St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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 2,14.36–41
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

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

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 2:42–47
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

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