Mon, 19 June 2017
Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Our commitment to Christ will be put to the test.
We will hear whispered warnings and denunciations, as Jeremiah does in today’s First Reading. Even so-called friends will try to trap and trip us up.
For His sake we will bear insults and be made outcasts—even in our own homes, we hear in today’s Psalm.
As Jeremiah tells us, we must expect that God will challenge our faith in Him, and probe our minds and hearts, to test the depths of our love.
“Do not be afraid,” Jesus assures us three times in today’s Gospel.
Though He may permit us to suffer for our faith, our Father will never forget or abandon us. As Jesus assures us today, everything unfolds in His Providence, under His watchful gaze—even the falling of the tiniest sparrow to the ground. Each one of us is precious to Him.
Steadfast in this faith, we must resist the tactics of Satan. He is the enemy who seeks the ruin of our soul in Gehenna, or hell.
We are to seek God, as the Psalmist says. Zeal for the Lord’s house, for the heavenly kingdom of the Father, should consume us, as it consumed Jesus (see Jn 2:17). As Jesus bore the insults of those who blasphemed God, so should we (see Rm 15:3).
By the gracious gift of himself, Jesus bore the transgressions of the world, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. In rising from the dead, He has shown us that God rescues the life of the poor, that He does not spurn His own when they are in distress. In His great mercy, He will turn toward us, as well. He will deliver us from the power of the wicked.
That is why we proclaim His name from the housetops, as Jesus tells us. That is why we sing praise and offer thanksgiving in every Eucharist. We are confident in Jesus’ promise—that we who declare our faith in Him before others will be remembered before our heavenly Father.
Mon, 12 June 2017
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
The Eucharist is given to us as a challenge and a promise. That's how Jesus presents it in today's Gospel.
He doesn't make it easy for those who hear Him. They are repulsed and offended at His words. Even when they begin to quarrel, He insists on describing the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood in starkly literal terms.
Four times in today's reading, Jesus uses a Greek word - trogein - that refers to a crude kind of eating, almost a gnawing or chewing (see John 6:54,56,57,58).
He is testing their faith in His Word, as today's First Reading describes God testing Israel in the desert.
The heavenly manna was not given to satisfy the Israelites' hunger, as Moses explains. It was given to show them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
In today's Psalm, too, we see a connection between God's Word and the bread of life. We sing of God filling us with "finest wheat" and proclaiming his Word to the world.
In Jesus, "the living Father" has given us His Word come down from heaven, made flesh for the life of the world.
Yet as the Israelites grumbled in the desert, many in today's Gospel cannot accept that Word. Even many of Jesus' own followers abandon Him after this discourse (see John 6:66). But His words are Spirit and life, the words of eternal life (see John 6:63,67).
In the Eucharist we are made one flesh with Christ. We have His life in us and have our life because of Him. This is what Paul means in today's Epistle when He calls the Eucharist a "participation" in Christ's body and blood. We become in this sacrament partakers of the divine nature (see 1 Peter 2:4).
This is the mystery of the faith that Jesus asks us believe. And He gives us His promise: that sharing in His flesh and blood that was raised from the dead, we too will be raised up on the last day.
Mon, 5 June 2017
Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
We often begin Mass with the prayer from today's Epistle: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you." We praise the God who has revealed himself as a Trinity, a communion of persons.
Communion with the Trinity is the goal of our worship - and the purpose of the salvation history that begins in the Bible and continues in the Eucharist and sacraments of the Church.
We see the beginnings of God's self-revelation in today's First Reading, as He passes before Moses and cries out His holy name.
Israel had sinned in worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 32). But God does not condemn them to perish. Instead He proclaims His mercy and faithfulness to His covenant.
God loved Israel as His firstborn son among the nations (see Exodus 4:22). Through Israel - heirs of His covenant with Abraham - God planned to reveal himself as the Father of all nations (see Genesis 22:18).
The memory of God's covenant testing of Abraham - and Abraham's faithful obedience - lies behind today's Gospel.
In commanding Abraham to offer his only beloved son (see Genesis 22:2,12,16), God was preparing us for the fullest possible revelation of His love for the world.
As Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all (see Romans 8:32).
In this, He revealed what was only disclosed partially to Moses - that His kindness continues for a thousand generations, that He forgives our sin, and takes us back as His very own people (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 9:29).
Jesus humbled himself to die in obedience to God's will. And for this, the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead (see Romans 8:11), and gave Him a name above every name (see Philippians 2:8-10).
This is the name we glorify in today's Responsorial - the name of our Lord, the God who is Love (see 1 John 4;8,16).
