St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

Lecturas:
Isaías 5, 1–7
Salmo 80,9.12–16.19–20
Filipenses 4, 6–9
Mateo 21,33–43

Jesús, en el Evangelio de esta semana, utiliza de nuevo el símbolo veterotestamentario de la viña para instruir sobre Israel, la Iglesia y el reino de Dios. Es fácil también comprender el simbolismo de la primera lectura y el salmo.

Dios es el propietario y la casa de Israel es la viña. Como vid apreciada, Israel es arrancada de Egipto y trasplantada en una tierra fértil preparada especialmente por Dios; es cercada por las murallas de Jerusalén y vigilada por el imponente Templo. Pero la viña no produjo uvas buenas para vino, símbolo de las vidas santas que Dios esperaba de su pueblo. Por ello Dios permitió que fuera invadida por invasores extranjeros, como Isaías prevé en la primera lectura.

Jesús continúa la historia en donde la deja Isaías, incluso usando sus palabras para describir el lagar, la cerca y la torre. Los líderes religiosos de Israel, los labradores de esta parábola, no han aprendido nada de Isaías ni del pasado de Israel. En vez de producir buenos frutos, han matado a los servidores del propietario, los profetas enviados para reunir la cosecha: las almas fieles.

Como oscuro presagio de su propia crucifixión fuera de Jerusalén, Jesús dice que el ultraje final de los labradores será detener al hijo del propietario y matarlo fuera de las murallas de la viña.

Por esto la viña, a la que Jesús llama reino de Dios, les será quitada y le será entregada a nuevos labradores: los líderes de la Iglesia, que producirá sus frutos.

Cada uno de nosotros es una vid en la viña del Señor, injertada en la Vid verdadera que es Cristo (cf. Jn 15,1–8), llamado a llevar frutos de justicia en Él (cf. Flp 1,11) y a ser “primicia” de una nueva creación (cf. St 1,18).

Debemos cuidar el no dejarnos perdernos por las espinas y las zarzas que son las preocupaciones del mundo. Como advierte la epístola de hoy, hemos de llenar nuestro corazón y nuestra mente con intenciones nobles y acciones virtuosas, regocijándonos siempre por que el Señor está cerca.

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Isaiah 5:1–7
Psalm 80:9, 12–16, 19–20
Philippians 4:6–9
Matthew 21:33–43

In today’s Gospel Jesus returns to the Old Testament symbol of the vineyard to teach about Israel, the Church, and the kingdom of God.

And the symbolism of today’s First Reading and Psalm is readily understood.

God is the owner and the house of Israel is the vineyard. A cherished vine, Israel was plucked from Egypt and transplanted in a fertile land specially spaded and prepared by God, hedged about by the city walls of Jerusalem, watched over by the towering Temple. But the vineyard produced no good grapes for the wine, a symbol for the holy lives God wanted for His people. So God allowed His vineyard to be overrun by foreign invaders, as Isaiah foresees in the First Reading.

Jesus picks up the story where Isaiah leaves off, even using Isaiah’s words to describe the vineyard’s wine press, hedge, and watchtower. Israel’s religious leaders, the tenants in His parable, have learned nothing from Isaiah or Israel’s past. Instead of producing good fruits, they’ve killed the owner’s servants, the prophets sent to gather the harvest of faithful souls.

In a dark foreshadowing of His own crucifixion outside Jerusalem, Jesus says the tenants’ final outrage will be to seize the owner’s son, and to kill him outside the vineyard walls.

For this, the vineyard, which Jesus calls the kingdom of God, will be taken away and given to new tenants—the leaders of the Church, who will produce its fruit.

We are each a vine in the Lord’s vineyard, grafted onto the true vine of Christ (see John 15:1–8), called to bear fruits of the righteousness in Him (see Philippians 1:11) and to be the “first fruits” of a new creation (see James 1:18).

We need to take care that we don’t let ourselves be overgrown with the thorns and briars of worldly anxiety. As today’s Epistle advises, we need to fill our hearts and minds with noble intentions and virtuous deeds, rejoicing always that the Lord is near.

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Lecturas:
Ezequiel 18, 25–28
Salmo 25, 4–9
Filipenses 2, 1–11
Mateo 21, 28–32

Haciendo eco de las quejas escuchadas en las lecturas de la semana pasada, la primera lectura de hoy también presenta reclamos que afirman que Dios no es justo. ¿Por qué castiga con la muerte a un virtuoso que cae en la iniquidad, mientras asegura la vida al débil que se convierte del pecado?

Esta es la pregunta que Jesús trae a cuento en la parábola del Evangelio de hoy.

El primer hijo representa a los más empedernidos pecadores de la época -publicanos y prostitutas-, que al principio, por su pecado, se resisten a servir en la viña del Señor, el reino. Ellos, con la predicación de Juan el Bautista, se arrepintieron he hicieron lo justo y correcto. El segundo hijo representa a los líderes de Israel, quienes dijeron que servirían a Dios en la viña, pero se negaron a creerle a Juan cuando les dijo que debían producir frutos como prueba de su arrepentimiento (cf. Mt 3,8).

Nuevamente, las lecturas de esta semana nos invitan a ponderar los insondables caminos de la justicia y la misericordia de Dios. Él enseña sus caminos sólo a los humildes, como cantamos en el salmo de este día. Y en la epístola de hoy San Pablo presenta a Jesús como el modelo de esa humildad por la cual llegamos a conocer la verdadera senda de la vida.

San Pablo canta un bello himno a la Encarnación. A diferencia de Adán, el primer hombre que en su orgullo pretendió ser Dios, Jesús, el Nuevo Adán, se humilló a sí mismo hasta hacerse esclavo, obediente incluso hasta la muerte en la cruz (cf. Rm 5,14). Por esto nos ha mostrado a cada uno de nosotros, pecadores, el camino del retorno al Padre. Sólo podemos venir a Dios para servir en su viña, la Iglesia, si tenemos la misma actitud de Cristo.

Los líderes de Israel carecieron de ella. En su vanagloria, presumieron su superioridad, asumiendo que ya no tenían necesidad de escuchar a los servidores de Dios ni su Palabra.

Pero ese es el camino de la muerte, como Dios le dice hoy a Ezequiel. Hemos de vaciarnos continuamente, buscando el perdón por nuestros pecados y fragilidades y confesando, con las rodillas dobladas, que Él es el Señor para la gloria del Padre.

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Readings:
Ezekiel 18:25-28
Psalm 25:4-9
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

Echoing the complaint heard in last week’s readings, today’s First Reading again presents protests that God isn’t fair. Why does He punish with death one who begins in virtue but falls into iniquity, while granting life to the wicked one who turns from sin?

This is the question that Jesus takes up in the parable in today’s Gospel.

The first son represents the most heinous sinners of Jesus’ day—tax collectors and prostitutes—who by their sin at first refused to serve in the Lord’s vineyard, the kingdom. At the preaching of John the Baptist, they repented and did what was right and just. The second son represents Israel’s leaders—who said they would serve God in the vineyard, but refused to believe John when he told them they must produce good fruits as evidence of their repentance (see Matthew 3:8).

Once again, this week’s readings invite us to ponder the unfathomable ways of God’s justice and mercy. He teaches His ways only to the humble, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And in the Epistle today, Paul presents Jesus as the model of that humility by which we come to know life’s true path.

Paul sings a beautiful hymn to the Incarnation. Unlike Adam, the first man, who in his pride grasped at being God, the New Adam, Jesus, humbled himself to become a slave, obedient even unto death on the cross (see Romans 5:14). In this He has shown sinners—each one of us—the way back to the Father. We can only come to God to serve in His vineyard, the Church, by having that same attitude as Christ.

This is what Israel’s leaders lacked. In their vainglory, they presumed their superiority—that they had no further need to hear God’s Word or listen to God’s servants.

But this is the way to death, as God tells Ezekiel today. We are always to be emptying ourselves, seeking forgiveness for our sins and frailties, confessing on bended knee that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father.

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Readings:
Sirach 27:30–28:7
Psalm 103:1–4, 9–12
Romans 14:7–9
Matthew 18:21–35

Mercy and forgiveness should be at the heart of the Christian life.

Yet, as today’s First Reading wisely reminds us, often we cherish our wrath, nourish our anger, refuse mercy to those who have done us wrong. Jesus, too, strikes close to home in today’s Gospel with His realistic portrayal of the wicked servant who won’t forgive a fellow servant’s debt, even though his own slate has just been wiped clean by their master.

It can’t be this way in the kingdom, the Church. In the Old Testament, seven is frequently a number associated with mercy and the forgiveness of sins. The just man sins seven times daily; there is a sevenfold sprinking of blood for atonement of sins (see Proverbs 24:6; Leviticus 16). But Jesus tells Peter today that we must forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven times. That means: every time.

We are to be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful (see Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:48). But why? Why does Jesus repeatedly warn that we can’t expect forgiveness for our trespasses unless we’re willing to forgive others their trespasses against us?

Because, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle, we are the Lord’s. Each of us has been purchased by the blood of Christ shed for us on the Cross (see Revelation 5:9). As we sing in today’s Psalm, though we deserved to die for our sins, He doesn’t deal with us according to our crimes. The mercy and forgiveness we show to others should be the heartfelt expression of our gratitude for the mercy and forgiveness shown to us.

This is why we should remember our last days, set our enmities aside, and stop judging others. We know that one day we will stand before the judgment seat and give account for what we’ve done with the new life given to us by Christ (see Romans 14:10, 12).

So we forgive each other from the heart, overlook each other’s faults, and await the crown of His kindness and compassion.

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Lecturas:
Ezequiel 33, 7-9
Salmo 95, 1-2.6-9
Romanos 13, 8-10
Mateo 18, 15-20

Así como en la primera lectura de hoy Ezequiel es designado centinela sobre la casa de Israel, Jesús establece a sus discípulos como guardianes del nuevo Israel de Dios -la Iglesia- en el Evangelio de este día (cf. Ga 6,16). 

También establece procedimientos en el caso de pecados en el caso de pecados y para faltas de fe, basados en la disciplina que Moisés proscribió a Israel (cf. Lv 19,17-20; Dt 19,13). Sin embargo, los jefes del nuevo Israel reciben poderes extraordinarios, similares a los que se le dieron a Pedro (cf. Mt 16,19). Tienen la potestad de atar y desatar, de perdonar los pecados y reconciliar a los pecadores en su Nombre (cf. Jn 20,21-23).

Pero los poderes que Cristo les da a los apóstoles y sus sucesores dependen de su comunión con Él.  Así como Ezequiel solo debe enseñar lo que escucha decir a Dios, los discípulos han de congregar en su Nombre, orar y buscar la voluntad del Padre celestial.

Pero las lecturas de hoy son más que una lección sobre el orden de la Iglesia. Nos sugieren además cómo debemos tratar a los que nos ofenden, un tema sobre el cual también escucharemos en las lecturas de la próxima semana.

Es de notar que, tanto el Evangelio como la primera lectura, asumen que los creyentes tenemos el deber de corregir a los pecadores que están entre nosotros.  A Ezequiel incluso se le dice que dará cuentas por sus almas si no les habla e intenta corregirlos.

Esto es el amor que le debemos a nuestro prójimo, según nos dice hoy San Pablo en su epístola. Amar al prójimo como a nosotros mismos significa dar una importancia vital a su salvación. Como Jesús dice, debemos hacer cualquier esfuerzo para ganar nuevamente a nuestros hermanos y hermanas, para hacerlos regresar de los falsos caminos.

No debemos nunca corregir al otro con enojo o con deseos de castigar. Más bien nuestro mensaje debe ser como el del salmo de hoy: urgir al pecador a que escuche la voz de Dios, a no endurecer su corazón, a recordar que Él es quien nos ha hecho, la Roca de nuestra salvación.

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Readings:
Ezekiel 33:7–9
Psalm 95:1–2, 6–9
Romans 13:8–10
Matthew 18:15–20

As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today’s first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church (see Galatians 6:16).

He also puts in place procedures for dealing with sin and breaches of the faith, building on rules of discipline prescribed by Moses for Israel (see Leviticus 19:17–20; Deuteronomy 19:13). The heads of the new Israel, however, receive extraordinary powers—similar to those given to Peter (see Matthew 16:19). They have the power to bind and loose, to forgive sins and to reconcile sinners in His name (see John 20:21–23).

But the powers He gives the Apostles and their successors depends on their communion with Him. As Ezekiel is only to teach what he hears God saying, the disciples are to gather in His name and to pray and seek the will of our heavenly Father.

