Letters From Home

Lecturas:
Sirácida 3,2-6.12-14
Salmo 128, 1-5
Colosenses 3,12-21
Lucas 2, 22-40

¿Porqué Jesús escoge ser el bebé de una madre y un padre, y pasar casi toda su vida –excepto sus últimos años- en una familia humana ordinaria? En parte, para revelar el plan de Dios, de que todos vivan como una “familia santa” en su Iglesia (cf. 2Co 6,16-18). En la Sagrada Familia de Jesús, María y José, Dios revela nuestro verdadero hogar. Tenemos que vivir como sus hijos, “elegidos, santos y queridos,” como dice la Segunda Lectura.

Los consejos familiares que escuchamos en las lecturas de esta semana –para madres, padres e hijos- son todos prácticos y formales. Los hogares felices son fruto de nuestra fidelidad al Señor, cantamos en el salmo de hoy.

Pero la Liturgia nos invita a más: a ver que al cumplir nuestras obligaciones y relaciones familiares, nuestras familias se convierten en heraldos de la familia de Dios; esa que Él quiere crear en la tierra.

Eso es lo que observamos en el Evangelio del domingo. Es notorio que José y María no son identificados por su nombre, pero son llamados “sus padres” y también se hace referencia a ellos por separado como su “madre” y su “padre”. Se pone énfasis en los lazos familiares que los unen al “niño Jesús”.

Como el varón primogénito de su familia, Jesús es consagrado al Señor. Pero además es el Primogénito de la creación, el primogénito resucitado de entre los muertos, el predestinado a ser el primogénito de muchos hermanos (cf. Col 1,15; Rm 8,29). Por Él, por su sagrada familia, todas las familias del mundo serán bendecidas (cf. Ef 3,15).

También es significativo que toda la escena descrita tiene lugar en el Templo. El Templo, leemos ahí, es la casa de Dios, su morada (cf. Lc 19,46). Pero también es imagen de la familia de Dios: la Iglesia (cf. Ef 2,19-22; Hb 3,3-6; 10,21).

En nuestras familias hemos de construir este hogar, esta familia, este templo vivo de Dios. Hasta que Él nos revele su nueva morada entre nosotros y diga de cada persona: “Yo seré Dios para él, y él será hijo para mí” (Ap 21,3.7).

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

Readings:
Sirach 3:2-6,12-14
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Colossians 3:12-21
Luke 2:22-40

Why did Jesus choose to become a baby born of a mother and father and to spend all but His last years living in an ordinary human family? In part, to reveal God's plan to make all people live as one “holy family” in His Church (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, God reveals our true home. We're to live as His children, “chosen ones, holy and beloved,” as the First Reading puts it.

The family advice we hear in today's readings – for mothers, fathers and children – is all solid and practical. Happy homes are the fruit of our faithfulness to the Lord, we sing in today's Psalm. But the Liturgy is inviting us to see more, to see how, through our family obligations and relationships, our families become heralds of the family of God that He wants to create on earth.

Jesus shows us this in today's Gospel. His obedience to His earthly parents flows directly from His obedience to the will of His heavenly Father. Joseph and Mary aren't identified by name, but three times are called “his parents” and are referred to separately as his “mother” and “father.” The emphasis is all on their “familial” ties to Jesus. But these ties are emphasized only so that Jesus, in the first words He speaks in Luke's Gospel, can point us beyond that earthly relationship to the Fatherhood of God.

In what Jesus calls “My Father's house,” every family finds its true meaning and purpose (see Ephesians 3:15). The Temple we read about in the Gospel today is God's house, His dwelling (see Luke 19:46). But it's also an image of the family of God, the Church (see Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 3:3-6; 10:21).

In our families we're to build up this household, this family, this living temple of God. Until He reveals His new dwelling among us, and says of every person: “I shall be his God and he will be My son” (see Revelation 21:3,7).

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

Lecturas:
Isaías 61, 1-2.10-11
Lucas 1, 46-50.53-54
1 Tesalonicenses 5, 16-24
Juan 1, 6-8.19-28

La misteriosa figura de Juan el Bautista, que nos fue presentada en las lecturas de la semana pasada, se nos muestra hoy más claramente a la vista. Como vemos en el evangelio de este domingo, se comprende mejor quién es Juan si se sabe primero quién no es.

