St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Readings:

Jeremiah 31:7-9

Psalm 126:1-6

Hebrews 5:1-6

Mark 10:46-52

 

Today’s Gospel turns on an irony--it is a blind man, Bartimaeus, who becomes the first besides the apostles to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. And His healing is the last miracle Jesus performs before entering the holy city of Jerusalem for His last week on earth.

 

The scene on the road to Jerusalem evokes the joyful procession prophesied by Jeremiah in today’s First Reading. In Jesus this prophecy is fulfilled. God, through the Messiah, is delivering His people from exile, bringing them back from the ends of the earth, with the blind and lame in their midst.

 

Jesus, as Bartimaeus proclaims, is the long-awaited Son promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 23:5). Upon His triumphal arrival in Jerusalem, all will see that the everlasting kingdom of David has come (see Mark 11:9-10).

 

As we hear in today’s Epistle, the Son of David was expected to be the Son of God (see Psalm 2:7). He was to be a priest-king like Melchizedek (see Psalm 110:4), who offered bread and wine to God Most High at the dawn of salvation history (see Genesis 14:18-20).

 

Bartimaeus is a symbol of his people, the captive Zion which we sing of in today’s Psalm. His God has done great things for him. All his life has been sown in tears and weeping. Now, he reaps a new life.

 

Bartimaeus, too, should be a sign for us. How often Christ passes us by--in the person of the poor, in the distressing guise of a troublesome family member or burdensome associate (see Matthew 25:31-46)--and yet we don’t see Him.

 

Christ still calls to us through His Church, as Jesus sent His apostles to call Bartimaeus. Yet how often are we found to be listening instead to the voices of the crowd, not hearing the words of His Church.

 

Today He asks us what He asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Rejoicing, let us ask the same thing of Him--what can we do for all that He has done for us?

Direct download: B_30_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 9:26am EDT

Lecturas:

Isaías 53, 10-11

Salmo 33:4-5,18-20,22

Hebreos 4, 14-16

Marcos 10, 35-45

 

En el Evangelio que se nos presenta hoy, los hijos de Zebedeo no saben lo que están pidiendo. Su forma de pensar evoca el modo en que los gentiles gobiernan, con privilegios reales y honores.

 

Pero el camino al reino de Cristo es por la vía de su cruz. Para compartir su gloria, hemos de estar dispuestos a tomar de la copa de la que El bebe.

 

La copa (o “cáliz”) es una imagen que, en el Antiguo Testamento, se refiere al juicio de Dios. Los malvados tendrían que tomar de ella en castigo por sus pecados (cfr. Sal 75, 9; Jer 25, 15.28; Is 51.17). Pero Jesús ha venido a tomar esta copa en favor de toda la humanidad. Ha venido a ser bautizado—es decir, decir meterse o sumergirse—en los sufrimientos que hemos merecido por nuestros pecados (cfr. Lc 12, 50).

 

De este modo cumplirá la misión prefigurada por el Siervo Sufriente de Isaías, de quien leemos en la primera lectura de este domingo.

 

Como el Siervo de Isaías, el Hijo de Hombre dará su vida en ofrenda por el pecado, así como los sacerdotes de Israel ofrecieron sacrificios por los pecados del pueblo (Lv 5, 17-19).

 

Jesus es el Sumo Sacerdote celestial de toda la humanidad, como dice en la epístola de este domingo. Los Sumos Sacerdotes de Israel ofrecieron la sangre de cabritos y terneros en el santuario del Templo. Pero Jesús entró en el santuario del cielo con su propia Sangre (cfr. Hb 9, 12).

 

Y al cargar con nuestra culpa y ofrecer su vida para cumplir la voluntad de Dios, Jesús rescato “a muchos”, pagando el precio de la redención de la humanidad, liberándola de la esclavitud espiritual del pecado y a la muerte.

 

El nos ha librado de la muerte, como decimos con gozo en el salmo de hoy.

 

Debemos permanecer firmes en la profesión de nuestra fe, como nos exhorta la epístola de esta misa. Hemos de ver nuestras pruebas y sufrimientos como la parte que nos toca de la copa que Cristo prometió a los que creen en Él (cfr. Col 1, 24). Tenemos que recordar que hemos sido bautizados en su Pasión y Muerte (cfr. Ro 6, 3).

Direct download: B_29_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
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Readings:

Isaiah 53:10-11

Psalm 33:4-5,18-20,22

Hebrews 4:14-16

Mark 10:35-45

 

The sons of Zebedee hardly know what they’re asking in today’s Gospel. They are thinking in terms of how the Gentiles rule, of royal privileges and honors.

 

But the road to Christ’s kingdom is by way of His cross. To share in His glory, we must be willing to drink the cup that He drinks.

 

The cup is an Old Testament image for God’s judgment. The wicked would be made to drink this cup in punishment for their sins (see Psalm 75:9; Jeremiah 25:15, 28; Isaiah 51:17). But Jesus has come to drink this cup on behalf of all humanity. He has come to be baptized—which means plunged or immersed—into the sufferings we all deserve for our sins (compare Luke 12:50).

 

In this He will fulfill the task of Isaiah’s suffering servant, whom we read about in today’s First Reading.

 

Like Isaiah’s servant, the Son of Man will give His life as an offering for sin, as once Israel’s priests offered sacrifices for the sins of the people (see Leviticus 5:17-19).

 

Jesus is the heavenly high priest of all humanity, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Israel’s high priests offered the blood of goats and calves in the temple sanctuary. But Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood (see Hebrews 9:12).

 

And by bearing our guilt and offering His life to do the will of God, Jesus ransomed “the many”—paying the price to redeem humanity from spiritual slavery to sin and death.

 

He has delivered us from death, as we rejoice in today’s Psalm.

 

We need to hold fast to our confession of faith, as today’s Epistle exhorts us. We must look upon our trials and sufferings as our portion of the cup He promised to those who believe in Him (see Colossians 1:24). We must remember that we have been baptized into His passion and death (see Romans 6:3).

 

In confidence, let us approach the altar today, the throne of grace, at which we drink the cup of His saving blood (see Mark 14:23-24).

Direct download: B_29_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Sabiduría 7, 7-11
Salmo 90, 12-17
Hebreos 4, 12-13
Marcos 10, 17-30

 


El joven rico del Evangelio de este Domingo quería saber lo que todos queremos saber: cómo vivir ahora de modo que para que alcancemos la vida para siempre en el mundo que está por venir. Buscaba lo que el salmo de hoy llama “sabiduría de corazón”.

Sin embargo, aprende que la sabiduría que busca no se limita a un conjunto de obras que deben hacerse o conductas que deben evitarse. Como Jesús le dice, la obediencia a los mandamientos es esencial en el camino de la salvación, pero no nos lleva más allá de cierto punto.

La sabiduría de Dios no es una colección de preceptos, sino una Persona: Jesucristo. Jesús es la Sabiduría cuyo espíritu fue dado a Salomón en la primera lectura de hoy. Él es la Palabra de Dios mencionada en la epístola que escuchamos. Y Él, como lo revela al joven rico, es Dios.

En Jesús encontramos la Sabiduría, la Palabra de Dios viva y efectiva. Como hace con el joven rico de hoy, Él nos mira con amor. Esa mirada de amor, esa contemplación amorosa, es una invitación personal a dejarlo todo para seguirle a El.

Nada puede esconderse de su mirada, como escuchamos en la epístola. En sus ojos ardientes, los pensamientos de nuestros corazones quedan al descubierto, y cada uno de nosotros tiene que rendirle cuentas de su vida (Ap 1, 14).

Debemos tener la actitud de Salomón, que prefirió la Sabiduría a todo lo demás; debemos amar a Cristo más que a la vida misma. Esta preferencia, este amor, requiere un salto de fe. Tendremos que sufrir por esta fe (según dice hoy Jesús a sus discípulos), pero podemos confiar en su promesa de que todas las cosas buenas nos vendrán estando en compañía suya.

Entonces, ¿cuáles son esos “muchos bienes” que hacen que no nos entregamos totalmente a Dios? ¿A qué estamos apegados —cosas materiales, comodidades, amistades-? ¿Qué se requeriría para que viviéramos completamente para Cristo y su Evangelio?

Pidamos en la oración la sabiduría para entrar en el Reino de Dios. Con el salmista, digámosle a Dios: “enséñanos”.

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Readings:

Wisdom 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_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

Génesis 2,18-24

Salmo 128, 1-6

Hebreos 2, 9-11

Marcos 10, 2-16


En el evangelio de este domingo, los fariseos intentan atrapar a Jesús con una pregunta engañosa

 

La “legalidad” de divorcio en Israel nunca fue puesta en duda. Moisés lo había permitido (cfr Dt 24, 1-4). A pesar de esto, Jesús remonta a sus antagonistas a un tiempo anterior a Moisés: “el principio”, y les da su interpretación del texto que escuchamos en la primera lectura.

 

El divorcio, nos dice Cristo, viola el orden de la creación. Moisés lo permitió como concesión ante la dureza de corazón del pueblo—es decir, su incapacidad de ser fieles a la Alianza, a la Ley de Dios-. Pero Jesús vino para cumplir la Ley y revelar su verdadero sentido y finalidad; y para darle al pueblo la gracia para guardar los mandamientos de Dios.

 

Cristo nos revela que el matrimonio es un sacramento, un signo divino y vivificante. Mediante la unión del hombre y la mujer, Dios quiso derramar sus bendiciones a la familia humana, haciéndola fecunda y multiplicándola hasta que llenara la tierra (cfr Gn 1, 28).

 

Por ello el Evangelio de hoy pasa tan fácilmente del debate sobre el matrimonio a la bendición de unos niños por Jesús. Los hijos son las bendiciones que el Padre otorga a las parejas que siguen su camino, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy.

 

El matrimonio también es un signo de la Nueva Alianza con Dios. Como la epístola de hoy deja entrever, Jesús es el Nuevo Adán -hecho poco inferior a los ángeles, nacido de una familia humana (cfr. Rm 5, 14; Sal 8, 5-7)- . La Iglesia es la nueva Eva, la “mujer” nacida del costado atravesado de Cristo, durante el sueño de su muerte en la cruz (cfr. Jn 19, 34; Ap 12, 1-17).

 

Mediante la unión de Cristo y la Iglesia como “una sola carne”, el plan de Dios para el mundo se cumplió (cfr. Ef 5, 21-32). Eva fue “la madre de todos los vivientes” (Gn 3, 20). Por otro lado, en el bautismo somos hechos hijos de la Iglesia, hijos del Padre, herederos de la gloria eterna que Él destinó para la familia humana desde el principio.

 

El reto para nosotros es vivir como hijos del reino y crecer constantemente en nuestra fidelidad, amor y devoción a Cristo y a las enseñanzas de su Iglesia.

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Readings:

Genesis 2:18-24

Psalm 128:1-6
Hebrews 2:9-11

Mark 10:2-16

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_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Números 11, 25–29
Salmo 19,8.10.12–14
Santiago 5, 1–6
Marcos 9, 38–48

 


El evangelio de est domingo presenta una escena que recuerda otro momento de la historia de Israel: el episodio que escuchamos en la primera lectura. Los setenta ancianos que reciben el Espíritu de Dios por medio de Moisés, anticipan el ministerio de los apóstoles.

Como Josué en la primera lectura, Juan se equivoca al suponer que solo unos pocos selectos serán inspirados y encargados de llevar a cabo los planes de Dios. El Espíritu sopla donde quiere (cfr. Jn 3, 8) y Dios desea otorgarlo a todo su pueblo, en todas la naciones que hay bajo el cielo (cfr. Hch 2, 5.38).

Dios puede y podrá actuar con gran poder a través de personas ordinarias, de quienes no se espera gran cosa. Todos estamos llamados a realizar incluso las tareas más sencillas, como dar un vaso de agua a alguien en su nombre y por la causa de su reino.

Juan pretende estar protegiendo la pureza del nombre del Señor. Sin embargo, en realidad, solo está guardando sus propios privilegios y estatus. Es notable que los apóstoles quieren detener el ministerio de un excorcista. Esto se debe a que la autoridad de expulsar demonios y espíritus inmundos fue uno de los poderes específicos otorgados a los Doce (cfr. Mc 3,14-15; 6,7.13).

“Absuélveme de las faltas que se me ocultan”, oramos en el salmo de hoy. Muchas veces, como Josué y Juan, talvez sin darnos cuenta, escondemos nuestras faltas y miedos bajo la pretensión de estar defendiendo a Cristo o a la Iglesia.

Sin embargo, como nos dice Jesús en el Evangelio, en vez de preocuparnos sobre quién es un verdadero cristiano y quién no, más bien debemos empeñarnos en vivir de acuerdo con nuestra vocación de discípulos (cfr. Ef 1,4).

¿El consejo que damos o nuestro testimonio de vida, son causa de escándalo, de modo que hacen a otros dudar o perder la fe? ¿Hacemos lo que debemos por amor a la voluntad del Padre, o por otros motivos?

Necesitamos seguir meditando en su Ley, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Debemos pedir en la oración la gracia para ver nuestras propias faltas y superarlas.

Direct download: B_26_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
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Readings:

Numbers 11:25–29  

Psalm 19:8,10,12–14

James 5:1–6  

Mark 9:38–48

 

Today’s Gospel begins with a scene that recalls a similar moment in the history of Israel, the episode recalled in today’s First Reading. The seventy elders who receive God’s Spirit through Moses prefigure the ministry of the apostles.

 

Like Joshua in the First Reading, John makes the mistake of presuming that only a select few are inspired and entrusted to carry out God’s plans. The Spirit blows where it wills (see John 3:8), and God desires to bestow His Spirit on all the people of God, in every nation under heaven (see Acts 2:5, 38).

 

God can and will work mighty deeds through the most unexpected and unlikely people. All of us are called to perform even our most humble tasks, such as giving a cup of water, for the sake of His name and the cause of His kingdom.

 

John believes he is protecting the purity of the Lord’s name. But, really, he’s only guarding his own privilege and status. It’s telling that the apostles want to shut down the ministry of an exorcist. Authority to drive out demons and unclean spirits was one of the specific powers entrusted to the Twelve (see Mark 3:14–15; 6:7, 13).

 

Cleanse me from my unknown faults, we pray in today’s Psalm. Often, like Joshua and John, perhaps without noticing it, we cloak our failings and fears under the guise of our desire to defend Christ or the Church.

 

But as Jesus says today, instead of worrying about who is a real Christian and who is not, we should make sure that we ourselves are leading lives worthy of our calling as disciples (see Ephesians 1:4).

 

Does the advice we give, or the example of our actions, give scandal—causing others to doubt or lose faith? Do we do what we do with mixed motives instead of seeking only the Father’s will? Are we living, as this Sunday’s Epistle warns, for our own luxury and pleasure, and neglecting our neighbors?