But today’s readings are more than a lesson in Church order. They also suggest how we’re to deal with those who trespass against us, a theme that we’ll hear in next week’s readings as well.
Notice that both the Gospel and the First Reading presume that believers have a duty to correct sinners in our midst. Ezekiel is even told that he will be held accountable for their souls if he fails to speak out and try to correct them.

This is the love that Paul in today’s Epistle says we owe to our neighbors. To love our neighbors as ourselves is to be vitally concerned for their salvation. We must make every effort, as Jesus says, to win our brothers and sisters back, to turn them from the false paths.

We should never correct out of anger or a desire to punish. Instead, our message must be that of today’s Psalm—urging the sinner to hear God’s voice, not to harden their hearts, and to remember that He is the one who made us, and the rock of our salvation.

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Lecturas:
Jeremías 20, 7–9
Salmo 63, 2–6.8–9
Romanos 12, 1–2
Mateo 16, 21–27

La primera lectura de este domingo sorprende al profeta Jeremías en un momento de debilidad. Su íntimo lamento contiene algunas de las expresiones más fuertes de la Biblia referentes a la duda. En su seguimiento de la llamada de Dios, Jeremías se siente abandonado. Lo único que le ha acarreado la predicación de su Palabra es escarnio.

Pero Dios no engaña y Jeremías lo sabe. Él examina al justo (cf. Jr 20,11–12) y corrige a sus hijos mediante pruebas y sufrimientos (cf. Hb 12,5–7).

Lo que Jeremías aprende, Jesús lo afirma explícitamente en el Evangelio de esta semana. Seguirlo es cargar una cruz, negarte a ti mismo –tus prioridades, preferencias y comodidades.

Es estar dispuesto a renunciar a todo, incluso a la vida misma, por la causa de su Evangelio. Como dice san Pablo en su epístola, debemos unirnos a la pasión de Cristo para ofrecer nuestros cuerpos—todo nuestro ser—como sacrificios vivos a Dios.

Por su cruz, Jesús nos ha mostrado lo que los sacrificios de Israel habían de enseñar: que a Dios le debemos todo lo que tenemos.

La bondad de Dios es un bien más grande que la vida misma, como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo. La única muestra de gratitud que podemos ofrecerle es nuestra adoración espiritual: entregar nuestra vida al servicio de su voluntad (cf. Hb 10,3–11; Sal 50, 14,23).

Pedro aún no ha entendido esto en el Evangelio de hoy. Como le sucedió a Jeremías, la cruz es escándalo para Pedro (cf. 1 Co 1,23). Esa es también nuestra tentación natural: negarnos a creer que nuestros sufrimientos juegan un papel importante en el plan de Dios.

Así es como piensa la gente, nos dice Jesús esta semana. Pero estamos llamados a renovar nuestras mentes para pensar como Dios piensa, para querer lo que Él quiere.

En la Misa nos ofrecemos nuevamente como sacrificio de alabanza agradable y perfecto (cf. Hb 13,15). Bendecimos al Señor pues estamos vivos, confiados en que encontraremos nuestra vida al perderla; en que las riquezas de Su banquete satisfarán nuestra alma.

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Readings:
Jeremiah 20:7–9
Psalm 63:2–6, 8–9
Romans 12:1–2
Matthew 16:21–27

Today’s First Reading catches the prophet Jeremiah in a moment of weakness. His intimate lamentation contains some of the strongest language of doubt found in the Bible. Following God’s call, he feels abandoned. Preaching His Word has brought him only derision and reproach.

But God does not deceive—and Jeremiah knows this. God tests the just (see Jeremiah 20:11–12), and disciplines His children through their sufferings and trials (see Hebrews 12:5–7).

What Jeremiah learns, Jesus states explicitly in today’s Gospel. To follow Him is to take up a cross, to deny yourself—your priorities, preferences, and comforts. It is to be willing to give it all up, even life itself, for the sake of His gospel. As Paul says in today’s Epistle, we have to join ourselves to the passion of Christ, to offer our bodies—our whole beings—as living
sacrifices to God.

By His Cross, Jesus has shown us what Israel’s sacrifices of animals were meant to teach: we owe to God all that we have.

God’s kindness is a greater good than life itself, as we sing in today’s Psalm. The only thanks we can offer is our spiritual worship—to give our lives to the service of His will (see Hebrews 10:3–11; Psalm 50:14, 23).

Peter doesn’t yet get this in today’s Gospel. As it was for Jeremiah, the cross is a stumbling block for Peter (see 1 Corinthians 1:23). This too is our natural temptation—to refuse to believe that our sufferings play a necessary part in God’s plan.

That’s how people think, Jesus tells us today. But we are called to the renewal of our minds—to think as God thinks, to will what He wills.

In the Mass, we once again offer ourselves as perfect and pleasing sacrifices of praise (see Hebrews 13:15). We bless Him as we live, confident that we will find our lives in losing them, that with the riches of His banquet, our souls will be satisfied.

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Lecturas:
Isaías 22,15.19–23
Salmo 138,1–3.6.8
Romanos 11,33–36
Mateo 16,13–20

“¡Oh profundidad de la riqueza, la sabiduría y la ciencia de Dios!”, exclama San Pablo en la epístola de esta semana. También el salmo del domingo toma una triunfante expresión de alegría y gratitud. ¿Porqué? Porque en el Evangelio, el Padre celestial revela el misterio de su reino a Pedro.

Con Pedro, nos regocijamos de que Jesús es el hijo ungido prometido a David, de quien se había profetizado que construiría el templo del Señor y reinaría sobre un reino eterno (cf. 2 S 7).

Lo que Jesús llama “mi Iglesia” es el reino prometido al hijo de David (cf. Is 9,1–7). Como escuchamos en la primera lectura del domingo, Isaías predijo que las llaves del reino de David les serían entregadas a un nuevo Señor, que gobernaría al pueblo de Dios como un padre.

Sólo Jesús, la raíz y descendencia de David, tiene las llaves del reino (cf. Ap 1,18; 3,7; 2,16). Al entregarle esas llaves a Pedro, Jesús cumple esa profecía, estableciendo a Pedro—y a todos sus sucesores—como santo padre de su Iglesia.

Su Iglesia es también la nueva casa de Dios: el templo espiritual fundado sobre la “roca” de Pedro y construido con las piedras vivas que somos todos y cada uno de los creyentes.

Abraham fue llamado “la roca” de quien los hijos de Israel fueron labrados (cf. Is 51,1–2). Y Pedro viene a ser la roca de la cual Dios hace surgir nuevos hijos de suyos (cf. Mt 3,9).

La Palabra que usa Jesús—“iglesia” (ekklesia en griego)—fue usada en la traducción griega del Antiguo Testamento para referirse a la “asamblea” de los hijos de Dios posterior al éxodo (cf. Dt 18,16; 31,30).

Su Iglesia es la “asamblea de los primogénitos” (cf. Hb 12,23; Ex 4,23–24) establecida por el éxodo de Jesús (cf. Lc 9,31). Como los israelitas, somos bautizados en agua, guiados por la Roca y alimentados con comida espiritual (cf. 1Co 10,1–5).

Congregados en su altar, en la presencia de ángeles, cantamos su alabanza y le damos gracias a su Nombre santo.

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Readings:
Isaiah 22:15, 19–23
Psalm 138:1–3, 6, 8
Romans 11:33–36
Matthew 16:13–20

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” Paul exclaims in today’s Epistle. Today’s Psalm, too, takes up the triumphant note of joy and thanksgiving. Why? Because in the Gospel, the heavenly Father reveals the mystery of His kingdom to Peter.

With Peter, we rejoice that Jesus is the anointed Son promised to David, the one prophesied to build God’s temple and reign over an everlasting kingdom (see 2 Samuel 7).

What Jesus calls “my Church” is the kingdom promised to David’s son (see Isaiah 9:1–7). As we hear in today’s First Reading, Isaiah foretold that the keys to David’s kingdom would be given to a new master, who would rule as father to God’s people.

Jesus, the root and offspring of David, alone holds the kingdom’s keys (see Revelation 1:18; 3:7; 22:16). In giving those keys to Peter, Jesus fulfills that prophecy, establishing Peter—and all who succeed him—as holy father of His Church.

His Church, too, is the new house of God—the spiritual temple founded on the “rock” of Peter, and built up out of the living stones of individual believers (see 1 Peter 2:5).

Abraham was called “the rock” from which the children of Israel were hewn (see Isaiah 51:1–2). And Peter becomes the rock from which God raises up new children of God (see Matthew 3:9).

The word Jesus uses—“church” (ekklesia in Greek)—was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the “assembly” of God’s children after the Exodus (see Deuteronomy 18:16; 31:30).

His Church is the “assembly of the firstborn” (see Hebrews 12:23; Exodus 4:23–24), established by Jesus’ exodus (see Luke 9:31). Like the Israelites, we are baptized in water, led by the Rock, and fed with spiritual food (see 1 Corinthians 10:1–5).

Gathered at His altar, in the presence of angels, we sing His praise and give thanks to His holy name.

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Lecturas:
Isaías 56,1.6–7
Salmo 67,2–3.5.6.8
Romanos 11,13–15. 29–32
Mateo 15, 21–28

La mayoría de nosotros somos extranjeros, los no israelitas sobre quienes profetiza la primera lectura de esta semana.

Al venir a adorar al Dios de Israel, nos situamos en la línea de fe personificada por la mujer cananea en el Evangelio de esta semana. Al llamar a Jesús Señor, e hijo de David, esta extranjera muestra su gran fe en la alianza de Dios con Israel.

Jesús prueba tres veces su fe. Se niega a responder a su grito. Después le dice que su misión está destinada sólo a los israelitas. Finalmente utiliza la palabra “perro”, una expresión utilizada para menospreciar a los no israelitas (cf. Mt 7,6).

Sin embargo ella persiste en creer que sólo Él ofrece la salvación.

En este drama familiar vemos cumplida la profecía de Isaías y la promesa de la que cantamos en el salmo de este domingo. En Jesús, Dios da a conocer a todas las naciones su camino y su salvación (cf. Jn 14,6).

Al comienzo de la historia de la salvación, Dios llamó a Abraham (cf. Gn 12,2). Él escogió a su descendencia, Israel, de entre todas las naciones que había sobre la faz de la tierra, para construir el reino de su alianza (cf. Dt 7,6–8; Is 41,8).

En el plan de Dios, Abraham había de ser el padre de muchas naciones (cf. Rm 4,16–17). Israel había de ser el primogénito de una familia de Dios extendida por todo el mundo, conformada por todos aquellos que creen en lo que la cananea profesa: que Jesús es el Señor (cf. Ex 4,22–23; Rm 5,13–21).

Jesús vino en primer lugar para restaurar el reino de Israel (cf. Hch 1,6; 13,46). Pero su misión última era la reconciliación del mundo, como San Pablo declara en la epístola de este domingo.

En la Misa nos unimos a todos los pueblos para rendirle homenaje. Como Isaías había predicho, venimos a su monte santo, la Jerusalén celestial, para ofrecer sacrificios en su altar (cf. Hb 12,22–24.28). Con la mujer cananea, tomamos nuestro lugar en la mesa del Señor para ser alimentados como sus hijos.

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Readings:
Isaiah 56:1, 6-7
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Romans 11:13-15, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

Most of us are the foreigners, the non-Israelites, about whom today’s First Reading prophesies.

Coming to worship the God of Israel, we stand in the line of faith epitomized by the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel. Calling to Jesus as Lord and Son of David, this foreigner shows her great faith in God’s covenant with Israel.

Jesus tests her faith three times. He refuses to answer her cry. Then, He tells her His mission is only to Israelites. Finally, He uses “dog,” an epithet used to disparage non-Israelites (see Matthew 7:6). Yet she persists, believing that He alone offers salvation.

In this family drama, we see fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy and the promise we sing of in today’s Psalm. In Jesus, God makes known among all the nations His way and His salvation (see John 14:6).

At the start of salvation history, God called Abraham (see Genesis 12:2). He chose his offspring, Israel, from all the nations on the face of the earth to build His covenant kingdom (see Deuteronomy 7:6–8; Isaiah 41:8).

In God’s plan, Abraham was to be the father of many nations (see Romans 4:16–17). Israel was to be the firstborn of a worldwide family of God, made up of all who believe what the Canaanite professes—that Jesus is Lord (see Exodus 4:22–23; Romans 5:13–24).

Jesus came first to restore the kingdom to Israel (see Acts 1:6; 13:46). But His ultimate mission was the reconciliation of the world, as Paul declares in today’s Epistle.

