Letters From Home

Beginning on March 1, the Sunday Bible Reflections will be upgraded to the Daily Bible Reflections. Scott Hahn will continue to provide his scriptural insight into the Sunday mass readings, but the St. Paul Center will also provide you with more biblical scholarship on the daily mass readings, featuring such Bible scholars as Dr. John Bergsma, Professor Curtis Mitch, Rob Corzine, and Becket Ghioto.

Direct download: DBR_Promo_1_mixdown.mp3
Category:catholicism -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

Readings:
Genesis 22:1–2, 9–13, 15–18
Psalm 116:10, 15–19
Romans 8:31–34
Mark 9:2–10

The Lenten season continues with another story of testing. Last Sunday, we heard the trial of Jesus in the desert. In this week’s First Reading, we hear of how Abraham was put to the test.

The Church has always read this story as a sign of God’s love for the world in giving His only-begotten son.

In today’s Epistle, Paul uses exact words drawn from this story to describe how God, like Abraham, did not withhold His only Son, but handed Him over for us on the Cross (see Romans 8:32; Genesis 22:12,16).

In the Gospel today, too, we hear another echo. Jesus is called God’s “beloved Son”—as Isaac is described as Abraham’s beloved son.

These readings are given to us in Lent to reveal Christ’s identity and to strengthen us in the face of our afflictions.

Jesus is shown to be the true son that Abraham rejoiced to see (see Matthew 1:1; John 8:56). In His transfiguration, He is revealed to be the “prophet like Moses” foretold by God—raised from among their own kinsmen, speaking with God’s own authority (see Deuteronomy 18:15, 19).

Like Moses, He climbs the mountain with three named friends and beholds God’s glory in a cloud (see Exodus 24:1, 9, 15). He is the one prophesied to come after Elijah’s return (see Sirach 48:9–10; Malachi 3:1, 23–24).

And, as He discloses to the Apostles, He is the Son of Man sent to suffer and die for our sins (see Isaiah 53:3).

As we sing in today’s Psalm, Jesus believed in the face of His afflictions, and God loosed Him from the bonds of death (see Psalm 116:3).

His rising should give us the courage to face our trials, to off er ourselves totally to the Father—as He did, as Abraham and Isaac did.

Freed from death by His death, we come to this Mass to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to renew our vows—as His servants and faithful ones.

Direct download: B_2_Lent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Génesis 22,1–2, 9–13, 15–18;
Salmo 116,10, 15–19;
Romanos 8, 31–34;
Marcos 9, 2–10

El tiempo de cuaresma continúa con otra narración sobre una prueba. El domingo pasado leímos las tentaciones de Jesús en el desierto.

La primera lectura de este domingo habla sobre la prueba de Abraham. La Iglesia siempre ha visto en esta historia un signo del amor de Dios, que “entregó a su Hijo único” (cf. Jn 3,16).

En la epístola, San Pablo menciona que Dios, como Abraham (cf, Gn 22,16) “no perdonó a su propio Hijo, antes bien le entregó por todos nosotros” (Rm 8, 32).

El evangelio retoma esa figura. Jesús es llamado “el Hijo Amado” de Dios, así como Isaac es descrito como el amado hijo único de Abraham (cf. Gn 22, 2)

Estas lecturas se nos dan en la cuaresma para revelarnos la identidad de Cristo y para fortalecernos frente a nuestras tribulaciones.

Jesús es mostrado como el verdadero hijo, al que Abraham se regocijó en contemplar (cf. Mt 1,1; Jn 8, 56).

En su transfiguración, Jesús manifiesta ser “el profeta como Moisés” prometido por Dios — suscitado de entre el Pueblo de Dios — que habla con la autoridad del mismo Señor (cf. Dt 18,15.19).

Como Moisés, Jesús también sube a la montaña con tres amigos, cuyos nombres hallamos en el texto y ve la gloria de Dios en una nube (cf. Ex 24,1.9.15).

Jesús es El que fue profetizado, El que habría de venir después del regreso de Elías (cf. Si 48, 9–10; Ml 3,1, 23–24).

Además, como Él mismo lo revela a sus apóstoles, Jesús es el Hijo del Hombre enviado a sufrir y morir por nuestros pecados (cf. Is 53,3).

Como cantamos en el salmo de este domingo, Jesús creyó aún en el momento de su aflicción y Dios lo liberó de los lazos de la muerte (cf. Sal 116, 3).

Su resurrección debe darnos el valor para enfrentar nuestras pruebas y ofrecernos totalmente al Padre, como lo hizo El y como lo hicieron Abraham e Isaac.

Liberados de la muerte por Su muerte, hemos venido a esta Misa a ofrecer un sacrificio de acción de gracias y a renovar nuestras promesas como sus siervos fieles.

Direct download: B_2_Lent_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Genesis 9:8–15
Psalm 25:4–9
1 Peter 3:18–22
Mark 1:12–15

Lent bids us to return to the innocence our baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of Baptism, Peter reminds us in today’s Epistle.

And God’s covenant with Noah in today’s First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1–9).

We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today’s Gospel.

Jesus is portrayed as the new Adam—the beloved son of God (see Mark 1:11; Luke 3:38), living in harmony with the wild beasts (see Genesis 2:19–20), being served by angels (see Ezekiel 28:12–14).