 

We need to keep meditating on His Law, as we sing in today’s Psalm. We need to pray for the grace to detect our failings and to overcome them.

Direct download: B_26_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Sabiduría 2, 12.17-20
Salmo 54, 3-8
Santiago 3, 16-4,3
Mark 9, 30-37

 


La primera lectura de hoy puede ayudarnos a imaginar que escuchamos, detrás de la pared, las murmuraciones homicidas de los ancianos, los jefes de los sacerdotes y los escribas. De ellos hablaba Jesús en el Evangelio de la semana pasada, diciendo que lo harían sufrir y le matarían (cfr. Mc 8, 31; 10, 33-34).

La liturgia nos invita a ver, en este pasaje del libro de Sabiduría, una profecía de la Pasión del Señor. Escuchamos a sus enemigos quejarse de que “el Justo” ha desafiado su autoridad, y les ha reprendido por violar la Ley de Moisés y por traicionar lo que aprendieron como líderes y maestros del pueblo.

Y escuchamos palabras escalofriantes que predicen las burlas que se dirigirán a Cristo colgado de la cruz: “Si el justo es hijo de Dios, Dios lo ayudará y lo librará de sus adversarios”(Sab 2, 18; cfr. Mt 27.41-43).

El Evangelio y el salmo de hoy nos dan la otra cara de la moneda respecto a la primera lectura. En ambos, vemos los sufrimientos de Cristo desde su punto de vista. Aunque sus enemigos lo tienen asediado, Él se ofrece libremente en sacrificio, confiando en que Dios lo sostendrá.

Pero los apóstoles no entienden este segundo anuncio de su Pasión. Empiezan a discutir acerca de la sucesión; divergen sobre quién de ellos es el más importante y quién será elegido líder después de que Cristo sea muerto.

Otra vez están pensando, no como Dios, sino como los hombres (cfr. Mc 8, 33). Y de nuevo Cristo enseña a los Doce—los dirigentes escogidos de su Iglesia— que deben liderar imitando su ejemplo de amor y sacrificio de Sí mismo. Ellos tienen que ser “siervos de todos”, especialmente de los débiles y de los desamparados, representados por el niño a quien Jesús abraza y pone en medio de ellos.

Esta lección es también para nosotros. Debemos pensar como Cristo, que se humilló a Sí mismo para venir a salvarnos (Fil 2, 5-11). Tenemos que entregarnos libremente y ofrecerle todo lo que hacemos, como un sacrificio de alabanza a su Nombre.

Como dice el Apóstol Santiago en la epístola de hoy, debemos buscar la sabiduría que viene de arriba: humilde, no jactanciosa; y en todo pacífica y llena de misericordia.

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Readings:
Wisdom 2:12,17-20
Psalm 54:3-8
James 3:16-4:3
Mark 9:30-37

 


In today’s First Reading, it’s like we have our ears pressed to the wall and can hear the murderous grumblings of the elders, chief priests, and scribes—who last week Jesus predicted would torture and kill Him (see Mark 8:3110:33–34).

The liturgy invites us to see this passage from the Book of Wisdom as a prophecy of the Lord’s Passion. We hear His enemies complain that “the Just One” has challenged their authority, reproached them for breaking the law of Moses, for betraying their training as leaders and teachers.

And we hear chilling words that foreshadow how they will mock Him as He hangs on the Cross: “For if the Just One be the Son of God, He will . . . deliver Him. . . ” (compare Matthew 27:41–43).

Today’s Gospel and Psalm give us the flip side of the First Reading. In both, we hear of Jesus’ sufferings from His point of view. Though His enemies surround Him, He offers himself freely in sacrifice, trusting that God will sustain Him.

But the apostles today don’t understand this second announcement of Christ’s passion. They begin arguing over issues of succession—over who among them is greatest, who will be chosen to lead after Christ is killed.

Again they are thinking not as God, but as human beings (see Mark 8:33). And again Jesus teaches the Twelve—the chosen leaders of His Church—that they must lead by imitating His example of love and self-sacrifice. They must be “servants of all,” especially the weak and the helpless —symbolized by the child He embraces and places in their midst.

This is a lesson for us, too. We must have the mind of Christ, who humbled himself to come among us (see Philippians 2:5–11). We must freely offer ourselves, making everything we do a sacrifice in praise of His name.

As James says in today’s Epistle, we must seek wisdom from above, desiring humility, not glory, and in all things be gentle and full of mercy.

Direct download: B_25_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

Isaías 50, 4-9

Salmo 116, 1-6. 8-9

Santiago 2, 14-18

Marcos 8, 27-35

En el evangelio de hoy, encontramos un momento clave para nuestro caminar con el Señor. Después de semanas de escuchar sus palabras y ver sus maravillas, así como los discípulos, somos cuestionados sobre quién es Jesús en verdad.

San Pedro contesta por ellos y por nosotros también cuando dice: “tú eres el Mesías”.

Muchos esperaban un Mesías taumaturgo que venciera a los enemigos de Israel y restaurara el reino de David (cfr. Jn 6,15).

Jesús nos revela hoy un retrato diferente. Él se autodenomina el Hijo del Hombre, evocando la real figura que el profeta Daniel contempló en sus visiones celestiales (cfr. Dn 7, 13-14). Sin embargo, su realeza no es como la de este mundo (cfr. Jn 18, 36); y el camino a su trono, según nos enseña, pasa por el sufrimiento y la muerte.

Jesús identifica al Mesías con el Siervo sufriente del que habla Isaías en la primera lectura de este domingo. Sus palabras son las mismas de Jesús, que se entrega para ser humillado y golpeado, confiando en que Dios le ayudará. Al mismo tiempo, escuchamos nuevamente la voz del Señor en el salmo de hoy, agradeciendo a Dios por librarlo de las redes de la muerte.

Como Jesús nos dice hoy, creer que Él es el Mesías implica seguir un camino de negación de sí mismo, y perder la vida para salvarla y resucitar con Él a una nueva vida.

Nuestra fe, según escuchamos de nuevo en la epístola de hoy, necesita expresarse con obras de amor (Ga 5, 6).

Es notorio que Jesús cuestiona a sus apóstoles en esta lectura mientras van “por el camino.” Van rumbo a Jerusalén, donde el Señor entregará su vida. También nosotros vamos de camino con el Señor.

Debemos aceptar y cargar nuestra cruz, dándonos a los demás y perseverando en todas nuestras pruebas por la causa de Cristo y la del Evangelio.

Nuestras vidas deben ser un sacrificio de acción de gracias por la nueva vida que Dios nos ha dado; hasta el día en que alcancemos nuestro destino, y caminemos ante el Señor en la tierra de los vivos (cfr. Ez 26, 20).

Direct download: B_24_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

 Isaiah 50:4-9

 Psalm 116:1-6, 8-9

 James 2:14-18

 Mark 8:27-35 (see also "Finding Christ in the Psalms")

 In today's Gospel, we reach a pivotal moment in our walk with the Lord. After weeks of listening to His words and witnessing His deeds, along with the disciples we're asked to decide who Jesus truly is.

 Peter answers for them, and for us, too, when he declares: "You are the Messiah." 

 Many expected the Messiah to be a miracle worker who would vanquish Israel's enemies and restore the kingdom of David (see John 6:15).

 Jesus today reveals a different portrait. He calls himself the Son of Man, evoking the royal figure Daniel saw in his heavenly visions (see Daniel 7:13-14). But Jesus' kingship is not to be of this world (see John 18:36). And the path to His throne, as He reveals, is by way of suffering and death.

 Jesus identifies the Messiah with the suffering servant that Isaiah foretells in today's First Reading. The words of Isaiah's servant are Jesus' words -- as He gives himself to be shamed and beaten, trusting that God will be His help. We hear our Lord's voice again in today's Psalm, as He gives thanks that God has freed Him from the cords of death.

 As Jesus tells us today, to believe that He is the Messiah is to follow His way of self-denial -- losing our lives to save them, in order to rise with Him to new life. Our faith, we hear again in today's Epistle, must express itself in works of love (see Galatians 5:6).

 Notice that Jesus questions the apostles today "along the way." They are on the way to Jerusalem, where the Lord will lay down His life. We, too, are on a journey with the Lord.

 We must take up our cross, giving to others and enduring all our trials for His sake and the sake of the gospel.

 Our lives must be an offering of thanksgiving for the new life He has given us, until that day when we reach our destination, and walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Finding Christ in the Psalms

Jesus taught His Apostles that the Book of Psalms speaks of Him and His mission. "Everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled," He told them on the night of His Resurrection (see Luke 24:44).

Jesus applied specific Psalms to himself (see Matthew 21:42-44 and 22:41-46). So did the apostles in their preaching and writings (see Acts 2:25-35 and Hebrews 1:5-14).

This ancient practice continues in the liturgy. In the Psalms chosen for Sunday Mass readings, sometimes the Church invites us to hear a direct reference to Christ. Other times, we're invited to hear the voice of Christ crying out to the Father. And still other times, we hear the Father talking to the Son.

Psalm 54 is heard this way in the readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Originally sung by David when he was betrayed by the Ziphites (see 1 Samuel 23:19-25 and 26:1-3), we're invited to hear the Psalm as a confident appeal by Christ in His Passion: "Fierce men seek My life...Behold...the Lord sustains My life." 

The same is true of the use of Psalm 116 in the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle B). We hear our Lord's voice as He gives thanks that God has rescued Him, freed His soul from death and the snares of the nether world. 

 

Direct download: B_24_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

23er Domingo de Tiempo Ordinario

 Lecturas:

 

Isaías 35, 4-7

Salmo 146, 7-10

Santiago 2, 1-5

Marcos 7, 31-37

 

Solo Marcos relata el episodio del que nos habla el Evangelio de este domingo. En el decir de la gente está la clave principal: “Todo lo ha hecho bien”. El texto griego usado por el evangelista, hace eco del relato de la creación que dice: “Dios vio que todo cuanto había hecho era muy bueno” (cfr. Gn 1,31).

 

Deliberadamente, San Marcos evoca la promesa del profeta Isaías que escuchamos en la primera lectura de hoy: que Dios hará oír a los sordos y hablar a los mudos. Incluso describe a la persona que es curada por Cristo, utilizando una palabra griega (mogigalion, “impedimento del habla”) que sólo se encuentra en otro lugar de la Biblia: en la traducción griega del pasaje de Isaías que leemos este domingo, donde el profeta describe que “la lengua de los mudos gritara de alegría”.

 

La multitud se da cuenta que Jesús está haciendo lo que el profeta predijo. Pero San Marcos nos invita a ver algo mucho más grande, que podría expresarse con las palabras de la primera lectura: “Ya viene su Dios”.

 

Es notorio cuán personal y descriptivo es el drama de este Evangelio. Nos pide fijar la atención en una mano, unos dedos, una lengua, la saliva. En Jesús, nos enseña San Marcos, Dios verdaderamente se ha hecho carne.

 

Él ha hecho nuevas todas las cosas; ha hecho una nueva creación (cfr. Ap 21, 1-5). Como lo prometió Isaías,  ha hecho que las aguas vivas del bautismo corran por el desierto del mundo. Ha liberado los cautivos de sus pecados, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Ha venido para que los ricos y los pobres puedan cenar juntos en el banquete eucarístico, de acuerdo a lo que nos dice Santiago en su epístola.

 

Él ha hecho por cada uno de nosotros lo que hizo por el sordomudo: ha abierto nuestros oídos a la Palabra de Dios y ha soltado nuestras lenguas para que podamos cantar sus alabanzas.

 

Por tanto, nuevamente en la Eucaristía, demos gracias a nuestro glorioso Señor Jesucristo. Digamos con Isaías aquí esta nuestro Dios, que viene a salvarnos. Que seamos ricos en fe, para que heredemos el reino prometido a los que lo aman.

Direct download: B_23_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Isaiah 35:4-7

Psalm 146:7-10

James 2:1-5

Mark 7:31-37

 

The incident in today's Gospel is recorded only by Mark. The key line is what the crowd says at the end: "He has done all things well." In the Greek, this echoes the creation story, recalling that God saw all the things he had done and declared them good (see Genesis 1:31). 

 

Mark also deliberately evokes Isaiah's promise, which we hear in today's First Reading that God will make the deaf hear and the mute speak. He even uses a Greek word to describe the man's condition (mogilalon = "speech impediment") that's only found in one other place in the Bible—in the Greek translation of today's Isaiah passage, where the prophet describes the "dumb" singing.

 

The crowd recognizes that Jesus is doing what the prophet had foretold. But Mark wants us to see something far greater—that, to use the words from today's First Reading: "Here is your God."

 

Notice how personal and physical the drama is in the Gospel. Our focus is drawn to a hand, a finger, ears, a tongue, spitting. In Jesus, Mark shows us, God has truly come in the flesh.

 

What He has done is to make all things new, a new creation (see Revelation 21:1-5). As Isaiah promised, He has made the living waters of baptism flow in the desert of the world. He has set captives free from their sins, as we sing in today's Psalm. He has come that rich and poor might dine together in the Eucharistic feast, as James tells us in today's Epistle.

 

He has done for each of us what He did for that deaf mute. He has opened our ears to hear the Word of God, and loosed our tongues that we might sing praises to Him.

 

Let us then, in the Eucharist, again give thanks to our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. Let us say with Isaiah, Here is our God, He comes to save us. Let us be rich in faith, that we might inherit the kingdom promised to those who love Him.

Direct download: B_23_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

Deuteronomio 4, 1-2.6-8

Salmo 15, 2-5

Santiago 1,17-18.21-22.27

Marcos 7,1-8.14-15.21-23

 

El evangelio de este domingo nos muestra un Jesús-profeta, con autoridad para interpretar la ley de Dios.

Cristo cita a Isaías de forma irónica  (cfr. Is 29, 13). Al observar la Ley, los fariseos pretenden honrar a Dios asegurando que nada impuro pasa por sus labios. Con esa práctica, sin embargo, ellos han invertido el sentido de la Ley, convirtiéndola en un simple conjunto de acciones externas.

El don de la Ley, mencionado en la primera lectura de este día, nos es dado con plenitud en el Evangelio de Jesús, que nos enseña su verdadero significado y finalidad (cfr. Mt 5, 17).

La Ley, cumplida en el Evangelio, existe para formar nuestros corazones y hacernos puros, capaces de vivir en la presencia del Señor. Nos fue dada para que viviéramos y entráramos en posesión de la herencia que nos fue prometida: el Reino de Dios, la vida eterna.

Israel, mediante su observancia de la Ley, tenía que ser un ejemplo para las naciones que la rodeaban.  Como dice el Apóstol Santiago en la epístola de hoy, el Evangelio nos fue dado para que tuviéramos un nuevo nacimiento por medio de la Palabra de Verdad.  Al vivir de acuerdo a la Palabra que hemos recibido, podemos ser ejemplos de la sabiduría de Dios para quienes estén en nuestro derredor. Podemos ser  “las primicias” de una nueva humanidad.