Él no es Elías que ha retornado del cielo (cf. 2R 2,11), aún y cuando viste su mismo atuendo (cf. Mc 1,6; 2R 1,8) y predica el arrepentimiento y el juicio (cf. 1R 18,21; 2Cr 21,12-15).

No es Elías en la carne, sin embargo Juan es enviado con el espíritu y poder de Elías para cumplir su misión (cf. Lc 1,17; Ml 3,23-24). Tampoco es el profeta que Moisés predijo, aunque es su pariente y habla la palabra de Dios (cf. Dt 18,15-19; Jn 6,14).

Juan tampoco es el Mesías, aunque ha sido ungido por el Espíritu desde el vientre de su madre (cf. Lc 1,15.44).

Juan prepara el camino del Señor (cf. Is 40,3). Su bautismo es simbólico, no sacramental. Es un signo que se nos da para mover nuestros corazones al arrepentimiento.

Él nos muestra a Aquel sobre quien permanece el Espíritu (cf. Jn 1,32); Aquel que cumple la promesa que escuchamos en la primera lectura del domingo (cf. Lc 4,16-21).
Jesús, por medio de su baño de Espíritu y de regeneración, abre una fuente que purifica Israel y les da a todos un nuevo corazón y un nuevo espíritu (cf. Za 13,1-3; Ez 36,24-27; Mc 1,8; Tt 3,5).

Juan viene a nosotros en las lecturas del Adviento para mostrarnos la luz, de modo que podamos creer en Aquel que viene en Navidad. Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, el Poderoso ha venido para levantar a cada uno de nosotros; para colmar nuestra hambre con pan del cielo (cf. Jn 6,33.49-51).

Y como San Pablo exhorta en la epístola, debemos alegrarnos, dar gracias y orar sin cesar para que Dios nos haga perfectamente santos en espíritu, alma y cuerpo. De ese modo estaremos libres de culpa cuando nuestro Señor venga.

Direct download: B_3_Advent_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

Readings
Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

The mysterious figure of John the Baptist, introduced in last week's readings, comes into sharper focus today. Who he is, we see in today's Gospel, is best understood by who he isn't.

He is not Elijah returned from the heavens (see 2 Kings 2:11), although like him he dresses in the prophet's attire (see Mark 1:6; 2 Kings 1:8) and preaches repentance and judgment (see 1 Kings 18:21; 2 Chronicles 21:12-15).

Not Elijah in the flesh, John is nonetheless sent in the spirit and power of Elijah to fulfill his mission (see Luke 1:17; Malachi 3:23-24).

Neither is John the prophet Moses foretold, although he is a kinsman and speaks God's word (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19; John 6:14). Nor is John the Messiah, though he has been anointed by the Spirit since the womb (see Luke 1:15, 44).

John prepares the way for the Lord (see Isaiah 40:3). His baptism is symbolic, not sacramental. It is a sign given to stir our hearts to repentance.

John shows us the One upon whom the Spirit remains (see John 1:32), the One who fulfills the promise we hear in today's First Reading (see Luke 4:16-21). Jesus' bath of rebirth and the Spirit opens a fountain that purifies Israel and gives to all a new heart and a new Spirit (see Zechariah 13:1-3; Ezekiel 36:24-27; Mark 1:8; Titus 3:5).

John comes to us in the Advent readings to show us the light, that we might believe in the One who comes at Christmas. As we sing in today's Responsorial, the Mighty One has come to lift each of us up, to fill our hunger with bread from heaven (see John 6:33, 49-51).

And as Paul exhorts in today's Epistle, we should rejoice, give thanks, and pray without ceasing that God will make us perfectly holy in spirit, soul, and body - that we may be blameless when our Lord comes.

Direct download: B_3_Advent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 1:30pm EDT

Readings:
Malachi 1:14-2:2, 8-10
Psalm 131:1-3
1 Thessalonians 2:7-9, 13
Matthew 23:1-12

Though they were Moses' successors, the Pharisees and scribes exalted themselves, made their mastery of the law a badge of social privilege. Worse, they had lorded the law over the people (see Matthew 20:25). Like the priests Malachi condemns in today's First Reading, they caused many to falter and be closed off from God.