In the Mass we join all peoples in doing Him homage. As Isaiah foretold, we come to His holy mountain, the heavenly Jerusalem, to offer sacrifice at His altar (see Hebrews 12:22–24, 28). With the Canaanite, we take our place at the Master’s table to be fed as His children.

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Readings:
1 Kings 19:9, 11–13
Psalm 85:9–14
Romans 9:1–5
Matthew 14:22–33

How do we find God in the storms and struggles of our lives, in the trials we encounter in trying to do His will?

God commands Elijah in today’s First Reading to stand on the mountain and await His passing by. And in the Gospel, Jesus makes the disciples set out across the waters to meet Him.

In each case, the Lord makes himself present amid frightening tumult—heavy winds and high waves, fire and earthquakes.

Elijah hides his face. Perhaps he remembers Moses, who met God on the same mountain, also amid fire, thunder, and smoke (see Deuteronomy 4:10–15; Exodus 19:17–19). God told Moses no one could see His face and live, and He sheltered Moses in the hollow of a rock, as He shelters Elijah in a cave (see Exodus 33:18–23).

The disciples, likewise, are too terrified to look on the face of God. Today’s Gospel is a revelation of Jesus’ divine identity. Only God treads across the crest of the sea (see Job 9:8) and rules the raging waters (see Psalm 89:9–10). And the words of assurance that Jesus speaks—“It is I”—are those God used to identify himself to Moses (see Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 43:10).

Even Peter is too overcome by fear to imitate his Lord. His fears, Jesus tells him, are a sign of his lack of faith. And so it often is with us. Our fears make us doubt, make it hard to see His glory dwelling in our midst.

Yet, we should know, as we sing in today’s Psalm, that His salvation is near to those who hope in Him. By faith we should know, as Paul asserts in today’s Epistle, that we are heirs to the promises made to His children, Israel.

We must trust that He whispers to us in the trials of our lives—that He who has called us to walk along the way of His steps. He will save us whenever we begin to sink.

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Lecturas:
1 Reyes 19,9.11–13
Salmo 85, 9–14
Romanos 9,1–5
Mateo 14, 22–33

¿Cómo encontramos a Dios en medio de las tormentas y luchas de nuestra vida, en las pruebas que enfrentamos cuando tratamos de hacer su voluntad? Dios le manda a Elías en la primera lectura permanecer de pie en el monte para esperar su paso por ahí.

Y en el Evangelio, Jesús hace a sus discípulos salir a su encuentro a través de las aguas. En cada caso, el Señor se hace presente en medio de acontecimientos aterradores: vientos fuertes y olas altas, fuego y terremotos.

Elías oculta su rostro. Talvez recuerda a Moisés, quien se encontró con Dios en esa misma montaña, también en medio de fuego, truenos y humo (cf. Dt 4,10–15; Ex 19, 17–19).

Dios le dijo a Moisés que nadie podría ver su rostro y vivir, y lo hizo resguardarse en el hueco de una roca, como resguarda ahora a Elías en una cueva (cf. Ex 33, 18–23).

Del mismo modo, los discípulos están demasiado asustados para ver el rostro de Dios. El Evangelio de esta semana es una revelación de la identidad divina de Jesús. Sólo Dios cruza andando entre las crestas del mar (cf. Jb 9,8) y gobierna las aguas embravecidas (cf. Sal 89, 9–10).

Y las palabras de confianza que pronuncia Jesús—“soy Yo”—son las mismas que Dios le dijo a Moisés para identificarse (cf. Ex 3,14; Is 43,10).

Incluso Pedro está demasiado invadido por el miedo para imitar a su Señor. Sus temores, le dice Jesús, son signo de su poca fe. Y eso pasa frecuentemente con nosotros. Nuestros temores nos hacen dudar, nos dificultan ver su gloria que mora entre nosotros.

Sin embargo, como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, deberíamos saber que su salvación está cerca de los que en Él esperan. Por la fe deberíamos saber, como afirma San Pablo en la epístola, que somos herederos de las promesas hechas a sus hijos, al pueblo de Israel.

Debemos confiar en que Él nos habla al oído en las pruebas de nuestra vida; en que Aquel que nos ha llamado a seguir sus pasos, nos salvará cada vez que comencemos a hundirnos.

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Lecturas:
Isaías 55,1-3
Salmo 145, 8-9.15-18
Romanos 8, 35.37-39
Mateo 14,13-21

Las promesas que hace Isaías en la primera lectura de este domingo se han cumplido en Jesús y en la Iglesia. Todos los que están sedientos vienen a las aguas vivas del bautismo (cf. Jn 4,14). Los hambrientos se deleitan abundantemente en el pan para comer y el vino para beber de la mesa eucarística.

También es ese el punto central del Evangelio de esta semana: la narración en la que Jesús alimenta a los 5,000 hasta saciarse, aludiendo al Antiguo Testamento. Jesús es dibujado como un pastor semejante a David, que guía su rebaño hacia el reposo en verdes pastos, mientras prepara ante ellos la mesa del banquete del Mesías (cf. Sal 23).

Jesús es mostrado como un nuevo Moisés que también alimenta a las multitudes en un lugar desértico. Finalmente, se nos muestra a Jesús haciendo lo que el profeta Eliseo: saciando el hambre de la muchedumbre con unos cuantos panes, de los que al final todavía sobran algunos (cf. 2R 4,42-44).

También Mateo quiere que veamos la alimentación de los 5,000 como un signo de la Eucaristía. Llama la atención que Jesús, en la Última Cena, realiza las mismas acciones, en el mismo orden: toma pan, pronuncia una bendición, lo parte y lo da (cf. Mt 26,26).

Jesús enseñó a sus apóstoles a celebrar la Eucaristía en memoria suya. Y el Evangelio de esta semana hace un énfasis sutil en el ministerio de los Doce. Antes de que Él realice el milagro, Jesús insta a los Doce: “dénles ustedes de comer”. Efectivamente, son los mismos apóstoles quienes distribuyen el pan bendecido por Jesús (cf. Mt 15,36).

Y los panes sobrantes alcanzan a llenar precisamente doce canastos, que corresponden a cada uno de los apóstoles, los pilares de la Iglesia (cf. Ga 2,9; Ap 21,14).

En la Iglesia, como cantamos en el salmo de esta semana, Dios nos alimenta en el tiempo oportuno; abre sus manos y satisface los anhelos de todo ser viviente. Ahora, como San Pablo nos recuerda en su epístola, nada puede separarnos del amor de Dios en Cristo Jesús.

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Readings:
Isaiah 55:1–3
Psalm 145:8–9, 15–18
Romans 8:35, 37–39
Matthew 14:13–21

In Jesus and the Church, Isaiah’s promises in today’s First Reading are fulfilled. All who are thirsty come to the living waters of Baptism (see John 4:14). The hungry delight in rich fare—given bread to eat and wine to drink at the Eucharistic table.

This is the point, too, of today’s Gospel. The story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 brims with allusions to the Old Testament. Jesus is portrayed as a David-like shepherd who leads His flock to lie down on green grass as He spreads the table of the Messiah’s banquet before them (see Psalm 23).

Jesus is shown as a new Moses, who likewise feeds vast crowds in a deserted place. Finally, Jesus is shown doing what the prophet Elisha did—satisfying the hunger of the crowd with a few loaves and having some left over (see 2 Kings 4:42–44).

Matthew also wants us to see the feeding of the 5,000 as a sign of the Eucharist. Notice that Jesus performs the same actions in the same sequence as at the Last Supper—He takes bread, says a blessing, breaks it, and gives it (see Matthew 26:26).

Jesus instructed His Apostles to celebrate the Eucharist in memory of Him. And the ministry of the Twelve is subtly stressed in today’s account. Before He performs the miracle, Jesus instructs the Twelve to give the crowd “some food yourselves.” Indeed, the Apostles themselves distribute the bread blessed by Jesus (see Matthew 15:36).

And the leftovers are enough to fill precisely 12 baskets—corresponding to each of the Apostles, the pillars of the Church (see Galatians 2:9; Revelation 21:14).

In the Church, as we sing in today’s Psalm, God gives us food in due season, opens His hands and satisfies the desires of every living thing. Now, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

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Lecturas:
1 Reyes 3,5. 7–12
Salmo 119,57.72.76–77.127–130
Romanos 8,28–30
Mateo 13, 44–52

¿Cuánto vale para ti tu nueva vida en Cristo?

¿Amas sus palabras más que el oro y la plata, como cantamos en el salmo de esta semana? ¿Venderías todo lo que tienes para poseer el reino que Él promete, como los personajes del Evangelio de este domingo?

¿Si Dios te concediera cualquier deseo, seguirías el ejemplo de Salomón en la primera lectura, quien no pidió una larga vida o riquezas, sino sabiduría para conocer los caminos de Dios y desear su voluntad?

El trasfondo del Evangelio de este domingo, como lo ha sido las semanas anteriores, es el rechazo de Israel a la predicación de Jesús. El reino del cielo ha llegado en medio de ellos. Sin embargo, muchos no pueden ver que Jesús es el cumplimiento de la promesa de Dios; que es un regalo de la compasión divina, dado para que ellos—y nosotros también—puedan vivir.

También nosotros debemos descubrir el reino nuevamente, para encontrarlo como un tesoro, como perla de gran valor. En comparación con el reino, necesitamos considerar basura todo lo demás (cf. Flp 3,8).

Y debemos estar dispuestos a dejar todo lo que tenemos—todas nuestras prioridades y planes—a fin de ganarlo. El Evangelio de Jesús revela lo que San Pablo, en la epístola de esta semana, llama el designio de Dios (cf. Ef 1,4) . Ese designio es que Jesús sea el primogénito de muchos hermanos.

Sus palabras dan entendimiento a los sencillos, a los que son como niños. Como Salomón en la lectura de esta semana, debemos humillarnos ante Dios, entregándonos a su servicio. Pidamos en nuestra oración un corazón sabio, que desee solamente hacer su voluntad.

Estamos llamados a amar a Dios, a deleitarnos en su Ley y a abandonar todo camino falso. Y debemos conformarnos cada vez más a la imagen de Su Hijo.

Si hacemos esto, podemos acercarnos a Su altar como sacrificio agradable, confiados en que todo contribuye para bien; seguros de que los que hemos sido justificados por Él, seremos también glorificados un día.

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Readings
1 Kings 3:5, 7–12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76–77, 127–130
Romans 8:28–30
Matthew 13:44–52

What is your new life in Christ worth to you?

Do you love His words more than gold and silver, as we sing in today’s Psalm? Would you, like the characters in the Gospel today, sell all that you have in order to possess the kingdom He promises to us? If God were to grant any wish, would you follow Solomon’s example in today’s First Reading—asking not for a long life or riches, but for wisdom to know God’s ways and to desire His will?

The background for today’s Gospel, as it has been for the past several weeks, is the rejection of Jesus’ preaching by Israel. The kingdom of heaven has come into their midst, yet many cannot see that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises, a gift of divine compassion given that they—and we—might live.

We too must ever discover the kingdom anew, to find it as a treasure—a pearl of great price. By comparison with the kingdom, we must count all else as rubbish (see Philippians 3:8). And we must be willing to give up all that we have—all our priorities and plans—in order to gain it.

Jesus’ Gospel discloses what Paul, in today’s Epistle, calls the purpose of God’s plan (see Ephesians 1:4). That purpose is that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers.

His words give understanding to the simple, the childlike. As Solomon does today, we must humble ourselves before God, giving ourselves to His service. Let our prayer be for an understanding heart, one that desires only to do His will.

We are called to love God, to delight in His law, and to forsake every false way. And we are to conform ourselves daily ever more closely to the image of His Son.

If we do this, we can approach His altar as a pleasing sacrifice, confident that all things work for the good—that we whom He has justified will also one day be glorified.

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Lecturas:
Isaías 55, 10–11
Salmo 65, 10–14
Romanos 8, 18–23
Mateo 13, 1–23

Las lecturas de hoy, como las de la semana anterior, nos invitan a meditar en la respuesta de Israel a la Palabra de Dios y también en nuestra propia respuesta. ¿Porqué algunos de los que escuchan la palabra del reino, aún no la aceptan como llamada a la conversión y a la fe en Jesús? Esa pregunta subyace de manera especial en el Evangelio de hoy.

Nuevamente vemos, como la semana pasada, que los misterios del reino son revelados a los que abren sus corazones, haciendo de ellos tierra fértil en la que la Palabra puede crecer y dar frutos.

Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, en Jesús la Palabra de Dios ha visitado nuestra tierra, para empapar el suelo pedregoso de nuestros corazones con las aguas vivas del Espíritu (cf. Jn 7,38; Ap 22,1).