Esto significa que debemos poner en práctica la Palabra, no solamente escucharla. Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo y escuchamos en la epístola, tenemos que trabajar por la justicia, cuidando a nuestros hermanos y viviendo de acuerdo a la verdad que Dios ha puesto en nuestros corazones.

La Palabra que se nos ha dado es un don perfecto. No debemos añadirle devociones vanas e innecesarias. Tampoco debemos reducirla a los mandamientos que nos agradan o queremos escoger.

“Escúchenme”, dice Cristo en el Evangelio de este domingo. Él nos llama hoy a examinar nuestra respuesta a la Ley de Dios.

Direct download: B_22_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Deuteronomy 4:1-2,6-8

Psalm 15:2-5

James 1:17-18,21-22,27

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

 

 

Today's Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light, as one having authority to interpret God's law.

 Jesus' quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they've turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

 The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today's First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus' gospel, which shows us the law's true meaning and purpose (see Matthew 5:17).

 The law, fulfilled in the gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord's presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us -- the kingdom of God, eternal life.

 Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today's Epistle, the gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we've received, we're to be examples of God's wisdom to those around us, the "first fruits" of a new humanity.

 This means we must be "doers" of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today's Psalm and hear again in today's Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters, and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.

 The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.

 "Hear me," Jesus says in today's Gospel. Today, we're called to examine our relationship to God's law.

 Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip-service?    

Direct download: B_22_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

 

Josué 24,1-2, 15-18

Salmo 34, 2-3, 16-23

Efesios 5, 21-32

Juan 6, 60-69

 

Con las lecturas de este domingo concluye una meditación de cuatro semanas sobre la Eucaristía.

 

A los doce apóstoles del Evangelio de hoy, se les pide tomar una opción entre creer y aceptar la Nueva Alianza que Él ofrece en su Cuerpo y Sangre, o volver a su antigua manera de vivir.


Esta situación es prefigurada en la decisión que Josué pide a las 12 tribus en la primera lectura.

 

Josué los convoca en Siquem, lugar donde Dios se había aparecido a su padre Abraham y le había prometido que daría esa misma tierra al gran pueblo que nacería de su descendencia (Cfr. Gn 12, 1-9). Allí les planeta un fuerte desafío: renovar su alianza con Dios o servir a los dioses extraños de las naciones vecinas.

 

A nosotros también se nos pide decidir a quién vamos a servir. Durante cuatro semanas, la liturgia nos ha presentado el misterio de la Eucaristía, un milagro cotidiano mucho más grande que el que Dios hizo cuando sacó a Israel de la tierra de Egipto.

 

También a nosotros, Él nos ha prometido un nuevo hogar, la vida eterna; y nos ha ofrecido pan del cielo para fortalecernos en nuestro camino. Él nos ha dicho que si no comemos su Carne y no bebemos su Sangre, no tendremos vida en nosotros.

 

“Duras son esas palabras” (Jn 6, 60), murmuran en el Evangelio de hoy. Y sin embargo, Él nos ha dado palabras de vida eterna.

 

Debemos creer, como nos dice hoy San Pablo, que Jesús es el Santo de Dios  que se ha entregado por nosotros, dando su Carne para vida del mundo.

 

Según escuchamos en su epístola, Jesús hizo todo esto para santificarnos, purificándonos con el agua y la palabra del bautismo, por el cual entramos en su Nueva Alianza. Mediante la Eucaristía, Él nos alimenta y nos trata con ternura, haciéndonos su propia carne y sangre, así como los esposos se hacen una sola carne.

 

Renovemos este día nuestra alianza con Dios acercándonos al altar, confiando en que Él rescata la vida de sus siervos, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy.

Direct download: B_21_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18

Psalm 34:2-3, 16-23

Ephesians 5:21-32

John 6:60-69

 This Sunday's Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist.

 The 12 apostles in today's Gospel are asked to make a choice -- either to believe and accept the new covenant He offers in His body and blood, or return to their former ways of life.

Their choice is prefigured by the decision Joshua asks the 12 tribes to make in today's First Reading.

 Joshua gathers them at Shechem -- where God first appeared to their father Abraham, promising to make his descendants a great nation in a new land (see Genesis 12:1-9). And he issues a blunt challenge -- either renew their covenant with God or serve the alien gods of the surrounding nations.

 We too are being asked today to decide whom we will serve. For four weeks we have been presented in the liturgy with the mystery of the Eucharist -- a daily miracle far greater than those performed by God in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

 He has promised us a new homeland, eternal life, and offered us bread from heaven to strengthen us on our journey. He has told us that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we will have no life in us.

 It is a hard saying, as many murmur in today's Gospel. Yet He has given us the words of eternal life.

 We must believe, as Peter says today, that He is the Holy One of God, who handed himself over for us, gave His flesh for the life of the world.

 As we hear in today's Epistle, Jesus did this that we might be sanctified, made holy, through the water and word of baptism by which we enter into His new covenant. Through the Eucharist, He nourishes and cherishes us, making us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh.

 Let us renew our covenant today, approaching the altar with confidence that, as we sing in today's Psalm, the Lord will redeem the lives of His servants.    

Direct download: B_21_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Proverbs 9:1-6

Psalm 34:2-3, 10-15

Ephesians 5:15-20

John 6:51-58

 The Wisdom of God has prepared a feast, we hear in today's First Reading.

 We must become like children (see Matthew 18:3-4) to hear and accept this invitation. For in every Eucharist, it is the folly of the cross that is represented and renewed.

 To the world, it is foolishness to believe that the crucified Jesus rose from the dead. And for many, as for the crowds in today's Gospel, it is foolishness -- maybe even madness -- to believe that Jesus can give us His flesh to eat.

 Yet Jesus repeats himself with gathering intensity in the Gospel today. Notice the repetition of the words "eat" and "drink," and "my flesh" and "my blood." To heighten the unbelievable realism of what Jesus asks us to believe, John in these verses uses, not the ordinary Greek word for eating, but a cruder term, once reserved to describe the "munching" of feeding animals.

 The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-25). In His foolish love, He chooses to save those who believe that His flesh is true food, His blood, true drink.

 Fear of the Lord, the desire to live by His will, is the beginning of true wisdom, Paul says in today's Epistle (see Proverbs 9:10). And as we sing in today's Psalm, those who fear Him shall not want for any good thing.

Again today in the liturgy, we are called to renew our faith in the Eucharist, to forsake the foolishness of believing only what we can see with our eyes.

We approach, then, not only an altar prepared with bread and wine, but the feast of Wisdom, the banquet of heaven -- in which God our savior renews His everlasting covenant and promises to destroy death forever (see Isaiah 25:6-9).

Let us make the most of our days, as Paul says, always, in the Eucharist, giving thanks to God for everything in the name of Jesus, the bread c0me down from heaven. 

Direct download: B_20_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

 

Proverbios 9,1-6

Salmo 34, 2-3, 10-15

Efesios 5,15-20

Juan 6, 51-58

 Como escuchamos en la primera lectura de este domingo, la Sabiduría de Dios nos ha preparado un banquete.

 

 Debemos hacernos como niños (Cfr. Mt 18, 3-4) para poder escuchar y aceptar esta invitación; para darnos cuenta que en cada Eucaristía se representa y renueva la locura de la cruz.

 

 Para el mundo, es una tontería creer que Jesús crucificado resucitó de entre los muertos. Para muchos, como la multitud que describe el Evangelio de hoy, es locura —o incluso enfermedad— creer que Jesús puede darnos a comer su carne.

 

 Sin embargo, Jesús es insistente en el Evangelio de este domingo. Es notoria la repetición de las palabras, “coman” y “tomen”;  “mi carne” y “mi sangre”.  Para subrayar el increíble realismo de lo que Jesús nos pide creer, San Juan ocupa en estos versículos, no la palabra griega ordinaria para “comer”, sino otra más cruda que se refiere al “masticar” de los animales rumiantes.

 

  “La locura de Dios es más sabia que la sabiduría humana” (1 Co 1,18-25). En la “locura” de su amor, Él decide salvar a quienes creemos que su Carne es verdadera comida y su Sangre verdadera bebida.

 

 El temor de Dios, el deseo de vivir de acuerdo a su voluntad, es el comienzo de la verdadera sabiduría (Cfr. Pr 9, 10). Y como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, nada falta a quienes  temen al Señor.

 

La liturgia de este día nos invita, nuevamente, a renovar nuestra fe en la Eucaristía. . Nos llama a no caer en el absurdo de creer solo aquello que vemos con nuestros ojos.

 Nos acercamos, pues, no solo a un altar preparado con pan y vino, sino al banquete de Sabiduría, al banquete del cielo, en el que Dios nuestro Salvador renueva su Alianza eterna y promete destruir la muerte para siempre (Cfr. Is 25, 6-9).

 

 Aprovechemos bien nuestros días, dando continuamente gracias a Dios en la Eucaristía por todas las cosas, en el nombre de Jesucristo, Pan bajado del cielo (Cfr. Ef 5, 20).

 

Direct download: B_20_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

1 Kings 19:4-8

Psalm 34:2-9

Ephesians 4:30-5:2

John 6:41-51

 

Sometimes we feel like Elijah in today's First Reading. We want to lie down and die, keenly aware of our failures, that we seem to be getting no better at doing what God wants of us.

 We can be tempted to despair, as the prophet was on his forty-day journey in the desert. We can be tempted to "murmur" against God, as the Israelites did during their forty years in the desert (see Exodus 16:2,7,8; 1 Corinthians 10:10).

 The Gospel today uses the same word, "murmur," to describe the crowds, who reenact Israel's hardheartedness in the desert.

 Jesus tells them that prophecies are being fulfilled in Him, that they are being taught by God. But they can't believe it. They can only see His flesh, that He is the "son" of Joseph and Mary.

 Yet if we believe, if we seek Him in our distress, He will deliver us from our fears, as we sing in today's Psalm.

 At the altar in every Eucharist, the angel of the Lord, the Lord himself (see Exodus 3:1-2), touches us. He commands us to take and eat His flesh given for the life of the world (see Matthew 26:26).

 This taste of the heavenly gift (see Hebrews 6:4-5) comes to us with a renewed command -- to get up and continue on the journey we began in baptism, to the mountain of God, the kingdom of heaven.

 He will give us the bread of life, the strength and grace we need -- as He fed our spiritual ancestors in the wilderness and Elijah in the desert.

 So let us stop grieving the Spirit of God, as Paul says in today's Epistle, in another reference to Israel in the desert (see Isaiah 63:10).

 Let us say to God as Elijah did, "Take my life." Not in the sense of wanting to die. But in giving ourselves as a sacrificial offering -- loving Him as He has loved us, on the cross and in the Eucharist. 

Direct download: B_19_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

 

1 Reyes 19, 4-8

Salmo 34, 2-9

Efesios 4, 30-5, 2

Juan 6, 41-51

 Algunas veces nos sentimos como el profeta Elías que describe la primera lectura de este domingo. Queremos echarnos al suelo y morir, conscientes de nuestros fracasos, cuando parece que no avanzamos en el cumplimiento de la voluntad de Dios para nuestra vida.

 

 Podemos sentir la tentación de desesperarnos, como el profeta durante su caminata por el desierto; o la de “murmurar” contra Dios como los israelitas, durante sus cuarenta años en el desierto (Cfr. Ex 16, 2,7,8; 1 Co 10,10).

 

 En el Evangelio de este domingo se usa la misma palabra, “murmurar”, para describir cómo la muchedumbre muestra la misma dureza de corazón que tuvo Israel en el desierto.

 

 Jesús les dice que las profecías se cumplen en Él; que Dios mismo es quien está enseñándoles, pero no lo creen. Únicamente perciben su carne. Tan solo ven que es el “hijo de José y María”.

 

 Sin embargo si somos creyentes, si le buscamos en nuestras aflicciones, Él nos liberará de nuestros temores, como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo.

 

 Sobre el altar, en cada Eucaristía, el ángel del Señor  - el Señor mismo- (Cfr. Ex 3  1-2), nos toca como tocó a Elías. Él nos manda tomar y comer su Cuerpo, entregado por la vida del mundo (Cfr. Mt 26, 26; Jn 6, 51).

 

 Dios nos permite saborear este don celestial (Cfr. Hb 6, 4-5), pero con él nos manda  levantarnos y continuar el camino que empezamos en el bautismo hacia el monte de Dios, hacia el reino de los cielos.

 

 Él nos dará el pan de vida, la fuerza y gracia que necesitamos,  así como alimentó a nuestros antepasados espirituales en descampado, o a Elías en el desierto. 

 

 Por tanto, no causemos tristeza al Espíritu Santo, como dice San Pablo en la epístola de hoy, haciendo otra referencia a la experiencia de Israel en el desierto (Cfr. Is 63, 10).

 

 

Digámosle a Dios, como Elías: “toma mi vida”.  Pero no como quien quiere morir, sino como quien quiere darse en sacrificio, amándolo como Él nos ha amado, tanto en la cruz como en la Eucaristía.

Direct download: B_19_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Éxodo 16, 2–4. 12-5
Salmo 77, 3 y 4bc. 23–24. 25 y 54
Efesios 4, 17. 20–24
Juan 6, 24-35

El camino del discipulado es un éxodo de toda la vida, desde la esclavitud del pecado y de la muerte hasta la santidad de la verdad en el Monte Sion, la tierra prometida de vida eterna.

La senda puede tornarse difícil. Y cuando esto sucede, podemos ser tentados a quejarnos como lo hicieron los israelitas en la primera lectura de esta semana.

Debemos ver estos tiempos de dificultad como una prueba para evaluar lo que hay en s corazones, como un llamado a confiar más en Dios y a purificar los motivos de nuestra fe (véase Deuteronomio 8, 2-3).

Como San Pablo nos recuerda en la epístola de esta semana, debemos dejar atrás nuestros viejos auto decepciones y deseos y vivir de acuerdo con nuestra semejanza a Dios en la cual estamos hechos.

Jesús, en el evangelio de esta semana, les dice a las multitudes que lo están siguiendo por razones equivocadas. Lo buscan porque les dio de comer. También los israelitas estaban felices de seguir a Dios mientras habían comido en abundancia.

La comida es el mas obvio de los signos—siendo la mas básica de nuestras necesidades humanas. Necesitamos nuestro pan de cada día para vivir. Pero no podemos vivir sólo de pan. Necesitamos el pan de vida eterna que preserva al que cree en Él (véase Sab. 16, 20 y 26).

El maná en el desierto, como el pan que Jesús multiplicó para la muchedumbre, era un signo de la providencia de Dios—que debemos confiar en que Él proveerá.

Estos signos nos señalan a su cumplimiento en la Eucaristía, el abundante pan de ángeles del que cantamos en el Salmo de esta semana.