In a word, Israel's leaders failed to be good spiritual fathers of God's people. Moses was a humble father-figure, preaching the law but also practicing it - interceding and begging God's mercy and forgiveness of the people's sins (see Exodus 32:9-14; Psalm 90).

And Jesus reminds us today that all fatherhood - in the family or in the people of God - comes from the our Father in heaven (see Ephesians 3:15).

He doesn't mean we're to literally call no man "father." He himself referred to Israel's founding fathers (see John 7:42); the apostles taught about natural fatherhood (see Hebrews 12:7-11), and described themselves as spiritual fathers (see 1 Corinthians 4:14-16)

The fatherhood of the apostles and their successors, the Church's priests and bishops, is a spiritual paternity given to raise us as God's children. Our fathers give us new life in baptism, and feed us the spiritual milk of the gospel and the Eucharist (see 1 Peter 2:2-3). That's why Paul, in today's Epistle, can also compare himself to a nursing mother.

God's fatherhood likewise transcends all human notions of fatherhood and motherhood. Perhaps that's why the Psalm chosen for today includes one of the rare biblical images of God's maternal care (see Isaiah 66:13).

His only Son has shown us the Father (see John 14:9) coming to gather His children as a hen gathers her young (see Matthew 23:37). We're all brothers and sisters, our Lord tells us today. And all of us - even our spiritual fathers - are to trust in Him, humbly, like children on our mothers' laps.

Direct download: Breaking_the_Bread_31st_Sunday_Reflection.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings
Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20-24, 27
Matthew 20:1-16

The house of Israel is the vine of God - who planted and watered it, preparing the Israelites to bear fruits of righteousness (see Isaiah 5:7; 27:2-5).

Israel failed to yield good fruits and the Lord allowed His vineyard, Israel's kingdom, to be overrun by conquerors (see Psalm 80:9-20). But God promised that one day He would replant His vineyard and its shoots would blossom to the ends of the earth (see Amos 9:15; Hosea 14:5-10).

This is the biblical backdrop to Jesus' parable of salvation history in today's Gospel. The landowner is God. The vineyard is the kingdom. The workers hired at dawn are the Israelites, to whom He first offered His covenant. Those hired later in the day are the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, who, until the coming of Christ, were strangers to the covenants of promise (see Ephesians 2:11-13). In the Lord's great generosity, the same wages, the same blessings promised to the first-called, the Israelites, will be paid to those called last, the rest of the nations.

This provokes grumbling in today's parable. Doesn't the complaint of those first laborers sound like that of the older brother in Jesus' prodigal son parable (see Luke 15:29-30)? God's ways, however, are far from our ways, as we hear in today's First Reading. And today's readings should caution us against the temptation to resent God's lavish mercy.

Like the Gentiles, many will be allowed to enter the kingdom late - after having spent most of their days idling in sin.

But even these can call upon Him and find Him near, as we sing in today's Pslam. We should rejoice that God has compassion on all whom He has created. This should console us, too, especially if we have loved ones who remain far from the vineyard.

Our task is to continue laboring in His vineyard. As Paul says in today's Epistle, let us conduct ourselves worthily, struggling to bring all men and women to the praise of His name.

Direct download: Breaking_the_Bread_25th_Sunday_Reflection.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas
Isaías 55, 6-9
Salmo 145, 2-3.8-9.17-18
Filipenses 1, 20-24.27
Mateo 20,1-16

La casa de Israel es la viña de Dios que Él plantó y regó, preparando a los israelitas para dar frutos de justicia (cf. Is 5,7; 27,2-5).

Israel no produjo frutos buenos y el Señor permitió que su viña, el reino de Israel, fuera invadida por conquistadores (cf. Sal 80, 9-20). Pero Dios prometió que un día replantaría su viña y sus brotes florecerían hasta los confines de la tierra (cf. Am 9,15; Os 14, 5-10).