Como San Pablo nos recuerda en la epístola de esta semana (cf. Rm 5,5; 8,15–16) la primicia de la Palabra es el Espíritu de amor y adopción derramado en nuestros corazones en el bautismo, que nos hizo hijos de Dios. En él somos hechos una “nueva creación” (cf. 2 Co 5,17), primicias de un cielo nuevo y una tierra nueva (cf. 2P 3,13).

Desde que los primeros hombres rechazaron la Palabra de Dios, la creación ha sido esclavizada de lo vano (cf. Gn 3,17–19; 5.29). Pero la Palabra de Dios no sale para volver a Él sin resultado, como escuchamos en la primera lectura del domingo.

Su Palabra espera nuestra respuesta. Debemos demostrar que somos hijos de esa Palabra. Debemos permitir que esa Palabra realice la voluntad de Dios en nuestras vidas. Como Jesús nos advierte, debemos cuidar que no sea arrebatada por el diablo o ahogada por las preocupaciones mundanas.

En la Eucaristía, Jesús, la Palabra, se nos da a Sí mismo como pan que alimenta. Lo hace para que podamos ser fértiles, dando frutos de santidad.

Y así esperamos la coronación del año, la gran cosecha del Día del Señor (cf. Mc 4,29; 2P 3,10; Ap 14,15), cuando Su Palabra haya alcanzado el fin para el cual fue enviada.

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Readings:
Isaiah 55:10–11
Psalm 65:10–14
Romans 8:18–23
Matthew 13:1–23

Today’s readings, like last week’s, ask us to meditate on Israel’s response to God’s Word—and our own. Why do some hear the word of the kingdom, yet fail to accept it as a call to conversion and faith in Jesus? That question underlies today’s Gospel, especially.

Again we see, as we did last week, that the kingdom’s mysteries are unfolded to those who open their hearts, making of them a rich soil in which the Word can grow and bear fruit.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, in Jesus, God’s Word has visited our land, to water the stony earth of our hearts with the living waters of the Spirit (see John 7:38; Revelation 22:1).

The firstfruit of the Word is the Spirit of love and adoption poured into our hearts in Baptism, making us children of God, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle (see Romans 5:5; 8:15–16). In this, we are made a “new creation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), the firstfruits of a new heaven and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13).

Since the first humans rejected God’s Word, creation has been enslaved to futility (see Genesis 3:17–19; 5:29). But God’s Word does not go forth only to return to Him void, as we hear in today’s First Reading.

His Word awaits our response. We must show ourselves to be children of that Word. We must allow that Word to accomplish God’s will in our lives. As Jesus warns today, we must take care lest
the devil steal it away or lest it be choked by worldly concerns.

In the Eucharist, the Word gives Himself to us as bread to eat. He does so that we might be made fertile, yielding fruits of holiness.

And we await the crowning of the year, the great harvest of the Lord’s Day (see Mark 4:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:10)—when His Word will have achieved the end for which it was sent.

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Lecturas:
Zacarías 9, 9–10
Salmo 145, 1–2.8–11.13–14
Romanos 8, 9.11–13
Mateo 11, 25–30

En el Evangelio de esta semana, se nos da una semblanza de Jesús como un nuevo y más grande Moisés.

Moisés, el hombre más humilde que había sobre la tierra (cf. Nm 12,3), era amigo de Dios (cf. Éx 34,12.17). Sólo él trataba con Dios “cara a cara” (cf. Dt 34,10). Y Moisés le dio a Israel el yugo de la Ley, por la cual Dios se reveló, primero a Sí mismo y después el modo como debemos vivir (cf. Jr 2,20; 5,5).

También Jesús es manso y humilde. Pero él es más que un amigo de Dios. Es el Hijo, el único que conoce al Padre. También es más que un legislador; hoy se nos presenta como el yugo de una nueva Ley y como la Sabiduría revelada de Dios.

Como la Sabiduría que es, Jesús estaba presente desde antes de la creación del mundo, como el primogénito de Dios, el Padre y Señor del cielo y de la tierra (cf. Pr 8,22; S 9,9). Y nos da el conocimiento de las cosas santas del reino de Dios (cf. S 10,10).

De acuerdo a la gentil voluntad del Padre, Jesús revela estas cosas sólo a los que son como niños; a los que se humillan ante Él como niños pequeños (cf. Si 2,17). Solamente ellos pueden reconocer y recibir a Jesús como el salvador justo, como el rey humilde prometido a la hija Sión, Israel, en la primera lectura de este domingo.

También nosotros estamos llamados a tener esa fe de niños y a confiar en la bondad del Padre, como hijos del nuevo reino: la Iglesia.

En la epístola de este domingo, San Pablo nos exhorta a vivir por el Espíritu que recibimos en el bautismo (cf. Ga 5,16), sepultando nuestros viejos modos de pensar y actuar. Nuestro “yugo” es cumplir Su nueva ley de amor (cf. Jn 13,34), por la cual entramos en el “resto” de su reino.

Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, esperamos alegremente el día en que bendeciremos su Nombre para siempre, en el reino que perdura por los siglos. Este es el descanso sabático prometido por Jesús, anticipado primero por Moisés (cf. Ex 20,8–11), pero que aún queda para el pueblo de Dios (Hb 4,9).

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Readings:

Zechariah 9:9-10   
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14
Romans 8:9, 11-13    
Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus is portrayed in today’s Gospel as a new and greater Moses.

Moses, the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3), was God’s friend (see Exodus 34:12,17). Only he knew God “face to face” (see Deuteronomy 34:10). And Moses gave Israel the yoke of the Law, through which God first revealed himself and how we are to live (see Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5).

Jesus too is meek and humble. But He is more than God’s friend. He is the Son who alone knows the Father. He is more also than a law-giver, presenting himself today as the yoke of a new Law, and as the revealed Wisdom of God.

As Wisdom, Jesus was present before creation as the firstborn of God, the Father and Lord of heaven and earth (see Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 9:9). And He gives knowledge of the holy things of the kingdom of God (see Wisdom 10:10).

In the gracious will of the Father, Jesus reveals these things only to the “childlike”—those who humble themselves before Him as little children (see Sirach 2:17). These alone can recognize and receive Jesus as the just savior and meek king promised to daughter Zion, Israel, in today’s First Reading.

We too are called to childlike faith in the Father’s goodness, as sons and daughters of the new kingdom, the Church.

We are to live by the Spirit we received in baptism (see Galatians 5:16), putting to death our old ways of thinking and acting, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle. Our “yoke” is to be His new law of love (see John 13:34), by which we enter into the “rest” of His kingdom.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, we joyously await the day when we will praise His name forever in the kingdom that lasts for all ages. This is the sabbath rest promised by Jesus—first anticipated by Moses (see Exodus 20:8-11), but which still awaits the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9).

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Readings:
2 Kgs 4:8–11, 14–16
Ps 89:2–3, 16–19
Rom 6:3–4, 8–11
Mt 10:37–42

The Liturgy this week continues to instruct us in the elements of discipleship. We’re told that even the most humble among us have a share in the mission Christ gives to His Church.

We’re not all called to the ministry of the Apostles, or to be prophets like Elisha in today’s First Reading. But each of us is called to a holy life (see 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).

At Baptism our lives were joined forever to the cross of Christ, as Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. Baptized into His death, we’re to renounce sin and live for God in Christ Jesus.

We are to follow Him, each of us taking up our personal cross, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel. That doesn’t mean we will all be asked to suffer a martyr’s death. But each of us is called to self-denial, to the offering of our lives in service of God’s plan.

Jesus must be elevated to first place in our lives—above even our closest bonds of kinship and love. By Baptism, we’ve been made part of a new family—the kingdom of God, the Church. We are to proclaim that kingdom with our lives, bringing our fathers and mothers, and all men and women, to live as “little ones” under the fatherhood of God and the kingship of the Holy One.

We do this by opening our hearts and homes to the service of the Lord, following the Shunnamite woman’s example in today’s First Reading. As Jesus tells us, we’re to receive others—not only prophets but also little children, the poor, and the imprisoned—as we receive Christ Himself (see Matthew 18:5; 25:31–46).

As we sing in today’s Psalm, we are to testify to His favors and kindness in our lives.

We’re to hold fast to the promise—that if we have died with Christ, we shall also live, that if we lose our lives for His sake, we shall find our reward, and walk forever in His countenance.

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Readings:
Jeremiah 20:10–13
Psalm 69:8–10, 14, 17, 33–35
Romans 5:12–15
Matthew 10:26–33

Our commitment to Christ will be put to the test.

We will hear whispered warnings and denunciations, as Jeremiah does in today’s First Reading. Even so-called friends will try to trap us and trip us up.

For His sake we will bear insults and be made outcasts—even in our own homes, we hear in today’s Psalm.

As Jeremiah tells us, we must expect that God will challenge our faith in Him, and probe our minds and hearts, to test the depths of our love.

“Do not be afraid,” Jesus assures us three times in today’s Gospel.

Though He may permit us to suffer for our faith, our Father will never forget or abandon us. As Jesus assures us today, everything unfolds in His Providence, under His watchful gaze—even the falling of the tiniest sparrow to the ground. Each one of us is precious to Him.

Steadfast in this faith, we must resist the tactics of Satan. He is the enemy who seeks the ruin of our soul in Gehenna, or hell.

We are to seek God, as the Psalmist says. Zeal for the Lord’s house, for the heavenly kingdom of the Father, should consume us, as it consumed Jesus (see John 2:17). As Jesus bore the insults of those who blasphemed God, so should we (see Romans 15:3).

By the gracious gift of himself, Jesus bore the transgressions of the world, Paul tells us in today’s Epistle. In rising from the dead, He has shown us that God rescues the life of the poor, that He does not spurn His own when they are in distress. In His great mercy, He will turn toward us, as well. He will deliver us from the power of the wicked.

That is why we proclaim His name from the housetops, as Jesus tells us. That is why we sing praise and offer thanksgiving in every Eucharist. We are confident in Jesus’ promise—that we who declare our faith in Him before others will be remembered before our heavenly Father.

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Lecturas:
Deuteronomio 8,2–3. 14–16
Salmo 147,12–15.19–20
1 Corintios 10,16–17
Juan 6,51–58

La Eucaristía nos es dada como desafío y promesa. Así nos la presenta Jesús en el Evangelio de hoy.

Él no le facilita las cosas a quienes lo escuchan. Sus palabras provocan repugnancia en ellos y se sienten ofendidos con sus palabras. Incluso cuando empiezan a discrepar, Él insiste en describir con expresiones gráficas ese comer de su cuerpo y beber de su sangre.

En la lectura de hoy, Jesús utiliza cuatro veces la palabra griega trogein, que se refiere a una cruda manera de comer, semejante a roer o masticar (cf. Jn 6,54.56.57.58) Está probando su fe en su Palabra, como Dios probó la fe de Israel en el desierto, según lo que describe la primera lectura de este día.

El maná celestial no se le dio a los israelitas para satisfacer su hambre, como explica Moisés. Sino para mostrarles que no sólo de pan vive el hombre, sino de toda palabra que viene de la boca de Dios.

También en el salmo de hoy vemos una conexión entre la Palabra de Dios y el pan de vida. Cantamos que Dios nos llena con “flor de harina” y proclamamos al mundo su Palabra.

En Jesús, el “Padre que vive” nos ha dado su Palabra que ha bajado del cielo y se ha hecho carne para la vida del mundo

Sin embargo, así como los israelitas murmuraron en el desierto, muchos no aceptan esa Palabra en el Evangelio de hoy. Incluso varios de los mismos seguidores de Jesús lo abandonan después de este discurso (cf. Jn 6,66). Pero sus palabras son Espíritu y vida, son palabras de vida eterna (cf. Jn 6,63.67).

En la Eucaristía somos hechos una carne con Cristo. Tenemos su vida en nosotros y vivimos por Él. Eso es lo que Pablo quiere decir en la epístola de hoy, cuando le llama a la Eucaristía “participación” en el Cuerpo y la Sangre de Cristo. En este sacramento somos partícipes de la naturaleza divina (cf. 1 P 2,4).

Ese es el misterio de la fe que Jesús nos pide creer. Y nos hace su promesa: que si compartimos el Cuerpo y la Sangre resucitados, también nosotros seremos resucitados el último día.

Direct download: A_Corpus_Christi_Spn_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 14–16
Psalm 147:12–15, 19–20
1 Corinthians 10:16–17
John 6:51–58

The Eucharist is given to us as a challenge and a promise. That’s how Jesus presents it in today’s Gospel.

