St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Lecturas:
Génesis 22,1-2, 9-13, 15-18;
Salmo 116,10, 15-19;
Romanos 8, 31-34;
Marcos 9, 2-10

El tiempo de cuaresma continúa con otra narración sobre una prueba. El domingo pasado leímos las tentaciones de Jesús en el desierto.

La primera lectura de este domingo habla sobre la prueba de Abraham. La Iglesia siempre ha visto en esta historia un signo del amor de Dios, que “entregó a su Hijo único” (cf. Jn 3,16).

En la epístola, San Pablo menciona que Dios, como Abraham (cf, Gn 22,16) “no perdonó a su propio Hijo, antes bien le entregó por todos nosotros” (Rm 8, 32).

El evangelio retoma esa figura. Jesús es llamado “el Hijo Amado” de Dios, así como Isaac es descrito como el amado hijo único de Abraham (cf. Gn 22, 2)

Estas lecturas se nos dan en la cuaresma para revelarnos la identidad de Cristo y para fortalecernos frente a nuestras tribulaciones.

Jesús es mostrado como el verdadero hijo, al que Abraham se regocijó en contemplar (cf. Mt 1,1; Jn 8, 56).

En su transfiguración, Jesús manifiesta ser “el profeta como Moisés” prometido por Dios — suscitado de entre el Pueblo de Dios -- que habla con la autoridad del mismo Señor (cf. Dt 18,15.19).

Como Moisés, Jesús también sube a la montaña con tres amigos, cuyos nombres hallamos en el texto y ve la gloria de Dios en una nube (cf. Ex 24,1.9.15).

Jesús es El que fue profetizado, El que habría de venir después del regreso de Elías (cf. Si 48, 9-10; Ml 3,1, 23-24).

Además, como Él mismo lo revela a sus apóstoles, Jesús es el Hijo del Hombre enviado a sufrir y morir por nuestros pecados (cf. Is 53,3).

Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, Jesús creyó aún en el momento de su aflicción y Dios lo liberó de los lazos de la muerte (cf. Sal 116, 3).

Su resurrección debe darnos el valor para enfrentar nuestras pruebas y ofrecernos totalmente al Padre, como lo hizo El y como lo hicieron Abraham e Isaac.

Liberados de la muerte por Su muerte, hemos venido a esta Misa a ofrecer un sacrificio de acción de gracias y a renovar nuestras promesas como sus siervos fieles.

Direct download: B_2_Lent_Spn.mp3
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Readings:
Gn 22:1–2, 9–13, 15–18
Ps 116:10, 15–19
Rom 8:31–34
Mk 9:2–10

The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week’s First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test.

The Church has always read this story as a sign of God’s love for the world in giving His only begotten son.

In today’s Epistle, Paul uses exact words drawn from this story to describe how God, like Abraham, did not withhold His only Son, but handed Him over for us on the Cross (see Romans 8:32; Genesis 22:12,16).

In the Gospel today, too, we hear another echo. Jesus is called God’s “beloved Son”— as Isaac is described as Abraham’s beloved firstborn son.

These readings are given to us in Lent to reveal Christ’s identity and to strengthen us in the face of our afflictions.

Jesus is shown to be the true son that Abraham rejoiced to see (see Matthew 1:1; John 8:56). In His transfiguration, He is revealed to be the “prophet like Moses” foretold by God—raised from among their own kinsmen, speaking with God’s own authority (see Deuteronomy 18:15, 19).

Like Moses, He climbs the mountain with three named friends and beholds God’s glory in a cloud (see Exodus 24:1, 9, 15). He is the one prophesied to come after Elijah’s return (see Sirach 48:9–10; Malachi 3:1, 23–24).

And, as He discloses to the apostles, He is the Son of Man sent to suffer and die for our sins (see Isaiah 53:3).

As we sing in today’s Psalm, Jesus believed in the face of His afflictions, and God loosed Him from the bonds of death (see Psalm 116:3).