Esto es el trasfondo bíblico de la parábola de Jesús sobre la historia de la salvación que presenta el Evangelio de hoy. Dios es el dueño. La viña es el reino. Los trabajadores contratados al amanecer son los israelitas, los primeros a quienes Él ofreció su alianza. Los que son contratados después son los gentiles, los no israelitas, quienes hasta la venida de Cristo eran extraños a las alianzas y promesas (cf. Ef 2,11-13). En la gran misericordia de Dios, el mismo sueldo, las mismas bendiciones prometidas a los primeros llamados -los israelitas- serán pagados a los que fueron llamados por último, al resto de las naciones.

Estas palabras provocan murmuraciones en la parábola de hoy. Las quejas de esos primeros trabajadores, ¿no suenan acaso como las del hermano mayor de la parábola del hijo pródigo? (cf. Lc 15,29-30). Los caminos de Dios, sin embargo, están lejos de los nuestros, como escuchamos en la primera lectura de hoy. Y las lecturas de hoy deberían prevenirnos contra la tentación de renegar de la generosa misericordia divina.

Como los gentiles, muchos serán admitidos al final para entrar en el reino, luego de pasar la mayoría de sus días holgazaneando en el pecado.

Pero incluso estos pueden acudir a Él y encontrarlo cerca, como cantamos en el salmo de este día. Debemos regocijarnos de que Dios tenga compasión hacia todos los que ha creado. Eso nos debería consolar, especialmente si somos de los que permanecen lejos de la viña.

Nuestra tarea consiste en seguir trabajando en su viña. Como San Pablo dice en la epístola de hoy, conduzcámonos dignamente luchando para que todo hombre y mujer alabe su Nombre.

Direct download: A_25_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:

Daniel 7, 9-10, 13-14
Salmo 97, 1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Pedro 1, 16-19
Matteo 17, 1-9

El evangelio de este domingo muestra cómo Cristo, mediante su Transfiguración,  revela su verdadera identidad en la cima de la montaña santa.

Situado en medio de Moisés y Elías, Jesús es el puente que une la Ley antigua,  los profetas y los salmos (Cfr. Lc 24, 24-27). Como Moisés, Jesús sube a la montaña con tres acompañantes cuyos nombres conocemos y contempla la gloria de Dios en una nube (Cfr. Ex 24, 1,9,15). Como Elías, Él también escucha la voz de Dios en la montaña (1R 19, 8-19).

Según la profecía, Elías tenía que regresar como heraldo del Mesías y de la Nueva Alianza con el Señor (Cfr. Ml 3,1, 23-24). Jesús se revela ahora como ese Mesías. Por su muerte y resurrección, como él lo dice en la intimidad a sus  apóstoles,  hace una Nueva Alianza con toda la Creación.

La voz majestuosa anuncia a Jesús como el mismo Hijo amado de Dios, en quien el Padre se complace (Cfr. S 2,7). Con esas palabras,  Dios nos permite asomarnos brevemente a su interior. En la nube que representa el Espíritu Santo, el Padre revela su amor hacia el Hijo y nos invita a compartir ese amor como hijos suyos bienamados.

Envuelto en las nubes del cielo, con sus vestiduras resplandecientes, Jesús es el Hijo del Hombre cuya entronización profetiza  Daniel en la primera lectura de este domingo.

Él es el rey, el Señor de toda la tierra, como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo. Pero debemos preguntarnos,  ¿es también Cristo el Señor de nuestra mente y de nuestro corazón?

En el Evangelio de hoy, la última palabra que Dios dice desde el cielo es un mandato: “Escúchenlo” (Cfr. Dt 18, 15-19).

La palabra del Señor debería ser una luz que brilla en las tinieblas, como nos dice San Pedro en la segunda lectura. Sin embargo, ¿estamos realmente escuchando? ¿Ponemos atención a su Palabra cada día?

Dispongámonos nuevamente a escuchar.  Oigamos a Cristo como Palabra de vida; contemplémoslo como radiante Lucero del alba (Cfr. Ap 2, 28; 22,16) que aguarda el momento de levantarse en el interior de nuestros corazones.

Direct download: Al_Partir_El_Pan_La_Transfiguracion_del_Senor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am EDT

Readings:

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Peter 1:16-19
Matthew 17:1-9

High on the holy mountain in today's Gospel, the true identity of Jesus is fully revealed in His transfiguration.