Este es el alimento que Dios está deseando darnos. Este es el pan que deberíamos estar buscando. Pero seguido este no es el pan que pedimos. En cambio, buscamos las cosas perecederas de nuestros deseos y ansiedades cotidianas. En nuestra debilidad pensamos que estas cosas son lo que realmente necesitamos.

Debemos confiar más en Dios. Si buscamos primero su reino y su justicia, todas esas cosas serán nuestras también.

Direct download: B_18_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15

Psalm 78:3–4, 23–25, 54

Ephesians 4:17, 20–24

John 6:24–35

 The journey of discipleship is a life-long exodus from the slavery of sin and death to the holiness of truth in Mount Zion, the promised land of eternal life.

 The road can get rough. And when it does, we can be tempted to complain like the Israelites in this week’s First Reading.

 We have to see these times of hardship as a test of what is in our hearts, a call to trust God more and to purify the motives for our faith (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

 As Paul reminds us in this week’s Epistle, we must leave behind our old self-deceptions and desires and live according to the likeness of God in which we are made.

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following him for the wrong reasons. They seek him because he filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food.

 Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs.  We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in him (Wisdom 16:20, 26).

 The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that he will provide.

 These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm.

 This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our every day wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

We have to trust God more. If we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things will be ours as well (Matthew 6:33).

Direct download: B_18_2015_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
2 Reyes 4, 42-44
Salmo 145, 10-11, 15-18
Efesios 4:1-6
Juan 6,1-15

La liturgia de hoy presenta varias referencias a las que el Antiguo Testamento aludía para revelar a Jesús como el Mesías y Rey, como el Señor que viene a alimentar a su pueblo.

Notemos el paralelismo que existe entre el evangelio de hoy y la primera lectura. Jesús, al igual que Eliseo, está frente a un grupo de gente hambrienta, con solamente unos pocos panes de cebada; es evidente la imposibilidad de satisfacer a tanta gente con tan poco.

Además, en las dos lecturas, la multiplicación de pan no solo satisface a la gente sino también deja sobras.

A su vez, la historia de Eliseo recuerda a Moisés, el profeta, que le dio de comer al pueblo de Dios en el desierto (cfr. Ex 16). Moisés profetizó que Dios iba a mandar un profeta como él (cfr. Dt 18, 15-19). La muchedumbre que presencia en el evangelio de hoy la multiplicación de los panes, identifica a Jesús como ese profeta.

El evangelio de este domingo nos muestra a Jesús como Señor, el Buen Pastor, que hace reposar a su pueblo en las verdes praderas y prepara un banquete para ellos (cfr. S 23, 1.5).

El milagro de alimentar a la multitud es una señal de que Dios ha comenzado a cumplir su promesa, algo de lo cual habla también el salmo de hoy cuando dice: “y tú los alimentas a su tiempo” (S 144, 15; cfr. S 81, 17).

Sin embargo, Jesús conduce nuestra atención hacia el cumplimiento definitivo de esa promesa en la Eucaristía. Hace los mismos gestos que en la Última Cena: Toma los panes, pronuncia una bendición de acción de gracias (significado literal del término griego eucaristía) y le da el pan al pueblo (cfr. Mt 26, 26). Es notorio que al final sobran 12 canastas de pan, una por cada apóstol.

Estas signos deben de dirigirnos hacia la Eucaristía, en la que la Iglesia fundada sobre los apóstoles continúa alimentándonos con el pan vivo de su Cuerpo.

En la Eucaristía, somos hechos un solo cuerpo con el Señor, como escuchamos en la epístola de hoy. Dispongámonos a llevar una vida acorde con tan digna vocación.

Direct download: B_17_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
2 Kings 4:42–44
Psalm 145:10-11, 15–18
Ephesians 4:1–6
John 6:1–15

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and King, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:1, 5).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm—to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper—He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that twelve baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the Apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist—in which the Church founded on the Apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His Body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one Body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.

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Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jeremías 23, 1-6
Salmo 23, 1-6
Efesios 2, 13-18
Marcos 6, 30-34

Mientras el evangelio de hoy nos muestra a los Doce regresando de su primer viaje misionero, el conjunto de las lecturas nos invita a seguir reflexionando sobre la autoridad y misión de la Iglesia.

El profeta Jeremías dice, en la primera lectura, que los líderes de Israel extraviaron al Pueblo Elegido, pues se olvidaron de Dios y dieron enseñanzas falsas. Promete que Yahvé mandará un pastor, un rey descendiente de David, para reunir la ovejas extraviadas y para darles nuevos pastores (cfr. Ez 34, 23).

La muchedumbre sentada sobre la hierba verde que nos describe el evangelio de este domingo (cfr. Mc 6,39), es ya parte de aquel resto del Pueblo de Dios al que se refería Jeremías, profetizando de él que regresaría al valle de Israel (cfr. Jr 23,3). La gente parece percibir que Jesús es el Señor, el Buen Pastor (Jn.10.11), el Rey a quien estaban esperando (Os 3, 1-5).

Jesús se conmueve al ver a la gente “como ovejas sin pastor” (Mc 6,34). Esta frase ya había sido ocupada por Moisés, al hablar de la necesidad que tenía Israel de un pastor para sucederle (Nm 27,17). Y así como Moisés nombró a Josué, Jesús escogió a los Doce para que siguieran pastoreando a su pueblo en la tierra.

Jesús afirmó que habían otras ovejas que no pertenecían redil de Israel, pero que escucharían su voz para unirse al único rebaño del único Pastor (cfr. Jn 10,16). En el plan de Dios, la Iglesia debía buscar primero a las ovejas extraviadas de Israel y después atraer a todas las naciones al redil (Hch 13, 44; Rm 1, 16).

También San Pablo, en la epístola de hoy, ve la Iglesia como una nueva creación, en la que aquellas naciones que antes estuvieron lejos de Dios, ahora se unirán como “una sola persona” con los hijos de Israel.

Como cantamos en el salmo de hoy, por medio de la Iglesia, el Señor, nuestro Buen Pastor, sigue conduciendo a su pueblo hacia los prados de hierba fresca del Reino, a las tranquilas aguas del bautismo. Nos sigue nos ungiendo con el aceite de la confirmación y reparte a todos el banquete eucarístico, mientras llena nuestra copa hasta los bordes.

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Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jeremiah 23:1–16
Psalms 23:1–6
Ephesians 2:13–18
Mark 6:30–34

As the Twelve return from their first missionary journey in today’s Gospel, our readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church.

Jeremiah says in the First Reading that Israel’s leaders, through godlessness and fanciful teachings, had misled and scattered God’s people. He promises God will send a shepherd, a king and son of David, to gather the lost sheep and appoint for them new shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:23).

The crowd gathering on the green grass (see Mark 6:39) in today’s Gospel is the start of the remnant that Jeremiah promised would be brought back to the meadow of Israel. The people seem to sense that Jesus is the Lord, the good shepherd (see John 10:11), the king they’ve been waiting for (see Hosea 3:1–5).

Jesus is moved to pity, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. This phrase was used by Moses to describe Israel’s need for a shepherd to succeed him (see Numbers 27:17). And as Moses appointed Joshua, Jesus appointed the Twelve to continue shepherding His people on earth.

Jesus had said there were other sheep who did not belong to Israel’s fold, but would hear His voice and be joined to the one flock of the one shepherd (see John 10:16). In God’s plan, the Church is to seek out first the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and then to bring all nations into the fold (see Acts 13:36; Romans 1:16).

Paul, too, in today’s Epistle, sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person” with the children of Israel.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, through the Church, the Lord, our good shepherd, still leads people to the verdant pastures of the kingdom, to the restful waters of baptism; He still anoints with the oil of confirmation, and spreads the Eucharistic table before all people, filling their cups to overflowing.

Direct download: B_16_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Amos 7:12-15

Psalms 85:9-14

Ephesians 1:3-14

Mark 6:7-13

 In commissioning the apostles in today's Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church's mission after the resurrection.

 His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2-4). Like the Israelites, the apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

 Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the apostles' mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus - delivering peoples from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

 Like Amos in today's First Reading, the apostles are not "professionals," who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

 Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God's command. 

 With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God's peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today's Psalm.

 This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today's Epistle. In the mystery of God's will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world - to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

 Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church's mission - to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

Direct download: B_15_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Amós 7, 12-15
Salmo 85, 9-14
Efesios 1, 3-14
Marcos 6, 7-13

Comentemos primero el evangelio de hoy. En el encargo que hace Cristo a sus apóstoles, les da (y a nosotros también) un bosquejo de lo que será la misión de la Iglesia después de la resurrección.

Sus instrucciones a los Doce nos recuerdan aquellas que Yahvé dio a las doce tribus de Israel en las vísperas de su éxodo de Egipto. Los israelitas también fueron enviados sin pan y con una sola túnica, llevando sandalias y un bastón (cfr. Éx 12,11; Dt 8, 2-4). Como aquellos israelitas, los apóstoles tienen que confiar solamente en la providencia de Dios y su gracia.

Posiblemente, Marcos nos quiera enseñar también que la misión de los apóstoles, la misión de la Iglesia, es servir como guía en un nuevo éxodo, rescatando a los pueblos de su exilio de Dios y llevándolos a la tierra prometida: el Reino de los Cielos.

Como Amós en la primera lectura, los apóstoles no son “profesionales” que ganan el pan por profetizar. Como Amós, son hombres sencillos (Cfr Hch 14, 15) convocados desde sus trabajos ordinarios y enviados por Dios a ser pastores de sus hermanos y hermanas.

En esta semana nuevamente escuchamos el tema del rechazo: Amós lo experimenta y Jesús advierte a sus apóstoles que algunos no les recibirán bien ni les escucharán. La Iglesia no está necesariamente llamada a ser exitosa, sino solamente a ser fiel al mandamiento de Dios.

Con la autoridad y poder que Jesús le ha dado, la Iglesia proclama la paz de Dios y la salvación de los que creen en Él, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy.

Esta palabra de verdad, este evangelio de salvación, está dirigido personalmente a cada uno de nosotros, como nos dice San Pablo en la epístola de hoy. Dios, en el misterio de su voluntad, nos escogió desde antes de la creación del mundo para ser sus hijos e hijas; para vivir y darle gloria.

Por lo tanto, demos gracias hoy a Dios por la Iglesia y por las bendiciones espirituales que Él nos ha otorgado. Comprometámonos a llevar a cabo la misión de la Iglesia: ayudar a los demás a escuchar la llamada al arrepentimiento y a recibir a Cristo en sus vidas.

Direct download: B_15_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
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As we’ve walked with the apostles in the Gospels in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed Jesus command the wind and sea, and order a little girl to arise from the dead.

But He seems to meet His match in His hometown of Nazareth. Today’s Gospel is blunt: “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there.”

Why not? Because of the people’s lack of faith. They acknowledged the wisdom of His words, the power of His works. But they refused to recognize Him as a prophet come among them, a messenger sent by God.

All they could see was how much “this man” was like them - a carpenter, the son of their neighbor, Mary, with brothers and sisters.

Of course, Mary was ever-virgin, and had no other children. The Gospel refers to Jesus’ brothers as Paul refers to all Israelites as his brothers, the children of Abraham (see Romans 9:3,7).

That’s the point in today’s Gospel, too. Like the prophet Ezekiel in today’s First Reading, Jesus was sent by God to the rebellious house of Israel, where He found His own brothers and sisters obstinate of heart and in revolt against God. 

The servant is not above the Master (see Matthew 10:24). As His disciples, we too face the mockery and contempt we hear of in today’s Psalm. And isn’t it often hardest to live our faith among those in our own families, those who think they really know us, who define us by the people we used to be - before we chose to walk with Jesus?

As Paul confides in today’s Epistle, insults and hardships are God’s way of teaching us to rely solely on His grace.

Jesus will work no mighty deeds in our lives unless we abandon ourselves to Him in faith. Blessed then are those who take no offense in Him (see Luke 7:23). Instead, we must look upon Him with the eyes of servants - knowing that the son of Mary is also the Lord enthroned in the heavens.

Direct download: B_14_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24

Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13

2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

 God, who formed us in His imperishable image, did not intend for us to die, we hear in today's First Reading. Death entered the world through the devil's envy and Adam and Eve's sin; as a result, we are all bound to die.

 But in the moving story in today's Gospel, we see Jesus liberate a little girl from the possession of death.

 On one level, Mark is recounting an event that led the disciples to understand Jesus' authority and power over even the final enemy, death (see 1 Corinthians 15:26). On another level, however, this episode is written to strengthen our hope that we too will be raised from the dead, along with all our loved ones who sleep in Christ (see 1 Corinthians 15:18).

 Jesus commands the girl to "Arise!" - using the same Greek word used to describe His own resurrection (see Mark 16:6). And the consoling message of today's Gospel is that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. If we believe in Him, even though we die, we will live (see John 15:25-26).

 We are called to have the same faith as the parents in the Gospel today - praying for our loved ones, trusting in Jesus' promise that even death cannot keep us apart. Notice the parents follow Him even though those in their own house tell them there is no hope, and even though others ridicule Jesus' claim that the dead have only fallen asleep (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

 Already in baptism, we've been raised to new life in Christ. And the Eucharist, like the food given to the little girl today, is the pledge that He will raise us on the last day. 

 We should rejoice, as we sing in today's Psalm, that He has brought us up from the netherworld, the pit of death. And, as Paul exhorts in today's Epistle, we should offer our lives in thanksgiving for this gracious act, imitating Christ in our love and generosity for others.    

Direct download: B_13_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Sabiduría 1,13-15, 2, 23-24
Salmo 30, 2, 4-6, 11-13
2 Corintios 8, 7, 9, 13-15
Marcos 5, 21-24, 35-43

 


Por un lado, San Marcos nos narra un acontecimiento que reveló a los discípulos la autoridad y el poder de Jesús, incluso sobre el último enemigo: la muerte (cfr. 1Co 15, 26). Por otro lado, sin embargo, este episodio busca fortalecer en nosotros la esperanza de que también seremos resucitados, junto todos nuestros seres queridos que duermen en Cristo (cfr. 1 Co 15,18).

Jesús manda a la muchacha a “levantarse”, ocupando la misma pa­labra griega que se refiere a su propia resurrección (cfr. Mc 16, 6). Con esta narración, Marcos nos da un con­solador mensaje este domingo: que Jesús es la resurrección y la vida. Si creemos en Él, viviremos aún después de la muerte (cfr. Jn 11, 25-26).

Estamos llamados a tener la misma fe que testimonian los papás a los que se refiere Evangelio de hoy; a pedir por nuestros seres queridos confiando en lo que Cristo ha prometido: que ni siquiera la muerte puede separarnos. Es importante observar que los papás siguen a Jesús aunque los de su casa les dicen que no hay esperanza; aunque otros se burlan de Jesús cuando dice que los muertos nada más están “dormidos” (1 Ts 4, 13-18).