His rising should give us the courage to face our trials, to offer ourselves totally to the Father—as He did, as Abraham and Isaac did.

Freed from death by His death, we come to this Mass to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to renew our vows—as His servants and faithful ones.

Direct download: B_2_Lent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Lecturas:
Génesis 9, 8-15;
Salmo 25, 4-9;
1 Pedro 3, 18-22;
Marcos 1, 12-15

La cuaresma nos invita a regresar a la inocencia del bautismo.

En la epístola de este domingo, San Pedro nos recuerda que, así como Noé y su familia fueron preservados de las aguas del diluvio, también nosotros somos salvados por las aguas del bautismo.

El pacto de Dios con Noé, que leemos en la primera lectura, marcó el inicio de un nuevo mundo; más aún, prefiguró una nueva y más importante alianza entre el Creador y su creación (cf. Os 2,20; Is 11,1-9).

En el evangelio podemos ver el comienzo de esta Nueva Alianza y esta nueva creación. Jesús es presentado como el nuevo Adán – el hijo amado de Dios (cf. Mc 1, 11; Lc 3, 38), que vive en armonía con las bestias salvajes y es servido por los ángeles (cf. Gn 2, 19-20; Ez 28, 12-14).

Jesús es tentado por el diablo, al igual que Adán. Sin embargo, a diferencia de éste, que con su caída provocó el dominio del pecado y de la muerte en el mundo (cf. Rm 5,12-14,17-20), Cristo vence a Satanás.

En esto consiste la Buena Nueva, el “evangelio de Dios” que Él proclama. Por su muerte, resurrección y entronización a la diestra del Padre, el mundo se vuelve otra vez reino de Dios.

En las aguas del Bautismo, cada uno de nosotros entró en el reino del Hijo Amado de Dios (cf. Col 1, 13-14). Por medio de él fuimos hechos hijos de Dios, criaturas nuevas (cf. 2 Co 5,7; Ga 4, 3-7).

Sin embargo, como Jesús, e Israel antes que Él, hemos sido bautizados sólo para ser conducidos al desierto: a un mundo lleno de aflicciones y pruebas para nuestra fidelidad (cf. 1 Co 10,1-4,9,13; Dt 8, 2,16).

En esta peregrinación – purificación Jesús es nuestro guía. Él es el Salvador, el Camino y la Verdad que cantamos en el salmo de este domingo (cf. Jn 14,6).

Nos da el pan de los ángeles (cf. Sal 78,25; Sb 16,20) y lava nuestras culpas en el sacramento de reconciliación. Por tanto, comencemos este tiempo santo renovando nuestros votos bautismales arrepintiéndonos y creyendo el evangelio.

Direct download: B_1_Lent_Spn.mp3
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Readings:
Gn 9:8–15
Ps 25:4–9
1 Pt 3:18–22
Mk 1:12–15

Lent bids us to return to the innocence of baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of baptism, Peter reminds us in today’s Epistle.

And God’s covenant with Noah in today’s First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1–9).

We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today’s Gospel.

Jesus is portrayed as the new Adam—the beloved son of God (see Mark 1:11; Luke 3:38), living in harmony with the wild beasts (see Genesis 2:19–20), being served by angels (see Ezekiel 28:12–14).

Like Adam, He too is tempted by the devil. But while Adam fell, giving reign to sin and death (see Romans 5:12–14, 17–20), Jesus is victorious.

This is the good news, the “gospel of God” that He proclaims. Through His death, resurrection, and enthronement at the right hand of the Father, the world is once again made God’s kingdom.

In the waters of baptism, each of us entered the kingdom of His beloved Son (see Colossians 1:13–14). We were made children of God, new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 4:3–7).

But like Jesus, and Israel before Him, we have passed through the baptismal waters only to be driven into the wilderness—a world filled with afflictions and tests of our faithfulness (see 1 Corinthians 10:1–4, 9,13; Deuteronomy 8:2,16).