Standing between Moses and the prophet Elijah, Jesus is the bridge that joins the Law of Moses to the prophets and psalms (see Luke 24:24-27). As Moses did, Jesus climbs a mountain with three named friends and beholds God's glory in a cloud (see Exodus 24:1,9,15). As Elijah did, He hears God's voice on the mountain (see 1 Kings 19:8-19).

Elijah was prophesied to return as the herald of the messiah and the Lord's new covenant (see Malachi 3:1,23-24). Jesus is revealed today as that messiah. By His death and resurrection, which He intimates today to the apostles, He makes a new covenant with all creation.

The majestic voice declares Jesus to be God's own beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased (see Psalm 2:7). God here gives us a glimpse of His inner life. In the cloud of the Holy Spirit, the Father reveals His love for the Son, and invites us to share in that love, as His beloved sons and daughters.

Shadowed by the clouds of heaven, His clothes dazzling white, Jesus is the Son of Man whom Daniel foresees being enthroned in today's First Reading.

He is the king, the Lord of all the earth, as we sing in today's Psalm. But is He truly the Lord of our hearts and minds?

The last word God speaks from heaven today is a command -- "Listen to Him" (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19). The word of the Lord should be like a lamp shining in the darkness of our days, as Peter tells us in today's First Reading.

How well are we listening? Do we attend to His word each day?

Let us today rededicate ourselves to listening. Let us hear Him as the word of life, the bright morning star of divine life waiting to arise in our hearts (see Revelation 2:28; 22:16).

Direct download: Breaking_the_Bread_Transfiguration_Reflection.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

Readings:
Wisdom 12:13, 16–19
Psalm 86:5–6, 9–10, 15–16
Romans 8:26–27
Matthew 13:24–43

God is always teaching His people, we hear in today’s First Reading.

And what does He want us to know? That He has care for all of us, that though He is a God of justice, even those who defy and disbelieve Him may hope for His mercy if they turn to Him in repentance.

This divine teaching continues in the three parables that Jesus tells in the Gospel today. Each describes the emergence of the kingdom of God from the seeds sown by His works and preaching. The kingdom’s growth is hidden—like the working of yeast in bread; it’s improbable, unexpected—as in the way the tall mustard tree grows from the smallest of seeds.

Again this week’s readings sound a note of questioning: Why does God permit the evil to grow alongside the good? Why does He permit some to reject the Word of His kingdom?

Because, as we sing in today’s Psalm, God is slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He is just, Jesus assures us—evildoers and those who cause others to sin will be thrown into the fiery furnace at the end of the age. But by His patience, God is teaching us—that above all He desires repentance, and the gathering of all nations to worship Him and to glorify His name.

Even though we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit will intercede for us, Paul promises in today’s Epistle. But first we must turn and call upon Him, we must commit ourselves to letting the good seed of His Word bear fruit in our lives.

So we should not be deceived or lose heart when we see weeds among the wheat, truth and holiness mixed with error, injustice and sin.

For now, He makes His sun rise on the good and the bad (see Matthew 5:45). But the harvest draws near. Let’s work that we might be numbered among the righteous children—who will shine like the sun in the kingdom of the Father.

Direct download: Breaking_the_Bread_16th_Sunday_Reflection.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Lecturas:
Sabiduría 12,13.16–19
Salmo 86,5–6.9–10.15–16
Romanos 8, 26–27
Mateo 13, 24–43

Dios está siempre instruyendo a su pueblo, escuchamos en la primera lectura de esta semana.

¿Y qué quiere hacernos saber? Que se preocupa por todos nosotros; que aunque es un Dios de justicia, aún los que lo desafían y dudan de Él, pueden esperar en su misericordia si regresan a Él arrepentidos.

Esta enseñanza divina continúa en las tres parábolas que Jesús cuenta en el Evangelio de hoy. Cada una describe el surgimiento del reino de Dios de semillas sembradas por su trabajo y predicación. El reino crece de manera oculta—como la acción de la levadura en el pan, que es improbable, inesperada. De igual manera sucede con el gran árbol de mostaza, que crece de la más pequeña de las semillas.

Una vez más, las lecturas de esta semana cuestionan: ¿Porqué Dios permite al mal crecer al lado del bien? ¿Porqué permite que algunos rechacen la Palabra de su reino? Porque, como cantamos en el salmo dominical, Dios es lento a la cólera y rico en bondad.