He doesn’t make it easy for those who hear Him. They are repulsed and offended at His words. Even when they begin to quarrel, He insists on describing the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood in starkly literal terms.

Four times in today’s reading, Jesus uses a Greek word—trogein—that refers to a crude kind of eating, almost a gnawing or chewing (see John 6:54, 56, 57, 58).

He is testing their faith in His Word, as today’s First Reading describes God testing Israel in the desert.

The heavenly manna was not given to satisfy the Israelites’ hunger, as Moses explains. It was given to show them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

In today’s Psalm, too, we see a connection between God’s Word and the bread of life. We sing of God filling us with “finest wheat” and proclaiming his Word to the world.

In Jesus, “the living Father” has given us His Word come down from heaven, made flesh for the life of the world.

Yet as the Israelites grumbled in the desert, many in today’s Gospel cannot accept that Word. Even many of Jesus’ own followers abandon Him after this discourse (see John 6:66). But His words are Spirit and life, the words of eternal life (see John 6:63, 67).

In the Eucharist we are made one flesh with Christ. We have His life in us and have our life because of Him. This is what Paul means in today’s Epistle when He calls the Eucharist a “participation” in Christ’s body and blood. We become in this sacrament partakers of the divine nature (see 1 Peter 2:4).

This is the mystery of the faith that Jesus asks us to believe. And He gives us His promise: that sharing in His flesh and blood that was raised from the dead, we too will be raised up on the last day.

Direct download: A_Corpus_Christi_2017.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Exodus 34:4–6, 8–9
Daniel 3:52–56
2 Corinthians 13:11–13
John 3:16–18

We often begin Mass with the prayer from today’s Epistle: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” We praise the God who has revealed Himself as a Trinity, a communion of persons.

Communion with the Trinity is the goal of our worship—and the purpose of the salvation history that begins in the Bible and continues in the Eucharist and sacraments of the Church.

We see the beginnings of God’s self-revelation in today’s First Reading, as He passes before Moses and cries out His holy name. Israel had sinned in worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 32). But God does not condemn them to perish. Instead, He proclaims His mercy and faithfulness to His covenant.

God loved Israel as His firstborn son among the nations (see Exodus 4:22). Through Israel—heirs of His covenant with Abraham—God planned to reveal Himself as the Father of all nations (see
Genesis 22:18).

The memory of God’s covenant testing of Abraham—and Abraham’s faithful obedience—lies behind today’s Gospel.

In commanding Abraham to offer his only beloved son (see Genesis 22:2, 12, 16), God was preparing us for the fullest possible revelation of His love for the world.

As Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all (see Romans 8:32).

In this, He revealed what was only disclosed partially to Moses—that His kindness continues for a thousand generations, that He forgives our sin, and that He takes us back as His very own people (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 9:29).

Jesus humbled himself to die in obedience to God’s will. And for this, the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead (see Romans 8:11), and gave Him a name above every name (see Philippians 2:8–10).

This is the name we glorify in today’s Responsorial—the name of our Lord, the God who is Love (see 1 John 4;8, 16).

Direct download: A_Trinity_2017.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- 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 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: A_Pentecost_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Acts 1:12—14
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7—8
1 Peter 4:13—16
John 17:1—11

Jesus has been taken up into heaven as we begin today’s First Reading. His disciples—including the Apostles and Mary—return to the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper (see Luke 22:12).

There, they devote themselves with one accord to prayer, awaiting the Spirit that He promised would come upon them (see Acts 1:8).

The unity of the early Church at Jerusalem is a sign of the oneness that Christ prays for in today’s Gospel. The Church is to be a communion on earth that mirrors the glorious union of Father, Son, and Spirit in the Trinity.

Jesus has proclaimed God’s name to His brethren (see Hebrews 2:12; Psalm 22:23). The prophets had foretold this revelation—a new covenant by which all flesh would have knowledge of the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:33–34; Habakkuk 2:14).

By the new covenant made in His blood and remembered in every Eucharist, we know God as our Father. This is the eternal life Jesus promises. And this is the light and salvation we sing of in today’s Psalm.

As God made light to shine out of darkness when the world began, He has enlightened us in Baptism, making us new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), giving us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (see Hebrews 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our new life is a gift of “the Spirit of glory,” we hear in today’s Epistle (see John 7:38–39). Made one in His name, we are given a new name—“Christians”—a name used only here and in two other places in the Bible (see Acts 11:16; 26:28). We are to glorify God, though we will be insulted and suffer because of this name.

But as we share in His sufferings, we know we will overcome (see Revelation 3:12) and rejoice when His glory is once more revealed. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives.

Direct download: A_7_Easter_2017.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 1,12–14
Salmo 27,1.4. 7–8
1 Pedro 4,13–16
Juan 17,1–11

La primera lectura inicia cuando Jesús ha sido llevado al cielo. Sus discípulos, incluyendo los Apóstoles y María regresan a la sala de arriba donde Él celebró su Última Cena (cf. Lc 22,12).

Ahí, se dedican de un corazón a la oración, esperando al Espíritu que Jesús prometió que vendría sobre ellos (cf. Hch 1,8).

La unidad de la Iglesia primitiva en Jerusalén es un signo de la unicidad por la que Cristo ora en el Evangelio de hoy. La Iglesia ha de ser comunión en la tierra, espejo de la gloriosa unión del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo en la Trinidad.

Jesús ha proclamado el nombre de Dios a sus hermanos (cf. Hb 2,13; Sal 22,23). Los profetas habían predicho su revelación y una nueva alianza por la cual toda carne tendría el conocimiento del Señor (cf. Jr 31,33–34; Hab 2,14).

Por la nueva alianza hecha en su Sangre y recordada en cada Eucaristía, conocemos a Dios como nuestro Padre. Esa es la vida eterna que Jesús promete. Y esa es la luz y la salvación que cantamos en el Salmo de hoy.

Así como Dios hizo brillar la luz en medio de la oscuridad cuando comenzó el mundo, Él nos ha iluminado en el Bautismo, haciéndonos criaturas nuevas, dándonos el conocimiento de la gloria de Dios en el rostro de Cristo (cf. Hb 10,32; 2 Co 4,6).

Nuestra nueva vida es un don del “Espíritu de gloria” del que escuchamos en la epístola de hoy (cf. Jn 7,38–39). Hechos uno en su Nombre, se nos ha dado un nuevo nombre “cristianos”, calificativo utilizado sólo aquí y en dos lugares más de la Biblia (cf. Hch 11,26; 28). Hemos de glorificar a Dios a pesar de que seremos insultados y sufriremos por su Nombre.

Pero mientras compartimos sus sufrimientos, sabemos que venceremos (cf. Ap 3,12) y nos regocijaremos cuando su gloria sea revelada de nuevo. Y habitaremos en la casa del Señor todos los días de nuestra vida.

Direct download: A_7_Easter_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:

Acts 1:1–11
Psalm 47:2–3, 6–7, 8–9
Ephesians 1:17–23
Matthew 28:16–20

(In dioceses where Ascension is celebrated on Thursday, see also the reflection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.)

In today’s First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and He has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies.

The truth of this feast shines forth from the Letter to the Hebrews, where we read of the great high priest’s passing through the heavens, the sinless intercessor’s sacrifice on our behalf (see Hebrews 4:14–15).

Indeed, His intercession will lead to the Holy Spirit’s descent in fire upon the Church. Luke spells out that promise in the First Reading for the feast of the Ascension: “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). The Ascension is the preliminary feast that directs the Church’s attention forward to Pentecost. On that day, salvation will be complete; for salvation is not simply expiation for sins (that would be wonder enough), but it is something even greater than that. Expiation is itself a necessary precondition of our adoption as God’s children. To live that divine life we must receive the Holy Spirit. To receive the Holy Spirit we must be purified through Baptism.

The Responsorial Psalm presents the Ascension in terms familiar from the worship of the Jerusalem Temple in the days of King Solomon: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord” (Psalm 47). The priest-king takes his place at the head of the people, ruling over the nations, establishing peace.

The Epistle strikes a distinctively Paschal note. In the early Church, as today, Easter was the normal time for the baptism of adult converts. The sacrament was often called “illumination” or “enlightenment” because of the light that came with God’s saving grace (see, for example, Hebrews 10:32). Saint Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, speaks in terms of glory that leads to greater glories still, as Ascension leads to Pentecost: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,” he writes, as he looks to the divinization of the believers. Their “hope” is “his inheritance among the holy ones,” the saints who have been adopted into God’s family and now rule with Him at the Father’s right hand.

This is the “good news” the Apostles are commissioned to spread—to the whole world, to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem—at the Ascension. It’s the good news we must spread today.

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

Acts 8:5–8, 14–17
Psalm 66:1–7, 16, 20
1 Peter 3:15–18
John 14:15–21

Jesus will not leave us alone. He won’t make us children of God in Baptism only to leave us “orphans,” He assures us in today’s Gospel (see Romans 8:14–17).

He asks the Father to give us His Spirit, to dwell with us and keep us united in the life He shares with the Father.

We see the promised gift of His Spirit being conferred in today’s First Reading.

The scene from Acts apparently depicts a primitive Confirmation rite. Philip, one of the first deacons (see Acts 6:5), proclaims the Gospel in the non-Jewish city of Samaria. The Samaritans accept the Word of God (see Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) and are baptized.

It remains for the Apostles to send their representatives, Peter and John, to pray and lay hands on the newly baptized—that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of our sacrament of Confirmation (see Acts 19:5–6), by which the grace of Baptism is completed and believers are sealed with the Spirit promised by the Lord.

We remain in this grace so long as we love Christ and keep His commandments. And strengthened in the Spirit whom Jesus said would be our Advocate, we are called to bear witness to our salvation—to the tremendous deeds that God has done for us in the name of His Son.

In today’s Psalm, we celebrate our liberation. As He changed the sea into dry land to free the captive Israelites, Christ suffered that He might lead us to God, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

This is the reason for our hope—the hope that sustains us in the face of a world that cannot accept His truth, the hope that sustains us when we are maligned and defamed for His name’s sake.

Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit, Paul tells us today. And as He himself promises: “Because I live, you will live.”

Direct download: Year_A_Easter_6.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 6, 1–7
Salmo 33, 1–2.4–5.18–19
1 Pedro 2, 4–9
Juan 14, 1–12

Por su muerte, resurrección y ascensión, Jesús ha ido delante de nosotros para prepararnos un lugar en la casa de su Padre.

La casa del Padre ya no es un templo hecho por manos humanas, sino la casa espiritual de la Iglesia, construida sobre la piedra viva del Cuerpo de Cristo.

Según lo que Pedro interpreta de las Escrituras en la epístola de hoy, Jesús es la “piedra” destinada al rechazo de los hombres pero también a convertirse en piedra angular de la morada de Dios en la tierra (cf. Sal 118,22; Is 8,14; 28,16).

Cada uno de nosotros está llamado a ser una piedra viva de la edificación de Dios (cf. 1Co 3,9.16). En este edificio del Espíritu estamos llamados a ser “santos sacerdotes” que ofrezcan a Dios “sacrificios espirituales” (o sea: todas nuestras oraciones, todo nuestro trabajo y todas nuestras intenciones). Esto es lo sublime de nuestra llamada como cristianos. Por esta razón, Cristo nos sacó de la oscuridad del pecado y de la muerte, como Moisés guió a los israelitas desde la esclavitud de Egipto.

La alianza de Dios con Israel hizo de él un pueblo real y sacerdotal, destinado a anunciar sus alabanzas (cf. Ex 19,6). Por nuestra fe en la nueva alianza de Cristo, hemos sido hechos herederos de esta raza escogida, llamados a glorificar al Padre en el templo de nuestro cuerpo (cf. 1 Co 6,19-20; Rm 12,1).

En la primera lectura de hoy, vemos como se edifica la casa espiritual de la Iglesia cuando los Apóstoles consagran siete diáconos, para que ellos (los Apóstoles) puedan dedicarse más de lleno al “ministerio de la Palabra”.

La Palabra de Dios es recta y todas sus obras son leales, cantamos en el salmo de hoy. Por tanto, podemos confiar en Jesús cuando invita a no preocuparnos nunca, sino más bien a creer que sus Palabra y sus obras vienen del Padre.

Su Palabra continúa su obra en el mundo por medio de la Iglesia; hoy vemos sus comienzos en Jerusalén. Está destinada a difundirse poderosamente (cf. Hch 19,20), y a convertirse en semilla no corruptible por la cual cada corazón nazca de nuevo (cf. 1 P 1,23).