Mon, 5 June 2017
Éxodo 34, 4-6.8-9
Daniel 3, 52-56
2 Corintios 13, 11-13
Frecuentemente comenzamos la Misa con la oración tomada de la epístola de hoy: "La gracia de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el amor del Padre y la comunión del Espíritu Santo estén con ustedes". Alabamos al Dios que se ha revelado a Sí mismo como Trinidad, como comunión de personas.
La comunión con la Trinidad es la meta de nuestra adoración y el propósito de la historia de la salvación que comienza en la Biblia y continúa en la Eucaristía y en los sacramentos de la Iglesia.
En la primera lectura vemos los inicios de la autorevelación de Dios, cuando pasa frente a Moisés y proclama su nombre santo. Israel había pecado en adorar al becerro de oro (cf. Ex 32). Pero Dios no los condena a perecer, sino que proclama su misericordia y fidelidad a su alianza.
Dios amó a Israel como su primogénito entre las naciones (cf. Ex 4,22). Por medio de Israel -heredero de su alianza con Abraham-, Dios planeó revelarse como el Padre de todas las naciones (cf. Gn 22,18).
El recuerdo de la prueba de alianza que Dios pidió a Abraham -y la obediencia fiel de Abraham- es el trasfondo del Evangelio de este día. Al ordenarle a Abraham que le ofreciera su amado hijo único (cf, Gn 22,2.12.16), Dios nos estaba preparando para la más completa revelación de su amor por el mundo. Así como Abraham estaba dispuesto a ofrecer a Isaac, Dios no perdonó a su propio Hijo, sino que lo entregó por todos nosotros (cf. Rm 8,32).
Con ello reveló lo que sólo a Moisés fue descubierto parcialmente, que su bondad perdura por mil generaciones, que perdona nuestro pecado y nos toma de vuelta como pueblo de su propiedad (cf. Dt 4,20; 9,29).
Jesús se humilló a sí mismo hasta morir en obediencia a la voluntad de Dios. Y por esto, el Espíritu de Dios lo levantó de la muerte (cf. Rm 8,11) y le dio un nombre que está sobre todo nombre (cf. Fl 2,8-10).
Ese es el nombre que glorificamos en el salmo de hoy: el nombre de nuestro Señor, el Dios que es Amor (cf. 1Jn 4,8.16).
Mon, 29 May 2017
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God's chosen people, in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15-21; Deuteronomy 16:9-11).
In today's First Reading the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles (see Acts 1:14).
The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised (see 2 Corinthians 3:2-8; Romans 8:2).
The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things, as we sing in today's Psalm. In the beginning, the Spirit came as a "mighty wind" sweeping over the face of the earth (see Genesis 1:2). And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as "a strong, driving wind" to renew the face of the earth.
As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit (see Genesis 2:7), in today's Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles (see 1 Corinthians 15:45,47).
Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today's Epistle (see also John 7:37-39).
We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a "new creation" in Baptism (see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), we are the first fruits of a new humanity - fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.
Mon, 22 May 2017
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8
1 Peter 4:13-16
Jesus has been taken up into heaven as we begin today's First Reading. His disciples - including the Apostles and Mary - return to the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper (see Luke 22:12).
There, they devote themselves with one accord to prayer, awaiting the Spirit that He promised would come upon them (see Acts 1:8).
The unity of the early Church at Jerusalem is a sign of the oneness that Christ prays for in today's Gospel. The Church is to be a communion on earth that mirrors the glorious union of Father, Son and Spirit in the Trinity.
Jesus has proclaimed God's name to His brethren (see Hebrews 2:12; Psalm 22:23). The prophets had foretold this revelation - a new covenant by which all flesh would have knowledge of the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:33-34; Habakkuk 2:14).
By the new covenant made in His blood and remembered in every Eucharist, we know God as our Father. This is the eternal life Jesus promises. And this is the light and salvation we sing of in today's Psalm.
As God made light to shine out of darkness when the world began, He has enlightened us in Baptism, making us new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), giving us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (see Hebrews 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Our new life is a gift of "the Spirit of glory," we hear in today's Epistle (see John 7:38-39). Made one in His name, we are given a new name - "Christians" - a name used only here and in two other places in the Bible (see Acts 11:16; 26:28). We are to glorify God, though we will be insulted and suffer because of this name.
But as we share in His sufferings, we know we will overcome (see Revelation 3:12) and rejoice when His glory is once more revealed. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives.
