St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Readings:

Genesis 14:18-20

Psalm 110:1-4

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Luke 9:11-17

 At the dawn of salvation history, God revealed our future in figures. That's what's going on in today's First Reading: A king and high priest comes from Jerusalem (see Psalm 76:3), offering bread and wine to celebrate the victory of God's beloved servant, Abram, over his foes.

 By his offering, Melchizedek bestows God's blessings on Abram. He is showing us, too, how one day we will receive God's blessings and in turn "bless God" - how we will give thanks to Him for delivering us from our enemies, sin and death.

 As Paul recalls in today's Epistle, Jesus transformed the sign of bread and wine, making it a sign of His body and blood, through which God bestows upon us the blessings of His "new covenant."

 Jesus is "the priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek," that God, in today's Psalm, swears will rule from Zion, the new Jerusalem (see Hebrews 6:20-7:3).

 By the miracle of loaves and fishes, Jesus in today's Gospel, again prefigures the blessings of the Eucharist.

 Notice that He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to the Twelve. You find the precise order and words in the Last Supper (see Luke 22:19) and in His celebration of the Eucharist on the first Easter night (see Luke 24:30).

 The Eucharist fulfills the offering of Melchizedek. It is the daily miracle of the heavenly high priesthood of Jesus

 It is a priesthood He conferred upon the Apostles in ordering them to feed the crowd, in filling exactly twelve baskets with leftover bread - in commanding them on the night He was handed over: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

 Through His priests He still feeds us in "the deserted place" of our earthly exile.

And by this sign He pledges to us a glory yet to come. For as often as we share in His body and blood. we proclaim His victory over death, until He comes again to make His victory our own. 

Direct download: C_Corpus_Christi.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

Readings:

Proverbs 8:22-31

Psalms 8:4-9

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

 In today's Liturgy we're swept through time in glorious procession - from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.

 We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today's First Reading. Eternally begotten, the first-born of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.

 Through Him, the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His "Craftsman," the artisan by which all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God's handiwork - the human race, the "sons of men."

 In today's Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as "the Son of Man" (see Hebrews 2:6-10).

 All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.

 Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today's Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).

 The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts - a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14-16).

 This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today's Gospel.

 His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us "the things that are coming," the things that were meant to be from before all ages - that we will find peace and union in God, will share the life of the Trinity, dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).

Direct download: C_Trinity.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 2:1-11

Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34

1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13

John 20:19-23

 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.

Direct download: C_Pentecost.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT

Scott Hahn and Gus Lloyd aired on WBVM Spirit 90.5, 6/15/99)

Direct download: The_Lords_Prayer__Our_Father.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 7:55-60

Psalms 97:1-2, 6-7, 9

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20

John 17:20-26

 

Jesus is praying for us in today's Gospel. We are those who have come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles, handed on in His Church.

 Jesus showed the Apostles His glory, made known the Father's name, and the love He has had for us from "before the foundation of the world."

 He revealed that He and the Father are one (see John 14:9).

 Jesus is the "first and the last" (see Isaiah 44:6), the root of David (see Isaiah 11:10; 2 Samuel 7:12), as today's Second Reading declares.

 Wrapped in clouds and darkness as God was at Sinai (see Exodus 19:16), He is "the king...the Most High over all the earth," as we sing in today's Psalm.

 Exalted at God's right hand, as Stephen sees in the First Reading, the Lord calls to us through the Church, His Bride.

 He calls us to "the tree of life," to communion with God. This is the goal of His love, His saving purpose from all eternity - that each of us enter into the life of Blessed Trinity, be "brought to perfection as one" with the Father and Son in the Spirit.

 The story of Stephen, the first martyr, shows us how we are to answer His call.

 Listen for the echoes of the crucifixion: Stephen, like Jesus, sees the Son of Man in glory and dies with words of forgiveness and self-offering on his lips (compare Acts 7:56-60; Matthew 26:64-65; Luke 23:24,46).

 We, too, are to commend our spirits to the Father, to pray and offer our lives in love for our brethren, awaiting His coming in judgment. We renew our vows in every Mass, coming forward to receive the gift of His life.

 We answer His call by crying out a call of our own: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!"

 And in our communion we answer our Lord's prayer: "That they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You."

Direct download: C_7_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

Direct download: St._Athanasius.mp3
Category:Fathers of the Church -- posted at: 9:54am EDT

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