We are led on this journey by Jesus. He is the Savior—the way and the truth we sing of in today’s Psalm (see John 14:6). He feeds us with the bread of angels (see Psalm 78:25; Wisdom 16:20), and cleanses our consciences in the sacrament of reconciliation.

As we begin this holy season, let us renew our baptismal vows—to repent and believe the gospel.

Direct download: B_1_Lent.mp3
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Readings:
Lv 13:1–2, 44–46
Ps 32:1–2, 5, 11
1 Cor 10:31–11:1
Mk 1:40–45

In the Old Testament, leprosy is depicted as punishment for disobedience of God’s commands (see Numbers 12:12–15; 2 Kings 5:27; 15:5).

Considered “unclean”—unfit to worship or live with the Israelites, lepers are considered “stillborn,” the living dead (see Numbers 12:12). Indeed, the requirements imposed on lepers in today’s First Reading—rent garments, shaven head, covered beard—are signs of death, penance, and mourning (see Leviticus 10:6; Ezekiel 24:17).

So there’s more to the story in today’s Gospel than a miraculous healing.

When Elisha, invoking God’s name, healed the leper, Naaman, it proved there was a prophet in Israel (see 2 Kings 5:8). Today’s healing reveals Jesus as far more than a great prophet—He is God visiting His people (see Luke 7:16).

Only God can cure leprosy and cleanse from sin (see 2 Kings 5:7); and only God has the power to bring about what He wills (see Isaiah 55:11; Wisdom 12:18).

The Gospel scene has an almost sacramental quality about it.

Jesus stretches out His hand—as God, by His outstretched arm, performed mighty deeds to save the Israelites (see Exodus 14:6; Acts 4:30). His ritual sign is accompanied by a divine word (“Be made clean”). And, like God’s word in creation (“Let there be”), Jesus’ word “does” what He commands (see Psalm 33:9).

The same thing happens when we show ourselves to the priest in the sacrament of penance. On our knees like the leper, we confess our sins to the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And through the outstretched arm and divine word spoken by His priest, the Lord takes away the guilt of our sin.

Like the leper we should rejoice in the Lord and spread the good news of His mercy. We should testify to our healing by living changed lives. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we should do even the littlest things for the glory of God and that others may be saved.

Direct download: B_6_Ordinary.mp3
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Readings:
Jb 7:1–4, 6–7
Ps 147:1–6
1 Cor 9:16–19, 22–23
Mk 1:29–39

In today’s First Reading, Job describes the futility of life before Christ.

His lament reminds us of the curse of toil and death placed upon Adam following his original sin (see Genesis 3:17–19). Men and women are like slaves seeking shade, unable to find rest. Their lives are like the wind that comes and goes.

But, as we sing in today’s Psalm, He who created the stars promised to heal the brokenhearted and gather those lost in exile from Him (see Isaiah 11:12; 61:1). We see this promise fulfilled in today’s Gospel.

Simon’s mother-in-law is like Job’s toiling, hopeless humanity. She is laid low by affliction but too weak to save herself.

But as God promised to take His chosen people by the hand (see Isaiah 42:6), Jesus grasps her by the hand and helps her up. The word translated “help” is actually Greek for raising up. The same verb is used when Jesus commands a dead girl to arise (see Mark 5:41–42). It’s used again to describe His own resurrection (see Mark 14:28; 16:7).

What Jesus has done for Simon’s mother-in-law, He has done for all humanity— raised all of us who lay dead through our sins (see Ephesians 2:5).

Notice all the words of totality and completeness in the Gospel. The whole town gathers; all the sick are brought to Him. He drives out demons in the whole of Galilee. Everyone is looking for Christ.

We too have found Him. By our baptism, He healed and raised us to live in His presence (see Hosea 6:1–2).