Al recibir el bautismo, hemos resucitado a una vida nueva con Cristo. Y la Eucaristía, como la comida dada a la pequeña muchacha hoy, es promesa de que El nos levantará en el último día.

Como cantamos en el salmo de este día, debemos alegrarnos porque Cristo nos ha sacado de las tinieblas del mundo y de la muerte. Al mismo tiempo, respondiendo a la exhortación que nos hace San Pablo en la epístola de hoy, debemos agradecer este hecho maravilloso con la ofrenda constante de nuestra vida, imitando a Cristo en el amor y generosidad que ofrezcamos a los demás.

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Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Is 49: 1–6
Ps 139: 1–3, 13–15
Acts 13:22–26
Lk 1:57–66, 80

<hr>

The people in this week’s Gospel are frightened and amazed by the mysterious events surrounding the birth of John. Only his mother and father, Elizabeth and Zechariah, know what this child will be. John the Baptist was fashioned in secret, knit by God in his mother’s womb, as we sing in this Sunday’s Psalm. From the womb he was set apart, formed to be God’s servant, as Isaiah declares in this week’s
First Reading.

The whole story of John’s birth is thick with Old Testament echoes, especially echoes of the story of Abraham. God appeared to Abraham promising that his wife would bear him a son; He announced the son’s name and the role Isaac would play in salvation history (see Genesis 17:1, 16, 19).

The same thing happened to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Through His angel, God announced John’s birth to this righteous yet barren couple. He made them call John a special name—and told them the special part John would play in fulfilling His plan for history (see Luke 1:5–17).

As Paul says in today’s Second Reading, John was to herald the fulfillment of all God’s promises to the children of Abraham (Luke 1:55, 73). John was to bring the word of salvation to all the people of Israel. More than that, he was to be a light to the nations—to all those groping in the dark for God.

We often associate John with his fiery preaching (see Matthew 3:7–12). But there was a deep humility at the heart of his mission. Paul alludes to that when he quotes John’s words about not being worthy to unfasten the sandals of Christ’s feet. John said, “[Christ] must increase. I must decrease” (John 3:30).

We must have that same attitude as we seek to follow Jesus. The repentance John preached was a turning away from sin and selfishness and a turning of our whole hearts to the Father.

We must decrease so that, like John, we can grow strong in the Spirit, until Christ is made manifest in each of us.

Direct download: C_Birth_John_Baptist.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

 

 

Ezek 17:22-24                             

Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16                 

2 Cor 5:6-10  

Mark 4:26-34

 Through the oracles of the Prophet Ezekiel, God gave his people reason to hope. It would have been a cryptic message to his hearers, long centuries before the Lord’s coming. Ezekiel glimpsed a day when the Lord God would place a tree on a mountain in Israel, a tree that would “put forth branches and bear fruit.” Who could have predicted that the tree would be a cross, on the hill of Calvary, and that the fruit would be salvation?

 

 Ezekiel foresees salvation coming to “birds of every kind” -- thus, not just to the Chosen People of Israel, but also to the Gentiles, who will “take wing” through their new life in Christ. God indeed will “lift high the lowly tree,” as he solemnly promises at the conclusion of the passage from the prophet.

 

 Such salvation surpasses humanity’s most ambitious dreams. And so we express our gratitude in the Responsorial Psalm: “Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.” It is indeed good to give thanks, and better still to give thanks with praise. The Psalmist speaks of those who are just upon the earth, but looks to God as the source and measure of justice, of righteousness. Like Ezekiel, he evokes the image of a flourishing tree to describe the lives of the just. The image, again, suggests the cross as the measure of righteousness.

 

 The cross is a challenge to those who would rather “flourish” according to worldly terms. It is a sign of contradiction. And so Saint Paul repeatedly emphasizes, to the Corinthians, the necessity of courage. Our faith makes us strong, and it is proved in our deeds. The Apostle reminds us that we will be judged by the ways our faith manifested itself in works: “so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.”

 

 Faith. Courage. God himself will empower the works he expects from us; though we may freely choose to correspond to his grace.

 

 In the prophetic oracles, in the Psalms that were sung in Jerusalem, he scattered the small seed that sprang up and became the mustard tree, large enough to accommodate all the birds of the sky, just as Ezekiel had foretold.

 

 He gave this doctrine to disciples, as he still does today, in terms they were able to understand, and he provided a full explanation. In the sacraments he provides still more: the grace of faith and the courage we need to live in the world as children of God    

Direct download: B_11_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

In today’s Gospel Jesus has just been healing and casting out demons in Galilee. Along with the crowds, who flock to Him so that He can’t even take a break to eat, come people who do not understand what He is doing. Even His friends think He has lost His mind and needs to be taken away for a while. But the scribes who came down from Jerusalem are not just honestly mistaken; they accuse Him of being possessed by the prince of demons.

The reality is just the opposite. Jesus is revealing Himself as the one promised in our first reading. He is the seed of the woman who has come to crush the head of the demonic serpent. In the parable of the strong man, Jesus reveals that He has come not just to punish the devil but to free those bound by him. As St. Bede explains, “The Lord has also bound the strong man, that is, the devil: which means, He has restrained him from seducing the elect, and entering into his house, the world; He has spoiled his house, and His goods, that is men, because He has snatched them from the snares of the devil, and has united them to His Church.”

The scribes blaspheme by attributing this work of the Holy Spirit to demons. Jesus adds a statement that shocks us at first: “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness.” That does not mean that there are any limits to the mercy of God (CCC 1864). Rather, the only sin that cannot be forgiven is the deliberate refusal to accept the mercy offered through the Holy Spirit.

Instead, we must imitate those who sat at Jesus’ feet. For, as He said, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Direct download: B_10_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 5:12pm EDT

Solemnidad del Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo

 Lecturas:

 

Éxodo 24, 3-8

Salmo 116,12-13, 15-18

Hebreos 9,11-15

Marcos 14,12-16, 22-26

 Las lecturas de este día se ubican en el contexto de la Pascua. La primera de ellas recuerda la Antigua Alianza efectuada en el Sinaí después de la primera pascua y del éxodo.

 

 Al rociar la sangre de la Alianza sobre los Israelitas, Moisés sim­bolizaba el deseo de Dios de hacerlos parte de su familia, de su sangre.

 

 Citando a Moisés en el Evangelio de este domingo, Jesús da una nueva dimensión a este símbolo de la Alianza, elevándolo a una realidad extraordinaria : En la Nueva Alianza hecha con la Sangre de Cristo, podemos verdaderamente hacernos uno con su Cuerpo y Sangre.

 

 La primera alianza hecha con Moisés e Israel en el Sinaí fue apenas una sombra de la Alianza, nueva y mayor, hecha por Cristo con toda la humanidad en el Cenáculo (cfr. Hb 10,1).

 

 La Pascua que Jesús celebra con sus doce apóstoles actualiza y hace real lo que solamente fue un símbolo : el sacrificio de Moisés en el altar de doce pilares. Lo que Jesús hace hoy es establecer a su Iglesia como la Nueva Israel y su Eucaristía como el nuevo culto al Dios vivo.

 

 Al ofrecerse a Sí mismo a Dios por el Espíritu Santo, Jesús libera a Israel de los pecados de la Antigua Alianza. Como escuchamos en la epístola de hoy, Él nos ha purificado por medio de su sangre, y nos ha hecho capaces de rendir un culto verdadero.

 

 Dios no quiere obras muertas ni sacrificios de animales. Quiere nuestra carne y sangre—es decir, nuestras vidas—consagradas a Él, ofrecidas como sacrificio viviente. Ese es el sacrificio de alabanza y acción de gracias del que habla el salmo de hoy. Esto es la Eucaristía.

 

 Lo que hacemos en memoria Suya es entregar nuestras vidas a Cristo y renovarle nuestro com­promiso de servirle y ser fieles a su Alianza.

 

 No hay otra cosa que podamos ofrecerle a cambio de la herencia eterna que él nos ha ganado. Por tanto, acerquémonos al altar para invocar su Nombre en acción de gracias y alzar «la copa de la victoria» (Sal 116,13).    

Direct download: B_Corpus_Christi_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Exodus 24:3-8
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-18
Hebrews 9:11-15
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

All of today's readings are set in the context of the Passover. The First Reading recalls the old covenant celebrated at Sinai following the first Passover and the exodus.

In sprinkling the blood of the covenant on the Israelites, Moses was symbolizing God's desire in this covenant to make them His family, His "blood" relations.

Quoting Moses' words in today's Gospel, Jesus elevates and transforms this covenant symbol to an extraordinary reality. In the new covenant made in the blood of Christ, we truly become one with His body and blood.

The first covenant made with Moses and Israel at Sinai was but a shadow of this new and greater covenant made by Christ with all humankind in that upper room (see Hebrews 10:1).

The Passover that Jesus celebrates with His 12 apostles "actualizes," makes real, what could only be symbolized by Moses' sacrifice at the altar with 12 pillars. What Jesus does today is establish His Church as the new Israel, and His Eucharist as the new worship of the living God.

In offering himself to God through the Spirit, Jesus delivered Israel from the transgressions of the first covenant. And, as we hear in today's Epistle, by His blood He purified us, and made us capable of true worship.

God does not want dead works or animal sacrifices. He wants our own flesh and blood, our own lives, consecrated to Him, offered as a living sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we sing of in today's Psalm. This is the Eucharist.

What we do in memory of Him is to pledge our lives to Him, to renew our promise to live by the words of His covenant and to be His servants.

There is no other return we can offer to Him for the eternal inheritance He has won for us. So let us approach the altar, calling upon His name in thanksgiving, taking up the cup of salvation. 

Direct download: B_Corpus_Christi.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Psalm 33:4- 6, 9, 18-20, 22
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew 28:16-20

Last Sunday, we celebrated the sending of the Spirit, which sealed God's new covenant and made a new creation.

In this new creation, we live in the family of God, who has revealed himself as a Trinity of love. We share in His divine nature through His body and blood (see 2 Peter 1:4). This is the meaning of the three feasts that cap the Easter season - Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi.

These feasts should be intimate reminders of how deeply God loves us, how He chose us, from before the foundation of the world, to be His children (see Ephesians 1:4-5).

Today's readings illuminate how all God's words and works were meant to prepare for the revelation of the Trinity and God's blessing in Jesus Christ - the blessing we inherited in baptism, and renew in each Eucharist.

By God's word the heavens and earth were filled with His kindness, we sing in today's Psalm. Out of love, God called Abraham and chose his descendants to be His own people, Moses says in today's First Reading (see Deuteronomy 4:20,37). Through the Israelites, He revealed to the nations that He alone is Lord and there is no other.

In Jesus, God's word took flesh as a son of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1). And Jesus reveals in the Gospel today that the one God is Father, Son, and Spirit, and that He desires to make all peoples His own.

As He led Israel out of Egypt, God freed us from slavery, Paul says in today's Epistle. As He adopted Israel (see Romans 9:4), He gives us the Spirit by which we can know Him as "our Father."

As God's heirs, we receive the commissions of Moses and Jesus today. We are to fix our hearts on Him, and to observe all that He has commanded. The Eucharist is His pledge - that He will be with us until the end, that He will deliver us from death to live forever in the promised land of His kingdom. 

Direct download: B_Trinity.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Deuteronomio 4, 32-34, 39-40
Salmo 33, 4-6, 9, 18-20, 22
Romanos 8, 14-17
Mateo 28, 16-20


El domingo pasado celebramos el envío del Espíritu Santo, que selló la Nueva Alianza de Dios y renovó todo lo creado.

En esta nueva creación, somos ya parte de la familia de Dios, quien se ha revelado como Trinidad de amor. Compartimos su naturaleza divina por medio de la recepción de su Cuerpo y Sangre (cfr. 2 Pe 1,14) Ese es el sentido de las tres celebraciones que coronan el tiempo pascual : Pentecostés, la Solemnidad de la Santísima Trinidad y Corpus Christi.

Estas fiestas deben recordarnos, en lo más íntimo de nuestro corazón, cuán profundamente nos ama Dios ; y cómo El nos escogió desde antes de la fundación del mundo para ser Sus hijos (cfr. Ef 1, 4-5).

Las lecturas de este domingo nos muestran que todas las palabras y obras de Dios estaban encaminadas a revelar el misterio de la Santísima Trinidad y a traernos su bendición en Jesucristo, la cual heredamos por el bautismo y renovamos en cada Eucaristía.

Mediante su palabra, el Señor llenó los cielos y la tierra de su divina bondad, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Movido por el amor, Dios escogió a Abraham, y de sus descendientes constituyó a su propio pueblo, como recuerda Moisés en la primera lectura (cfr. Dt 4, 20-37) A través de los Israelitas, Él reveló a las naciones que es el Único Señor.

La Palabra de Dios se encarnó en Jesús, «hijo de Abraham» (Mt 1,1). Él nos enseña, en el Evangelio de este domingo, que el único Dios es Padre, Hijo y Espíritu y que desea hacer suyos a todos los pueblos.

Como hizo con Israel al sacarlo de Egipto, Dios nos liberó de la esclavitud; eso es lo que San Pablo nos dice en la epístola de hoy. Así como adoptó a los israelitas como hijos, (cfr. Rm 9, 4), ahora nos da su Espíritu, gracias al cual podemos reconocerlo como «Padre nuestro».

Como herederos de Dios, hoy asumimos los compromisos de Moisés y Jesús. Debemos poner nuestros corazones en Él y hacer todo lo que nos ha mandado. La Eucaristía es el cumplimiento de su promesa de estar con nosotros hasta el fin del mundo; es la garantía de que Él nos librará de la muerte para vivir por siempre en la tierra prometida de su Reino.

Direct download: B_Trinity_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm 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 Jeremiah 31:31-34; 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: B_Pentecost.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 2,1-11
Salmo 104,1, 24, 29-31, 34
1 Corintios 12, 3-7, 12-13
Juan 20,19-23

El don del Espíritu Santo al nuevo Pueblo de Dios es el acontecimiento que corona el plan de salvación del Padre.

La fiesta judía de Pentecostés convocaba a todos los judíos devotos a Jerusalén, para celebrar su nacimiento como pueblo escogido de Dios, bajo la Ley dada a Moisés en el Sinaí (cfr. Lv 23,15-21; Dt 16, 9-11).

La primera lectura de hoy nos muestra cómo los misterios prefigurados en esa fiesta se cumplen en el momento en que se derrama el Espíritu sobre María y los Apóstoles (cfr.Hch 2,14).

El Espíritu sella la nueva Ley y el nuevo pacto traído por Jesús, escrito no sobre tablas de piedra, sino sobre los corazones de los creyentes, según lo que prometieron los profetas (cfr. Jr 31,31-34; 2 Co 3, 2-8; Rm 8,2).