Jesús nos asegura que es justo: Los malvados y los que inducen a otros al pecado, serán arrojados en el horno encendido al final de los tiempos. Pero por su paciencia Dios nos enseña que, sobre todo, desea arrepentimiento; y quiere reunir a todas las naciones para que lo adoren y glorifiquen su Nombre.

Aunque no sabemos orar como deberíamos, el Espíritu intercede por nosotros, nos promete San Pablo en la epístola dominical. Pero primero hemos de volver a Él y llamarlo; debemos comprometernos a dejar que la buena semilla de su Palabra dé frutos en nuestras vidas.

Por tanto, no debemos engañarnos ni descorazonarnos cuando vemos cizaña entre el trigo, verdad y santidad mezclada con error, injusticia y pecado.

Por ahora, Él hace salir su sol sobre buenos y malos (cf. Mt 5,45). Pero la cosecha se acerca. Trabajemos para que seamos contados entre los hijos justos, que brillarán como el sol en el reino del Padre.

Direct download: A_16_Ordinary_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm EDT

Lecturas:
Éxodo 34, 4–6.8–9
Daniel 3, 52–56
2 Corintios 13, 11–13
Juan 3,16–18

Frecuentemente comenzamos la Misa con la oración tomada de la epístola de hoy: “La gracia de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, el amor del Padre y la comunión del Espíritu Santo estén con ustedes”. Alabamos al Dios que se ha revelado a Sí mismo como Trinidad, como comunión de personas.

La comunión con la Trinidad es la meta de nuestra adoración y el propósito de la historia de la salvación que comienza en la Biblia y continúa en la Eucaristía y en los sacramentos de la Iglesia.

En la primera lectura vemos los inicios de la autorevelación de Dios, cuando pasa frente a Moisés y proclama su nombre santo. Israel había pecado en adorar al becerro de oro (cf. Ex 32). Pero Dios no los condena a perecer, sino que proclama su misericordia y fidelidad a su alianza.

Dios amó a Israel como su primogénito entre las naciones (cf. Ex 4,22). Por medio de Israel—heredero de su alianza con Abraham—, Dios planeó revelarse como el Padre de todas las naciones (cf. Gn 22,18).

El recuerdo de la prueba de alianza que Dios pidió a Abraham—y la obediencia fiel de Abraham—es el trasfondo del Evangelio de este día. Al ordenarle a Abraham que le ofreciera su amado hijo único (cf, Gn 22,2.12.16), Dios nos estaba preparando para la más completa revelación de su amor por el mundo. Así como Abraham estaba dispuesto a ofrecer a Isaac, Dios no perdonó a su propio Hijo, sino que lo entregó por todos nosotros (cf. Rm 8,32).

Con ello reveló lo que sólo a Moisés fue descubierto parcialmente, que su bondad perdura por mil generaciones, que perdona nuestro pecado y nos toma de vuelta como pueblo de su propiedad (cf. Dt 4,20; 9,29).

Jesús se humilló a sí mismo hasta morir en obediencia a la voluntad de Dios. Y por esto, el Espíritu de Dios lo levantó de la muerte (cf. Rm 8,11) y le dio un nombre que está sobre todo nombre (cf. Fl 2,8–10).

Ese es el nombre que glorificamos en el salmo de hoy: el nombre de nuestro Señor, el Dios que es Amor (cf. 1Jn 4,8.16).

Direct download: A_Trinity_Spn_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EDT

 

Isaiah 49:14–15

Psalm 62:2–3, 6–9

1 Corinthians 4:1–5

Matthew 6:24–24

 

We are by nature prone to be anxious and troubled about many things.

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus confronts us with our most common fears. We are anxious mostly about how we will meet our material needs—for food and drink; for clothing; for security for tomorrow.

Yet in seeking security and comfort, we may unwittingly be handing ourselves over to servitude to “mammon,” Jesus warns. “Mammon” is an Aramaic word that refers to money or possessions.

Jesus is not condemning wealth. Nor is he saying that we shouldn’t work to earn our daily bread or to make provisions for our future.

It is a question of priorities and goals. What are we living for? Where is God in our lives?