Like Simon’s mother-in-law, there is only one way we can thank Him for the new life He has given us. We must rise to serve Him and His gospel.

Our lives must be our thanksgiving, as Paul describes in today’s Epistle. We must tell everyone the good news, the purpose for which Jesus has come—that others, too, may have a share in this salvation.

Direct download: B_5_Ordinary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Readings:
Dt 18:15–20
Ps 95:1–2, 6–9
1 Cor 7:32–35
Mk 1:21–28

Last week, Jesus announced the kingdom of God is at hand. This week, in mighty words and deeds, He exercises His dominion—asserting royal authority over the ruler of this world, Satan (see John 12:31).

Notice that today’s events take place on the sabbath. The sabbath was to be an everlasting sign—both of God’s covenant love for His creation (see Exodus 20:8–11; 31:12–17), and His deliverance of his covenant people, Israel, from slavery (see Deuteronomy 6:12–15).

On this sabbath, Jesus signals a new creation—that the Holy One has come to purify His people and deliver the world from evil.

“With an unclean spirit” is biblical language for a man possessed by a demon, Satan being the prince of demons (see Mark 3:22).

The demons’ question: “What have you to do with us?” is often used in Old Testament scenes of combat and judgment (see Judges 11:12; 1 Kings 17:18).

And as God by His word “rebuked” the forces of chaos in creating the world (see Psalms 104:7; Job 26:10–12), and again rebuked the Red Sea so the Israelites could make their exodus (see Psalms 106:9), Mark uses the same word to describe Jesus rebuking the demons (see Mark 4:39; Zechariah 3:2).

Jesus is the prophet foretold by Moses in today’s First Reading (see Acts 3:22). Though He has authority over heaven and earth (see Daniel 7:14,27; Revelation 12:10), He becomes one of our own kinsmen.

He comes to rebuke the forces of evil and chaos—not only in the world, but in our lives. He wants to make us holy in body and spirit, as Paul says in today’s Epistle (see Exodus 31:12).

In this liturgy, we hear His voice and “see” His works, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And as Moses tells us today, we should listen to Him.

Direct download: B_4_Ordinary.mp3
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Lecturas:
Jonás 3:1-5, 10
Salmo 25:4-9
1Corintos 7:29-31
Marcos 1:14-20

La llamada de los hermanos en el evangelio de hoy nos hace recordar la comisión que Eliseo recibió del profeta Elías (cfr. 1 Reyes 19:19-21).

Así como Elías encuentra a Eliseo trabajando en la hacienda de sus papas, Jesús ve a los hermanos trabajando a orillas del mar. Y como Eliseo dejó a su padre y a su madre para seguir a Elías, así los apóstoles dejaron a su padre para seguir a Jesús.

La promesa de Jesús, a hacerlos “pescadores de hombres” hace eco de las esperanzas más profundas de Israel. El profeta Jeremías anunció un nuevo éxodo en el cual Dios mandaría “muchos pescadores” para repatriar a los israelitas exilados, como cuando El mismo los liberó de la esclavitud en Egipto.

Jesús, por medio de su cruz y resurrección, ha iniciado este nuevo éxodo. Y los apóstoles son las primicias de un nuevo pueblo de Dios, la Iglesia—una nueva familia, basada no en lazos de sangre sino en creer en Jesús y en el deseo de hacer la voluntad del Padre (cfr. Juan 1:12-13; Mateo 12:46-50).

De ahora en más, dice San Pablo en la epístola de este domingo, hasta nuestras más importantes preocupaciones mundanas- relaciones familiares, trabajos, y posesiones, deben serán juzgadas a la luz del evangelio.

La primera palabra del evangelio de Jesús: “Arrepiéntanse” quiere decir que necesitamos cambiar totalmente nuestra manera de pensar y vivir, renunciar al mal y hacer todo por amor a Dios.

El arrepentimiento de Nínive, que escuchamos en la primera lectura de hoy, debiera servirnos de consuelo. Aún la pervertida Nínive fue capaz de arrepentirse por medio de la prédica de Jonás).