Mon, 15 May 2017
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20
1 Peter 3:15-18
Jesus will not leave us alone. He won't make us children of God in Baptism only to leave us "orphans," He assures us in today's Gospel (see Romans 8:14-17) .
He asks the Father to give us His Spirit, to dwell with us and keep us united in the life He shares with the Father.
We see the promised gift of His Spirit being conferred in today's First Reading.
The scene from Acts apparently depicts a primitive Confirmation rite. Philip, one of the first deacons (see Acts 6:5), proclaims the Gospel in the non-Jewish city of Samaria. The Samaritans accept the Word of God (see Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) and are baptized.
It remains for the Apostles to send their representatives, Peter and John, to pray and lay hands on the newly baptized - that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of our sacrament of Confirmation (see Acts 19:5-6), by which the grace of Baptism is completed and believers are sealed with the Spirit promised by the Lord.
We remain in this grace so long as we love Christ and keep His commandments. And strengthened in the Spirit whom Jesus said would be our Advocate, we are called to bear witness to our salvation - to the tremendous deeds that God has done for us in the name of His Son.
In today's Psalm, we celebrate our liberation. As He changed the sea into dry land to free the captive Israelites, Christ suffered that He might lead us to God, as we hear in today's Epistle.
This is the reason for our hope - the hope that sustains us in the face of a world that cannot accept His truth, the hope that sustains us when we are maligned and defamed for His name's sake.
Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit, Paul tells us today. And as He himself promises: "Because I live, you will live."
Mon, 8 May 2017
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12 (see also "Exodus and Easter")
By His death, Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us in His Father's house.
His Father's house is no longer a temple made by human hands. It is the spiritual house of the Church, built on the living stone of Christ's body.
As Peter interprets the Scriptures in today's Epistle, Jesus is the "stone" destined to be rejected by men but made the precious cornerstone of God's dwelling on earth (see Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; 28:16).
Each of us is called to be a living stone in God's building (see 1 Corinthians 3:9,16). In this edifice of the Spirit, we are to be "holy priests" offering up "spiritual sacrifices" - all our prayer, work and intentions - to God.
This is our lofty calling as Christians. This is why Christ led us out of the darkness of sin and death as Moses led the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.
God's covenant with Israel made them a royal and priestly people who were to announce His praises (see Exodus 19:6). By our faith in Christ's new covenant, we have been made heirs of this chosen race, called to glorify the Father in the temple of our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 12:1).
In today's First Reading, we see the spiritual house of the Church being built up, as the Apostles consecrate seven deacons so they can devote themselves more fully to the "ministry of the Word."
The Lord's Word is upright and all His works trustworthy, we sing in today's Psalm. So we can trust Jesus when He tells us never to be troubled, but to believe that His Word and works come from the Father.
His Word continues its work in the world through the Church. We see its beginnings today in Jerusalem. It is destined to spread with influence and power (see Acts 19:20), and to become the imperishable seed by which every heart is born anew (see 1 Peter 1:23).
Mon, 1 May 2017
Acts 2:14, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20-25
Easter's empty tomb is a call to conversion.
By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today's First Reading.
He is the "Lord," the divine Son that David foresaw at God's right hand (see Psalms 110:1,3; 132:10-11; Acts 2:34). And He is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (see Ezekiel 34:11-14, 23; 37:24).
As we hear in today's Gospel, Jesus is that Good Shepherd, sent to a people who were like sheep without a shepherd (see Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16-17). He calls not only to the children of Israel, but to all those far off from Him - to whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.
The call of the Good Shepherd leads to the restful waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of Confirmation, and to the table and overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as we sing in today's Psalm.
Again on this Sunday in Easter, we hear His voice calling us His own. He should awaken in us the response of those who heard Peter's preaching. "What are we to do?" they cried.
We have been baptized. But each of us goes astray like sheep, as we hear in today's Epistle. We still need daily to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from this corrupt generation.
We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.
Jesus has gone ahead, driven us through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach His empty tomb - the verdant pastures of life abundant.
Mon, 24 April 2017
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today's Gospel. Downcast and confused they're making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.
They know what they've seen - a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for - that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don't know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.
They can't even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.
Note that Jesus doesn't disclose His identity until they they describe how they found His tomb empty but "Him they did not see." That's how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.
How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets "all the Scriptures" as referring to Him. In today's First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ's death according to the Father's "set plan" - foreknown before the foundation of the world.
Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today's Psalm - whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.
After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples - exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14-20).
In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.
The disciples begged him, "Stay with us." So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist - as at Emmaus - we know Him in the breaking of the bread.