Jesus insists that we need only to have faith in God and to trust in his Providence.

The readings this Sunday pose a challenge to us. Do we really believe that God cares for us, that he alone can provide for all our needs?

Do we believe that he loves us more than a mother loves the infant at her breast, as God himself promises in this week’s beautiful First Reading? Do we really trust that he is our rock and salvation, as we sing in the Psalm?

Jesus calls us to an intense realism about our lives. For all our worrying, none of us change the span of our days. None of us has anything that we have not received as a gift from God (see 1 Cor. 4:7).

St. Paul reminds us in the Epistle that when the Lord comes he will disclose the purposes of every heart.

We cannot serve both God and mammon. We must choose one or the other. Our faith cannot be partial. We must put our confidence in him and not be shaken by anxiety.

Let us resolve today to seek his Kingdom and his holiness before all else—confident that we are beloved sons and daughters, and that our Father in heaven will never forsake us.

Direct download: A_8_Ordinary_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

 

Readings:

Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Psalm 146:6-10

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Matthew 5:1-12

In the readings since Christmas, Jesus has been revealed as the new royal son of David and Son of God. He is sent to lead a new exodus that brings Israel out of captivity to the nations and brings all the nations to God.

As Moses led Israel from Egypt through the sea to give them God's law on Mount Sinai, Jesus too has passed through the waters in baptism. Now, in today's Gospel, He goes to the mountain to proclaim a new law—the law of His Kingdom.

The Beatitudes mark the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to Abraham—that through his descendants all the nations of the world would receive God's blessings (see Genesis 12:3; 22:18).

Jesus is the son of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1). And through the wisdom He speaks today, He bestows the Father's blessings upon "the poor in spirit."

God has chosen to bless the weak and lowly, those foolish and despised in the eyes of the world, Paul says in today's Epistle. The poor in spirit are those who know that nothing they do can merit God's mercy and grace. These are the humble remnant in today's First Reading—taught to seek refuge in the name of the Lord.

The Beatitudes reveal the divine path and purpose for our lives. All our striving should be for these virtues—to be poor in spirit; meek and clean of heart; merciful and makers of peace; seekers of the righteousness that comes from living by the law of Kingdom.

The path the Lord sets before us today is one of trials and persecution. But He promises comfort in our mourning and a great reward.

The Kingdom we have inherited is no earthly territory, but the promised land of heaven. It is Zion where the Lord reigns forever. And, as we sing in today's Psalm, its blessings are for those whose hope is in the Lord.

Direct download: A_4_Ordinary_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

 

 

Readings:

Isaiah 49:3,5-6

Psalm 40:2,4,7-10

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

John 1:29-34

 

Jesus speaks through the prophet Isaiah in today's First Reading.

He tells us of the mission given to Him by the Father from the womb: "'You are My servant,' He said to Me."

Servant and Son, our Lord was sent to lead a new exodus - to raise up the exiled tribes of Israel, to gather and restore them to God. More than that, He was to be a light to the nations, that God's salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (see Acts 13:46-47).

Before the first exodus, a lamb was offered in sacrifice and its blood painted on the Israelites' door posts. The blood of the lamb identified their homes and the Lord "passed over" these in executing judgment on the Egyptians (see Exodus 12:1-23,27).

In the new exodus, Jesus is the "Lamb of God," as John beholds Him in the Gospel today (see 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Our Lord sings of this in today's Psalm. He has come, He says, to offer His body to do the will of God (see Hebrews 10:3-13).

The sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, and sin-offerings given after the first exodus had no power to take away sins (see Hebrews 10:4). They were meant not to save but to teach (see Galatians 3:24). In offering these sacrifices, the people were to learn self-sacrifice - that they were made for worship, to offer themselves freely to God and to delight in His will.

Only Jesus could make that perfect offering of himself. And through His sacrifice, He has given us ears open to obedience, made it possible for us to hear the Father's call to holiness, as Paul says in today's Epistle.

He has made us children of God, baptized in the blood of the Lamb (see Revelation 7:14). And we are to join our sacrifice to His, to offer our bodies - our lives - as living sacrifices in the spiritual worship of the Mass (see Romans 12:1).

Direct download: A_2_Ordinary_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 10:03am EDT

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