En Jesús tenemos a uno más grande que Jonás (cfr. Mateo 12:41). Dios mismo ha venido a salvarnos, a enseñar su camino a los pecadores, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Esto debería darnos esperanza—nuestros seres queridos, que están en este momento alejados de Dios, si tornan a El, encontrarán su compasión.

Y por supuesto, nosotros también tenemos que perseverar en el camino del arrepentimiento, esforzándonos diariamente a modelar nuestras vidas siguiendo el ejemplo de Jesús.

Direct download: B_3_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
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>Readings:
Jonah 3:1-5,10
Psalm 25:4-9
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

The calling of the brothers in today's Gospel evokes Elisha's commissioning by the prophet Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:19-21).

As Elijah comes upon Elisha working on his family's farm, so Jesus sees the brothers working by the seaside. And as Elisha left his mother and father to follow Elijah, so the brothers leave their father to come after Jesus.

Jesus' promise - to make them "fishers of men" - evokes Israel's deepest hopes. The prophet Jeremiah announced a new exodus in which God would send "many fishermen" to restore the Israelites from exile, as once He brought them out of slavery in Egypt (see Jeremiah 16:14-16).

By Jesus' cross and resurrection, this new exodus has begun (see Luke 9:31). And the apostles are the first of a new people of God, the Church - a new family, based not on blood ties, but on belief in Jesus and a desire to do the Father's will (see John 1:12-13; Matthew 12:46-50).

From now on, even our most important worldly concerns - family relations, occupations, and possessions - must be judged in light of the gospel, Paul says in today's Epistle.

The first word of Jesus' gospel - repent - means we must totally change our way of thinking and living, turning from evil, doing all for the love of God.

And we should be consoled by Nineveh's repentance in today's First Reading. Even the wicked Nineveh could repent at Jonah's preaching. And in Jesus we have a greater than Jonah (see Matthew 12:41). We have God come as our savior, to show sinners the way, as we sing in today's Psalm. This should give us hope - that loved ones who remain far from God will find compassion if they turn to Him.

But we, too, must continue along the path of repentance - striving daily to pattern our lives after His.

Direct download: B_3_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Readings:
1 Samuel 3:3-10,19
Psalm 40:2,4,7-10
1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20
John 1:35-42

In the call of Samuel and the first Apostles, today's Readings shed light on our own calling to be followers of Christ.

Notice in the Gospel today that John's disciples are prepared to hear God's call. They are already looking for the Messiah, so they trust in John's word and follow when he points out the Lamb of God walking by.

Samuel is also waiting on the Lord - sleeping near the Ark of the Covenant where God's glory dwells, taking instruction from Eli, the high priest.

Samuel listened to God's word and the Lord was with him. And Samuel, through his word, turned all Israel to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 3:21; 7:2-3). The disciples too, heard and followed - words we hear repeatedly in today's Gospel. They stayed with the Lord and by their testimony brought others to the Lord.

These scenes from salvation history should give us strength to embrace God's will and to follow His call in our lives.

God is constantly calling to each of us - personally, by name (see Isaiah 43:1; John 10:3). He wants us to seek Him in love, to long for His word (see Wisdom 6:11-12). We must desire always, as the apostles did, to stay where the Lord stays, to constantly seek His face (see Psalm 42:2).

For we are not our own, but belong to the Lord, as Paul says in today's Epistle.

We must have ears open to obedience, and write His word within our hearts. We must trust in the Lord's promise - that if we come to Him in faith, He will abide with us (see John 15:14; 14:21-23), and raise us by His power. And we must reflect in our lives the love He has shown us, so that others too may find the Messiah.

As we renew our vows of discipleship in this Eucharist, let us approach the altar singing the new song of today's Psalm: "Behold I come . . . to do your will O God."

Direct download: B_2_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EST