created His own mother. The mother, the Woman of prayer, was perfectly attuned to her Son’s will. I suspect as the years went on that the understanding between the two was so great that little had to be vocalized in their interactions.
I imagine the short recommendation in question was Mary’s response to friends and neighbors looking for advice, seeking the solution to a problem, or unburdening their troubles in the home of the Holy Family. She knew Jesus could and would help those in need — especially of th request came from her. So, these last words recorded in Scripture of the Blessed Virgin are a fitting sign off for those of us who are closely acquainted with Our Lady.