El Espíritu es revelado como el aliento dador de vida del Padre, la Voluntad por medio de la cual Él hizo todas las cosas, como nos dice el salmo de hoy.

En el principio, el Espíritu era “viento de Dios” que “aleteaba por encima de las aguas” (Gn 1,2). Y en la nueva creación de Pentecostés, ese mismo Espíritu viene como un “viento fuerte, impetuoso” para renovar la faz de la tierra.

Así como Dios modeló al primer hombre a partir del barro y lo llenó con su Espíritu (cfr. Gn 2,7), en el Evangelio de hoy vemos al Nuevo Adán que comparte el Espíritu vivificador, soplando sobre los apóstoles y dándoles nueva vida (cfr. 1 Co 15, 45.47).

Como río de agua viva para todas las generaciones, Él derramará su Espíritu mediante su Cuerpo, la Iglesia, como nos dice la epístola de hoy (ver también Jn 7, 37-39).

Recibimos ese Espíritu en los sacramentos; por el Bautismo somos hechos una “nueva creación” (cfr. 2 Co 5,17; Ga 6, 15).

Alimentándonos del único Espíritu en la Eucaristía (cfr. 1 Co 10, 4), somos los primeros frutos de una nueva humanidad, nacida de cada nación que existe bajo el cielo, sin distinciones de lengua, raza o condición social. Somos gente nacida del Espíritu.

Direct download: B_Pentecost_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26

Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20

1 John 4:11-16

 John 17:11-19

 Today’s First Reading begins by giving us a time-frame—the events take place during the days between Christ’s ascension and Pentecost. We’re at the same point in our liturgical year. On Thursday we celebrated His being taken up in glory, and next Sunday we will celebrate His sending of the Spirit upon the Church.

 Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel today also captures the mood of departure and the anticipation. He is telling us today how it will be when He is no longer in the world.

 By His ascension, the Lord has established His throne in heaven, as we sing in today’s Psalm. His kingdom is His Church, which continues His mission on earth.

 Jesus fashioned His kingdom as a new Jerusalem, and a new house of David (see Psalm 122:4-5; Revelation 21:9-14). He entrusted this kingdom to His twelve apostles, who were to preside at the Eucharistic table, and to rule with Him over the restored twelve tribes of Israel (see Luke 22:29-30).

 The twelve apostles symbolize the twelve tribes and hence the fulfillment of God’s plan for Israel (see Galatians 6:16).That’s why it is crucial to replace Judas—so that the Church in its fullness receives the Spirit at Pentecost.

 Peter’s leadership of the apostles is another key element of the Church as it is depicted today. Notice that Peter is unquestionably in control, interpreting the Scriptures, deciding a course of action, even defining the nature of the apostolic ministry.

 No one has ever seen God, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Yet, through the Church founded on His apostles, the witnesses to the resurrection, the world will come to know and believe in God’s love, that He sent His Son to be our savior.

 Through the Church, Jesus’ pledge still comes to us—that if we love, God will remain with us in our trials and protects us from the evil one. By His word of truth He will help us grow in holiness, the perfection of love.    

Direct download: B_7_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 1, 15-17, 20-26
Salmo 103, 1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 Juan 4, 11-16
Juan 17, 11-19

 

La primera lectura de hoy está enmarcada en los acontecimientos que suceden entre los días después de la Ascensión del Señor y Pentecostés. Estamos en el mismo punto en el calendario litúrgico. Este jueves celebramos la Ascensión del Señor en gloria y el otro domingo celebraremos el envío del Espíritu Santo sobre la Iglesia.

La oración de Jesús que escuchamos en el evangelio expresa sentimientos de despedida y a la vez de espera de Pentecostés. Nos dice cómo serán las cosas cuando él ya no esté físicamente entre nosotros.

Por su Ascensión, el Señor está sentado en su trono en el Cielo, como menciona el salmo responsorial. Su Reino, la Iglesia, continúa su misión en la tierra.

Jesús ha configurado su Reino como una Nueva Jerusalén y como una nueva casa de David (cfr. S 122,4-5; Ap 21, 9-14). Él entregó este reino a los apóstoles, quienes presidirán la mesa Eucarística y que “juzgarán a las doce tribus de Israel” (Cfr. Lc 22, 29-30).

Los doce apóstoles simbolizan las doce tribus y, por tanto, cumplen el plan de Dios para Israel (Cfr. Ga 6,16). Por esto era imprescindible sustituir a Judas Iscariote, de modo que la Iglesia en plenitude recibiera el Espíritu Santo en Pentecostés.

El liderazgo de San Pedro es otro elemento clave en la Iglesia, destacado en estas lecturas dominicales. Muestran a Pedro ejerciendo una autoridad incuestionable. Él interpreta las escrituras, él decide como actuar; incluso define la naturaleza del mismo ministerio apostólico.

“A Dios nadie le ha visto nunca” dice la Epístola de este domingo. Sin embargo, a través de la Iglesia fundada sobre los apóstoles, testigos de la resurrección, el mundo conocerá y creerá en el amor de Dios, quien envió a su Hijo para ser Nuestro Salvador.

Por medio de la Iglesia, la promesa de Jesús llega hasta nosotros: Si amamos, Dios estará con nosotros en nuestras pruebas y nos protegerá del Maligno. Con su Palabra de verdad, nos ayudará crecer en santidad, a alcanzar la perfección en el amor.

Direct download: B_7_Easter_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

Psalm 98:1-4

1 John 4:7-10

John 15:9-17

 God is love, and He revealed that love in sending His only Son to be a sacrificial offering for our sins.

 In these words from today’s Epistle, we should hear an echo of the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac at the dawn of salvation history. Because Abraham obeyed God’s command and did not with-hold his only beloved son, God promised that Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, would be the source of blessing for all nations (see Genesis 22:16-18).

We see that promise coming to fulfillment in today’s First Reading. God pours out His Spirit upon the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, as they listen to the word of Peter’s preaching. Notice they receive the same gifts received by the devout Jews who heard Peter’s preaching at Pentecost—the Spirit comes to rest upon them and they speak in tongues, glorifying God (see Acts 2:5-11).

 In his love today, God reveals that His salvation embraces the house of Israel and peoples of all nations. Not by circumcision or blood relation to Abraham, but by faith in the Word of Christ, sealed in the sacrament of baptism, peoples are to be made children of Abraham, heirs to God’s covenants of promise (see Galatians 3:7-9; Ephesians 2:12).

 This is the wondrous work of God that we sing of in today’s Psalm. It is the work of the Church, the good fruit that Jesus chooses and appoints His apostles for in today’s Gospel.

 As Peter raises up Cornelius today, the Church continues to lift all eyes to Christ, the only one in whose name they can find salvation.

 In the Church, each of us has been begotten by the love of God. But the Scriptures today reveal that this divine gift brings with it a command and a duty. We are to love one another as we have been loved. We are to lay down our lives in giving ourselves to others—that they too might find friendship with Christ, and new life through Him    

Direct download: B_6_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 9:26-31

Psalm 22:26-28, 30-321

John 3:18-24

John 15:1-8

 In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He is the true vine that God intended Israel to be—the source of divine life and wisdom for the nations (see Sirach 24:17-24).

 In baptism, each of us was joined to Him by the Holy Spirit. As a branch grows from a tree, our souls are to draw life from Him, nourished by His word and the Eucharist.

 Paul in today’s First Reading seeks to be grafted onto the visible expression of Christ the true vine—His Church. Once the chief persecutor of the Church, he encounters initial resistance and suspicion. But he is known by his fruits, by his powerful witness to the Lord working in his life (see Matthew 7:16-20).

 We too are commanded today to bear good fruits as His disciples, so that our lives give glory to God. Like Paul’s life, our lives must bear witness to His goodness.

 Jesus cautions us, however, that if we’re bearing fruit, we can expect that God will ‘prune’ us—as a gardener trims and cuts back a plant so that it will grow stronger and bear even more fruit. He is teaching us today how to look at our sufferings and trials with the eyes of faith. We need to see our struggles as pruning, by which we are being disciplined and trained so that we can grow in holiness and bear fruits of righteousness (see Hebrews 12:4-11).

 We need to always remain rooted in Him, as today’s Epistle tells us. We remain in Him by keeping His commandment of love, by pondering His words, letting them dwell richly in us (see Colossians 3:16), and by always seeking to do what pleases Him. In everything we must be guided by humility, remembering that apart from Him we can do nothing.

 As we sing in today’s Psalm, we must fulfill our vows, turning to the Lord in worship, proclaiming his praises, until all families come to know His justice in their lives.    

Direct download: B_5_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 4:8-12

Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 29

1 John 3:1-2

John 10:11-18

 Jesus, in today’s Gospel, says that He is the good shepherd the prophets had promised to Israel.

 He is the shepherd-prince, the new David--who frees people from bondage to sin and gathers them into one flock, the Church, under a new covenant, made in His blood (see Ezekiel 34:10-13, 23-31).

 His flock includes other sheep, He says, far more than the dispersed children of Israel (see Isaiah 56:8; John 11:52). And He gave His Church the mission of shepherding all peoples to the Father.

 In today’s First Reading, we see the beginnings of that mission in the testimony of Peter, whom the Lord appointed shepherd of His Church (see John 21:15-17).

 Peter tells Israel’s leaders that the Psalm we sing today is a prophecy of their rejection and crucifixion of Christ. He tells the “builders” of Israel’s temple, that God has made the stone they rejected the cornerstone of a new spiritual temple, the Church (see Mark 12:10-13; 1 Peter 2:4-7).

 Through the ministry of the Church, the shepherd still speaks (see Luke 10:16),and forgives sins (see John 20:23), and makes His body and blood present, that all may know Him in the breaking of the bread (see Luke 24:35). It is a mission that will continue until all the world is one flock under the one shepherd.

 In laying down His life and taking it up again, Jesus made it possible for us to know God as He did--as sons and daughters of the Father who loves us. As we hear in today’s Epistle, He calls us His children, as He called Israel His son when He led them out of Egypt and made His covenant with them (see Exodus 4:22-23; Revelation 21:7).

 Today, let us listen for His voice as He speaks to us in the Scriptures, and vow again to be more faithful followers. And let us give thanks for the blessings He bestows from His altar.

Direct download: B_4_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings: 

Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-9
1 John 2:1-5
Luke 24:35-48

Jesus in today's Gospel, teaches His apostles how to interpret the Scriptures.

He tells them that all the Scriptures of what we now call the Old Testament refer to Him. He says that all the promises found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in His passion, death, and resurrection. And He tells them that these Scriptures foretell the mission of the Church - to preach forgiveness of sins to all the nations, beginning at Jersusalem.

In today's First Reading and Epistle, we see the beginnings of that mission. And we see the apostles interpreting the Scriptures as Jesus taught them to.

God has brought to fulfillment what He announced beforehand in all the prophets, Peter preaches. His sermon is shot through with Old Testament images. He evokes Moses and the exodus, in which God revealed himself as the ancestral God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Exodus 3:6,15). He identifies Jesus as Isaiah's suffering servant who has been glorified (see Isaiah 52:13).

John, too describes Jesus in Old Testament terms. Alluding to how Israel's priests offered blood sacrifices to atone for the people's sins (see Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9-10), he says that Jesus intercedes for us before God (see Romans 8:34), and that His blood is a sacrificial expiation for the sins of the world (see 1 John 1:7).

Notice that in all three readings, the Scriptures are interpreted to serve and advance the Church's mission - to reveal the truth about Jesus, to bring people to repentance, the wiping away of sins, and the perfection of their love for God.

This is how we, too, should hear the Scriptures. Not to know more "about" Jesus, but to truly know Him personally, and to know His plan for our lives.

In the Scriptures, the light of His face shines upon us, as we sing in today's Psalm. We know the wonders He has done throughout history. And we have the confidence to call to Him, and to know that He hears and answers.
    

Direct download: B_3_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 3,13-15, 17-19
Salmo 4,2, 4, 7-9
1 Juan 2, 1-5
Lucas 24, 35-48

En el evangelio de hoy, Jesús les enseña a los discípulos cómo interpretar los textos sagrados.

Les comenta que todas las Escrituras lo que hoy nosotros llamamos el Antiguo Testamento se refieren a Él. Les dice que todas las promesas ahí contenidas se han cumplido en su pasión, muerte y resurrección. Y les afirma que estas Escrituras profetizan la misión de la Iglesia – el predicar el perdón de los pecados a todos los pueblos, empezando en Jerusalén.

En la primera y segunda lectura de este día, vemos el inicio de esta misión. Y a los apóstoles interpretando las Escrituras como les enseñó Jesús.

San Pedro en su predicación dice que Dios ha llevado a su cumplimiento lo que había anunciado antes por medio de los profetas. Su discurso está lleno de imágenes del Antiguo Testamento. Evoca a Moisés y al éxodo, en el que Dios se reveló a sí mismo como el Antiguo Dios de Abrahán, de Isaac y de Jacob (véase Éxodo 3,6, 15). Identifica a Jesús como el siervo sufriente de Isaías que has sido glorificado (véase Isaías 2,13).

También Juan ocupa imágenes del Antiguo Testamento para describir a Jesús. Haciendo alusión a los sacrificios de sangre que ofrecieron los sacerdotes de Israel en expiación por los pecados del pueblo, (véase Levítico 16, Hebreos 9-10), dice que Jesús intercede por nosotros ante Dios (véase Romanos 8,34) y que su sangre es un sacrificio de expiación por los pecados del mundo (véase 1 Juan 1,17).

Es notable que las tres lecturas, las Escrituras son interpretadas para servir a la misión de la Iglesia- de revelar la verdad sobre Jesús, llevar al pueblo al arrepentimiento, borrar los pecados, y perfeccionar su amor a Dios.

Así es como nosotros deberíamos escuchar las Escrituras. No solo para conocer más sobre Jesús, sino para experimentarlo personalmente y descubrir el plan que tiene para nuestras vidas.

En la Biblia, la luz de su rostro brilla sobre nosotros, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Conocemos las maravillas que ha hecho en la historia. Por eso tenemos la confianza de acudir a Él, sabiendo que nos escucha y nos responde.

Direct download: B_3_Easter_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings: 

Acts 4:32-35
Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31

Three times in today's Psalm we cry out a victory shout: "His mercy endures forever."

Truly we've known the everlasting love of God, who has come to us as our Savior. By the blood and water that flowed from Jesus' pierced side (see John 19:34), we've been made God's children, as we hear in today's Epistle.

Yet we never met Jesus, never heard Him teach, never saw Him raised from the dead. His saving Word came to us in the Church - through the ministry of the apostles, who in today's Gospel are sent as He was sent.

He was made a life-giving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) and He filled His apostles with that Spirit. As we hear in today's First Reading, they bore witness to His resurrection with great power. And through their witness, handed down in the Church through the centuries, their teaching and traditions have reached us (see Acts 2:42).

We encounter Him as the apostles did - in the breaking of the bread on the Lord's day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10).