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

Readings:
Acts 6:1–7
Psalm 33:1–2, 4–5, 18–19
1 Peter 2:4–9
John 14:1–12

By His death, Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house.

His Father’s house is no longer a temple made by human hands. It is the spiritual house of the Church, built on the living stone of Christ’s body.

As Peter interprets the Scriptures in today’s Epistle, Jesus is the “stone” destined to be rejected by men but made the precious cornerstone of God’s dwelling on earth (see Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; 28:16).

Each of us is called to be a living stone in God’s building (see 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16). In this edifice of the Spirit, we are to be “holy priests” offering up “spiritual sacrifices”—all our prayer, work, and intentions—to God.

This is our lofty calling as Christians. This is why Christ led us out of the darkness of sin and death as Moses led the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.

God’s covenant with Israel made them a royal and priestly people who were to announce His praises (see Exodus 19:6). By our faith in Christ’s new covenant, we have been made heirs of this chosen race, called to glorify the Father in the temple of our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Romans 12:1).

In today’s First Reading, we see the spiritual house of the Church being built up, as the Apostles consecrate seven deacons so they can devote themselves more fully to the “ministry of the Word.”

The Lord’s Word is upright and all His works trustworthy, we sing in today’s Psalm. So we can trust Jesus when He tells us never to be troubled, but to believe that His Word and works come from the Father.

His Word continues its work in the world through the Church. We see its beginnings today in Jerusalem. It is destined to spread with influence and power (see Acts 19:20), and to become the imperishable seed by which every heart is born anew (see 1 Peter 1:23).

Direct download: A_5_Easter17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 2,14.36–41
Salmo 23,1–6
1 Pedro 2,20–25
Juan 10,1–10

La tumba vacía de la pascua es una llamada a la conversión.

Por esa tumba tenemos la certeza de que verdaderamente Dios ha hecho a Jesús Señor y Mesías, como Pedro predica en la primera lectura de hoy.

El es el “Señor”, el hijo divino que David había contemplado a la derecha del Padre (cf. Sal 110,1.3; 132,10.11; Hch 2,34). Y es el Mesías que Dios había prometido para pastorear el rebaño disperso de la casa de Israel (cf. Ez 34,11–14.23; 37,24).

Como escuchamos en el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús es ese Buen Pastor enviado a quienes eran como ovejas sin pastor (cf. Mc 6,34; Nm 27,16–17). No sólo llama a los hijos de Israel, sino a todos aquellos que se encuentran lejos de Él, a quienes el Señor quiere que escuchen su voz.

La llamada del Buen Pastor conduce a las aguas tranquilas del Bautismo, a la unción de aceite de la Confirmación, y a la mesa y a la rebosante copa de la Eucaristía, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy.

En este domingo de pascua, nuevamente escuchamos la voz de Dios llamándonos “suyos”. Él debería despertar en nosotros la respuesta de quienes escucharon la predicación de Pedro: “¿Qué debemos hacer?”, gritaron.

Hemos sido bautizados. Pero cada uno de nosotros está descarriado como las ovejas de que escuchamos en la epístola de hoy. Cada día necesitamos aún arrepentirnos, buscar el perdón de nuestros pecados, apartarnos de esta generación corrupta.

Estamos llamados a seguir los pasos del Pastor de nuestras almas. Él, por su pasión, llevó nuestros pecados en su cuerpo para liberarnos del pecado. Pero su sufrimiento también es un ejemplo para nosotros. Debemos aprender de él a ser pacientes en nuestras aflicciones, y aceptar la voluntad de Dios.

Jesús ha ido por delante, conduciéndonos por el valle oscuro de la muerte y del pecado. Su cruz ha venido a ser la puerta angosta a través de la cual debemos pasar para alcanzar la tumba vacía: los verdes pastos de la vida en abundancia.

Direct download: A_4_Easter_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Acts 2:14, 36–41
Psalm 23:1–6
1 Peter 2:20–25
John 10:1–10

Easter’s empty tomb is a call to conversion.

By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today’s First Reading.

He is the “Lord,” the divine Son that David foresaw at God’s right hand (see Psalms 3; 110:1; 132:10–11; and Acts 2:34). And He is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (see Ezekiel 34:11–14, 23; 37:24).

As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus is that Good Shepherd, sent to a people who were like sheep without a shepherd (see Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16–17). He calls not only to the children of Israel, but to all those far off from Him—to whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.

The call of the Good Shepherd leads to the restful waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of Confirmation, and to the table and overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Again on this Sunday in Easter, we hear His voice calling us His own. He should awaken in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they cried.

We have been baptized. But each of us goes astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We still need daily to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from this corrupt generation.

We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.

Jesus has gone ahead, driven us through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach His empty tomb—the verdant pastures of life abundant.

Direct download: A_4_Easter_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Hechos 2, 14.22–28
Salmo 16, 1–2.5.7–11
1 Pedro 1, 17–21
Lucas 24, 13–35

Deberíamos ponernos en los zapatos de los discípulos que nos describe el Evangelio de hoy. Van por el camino tristes y cabizbajos, incapaces de comprender todo lo que había ocurrido.

Ellos saben lo que habían visto: un profeta grande en obras y palabras. Saben lo que esperaban de él: que sería el redentor de Israel. Pero no saben cómo interpretar su muerte violenta a manos de sus gobernantes.

Ni siquiera pueden reconocer a Jesús cuando se les acerca para caminar con ellos. Parece un extranjero más de los que visitan Jerusalén para la Pascua.

Llama la atención que Jesús no revela su identidad hasta que ellos describen cómo algunos de los discípulos encontraron la tumba vacía, “pero a Él no lo vieron”. Lo mismo pasa con nosotros. Si Él no se nos revelara, lo único que veríamos sería una tumba vacía y una muerte sin sentido.

¿Cómo se da a conocer Jesús en Emaús? Primero, interpreta “todas las Escrituras” que se refieren a Él. En la primera lectura y en la epístola de hoy, también Pedro abre las Escrituras para proclamar el significado de la muerte de Cristo, de acuerdo con el plan preparado por el Padre desde antes de la creación del mundo.

Jesús es descrito como el nuevo Moisés y el nuevo Cordero Pascual. Él es Aquel de quien David cantó en el salmo de hoy, cuya alma no fue abandonada a la corrupción; antes bien a ella le fue enseñado el camino de la vida.

Jesús, después de explicar las Escrituras, estando sentado a la mesa, tomó el pan, lo bendijo, lo partió y se lo dio a su discípulos; exactamente lo que había hecho en la Última Cena (cf. Lc 22, 14-20).

En cada Eucaristía reconstruimos la escena de aquel domingo de pascua en Emaús. Jesús se nos revela en nuestra jornada. Nos habla al corazón por medio de las Escrituras. Después, en la mesa del altar, en la persona del sacerdote, parte el pan.

Los discípulos le rogaron: “quédate con nosotros”. Y Él se quedó. En la Eucaristía, a pesar de que ya no lo vemos – como en Emaús- lo reconocemos al partir el pan.

Direct download: A_3_Easter_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Acts 2:14, 22–28
Psalm 16:1–2, 5, 7–11
1 Peter 1:17–21
Luke 24:13–35

We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today’s Gospel. Downcast and confused, they’re making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.

They know what they’ve seen—a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for—that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don’t know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.

They can’t even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.

Note that Jesus doesn’t disclose His identity until they they describe how they found His tomb empty but “Him they did not see.” That’s how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.

How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s death according to the Father’s “set plan”—foreknown before the foundation of the world.

Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today’s Psalm—whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.

After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples—exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14–20).

In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easte Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.

The disciples begged him, “Stay with us.” So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist—as at Emmaus—we know Him in the breaking of the bread.

Direct download: A_3_Easter_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Acts 2:42–47
Psalm 118:2–4, 13–15, 22–24
1 Peter 1:3–9
John 20:19–31

We are children of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Through this wondrous sign of His great mercy, the Father of Jesus has given us new birth, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

Today’s First Reading sketches the “family life” of our first ancestors in the household of God (see 1 Peter 4:17). We see them doing what we still do—devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, meeting daily to pray and celebrate “the breaking of the bread.”

The Apostles saw the Lord. He stood in their midst, showed them His hands and sides. They heard His blessing and received His commission—to extend the Father’s mercy to all peoples through the power and Spirit He conferred upon them.

We must walk by faith and not by sight, must believe and love what we have not seen (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet the invisible realities are made present for us through the devotions the Apostles handed on.

Notice the experience of the risen Lord in today’s Gospel is described in a way that evokes the Mass.

Both appearances take place on a Sunday. The Lord comes to be with His disciples. They rejoice, listen to His Word, receive the gift of His forgiveness and peace. He offers His wounded body to them in remembrance of His Passion. And they know and worship Him as their Lord and their God.

Thomas’ confession is a vow of faith in the new covenant. As promised long before, in the blood of Jesus we can now know the Lord as our God and be known as His people (see Hosea 2:20–25).

This confession is sung in the heavenly liturgy (see Revelation 4:11). And in every Mass on earth we renew our covenant and receive the blessings Jesus promised for those who have not seen but have believed.

In the Mass, God’s mercy endures forever, as we sing in today’s Psalm. This is the day the Lord has made—when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.

Direct download: A_Divine_Mercy_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb”—seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned . . . to preach . . . and testify” to all that they had seen—from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan—to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27,44).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them—that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” who, today’s Psalm prophesies, will be resurrected and
exalted. (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb and give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come—the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

Direct download: A_Easter_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Isaiah 50:4–7
Psalm 22:8–9, 17–20, 23–24
Philippians 2:6–11
Matthew 26:14–27:66

“All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Matthew 26:56).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Matthew 27:31), as His hands and feet are pierced, as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Matthew 27:35), and as His enemies dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Matthew 27:39–44).

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help. . . . I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12–14, 17–19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken. We know, as the centurion today, that truly this is the Son of God (see Matthew 27:54).

Direct download: A_Passion_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Ezekiel 37:12–14
Psalm 130:1–8
Romans 8:8–11
John 11:1–45

As we draw near to the end of Lent, today’s Gospel clearly has Jesus’ passion and death in view.

That’s why John gives us the detail about Lazarus’ sister, Mary—that she is the one who anointed the Lord for burial (see John 12:3, 7). His disciples warn against returning to Judea; Thomas even predicts they will “die with Him” if they go back.

When Lazarus is raised, John notices the tombstone being taken away, as well as Lazarus’ burial cloths and head covering—all details he later notices with Jesus’ empty tomb (see John 20:1, 6, 7).

Like the blind man in last week’s readings, Lazarus represents all humanity. He stands for “dead man”—for all those Jesus loves and wants to liberate from the bands of sin and death.

John even recalls the blind man in his account today (see John 11:37). Like the man’s birth in blindness, Lazarus’ death is used by Jesus to reveal “the glory of God” (see John 9:3). And again like last week, Jesus’ words and deeds give sight to those who believe (see John 11:40).

If we believe, we will see—that Jesus loves each of us as He loved Lazarus, that He calls us out of death and into new life.

By His Resurrection Jesus has fulfilled Ezekiel’s promise in today’s First Reading. He has opened the graves that we may rise, put His Spirit in us that we may live. This is the Spirit that Paul writes of in today’s Epistle. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will give life to we who were once dead in sin.

Faith is the key. If we believe as Martha does in today’s Gospel—that Jesus is the resurrection and the life—even if we die, we will live.

“I have promised and I will do it,” the Father assures us in the First Reading. We must trust in His word, as we sing in today’s Psalm—that with Him is forgiveness and salvation.

Direct download: A_5_Lent_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Psalm 23:1-6
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

God’s ways of seeing are not our ways, we hear in today’s First Reading. Jesus illustrates this in the Gospel—as the blind man comes to see and the Pharisees are made blind.

The blind man stands for all humanity. “Born totally in sin” he is made a new creation by the saving power of Christ.

As God fashioned the first man from the clay of the earth (see Genesis 2:7), Jesus gives the blind man new life by anointing his eyes with clay (see John 9:11). As God breathed the spirit of life into the first man, the blind man is not healed until he washes in the waters of Siloam, a name that means “sent.”

Jesus is the One “sent” by the Father to do the Father’s will (see John 9:4; 12:44). He is the new source of life-giving water—the Holy Spirit who rushes upon us in Baptism (see John 4:10; 7:38–39).

This is the Spirit that rushes upon God’s chosen king David in today’s First Reading. A shepherd like Moses before him (see Exodus 3:1; Psalm 78:70–71), David is also a sign pointing to the good shepherd and king to come—Jesus (see John 10:11).

