St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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