There is something liturgical about the way today's Gospel scenes unfold. It's as if John is trying to show us how the risen Lord comes to us in the liturgy and sacraments.

In both scenes it is Sunday night. The doors are bolted tight, yet Jesus mysteriously comes. He greets them with an expression, "Peace be with you," used elsewhere by divine messengers (see Daniel 10:19; Judges 6:23). He shows them signs of His real bodily presence. And on both nights the disciples respond by joyfully receiving Jesus as their "Lord."

Isn't this what happens in the Mass - where our Lord speaks to us in His Word, and gives himself to us in the sacrament of His body and blood?

Let us approach the altar with joy, knowing that every Eucharist is the day the Lord has made - when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes. 

Direct download: B_Divine_Mercy.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 4, 32-35
Salmo 118, 2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Juan 5, 1-6
Juan 20, 19-31

Tres veces en el Salmo de hoy gritamos victoriosos, “La misericordia de Dios es eterna.” En verdad hemos conocido el amor eterno de Dios, quien ha venido a nosotros como Salvador. Por la sangre y agua que fluyeron de su costado traspasado (véase Juan 19,34), hemos sido hechos hijos e hijas de Dios, como lo dice la epístola de hoy.

Pero nunca conocimos a Jesús en persona, ni lo escuchamos predicar, ni lo vimos resucitar de entre los muertos. Su palabra de salvación vino a nosotros en la Iglesia- por medio del ministerio de los apóstoles, quienes en el evangelio de hoy son enviados así como Él fue enviado.

Él fue un Espíritu que da vida (véase 1 Corintios 15,45) y llena a sus apóstoles de ese Espíritu. Como escuchamos en la primera lectura de hoy, ellos dieron testimonio de su resurrección con gran poder. Por medio de su testimonio, transmitido a la Iglesia a través de los siglos, sus enseñanzas y tradiciones llegan a nosotros (véase Hechos 2,42).

Encontramos al Señor así como los apóstoles lo encontraron- al partir el pan en el día del Señor (véase Hechos 20,7; 1 Corintios 16,2; Apocalipsis 1,10).

Hay algo litúrgico de la manera en que los acontecimientos del evangelio de hoy se desenvuelven. Es como si Juan nos estuviese demostrando como es que el Señor resucitado viene a nosotros en la liturgia y los sacramentos. Ambas escenas ocurren en un domingo al atardecer. Las puertas están cerradas con seguro pero aun así, Jesús entra misteriosamente. Los saluda, “La paz esté con ustedes,” siendo el saludo de todo mensajero divino (véase Daniel 10,19; Jueces 6,23). Les demuestra pruebas de su presencia física. Y en ambas noches los discípulos responden con alegría al recibir a Jesús como su “Señor”.

Acaso ¿no es esto lo que sucede en cada Misa---donde Nuestro Señor nos habla con su Palabra y nos da a sí mismo en el sacramento de su cuerpo y sangre?

Acerquémonos pues al altar con alegría, sabiendo que cada Eucaristía es el día que Dios ha hecho—cuando la victoria de la Pascua es una maravilla para nuestros ojos.

Direct download: B_Divine_Mercy_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings: 

Acts 10:34, 37-43
Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Colossians 3:1-4
John 20:1-9

The tomb was empty. In the early morning darkness of that first Easter, there was only confusion for Mary Magdalene and the other disciples. But as the daylight spread, they saw the dawning of a new creation.

At first they didn't understand the Scripture, today's Gospel tells us. We don't know which precise Scripture texts they were supposed to understand. Perhaps it was the sign of Jonah, who rose from the belly of the great fish after three days (see Jonah 1:17). Or maybe Hosea's prophecy of Israel's restoration from exile (see Hosea 6:2). Perhaps it was the psalmist who rejoiced that God had not abandoned him to the nether world (see Psalm 16:9-10).

Whichever Scripture it was, as the disciples bent down into the tomb, they saw and they believed. What did they see? Burial shrouds in an empty tomb. The stone removed from the tomb. Seven times in nine verses we hear that word - "tomb."

What did they believe? That God had done what Jesus said He would do - raised Him up on the third day (see Mark 9:31; 10:34).

What they saw and believed, they bore witness to, as today's First Reading tells us. Peter's speech is a summary of the gospels - from Jesus' baptism in the Jordan to His hanging on a tree (see Deuteronomy 21:22-23), to His rising from the dead.

We are children of the apostles, born into the new world of their witness. Our lives are now "hidden with Christ in God," as today's Epistle says. Like them, we gather in the morning on the first day of the week - to celebrate the Eucharist, the feast of the empty tomb.

We rejoice that the stones have been rolled away from our tombs, too. Each of us can shout, as we do in today's Psalm: "I shall not die, but live." They saw and believed. And we await the day they promised would come - when we, too, "will appear with Him in glory." 

Direct download: B_Easter.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas :
Hechos 10,34.37-43
Salmo 118,1-2.16-17.22-23
Colosenses 3,1-4
Juan 20,1-9

 

El sepulcro estaba vacío. En la obscuridad del amanecer en ese primer domingo de pascua, reinaba la confusión en María Magdalena y los discípulos. Pero al crecer el resplandor del sol pudieron ver el amanecer de una nueva creación.

Al principio, no comprendían lo que decían las Escrituras, según el evangelio de hoy. No sabemos exactamente cuales Escrituras eran las que debiesen comprender. Tal vez era la señal de Jonás, quien sale del vientre del pez al tercer día (véase Jonás 1,17). O quizá la profecía de Oseas de la restauración de Israel después del exilio (véase Oseas 6,2). Tal vez era el salmista quien regocijaba al no lo ser abandonado por Dios a la sepultura (Salmo 16, 9-10).

Cualquiera que fuese la Escritura, al asomarse los discípulos al sepulcro, ellos vieron y creyeron. ¿Qué fue lo que vieron? Los lienzos en el piso y el sepulcro vacío. La piedra removida del sepulcro. Siete veces en nueve versículos escuchamos la palabra “sepulcro.”

¿Qué fue lo que creyeron? Que Dios hizo lo que Jesús dijo que iba a hacer—de resucitarlo al tercer día (véase Marcos 9,31; 10,34).

A lo que vieron y creyeron, dieron testimonio según la primera lectura. El discurso de Pedro es una síntesis de los evangelios—desde el bautismo de Jesús en el Jordán hasta terminar colgado en la cruz (Deuteronomio 21,22-23), y por fin a su resurrección de entre los muertos.

Somos hijos de los apóstoles, nacidos a un mundo nuevo de su testimonio. Nuestras vidas ahora están “escondidas con Cristo en Dios,” como nos dice la epístola de hoy. Así como ellos, nos reunimos en la mañana del primer día de la semana- para celebrar la Eucaristía, la fiesta del sepulcro vacío.

Regocijamos que las piedras han sido removidas también de nuestros sepulcros. Cada uno podemos exclamar como en el Salmo, “No moriré, sino que viviré.” Ellos vieron y creyeron. Y nosotros esperamos el día que se nos ha prometido que vendrá—cuando nosotros también nos “veremos con Él en la gloria.”

Direct download: B_Easter_Spn.mp3
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Readings: 

Isaiah 50:4-7
Psalms 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1-15:47

Crowned with thorns, our Lord is lifted up on the cross, where He dies as "King of the Jews." Notice how many times He is called "king" in today's Gospel - mostly in scorn and mockery.

As we hear the long accounts of His passion, at every turn we must remind ourselves - He suffered this cruel and unusual violence, for us.

He is the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah in today's First Reading. He reenacts the agony described in today's Psalm, and even dies with the first words of that Psalm on His lips (see Psalm 22:1).

Listen carefully for the echoes of this Psalm throughout today's Gospel - as Jesus is beaten, His hands and feet are pierced; as His enemies gamble for His clothes, wagging their heads, mocking His faith in God's love, His faith that God will deliver Him.

Are we that much different from our Lord's tormenters? Often, don't we deny that He is king, refusing to obey His only commands that we love Him and one another? Don't we render Him mock tribute, pay Him lip-service with our half-hearted devotions?

In the dark noon of Calvary, the veil in Jerusalem's temple was torn. It was a sign that by His death Jesus destroyed forever the barrier separating us from the presence of God.

He was God and yet humbled himself to come among us, we're reminded in today's Epistle. And despite our repeated failures, our frailty, Jesus still humbles himself to come to us, offering us His body and blood in the Eucharist.

His enemies never understood: His kingship isn't of this world (see John 18:36). He wants to write His law, His rule of life on our hearts and minds.

As we enter Holy Week, let us once more resolve to give Him dominion in our lives. Let us take up the cross He gives to us - and confess with all our hearts, minds, and strength, that truly this is the Son of God.

Direct download: B_Passion_Sunday.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Isaías 50,4-7
Salmo 22,8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Filipenses 2,6-11
Marcos 14, 1-15, 47

“Ha llegado a su cumplimiento lo que está escrito de mí”, nos dice Jesús en el Evangelio de hoy (cfr. Lc 22,37).

De hecho, hemos alcanzado el clímax del año litúrgico, el punto más elevado de la historia de la salvación, en el que se cumple todo aquello que había sido anticipado y prometido.

Al terminar el extenso Evangelio del día de hoy, la obra de nuestra redención quedará completa. La nueva alianza será escrita con la sangre de su Cuerpo quebrantado que cuelga de la cruz, en el sitio llamado “la Calavera”.

En su Pasión, Jesús es “contado entre los malhechores”, como Isaías lo había predicho (cfr. Is 53,12). Es revelado definitivamente como el Siervo Sufriente anunciado por el profeta; el Mesías tan esperado cuyas palabras de fe y obediencia se escuchan en la primera lectura y el salmo de hoy.

Las burlas y tormentos que escuchamos en estas dos lecturas marcan el paso del Evangelio en que Jesús, que es golpeado y mofado (cfr. Lc 22,63-65; 23,10.11.16), y cuyas manos y pies son taladrados (cfr. Lc 23,33), mientras sus enemigos se juegan sus vestiduras (cfr. Lc 23,34) y es retado tres veces a probar su divinidad librándose del sufrimiento (cfr. Lc 23,35.37.39).

Permanece fiel a la voluntad de Dios hasta el final; no retrocede ante su prueba. Se entrega libremente a sus torturadores, confiado en lo que nos dice la primera lectura de hoy: “el Señor es mi ayuda…no quedaré avergonzado”.

Nosotros, hijos de Adán destinados al pecado y a la muerte, hemos sido liberados para la santidad y la vida mediante la obediencia perfecta de Cristo a la voluntad del Padre (cfr. Rm 5,12-14.17.19; Ef 2,2; 5,6).

Por este motivo Dios lo exaltó. Por eso, en su Nombre tenemos la salvación. Al seguir su ejemplo de obediencia humilde en las pruebas y cruces de nuestras vidas, sabemos que nunca seremos abandonados; y que un día también estaremos con Él en el paraíso (cfr. Lc 23,42).

Direct download: B_Passion_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Jeremías 31, 31-34
Salmo 51, 3-4, 12-15
Hebreos 5, 7-9
Juan 12, 20-33

Las lecturas este domingo están llenas de expectativas. “Los días que vienen…”, dice el profeta Jeremías en la primera lectura. “La hora ha venido” dice Jesús en el Evangelio. La Nueva Alianza que Dios prometió a Jeremías se cumple en la “hora” de Jesús: en su muerte, resurrección, y ascensión a la derecha del Padre.

Los profetas predijeron que con esta Nueva Alianza regresarían, de todos los rincones de la tierra, las exiliadas tribus de Israel (cfr. Je 31,1.3.4.7.8). Jesús profetizó también que su Pasión reuniría a los hijos dispersos de Dios (Jn 11,52). Sin embargo, en el Evangelio de este domingo Jesús promete que atraerá hacia Sí no sólo a los israelitas, sino a todos los hombres y mujeres (Jn 12, 32).

La Nueva Alianza es mucho más que una reivindicación política o nacional. Como cantamos en el salmo, es una restauración espiritual universal. En la “hora” de Jesús, los pecadores de todas la naciones pueden regresar al Padre para ser lavados de su culpa y recibir corazones nuevos para amarle y servirle.

Jesús, al decir que será “levantado”, no está aludiendo solamente a su crucifixión ya próxima (cfr. Jn 3,14-15). Isaías usa la misma expresión para describir cómo el Mesías, después de sufrir por los pecados de Israel, sería levantado y grandemente exaltado (Is 52,2). En otra parte, el término se refiere a cómo como los reyes serían elevados sobre sus súbditos (cfr. 1M 8,13).

Jesús, durante su agonía, no oró para ser salvado. Más bien, según leemos en la epístola de este domingo, se ofreció a sí mismo al Padre en la cruz como súplica viviente. Por ello, Dios le dio potestad sobre el cielo y la tierra (Hch 2,33; Flp 2,9).

A donde ha ido podemos seguirle, si nos dejamos guiar por Él. Seguir a Jesús significa odiar el pecado y el egoísmo presentes en nuestra vida. Quiere decir confiar en la voluntad del Padre: en la ley que Él ha escrito en nuestros corazones.

La “hora” de Jesús continúa en la Eucaristía, donde unimos nuestros sacrificios al Suyo, entregando nuestras vidas a Dios como acto de reverencia y obediencia, confiando en que él nos elevará para que demos frutos de santidad.

Direct download: B_5_Lent_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Jer 31:31–34
Ps 51:3–4, 12–13, 14–15
Heb 5:7–9
Jn 12:20–33

Our readings today are filled with anticipation. The days are coming, Jeremiah prophesies in today’s First Reading. The hour has come, Jesus says in the Gospel. The new covenant that God promised to Jeremiah is made in the “hour” of Jesus—in His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father’s right hand.

The prophets said this new covenant would return Israel’s exiled tribes from the ends of the world (see Jeremiah 31:1, 3–4, 7–8). Jesus too predicted His passion would gather the dispersed children of God (see John 11:52). But today He promises to draw to himself not only Israelites, but all men and women.

The new covenant is more than a political or national restoration. As we sing in today’s Psalm, it is a universal spiritual restoration. In the “hour” of Jesus, sinners in every nation can return to the Father—to be washed of their guilt and given new hearts to love and serve Him.

In predicting He will be “lifted up,” Jesus isn’t describing only His coming Crucifixion (see John 3:14–15). Isaiah used the same word to tell how the Messiah, after suffering for Israel’s sins, would be raised high and greatly exalted (see Isaiah 52:3). Elsewhere the term describes how kings are elevated above their subjects (see 1 Maccabees 8:13).

Troubled in His agony, Jesus didn’t pray to be saved. Instead, as we hear in today’s Epistle, He offered himself to the Father on the Cross—as a living prayer and supplication. For this, God gave Him dominion over heaven and earth (see Acts 2:33; Philippians 2:9).

