St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Welcome to the "Year of Faith," which officially begins today (Oct 11. 2012), marking the 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II, and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 

After teaching Ca

tholic theology for a quarter century, I have yet to find a more "systematic and organic synthesis of the fundamental content of the faith," as Benedict XVI described the Catechism. Blessed John Paul II called it "one of the most important fruits of Vatican II, an indispensable tool, and a sure norm for teaching the faith." 

Why not devote this Year of Faith to reading the Catechism all the way through... Just two pages a day, and you'll be done by the end of the Year of Faith. You won't regret it. 
Direct download: Hahn_-_Year_of_Faith.mov
Category:St. Paul Center Video -- posted at: 9:47am EDT

ReadingsWisdom 7:7-11  Psalm 90:12-17   Hebrews 4:12-13   Mark 10:17-30

The rich young man in today’s Gospel wanted to know what we all want to know—how to live in this life so that we might live forever in the world to come. He sought what today’s Psalm calls “wisdom of heart.”

He learns that the wisdom he seeks is not a program of works to be performed, or behaviors to be avoided. As Jesus tells him, observing the commandments is essential to walking the path of salvation—but it can only get us so far.

The Wisdom of God is not precepts, but a person—Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Wisdom whose Spirit was granted to Solomon in today’s First Reading. Jesus is the Word of God spoken of in today’s Epistle. And Jesus, as He reveals himself to the rich man today, is God.

In Jesus we encounter Wisdom, the living and effective Word of God. As He does with the rich man today, He looks upon each of us with love. That look of love, that loving gaze, is a personal invitation—to give up everything to follow Him.

Nothing is concealed from His gaze, as we hear in the Epistle. In His fiery eyes, the thoughts of our hearts are exposed, and each of us must render an account of our lives (see Revelation 1:14).

We must have the attitude of Solomon, preferring Wisdom to all else, loving Him more than even life itself. This preference, this love, requires a leap of faith. We will be persecuted for this faith, Jesus tells His disciples today. But we must trust in His promise—that all good things will come to us in His company.

What, then, are the “many possessions” that keep us from giving ourselves totally to God? What are we clinging to—material things, comfort zones, relationships? What will it take for us to live fully for Christ’s sake and the sake of the Gospel?

Let us pray for the wisdom to enter into the kingdom of God. With the Psalmist, let us ask Him, “Teach us.”

Direct download: B_28_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a trick question.

 The “lawfulness” of divorce in Israel was never at issue. Moses had long ago allowed it (see Deuteronomy 24:1-4). But Jesus points His enemies back before Moses, to “the beginning,” interpreting the text we hear in today’s First Reading.

 Divorce violates the order of creation, He says. Moses permitted it only as a concession to the people’s “hardness of heart”—their inability to live by God’s covenant Law. But Jesus comes to fulfill the Law, to reveal its true meaning and purpose, and to give people the grace to keep God’s commands.

 Marriage, He reveals, is a sacrament, a divine, life-giving sign. Through the union of husband and wife, God intended to bestow His blessings on the human family—making it fruitful, multiplying it until it filled the earth (see Genesis 1:28).

 That’s why today’s Gospel moves so easily from a debate about marriage to Jesus’ blessing of children. Children are blessings the Father bestows on couples who walk in His ways, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

 Marriage also is a sign of God’s new covenant. As today’s Epistle hints, Jesus is the new Adam—made a little lower than the angels, born of a human family (see Romans 5:14; Psalm 8:5-7). The Church is the new Eve, the “woman” born of Christ’s pierced side as He hung in the sleep of death on the cross (see John 19:34; Revelation 12:1-17).

 Through the union of Christ and the Church as “one flesh,” God’s plan for the world is fulfilled (see Ephesians 5:21-32). Eve was “mother of all the living” (see Genesis 3:20). And in baptism, we are made sons and daughters of the Church, children of the Father, heirs of the eternal glory He intended for the human family in the beginning.

 The challenge for us is to live as children of the kingdom, growing up ever more faithful in our love and devotion to the ways of Christ and the teachings of His Church.  

Direct download: B_27_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 4:43pm EDT

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