Like Adam, He too is tempted by the devil. But while Adam fell, giving reign to sin and death (see Romans 5:12–14, 17–20), Jesus is victorious.

This is the good news, the “gospel of God” that He proclaims. Through His death, resurrection, and enthronement at the right hand of the Father, the world is once again made God’s kingdom.

In the waters of Baptism, each of us entered the kingdom of His beloved Son (see Colossians 1:13–14). We were made children of God, new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 4:3–7).

But like Jesus, and Israel before Him, we have passed through the baptismal waters only to be driven into the wilderness—a world filled with afflictions and tests of our faithfulness (see 1 Corinthians 10:1–4, 9,13; Deuteronomy 8:2, 16).

We are led on this journey by Jesus. He is the Savior—the way and the truth we sing of in today’s Psalm (see John 14:6). He feeds us with the bread of angels (see Psalm 78:25; Wisdom 16:20), and cleanses our consciences in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As we begin this holy season, let us renew our baptismal vows—to repent and believe the gospel.

Direct download: B_1_Lent.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lecturas:
Génesis 9, 8-15;
Salmo 25, 4-9;
1 Pedro 3, 18-22;
Marcos 1, 12-15

La cuaresma nos invita a regresar a la inocencia del bautismo.

En la epístola de este domingo, San Pedro nos recuerda que, así como Noé y su familia fueron preservados de las aguas del diluvio, también nosotros somos salvados por las aguas del bautismo.

El pacto de Dios con Noé, que leemos en la primera lectura, marcó el inicio de un nuevo mundo; más aún, prefiguró una nueva y más importante alianza entre el Creador y su creación (cf. Os 2,20; Is 11,1-9).

En el evangelio podemos ver el comienzo de esta Nueva Alianza y esta nueva creación. Jesús es presentado como el nuevo Adán – el hijo amado de Dios (cf. Mc 1, 11; Lc 3, 38), que vive en armonía con las bestias salvajes y es servido por los ángeles (cf. Gn 2, 19-20; Ez 28, 12-14).

Jesús es tentado por el diablo, al igual que Adán. Sin embargo, a diferencia de éste, que con su caída provocó el dominio del pecado y de la muerte en el mundo (cf. Rm 5,12-14,17-20), Cristo vence a Satanás.

En esto consiste la Buena Nueva, el “evangelio de Dios” que Él proclama. Por su muerte, resurrección y entronización a la diestra del Padre, el mundo se vuelve otra vez reino de Dios.

En las aguas del Bautismo, cada uno de nosotros entró en el reino del Hijo Amado de Dios (cf. Col 1, 13-14). Por medio de él fuimos hechos hijos de Dios, criaturas nuevas (cf. 2 Co 5,7; Ga 4, 3-7).

Sin embargo, como Jesús, e Israel antes que Él, hemos sido bautizados sólo para ser conducidos al desierto: a un mundo lleno de aflicciones y pruebas para nuestra fidelidad (cf. 1 Co 10,1-4,9,13; Dt 8, 2,16).

En esta peregrinación – purificación Jesús es nuestro guía. Él es el Salvador, el Camino y la Verdad que cantamos en el salmo de este domingo (cf. Jn 14,6).

Nos da el pan de los ángeles (cf. Sal 78,25; Sb 16,20) y lava nuestras culpas en el sacramento de reconciliación. Por tanto, comencemos este tiempo santo renovando nuestros votos bautismales arrepintiéndonos y creyendo el evangelio.

Direct download: B_1_Lent_Spn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Readings:
Job 7:1–4, 6–7
Psalm 147:1–6
1 Corinthians 9:16–19, 22–23
Mark 1:29–39

In today’s First Reading, Job describes the futility of life before Christ.

His lament reminds us of the curse of toil and death placed upon Adam following his original sin (see Genesis 3:17–19). Men and women are like slaves seeking shade, unable to find rest. Their lives are like the wind that comes and goes.

But, as we sing in today’s Psalm, He who created the stars promised to heal the brokenhearted and gather those lost in exile from Him (see Isaiah 11:12; 61:1). We see this promise fulfilled in today’s Gospel.

Simon’s mother-in-law is like Job’s toiling, hopeless humanity. She is laid low by affliction but too weak to save herself.

But as God promised to take His chosen people by the hand (see Isaiah 42:6), Jesus grasps her by the hand and helps her up. The word translated “help” is actually Greek for “raising up.” The same verb is used when Jesus commands a dead girl to arise (see Mark 5:41–42). It’s used again to describe His own resurrection (see Mark 14:28; 16:7).

What Jesus has done for Simon’s mother-in-law, He has done for all humanity—raised all of us who lay dead through our sins (see Ephesians 2:5).

Notice all the words of totality and completeness in the Gospel. The whole town gathers; all the sick are brought to Him. He drives out demons in the whole of Galilee. Everyone is looking for Christ.

We too have found Him. By our baptism, He healed and raised us to live in His presence (see Hosea 6:1–2).

Like Simon’s mother-in-law, there is only one way we can thank Him for the new life He has given us. We must rise to serve Him and His gospel.

Our lives must be our thanksgiving, as Paul describes in today’s Epistle. We must tell everyone the good news, the purpose for which Jesus has come—that others, too, may have a share in this salvation.

Direct download: B_5_Ordinary.mp3
Category:Sunday Bible Reflections -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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