Where He has gone we can follow—if we let Him lead us. To follow Jesus means hating our lives of sin and selfishness. It means trusting in the Father’s will, the law He has written in our hearts.

Jesus’ “hour” continues in the Eucharist, where we join our sacrifices to His, giving God our lives in reverence and obedience—confident He will raise us up to bear fruits of holiness.

Direct download: B_5_Lent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
2 Chr 36:14–16, 19–23
Ps 137:1–6
Eph 2:4–10
Jn 3:14–21

The Sunday readings in Lent have been showing us the high points of salvation history—God’s covenant with creation in the time of Noah; His promises to Abraham; the law He gave to Israel at Sinai.

In today’s First Reading, we hear of the destruction of the kingdom established by God’s final Old Testament covenant—the covenant with David (see 2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89:3).

His chosen people abandoned the law He gave them. For their sins, the temple was destroyed, and they were exiled in Babylon. We hear their sorrow and repentance in the exile lament we sing as today’s Psalm.

But we also hear how God, in His mercy, gathered them back, even anointing a pagan king to shepherd them and rebuild the temple (see Isaiah 44:28–45:1,4).

God is rich in mercy, as today’s Epistle teaches. He promised that David’s kingdom would last forever, that David’s son would be His Son and rule all nations (see 2 Samuel 7:14–15; Psalm 2:7–9). In Jesus, God keeps that promise (see Revelation 22:16).

Moses lifted up the serpent as a sign of salvation (see Wisdom 16:6–7; Numbers 21:9). Now Jesus is lifted up on the Cross, to draw all people to himself (see John 12:32).

Those who refuse to believe in this sign of the Father’s love condemn themselves—as the Israelites in their infidelity brought judgment upon themselves.

But God did not leave Israel in exile, and He does not want to leave any of us dead in our transgressions. We are God’s handiwork, saved to live as His people in the light of His truth.

Midway through this season of repentance, let us again behold the Pierced One (see John 19:37), and rededicate ourselves to living the “good works” that God has prepared us for.

Direct download: B_4_Lent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
2 Crónicas 36,14-17, 19-23;
Salmo 137,1-6;
Efesios 2,4-10;
Juan 3,14-21

Las lecturas dominicales del tiempo cuaresmal nos han mostrado los momentos fundamentales de la historia de salvación: La alianza de Dios con la creación en el tiempo de Noé; la promesa que hizo a Abraham, la Ley que Él dio a Israel en el Sinaí.

En la primera lectura de este domingo, se nos habla de la destrucción del reino establecido en la última alianza del Antiguo Testamento, la de Dios con el rey David (cf. 2S 7; Sal 89,3).

El pueblo escogido por Dios abandonó la Ley que Él le había dado. Por sus pecados, el Templo de Salomón fue destruido y el pueblo exiliado a Babilonia.

Escuchamos su tristeza y arrepentimiento en la lamentación sobre el exilio que entonamos en el salmo.

Pero escuchamos cómo Dios, en su misericordia, reúne a su pueblo nuevamente, unge a un rey pagano para pastorearlo y reconstruye el Templo (cf. Is 44,28-45,1.4).

Sí, Dios es rico en misericordia, como enseña la epístola a los Efesios. Había prometido que el reino de David duraría para siempre, que el hijo de David sería su Hijo y gobernaría las naciones (cf. 2 S 7,14-15; Sal 2, 7-9).

En Jesús, Dios cumplió esta promesa (cf. Ap 22,16).

Moisés levantó una serpiente como signo de salvación (cf. Sb 16,6-7; Nm 21,9). Hoy Jesús es levantado en la cruz para atraer a todos hacia Él. (cf. Jn 12,32).

Los que se niegan a creer en este signo de amor del Padre se condenan a sí mismos, como les sucedió a los Israelitas en su infidelidad.

Pero Dios no dejó a Israel en el exilio y no quiere dejar a ninguno de nosotros morir en sus pecados. Somos la obra de su mano y hemos sido salvados para vivir en la luz de su verdad.

Cuando hemos llegado a la mitad de este camino de arrepentimiento cuaresmal, miremos “al que traspasaron” (Jn 19,37) y dediquémonos de nuevo a vivir las buenas obras que el Señor nos ha llamado a hacer.

Direct download: B_4_Lent_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Éxodo 20,1-17
Salmo 19, 8-11
1 Corintios 1, 22-25
Juan 2, 13-25

Jesús no viene para destruir la tradición que el Templo representa, sino para “darle cumplimiento” (cf. Mt 5,17); es decir, para revelar su verdadero significado dentro del plan de salvación de Dios.

El es el Señor de quien los profetas dijeron que vendría a purificar el Templo, echando afuera a los comerciantes y haciéndolo “casa de oración para todos los pueblos” (cf. Za 14,21; Ml 3,1-5; Is 56,7).

El Dios, que hizo los cielos y la tierra, que sacó a Israel de la esclavitud de Egipto, “no habita en casas fabricadas por manos humanas” (cf. Hch 7,48; 2S 7,6). Ni necesita sacrificios de novillos, ni ovejas ni palomas (cf. Sal 50,7-13).

En la primera lectura de este domingo es importante constatar que, en un principio, Dios no pedía sacrificios de animales, sino solo que Israel obedeciera sus mandamientos (cf. Jr 7,21-23; Am 5, 25).

Su ley fue un regalo de la sabiduría divina, como cantamos en el salmo. Es una Ley de Amor (cf. Mt 22, 36-40), expresada perfectamente en la entrega que Cristo hizo de sí mismo en la cruz (cf. Jn 15,13).

Este es el “signo” que Jesús ofrece en el evangelio: signo que fue “escándalo” para los líderes de los judíos, como dice San Pablo en la epístola.

El cuerpo de Jesús, destruido en la cruz y resucitado tres días después, es el Nuevo y verdadero Santuario. Desde el templo de su cuerpo salen ríos de agua viva, el Espíritu de gracia que hace de cada uno de nosotros un templo (cf. 1 Co 3,16) y nos constituye en morada de Dios (cf. Ef 2, 22).

Nosotros, en la Eucaristía, participamos en el ofrecimiento de su Cuerpo y Sangre. Este es el culto “en espíritu y verdad” que desea el Padre (cf. Jn 4, 23-24).

La alabanza es nuestro mejor sacrificio (cf. Sal 50,14.23). Esto consiste en imitar a Cristo “ofreciendo nuestros cuerpos”; es decir, todas nuestras intenciones y acciones por amor a Dios y al prójimo (Hb 10,5-7; Rom 12,1; 1P 2,5).

Direct download: B_3_Lent_Spn.mp3
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Readings:
Ex 20:1–17
Ps 19:8–11
1 Cor 1:22–25
Jn 2:13–25

Jesus does not come to destroy the temple, but to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17)—to reveal its true purpose in God’s saving plan.

He is the Lord the prophets said would come—to purify the temple, banish the merchants, and make it a house of prayer for all peoples (see Zechariah 14:21; Malachi 3:1–5; Isaiah 56:7).

The God who made the heavens and the earth, who brought Israel out of slavery, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands (see Acts 7:48; 2 Samuel 7:5).

Nor does He need offerings of oxen, sheep, or doves (see Psalm 50:7–13).

Notice in today’s First Reading that God did not originally command animal sacrifices—only that Israel heed His commandments (see Jeremiah 7:21–23; Amos 5:25).

His law was a gift of divine wisdom, as we sing in today’s Psalm. It was a law of love (see Matthew 22:36–40), perfectly expressed in Christ’s self-offering on the cross (see John 15:13)

This is the “sign” Jesus offers in the Gospel today—the sign that caused Jewish leaders to stumble, as Paul tells us in the Epistle.

Jesus’ body—destroyed on the Cross and raised up three days later—is the new and true sanctuary. From the temple of His body, rivers of living water flow, the Spirit of grace that makes each of us a temple (see 1 Corinthians 3:16), and together builds us into a dwelling place of God (see Ephesians 2:22).

In the Eucharist we participate in His offering of His body and blood. This is the worship in Spirit and in truth that the Father desires (see John 4:23–24).

We are to offer praise as our sacrifice (see Psalm 50:14,23). This means imitating Christ—offering our bodies —all our intentions and actions in every circumstance, for the love of God and the love of others (see Hebrews 10:5–7; Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5).

Direct download: B_3_Lent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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 EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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 EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

>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 EDT

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 EDT

Lecturas:
Isaías 60, 1-6
Salmo 72, 1-12,7-8, 10-13
Efesios 3, 2-3,5-6
Mateo 2, 1-12

Una “epifanía” es una manifestación. Las lecturas de este domingo, donde vemos estrellas que se alzan, luces es¬plendorosas y misterios revelados, nos presentan también el rostro del Niño que nació el día de Navidad.

En el Evangelio, Herodes pregunta a los jefes de los sumos sacerdotes y escribas dónde ha de nacer el Mesías. La respuesta que Mateo pone en sus labios dice mucho más, ya que combina dos promesas del Antiguo Testamento: una de ellas revela que el Mesías será descendiente de David (cfr. 2 S 5,2); la otra, predice la llegada de un “gobernador de Israel”, que “apacentará su rebaño” y cuya majestad alcanzará “hasta los confines de la tierra” (Mi 5, 1-3).

Esas promesas, referentes a un rey de Israel que gobierna las naciones, resuenan también en el Salmo de este domingo (que celebra al hijo de David, Salomón). Su reino, cantamos, alcanzará los confines de la tierra; y los reyes de la tierra le rendirán homenaje. Esa es la escena que presenta también la primera lectura, en la que los pueblos que vienen del este presentan oro e incienso al rey de Israel.

La peregrinación de los Magos que nos describe el Evangelio del domingo, marca el cumplimiento de las promesas de Dios. Éstos, probablemente astrólogos persas, siguen la estrella que, según predijo Balaam, se alzaría como un cetro sobre la casa de Jacob (cfr. Nm 24, 17).

Su viaje, cargados de oro y perfumes, evoca el que hicieron la reina de Sabá y los “reyes de la tierra” en pos de Salomón (cfr. 1 R 10, 2.25; 2 Cr 9,24). Es interesente observar que las únicas citas bíblicas donde se mencionan juntos el incienso y la mirra, se encuentran en el Cantar de los Cantares, un libro que refiere a Salomón (cfr. Ct 3,6; 4,6.14).

Alguien más grande que Salomón está aquí (cfr. Lc 11,31). Ha venido a revelar que todas las personas son coherederas de la familia real de Israel, como enseña la epístola de este domingo.

La manifestación de Cristo nos fuerza a tomar una decisión: ¿Seguiremos las señales que nos guían hacia Él, como lo hicieron los Magos? ¿O seremos como esos sacerdotes y escribas, que dejaron que las palabras de Dios se volvieran letras muertas entre pergaminos antiguos?

Direct download: B_Epiphany_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
1 Samuel 3, 3-10.19
Salmo 40, 2.4.7-10
1 Corintios 6, 3-15.17-20
Juan 1,35-42

En las llamadas de Samuel y del prim¬ero de los Apóstoles, las lecturas de este domingo nos dan luz sobre nues¬tra propia vocación de seguidores de Cristo.

En el Evangelio, hay que notar que los discípulos de Juan están preparados para escuchar la llamada de Dios. Ellos ya están buscando al Mesías, por lo tanto confían en la palabra de Juan y le comprenden cuando él les señala al Cordero de Dios que pasa a su lado.

También Samuel está a la espera del Señor: duerme cerca del Arca de la Alianza, donde mora la gloria de Dios, y recibe instrucción de Elí, el sumo sacerdote

Samuel escuchó la palabra de Dios y el Señor estaba con él. Y Samuel, por su palabra, convirtió a todo Israel al Señor (cf. 1S 3,21; 7,2-3). También los discípulos escucharon y siguieron las palabras que escuchamos continuamente en el Evangelio dominical. Ellos permanecieron con el Señor y por su testimonio, otros se acercaron a Él.

Estos pasajes de la historia de la salvación deberían darnos la fuerza necesaria para que abracemos la voluntad de Dios y sigamos su llamado en nuestras vidas.

Dios está llamando constante¬mente a cada uno de nosotros: lo llama por su nombre, personalmente (cf. Is 43,1; Jn 10,3). Quiere que lo busquemos por amor, que anhelemos su Palabra (cf. Sb 6,11-12). Como lo hicieron los apóstoles, debemos desear siempre estar donde el Señor está; para buscar su rostro constantemente.

Como nos dice San Pablo en la epístola del domingo, no somos dueños de nosotros mismos pues pertenecemos al Señor.

Debemos abrir nuestros oídos a la obediencia y escribir su Palabra en nuestro corazón. Hemos de confiar en la promesa del Señor: si venimos a Él con fe, Él será misericordioso con nosotros (cf. Jn 15,14; 14,21-23) y nos levantará con su poder. Y nosotros debemos reflejar en nuestras vidas el amor que nos ha mostrado, para que también otros puedan encontrar al Mesías.

Mientras renovamos las promesas de nuestro discipulado en esta Eucaristía, acerquémonos al altar entonando el nuevo canto del salmo dominical: “Aquí estoy, Señor, para cumplir tu voluntad”.

Direct download: B_2_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2,7-8, 10-13
Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

Today the child born on Christmas is revealed to be the long-awaited king of the Jews.

As the priests and scribes interpret the prophecies in today's Gospel, he is the ruler expected from the line of King David, whose greatness is to reach to the ends of the earth (see Micah 5:1-3; 2 Samuel 5:2).

Jesus is found with His mother, as David's son, Solomon, was enthroned alongside his Queen Mother (see 1 Kings 2:19). And the magi come to pay Him tribute, as once kings and queens came to Solomon (see 1 Kings 10:2,25).

His coming evokes promises that extend back to Israel's beginnings.

Centuries before, an evil king seeking to destroy Moses and the Israelites had summoned Balaam, who came from the East with two servants. But Balaam refused to curse Israel, and instead prophesied that a star and royal staff would arise out of Israel and be exalted above all the nations (see Numbers 22:21; 23:7; 24:7,17).

This is the star the three magi follow. And like Balaam, they too, refuse to be tangled in an evil king's scheme. Their pilgrimage is a sign - that the prophesies in today's First Reading and Psalm are being fulfilled. They come from afar, guided by God's light, bearing the wealth of nations, to praise Israel's God.

We celebrate today our own entrance into the family of God, and the fulfillment of God's plan that all nations be united with Israel as co-heirs to His Fatherly blessings, as Paul reveals in today's Epistle.

We too, must be guided by the root of David, the bright morning star (see Revelation 22:16), and the light of the world (see Isaiah 42:6; John 8:12).

As the magi adored Him in the manger, let us renew our vow to serve Him, placing our gifts - our intentions and talents - on the altar in this Eucharist. We must offer to Him our very lives in thanksgiving. No lesser gift will suffice for this newborn King.

Direct download: B_Epiphany.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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