St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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

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:

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