The Lord is our shepherd, as we sing in today’s Psalm. By His death and Resurrection He has made a path for us through the dark valley of sin and death, leading us to the verdant pastures of the kingdom of life, the Church.

In the restful waters of Baptism He has refreshed our souls. He has anointed our heads with the oil of Confirmation and spread the Eucharistic table before us, filling our cups to overflowing.

With the once-blind man we enter His house to give God the praise, to renew our vow: “I do believe, Lord.”

“The Lord looks into the heart,” we hear today. Let Him find us, as Paul advises in today’s Epistle, living as “children of light”—trying always to learn what is pleasing to our Father.

Direct download: A_4_Lent_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Éxodo 17,3–7
Salmo 95,1–2.6–9
Romanos 5,1–2.5–8
Juan 4,5–15.19–26.39–42

Los corazones de los israelitas fueron endurecidos por las pruebas en el desierto.

Aunque habían visto las proezas de Dios, cuando estaban sedientos murmuraron contra Él y lo pusieron a prueba, según nos dice la primera lectura de hoy. El salmo recuerda también ese momento de crisis.

También Jesús tiene sed en el Evangelio de hoy. Está sediento de almas (cf. Jn 19,28). Anhela dar a la samaritana las aguas vivas que brotan hasta la vida eterna.

Esas aguas no podían sacarse del pozo de Jacob, padre de los israelitas y también de los samaritanos. Pero Jesús es mayor que Jacob (cf. Lc 11,31–32).

Los samaritanos eran israelitas que escaparon del exilio cuando Asiría conquistó el Reino del Norte, ocho siglos antes de Cristo (cf. 2R 17,6; 24–41). Fueron despreciados por casarse con no-israelitas y por rendir culto en el monte Garizim, no en Jerusalén.

Pero Jesús le dice a la mujer que ha llegado “la hora” del auténtico culto, cuando todos adorarán a Dios en Espíritu y en verdad.

La “hora” de Jesús es el “tiempo señalado” del que San Pablo habla en la Epístola de hoy. Es la hora en la que la Roca de nuestra salvación fue golpeada en la Cruz. Herida por la lanza del soldado, de nuestra Roca brotaron aguas vivas (cf. Jn 19,34–37).

Esa agua es el Espíritu Santo (cf. Jn 7,38–39), don de Dios (cf. Hb 6,4).

Por las aguas vivas, se ha lavado la antigua enemistad entre samaritanos y judíos; se ha derrumbado la muralla entre Israel y las naciones (cf. Ef 2,12–14.18). Desde la llegada de la hora del Señor, todos pueden beber del Espíritu en el bautismo (cf. 1 Co 12,13).

En esta Eucaristía el Señor está en medio de nosotros, como lo estaba en la roca del Horeb y en el pozo de Jacob.

En el “hoy” de nuestra liturgia, nos llama a creer que Él es Aquel que ha venido a derramar el amor de Dios en nuestros corazones por medio del Espíritu Santo. ¿Cómo podemos seguir rindiendo culto como si no entendiéramos esto?¿Cómo podemos seguir con nuestros corazones endurecidos?

Direct download: A_3_Lent_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Exodus 17:3–7
Psalm 95:1–2, 6–9
Romans 5:1–2, 5–8
John 4:5–15, 19–26, 39–42

The Israelites’ hearts were hardened by their hardships in the desert.

Though they have seen His mighty deeds, in their thirst they grumble and put God to the test in today’s First Reading—a crisis point recalled also in today’s Psalm.

Jesus is thirsty, too, in today’s Gospel. He thirsts for souls (see John 19:28). He longs to give the Samaritan woman the living waters that well up to eternal life.

These waters couldn’t be drawn from the well of Jacob, father of the Israelites and the Samaritans, but Jesus was something greater than Jacob (see Luke 11:31–32).

The Samaritans were Israelites who escaped exile when Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom eight centuries before Christ (see 2 Kings 17:6, 24–41). They were despised for intermarrying with non-Israelites and worshipping at Mount Gerazim, not Jerusalem.

But Jesus tells the woman that the “hour” of true worship is coming, when all will worship God in Spirit and truth.

Jesus’ “hour” is the “appointed time” that Paul speaks of in today’s Epistle. It is the hour when the Rock of our salvation was struck on the Cross. Struck by the soldier’s lance, living waters flowed out from our Rock (see John 19:34–37).

These waters are the Holy Spirit (see John 7:38–39), the gift of God (see Hebrews 6:4).

By the living waters the ancient enmities of Samaritans and Jews have been washed away, the dividing wall between Israel and the nations is broken down (see Ephesians 2:12–14, 18). Since His hour, all may drink of the Spirit in Baptism (see 1 Corinthians 12:13).

In this Eucharist, the Lord now is in our midst—as He was at the Rock of Horeb and at the well of Jacob.

In the “today” of our Liturgy, He calls us to believe: “I am He,” come to pour out the love of God into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. How can we continue to worship as if we don’t understand? How can our hearts remain hardened?

Direct download: A_3_Lent_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Génesis 12,1–4
Salmo 33,4–5.18–20.22
2 Timoteo 1,8–10
Mateo 17,1–9

El Evangelio de hoy retrata a Jesús como un nuevo y más grande Moisés.

También Moisés tomó tres acompañantes, subió con ellos al monte y al día setenta fue eclipsado por la nube brillante de la presencia de Dios. También él habló con Dios y su cara y ropas se hicieron radiantes en ese encuentro (cf. Ex 24,34).

Pero en la liturgia cuaresmal de hoy, la Iglesia quiere que miremos hacia atrás, más allá de Moisés. Más aún, nos invita a contemplar lo que la epístola de hoy llama: “el designio … desde antes de todos los siglos”.

Dios, con las promesas que hace a Abrán en la primera lectura de hoy, formó el pueblo por medio del cual Él se revelaría a sí mismo y concedería sus bendiciones a toda la humanidad.

Más tarde, Dios elevó sus promesas a alianzas eternas y cambió el nombre de Abrán por Abrahán, prometiéndole que sería padre de una multitud de naciones (cf. Gn 17,5). En recuerdo de su alianza con Abrahán, hizo surgir a Moisés (cf. Ex 2,24; 3,8), y más adelante juró un reino eterno a los hijos de David (cf. Jr 33,26).

En la transfiguración de Jesús que leemos hoy, Él se revela como Aquel en quien Dios cumple su plan divino, trazado desde antiguo.

Jesús no es sólo un nuevo Moisés, sino el “hijo amado” prometido a Abrahán y prometido nuevamente a David (cf. Gn 22,15–18; Sal 2,7; Mt 1,1).

Moisés predijo que vendría un profeta como él a quien Israel escucharía (cf. Dt 18,15–18); e Isaías, un siervo ungido en quien Dios estaría complacido (cf. Is 42,1). Jesús es ese profeta y siervo, como la Voz en el monte nos dice el día de hoy.

Por la fe hemos sido hechos hijos de la alianza hecha con Abrahán (cf. Ga 3,7–9; Hch 2,25). También a nosotros Él nos llama a la santidad, a seguir a su Hijo hacia la patria celestial que nos ha prometido. Sabemos, como cantamos en el salmo de hoy, que quienes esperamos en Él seremos librados de la muerte.

Por tanto, como nuestro padre en la fe, debemos seguir adelante mientras el Señor nos dice: “¡Escúchenlo!”.

Direct download: A_2_Lent_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Genesis 12:1-4
Psalm 33:4-5,18-20, 22
2 Timothy 1:8-10
Matthew 17:1-9

Today’s Gospel portrays Jesus as a new and greater Moses.

Moses also took three companions up a mountain and on the seventh day was overshadowed by the shining cloud of God’s presence. He too spoke with God and his face and clothing were made radiant in the encounter (see Exodus 24, 34).

But in today’s Lenten Liturgy, the Church wants us to look back past Moses. Indeed, we are asked to contemplate what today’s Epistle calls God’s “design . . . from before time began.”

With His promises to Abram in today’s First Reading, God formed the people through whom He would reveal himself and bestow His blessings on all humanity.

He later elevated these promises to eternal covenants and changed Abram’s name to Abraham, promising that he would be father of a host of nations (see Genesis 17:5). In remembrance of His covenant with Abraham He raised up Moses (see Exodus 2:24; 3:8), and later swore an everlasting kingdom to David’s sons (see Jeremiah 33:26).

In Jesus’ transfiguration today, He is revealed as the One through whom God fulfills His divine plan from of old.

Not only a new Moses, Jesus is also the “beloved son” promised to Abraham and again to David (see Genesis 22:15–18; Psalm 2:7; Matthew 1:1).

Moses foretold a prophet like him to whom Israel would listen (see Deuteronomy 18:15, 18) and Isaiah foretold an anointed servant in whom God would be well-pleased (see Isaiah 42:1). Jesus is this prophet and this servant, as the Voice on the mountain tells us today.

By faith we have been made children of the covenant with Abraham (see Galatians 3:7–9; Acts 3:25). He calls us, too, to a holy life, to follow His Son to the heavenly homeland He has promised. We know, as we sing in today’s Psalm, that we who hope in Him will be delivered from death.

So like our father in faith, we go forth as the Lord directs us: “Listen to Him!”

Direct download: A_2_Lent_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Génesis 2,7–9; 3,1–7
Salmo 51,3–6.12–14.17
Romanos 5,12–19
Mateo 4,1–11

En la liturgia de hoy, el destino de la raza humana se nos cuenta como un relato sobre dos “tipos” de hombre: el primero, Adán, y el nuevo Adán, Jesús (cf. 1 Co 15,21–22; 45–59).

San Pablo construye su argumento en la epístola mediante una serie de contrastes entre “uno” o “una solo hombre”, y “muchos” o “todos”. Por la desobediencia de una persona entró el pecado y la condena al mundo, y la muerte comenzó a reinar sobre todos. Por la obediencia de otro, abundó la gracia, todos fueron justificados y la vida vino a reinar para todos.

Este es el drama que se revela en la primera lectura y el Evangelio de hoy.

Adán, que fue formado de la arcilla del suelo y lleno del aliento del propio Espíritu Divino, era hijo de Dios (cf. Lc 3,38), creado a su imagen (cf. Gn 5,1–3). Coronado de su gloria, se le dio poder sobre toda la tierra y la protección de sus ángeles (cf. Sal 8,6–8; 91,11–13). Fue creado para adorar a Dios; para vivir no sólo de pan sino de la obediencia a cada palabra que sale de la boca de Dios.

Sin embargo, Adán puso a prueba al Señor su Dios. Cedió a la tentación de la serpiente, tratando de tomar para sí todo lo que Dios ya le había prometido. Pero Jesús, a la hora de su tentación, venció en lo que Adán había fallado y apartó al demonio.

Nosotros aún pecamos, siguiendo los pasos de la caída de Adán. Como él, dejamos entrar el pecado en nuestra puerta cuando alimentamos dudas sobre las promesas de Dios, cuando olvidamos llamarlo en nuestros momentos de tentación.

Pero la gracia que Cristo nos ganó con su obediencia implica que el pecado ya no es amo nuestro.

Al comenzar este tiempo de arrepentimiento podemos confiar en su compasión, en que Él creará en nosotros un nuevo corazón (cf. Rm 5,5; Hb 8,10). Como lo hemos hecho con el salmo de hoy, podemos cantar alegremente nuestra salvación, renovados en su presencia.

Direct download: A_1_Lent_Spn_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Genesis 2:7–9; 3:1–7
Psalm 51:3–6; 12–14, 17
Romans 5:12–19
Matthew 4:1–11

In today’s Liturgy, the destiny of the human race is told as the tale of two “types” of men—the first man, Adam, and the new Adam, Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–22; 45–59).

Paul’s argument in the Epistle is built on a series of contrasts between “one” or “one person” and “the many” or “all.” By one person’s disobedience, sin and condemnation entered the world, and death came to reign over all. By the obedience of another one, grace abounded, all were justified, and life came to reign for all.

This is the drama that unfolds in today’s First Reading and Gospel.

Formed from the clay of the ground and filled with the breath of God’s own Spirit, Adam was a son of God (see Luke 3:38), created in His image (see Genesis 5:1–3). Crowned with glory, he was given dominion over the world and the protection of His angels (see Psalms 8:6–8; 91:11–13). He was made to worship God—to live not by bread alone but in obedience to every word that comes from the mouth of the Father.

Adam, however, put the Lord his God to the test. He gave in to the serpent’s temptation, trying to seize for himself all that God had already promised him. But in His hour of temptation, Jesus prevailed where Adam failed—and drove the devil away.

