St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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

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

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