Still, we sin after the pattern of Adam’s transgression. Like Adam, we let sin in the door (see Genesis 4:7) when we entertain doubts about God’s promises, when we forget to call on Him in our hours of temptation.

But the grace won for us by Christ’s obedience means that sin is no longer our master.

As we begin this season of repentance, we can be confident in His compassion, that He will create in us a new heart (see Romans 5:5; Hebrews 8:10). As we do in today’s Psalm, we can sing joyfully of our salvation, renewed in His presence.

Direct download: A_1_Lent_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Leviticus 19:1–2, 17–18
Psalm 103:1–4, 8, 10, 12–13
1 Corinthians 3:16–23
Matthew 5:38–48

We are called to the holiness of God. That is the extraordinary claim made in both the First Reading and Gospel this Sunday.

Yet how is it possible that we can be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect?

Jesus explains that we must be imitators of God as His beloved children (Ephesians 5:1–2).

As God does, we must love without limit—with a love that does not distinguish between friend and foe, overcoming evil with good (see Romans 12:21).

Jesus Himself, in His Passion and death, gave us the perfect example of the love that we are called to.

He offered no resistance to the evil—even though He could have commanded twelve legions of angels to fight alongside Him. He offered His face to be struck and spit upon. He allowed His garments to be stripped from Him. He marched as His enemies compelled Him to the Place of the Skull. On the cross He prayed for those who persecuted Him (see Matthew 26:53–54, 67; 27:28, 32; Luke 23:34).

In all this He showed Himself to be the perfect Son of God. By His grace, and through our imitation of Him, He promises that we too can become children of our heavenly Father.

God does not deal with us as we deserve, as we sing in this week’s Psalm. He loves us with a Father’s love. He saves us from ruin. He forgives our transgressions.

He loved us even when we had made ourselves His enemies through our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (see Romans 5:8).

We have been bought with the price of the blood of God’s only Son (see 1 Corinthians 6:20). We belong to Christ now, as St. Paul says in this week’s Epistle. By our baptism, we have been made temples of His Holy Spirit.

And we have been saved to share in His holiness and perfection. So let us glorify Him by our lives lived in His service, loving as He loves.

Direct download: A_7_Ordinary_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sirach 15:15–20
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34
1 Corinthians 2:6–10
Matthew 5:17–37

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that He has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But His Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.

Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jer. 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matthew
6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Romans 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do His will from the heart (see Matthew 22:37; Ephesians 6:6).

God never asks more of us than we are capable. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.

By His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep His commandments. In baptism, He has given us His Spirit that His Law might be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by His kingdom law.

As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live His Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart.

Direct download: A_6_Ordinary_17.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Isaiah 58:7–10
Psalm 112:4–9
1 Corinthians 2:1–5
Matthew 5:13–16

Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.

As His disciples, we too are called to be “the light of the world,” He tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4–4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).

All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.

God forever aligned His kingdom with the kingdom of David and his sons by a “covenant of salt,” salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chronicles 13:5, 8; Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24).

Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations towards the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1–3).

And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God’s salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel’s mission.

By our faith and good works we are to make the light of God’s life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week’s Psalm.

This week’s readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.

We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God’s mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.

There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.

So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives, “Christ and him crucified.”

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

Readings:
Malachi 3:1–4
Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Hebrews 2:14–18
Luke 2:22–40

Today’s feast marks the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, forty days after he was born. As the firstborn, he belonged to God. According to the Law, Mary and Joseph were required to take him to the Temple and “redeem” him by paying five shekels. At the same time, the Law required the child’s mother to offer sacrifice in order to overcome the ritual impurity brought about by childbirth.

So the feast we celebrate shows a curious turn of events. The Redeemer seems to be redeemed. She who is all-pure presents herself to be purified. Such is the humility of our God. Such is the humility of the Blessed Virgin. They submit to the law even though they are not bound by it.

However, the Gospel story nowhere mentions Jesus’ “redemption,” but seems to describe instead a religious consecration—such as a priest might undergo. Saint Luke tells us that Jesus is “presented” in the Temple, using the same verb that Saint Paul uses to describe the offering of a sacrifice (see Romans 12:1). Another parallel is the Old Testament dedication of Samuel (1 Sam 1:24-27) to the Temple as a priest.

The drama surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth began in the Temple—when the Archangel visited Mary’s kinsman, Zechariah the priest. And now the story of Jesus’ infancy comes to a fitting conclusion, again in the Temple.

All the readings today concern Jerusalem, the Temple, and the sacrificial rites. The first reading comes from the Prophet Malachi, who called the priests to return to faithful service—and foretold a day when a Messiah would arrive with definitive purification of the priesthood.

Likewise, the Psalm announces to Jerusalem that Jerusalem is about to receive a great visitor. The Psalmist identifies him as “The LORD of hosts . . . the king of glory.”

Christ now arrives as the long-awaited priest and redeemer. He is also the sacrifice. Indeed, as his life will show, He is the Temple itself (see John 2:19-21).

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Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

Lecturas:
Isaías 8,23–9,3
Salmo 27,1.4.13–14
1 Corintios 1,10–13.17
Mateo 4,12–23

La liturgia de hoy nos da una lección de geografía e historia israelita antigua.

En el Evangelio de hoy, Mateo menciona la profecía de Isaías que aparece en la primera lectura. Ambas citas buscan recordar la aparente caída del reino eterno prometido a David (cf. 2 S 7,12–14; Sal 89; Sal 132, 11–12).

Ocho siglos antes de Jesús, la parte del reino donde vivían las tribus de Zebulón y Neftalí fue atacada por los asirios y sus habitantes fueron llevados al cautiverio (cf. 2 R 15,29; 1 Cr 5,26).

Esto marcó el comienzo del final del reino, que terminó desmoronándose en el siglo VI antes de Cristo, cuando Jerusalén fue capturada por Babilonia y las tribus que quedaban fueron llevadas al exilio (cf. 2 R 24,14).

Isaías profetizó que Zabulón y Neftalí, las primeras tierras que fueron degradadas, serían también las primeras en ver la luz de la salvación de Dios. Jesús cumple hoy esa profecía, anunciando la restauración del reino de David, precisamente ahí donde empezó a caer.

Su Evangelio del reino incluye no sólo a las doce tribus de Israel, sino a todas las naciones, simbolizadas en la “Galilea de las naciones”. Al llamar a sus primeros discípulos, dos pescadores del mar de Galilea, los destina a ser “pescadores de hombres”.

Según nos dice San Pablo en la Epístola de hoy, los discípulos han de predicar el evangelio para unir todos los pueblos en un mismo pensar y sentir; en un reino mundial de Dios.

Mediante su predicación, la profecía de Isaías ha sido proclamada. Un mundo en tinieblas ha visto la luz. El yugo de la esclavitud y el pecado, cargado por la humanidad desde el inicio de los tiempos, ha sido destrozado.

Como cantamos en el salmo de hoy, ya somos capaces de habitar en la casa del Señor, de adorarlo en la tierra de los vivos.

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

Readings:
Isaiah 8:23–9:3
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13–14
1 Corinthians 1:10–13, 17
Matthew 4:12–23


Today’s Liturgy gives us a lesson in ancient Israelite geography and history.

Isaiah’s prophecy in today’s First Reading is quoted by Matthew in today’s Gospel. Both intend to recall the apparent fall of the everlasting kingdom promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12–13; Psalm 89; 132:11–12).

Eight centuries before Christ, that part of the kingdom where the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali lived was attacked by the Assyrians, and the tribes were hauled off into captivity (see 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26).

It marked the beginning of the kingdom’s end. It finally crumbled in the sixth century BC, when Jerusalem was seized by Babylon and the remaining tribes were driven into exile (see 2 Kings 24:14).

Isaiah prophesied that Zebulun and Naphtali, the lands first to be degraded, would be the first to see the light of God’s salvation. Jesus today fulfills that prophecy—announcing the restoration of David’s kingdom at precisely the spot where the kingdom began to fall.

His Gospel of the Kingdom includes not only the twelve tribes of Israel but all the nations—symbolized by the “Galilee of the Nations.” Calling His first disciples, two fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, He appoints them to be “fishers of men”—gathering people from the ends of the earth.

They are to preach the Gospel, Paul says in today’s Epistle, to unite all peoples in the same mind and in the same purpose—in a worldwide kingdom of God.

By their preaching, Isaiah’s promise has been delivered. A world in darkness has seen the light. Th e yoke of slavery and sin, borne by humanity since time began, has been smashed.

And we are able now, as we sing in today’s Psalm, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to worship Him in the land of the living.

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Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm 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, He has 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).

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

Lecturas:
Isaías 49,3.5–6
Salmo 40,2.4.7–10
1 Corintios 1,1–3
Juan 1,29–34

Jesús habla por medio del profeta Isaías en la primera lectura de hoy.

Nos habla sobre la misión que el Padre le ha dado desde el vientre materno: “El Señor me dijo: ‘tú eres mi Siervo’”.

Nuestro Señor, Siervo e Hijo, fue enviado para liderar un nuevo éxodo, para levantar las tribus exiliadas de Israel, para reunirlas y restituirlas a Dios. Más aún, para ser luz de las naciones y que la salvación de Dios llegue a los confines de la tierra (cf. Hch 13,46–47).

Antes del primer éxodo fue ofrecido un cordero en sacrificio, y su sangre tiñó los dinteles de las puertas de los israelitas. La sangre del cordero identificó sus hogares y el Señor los “pasó de largo”, sin ejecutar en ellos la sentencia destinada a los egipcios (cf. Ex 12,1–23.27).

En el nuevo éxodo, Jesús es el “Cordero de Dios”, tal como es contemplado por Juan en el Evangelio de hoy (cf. 1 Co 5,7; 1P 1,18–18). Nuestro Señor canta sobre ello en el salmo de este día. Ha venido, nos dice, a ofrecer su Cuerpo para cumplir la voluntad de Dios (cf. Hb 10,3–13).

Los sacrificios, oblaciones, holocaustos y ofrendas por los pecados, dados después del primer éxodo, no tenían poder para borrar los pecados (cf. Hb 10,4). Esas prácticas no fueron concebidas para salvar, sino para enseñar (cf. Ga 3,24). Al ofrecer esos sacrificios, el pueblo debía aprender a sacrificarse, a adorar, a ofrecerse a sí mismo libremente a Dios y a deleitarse en su voluntad.

Sólo Jesús pudo hacer esa ofrenda perfecta de sí mismo. Y por su sacrificio nos ha abierto los oídos a la obediencia, nos ha hecho capaces de escuchar la llamada del Padre a la santidad, como dice San Pablo en la epístola de hoy.

Él nos ha hecho hijos de Dios, bautizados en la sangre del Cordero (cf. Ap 7,14). Y hemos de unir nuestro sacrificio al suyo para ofrecer nuestros cuerpos—vidas—como sacrificios vivos en la adoración espiritual de la Misa (cf. Rm 12,1).

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

Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7
Psalm 29:1–4, 9–10
Acts 10:34–38
Matthew 3:13–17

Jesus presents himself for baptism in today’s Gospel not because He is a sinner, but to fulfill the word of God proclaimed by His prophets. He must be baptized to reveal that He is the Christ (“anointed one”)—the Spirit-endowed Servant promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.

His baptism marks the start of a new world, a new creation. As Isaiah prophesied, the Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove—as the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep in the beginning (see Genesis 1:2).

As it was in the beginning, at the Jordan also the majestic voice of the Lord thunders above the waters. The Father opens the heavens and declares Jesus to be His “beloved son.”

God had long prepared the Israelites for His coming, as Peter preaches in today’s Second Reading. Jesus was anticipated in the “beloved son” given to Abraham (see Genesis 22:2, 12, 26), and in the calling of Israel as His “first-born son” (see Exodus 4:22–23). Jesus is the divine son begotten by God, the everlasting heir promised to King David (see Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14).

He is “a covenant of the people [Israel]” and “a light to the nations,” Isaiah says. By the new covenant made in His blood (see 1 Corinthians 11:25), God has gathered the lost sheep of Israel together with whoever fears Him in every nation.

Christ has become the source from which God pours out His Spirit on Israelites and Gentiles alike (see Acts 10:45). In Baptism, all are anointed with that same Spirit, made beloved sons and daughters of God. Indeed, we are Christians—literally “anointed ones.”

We are the “sons of God” in today’s Psalm—called to give glory to His name in His temple. Let us pray that we remain faithful to our calling as His children, that our Father might call us what he calls His Son—“my beloved . . . in whom I am well pleased.”

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

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