We Are Chosen

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Mark 3:31-35)

Scripture Study

3:32 your brothers and your sisters in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5. The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

3:35 the will of God: Obedience to the Father is more important than being related to Jesus biologically. St Thomas explains this by saying that Christ “had an eternal generation and a generation in time, and gave preference to the former. Those who do the will of the Father reach him by heavenly generation […]. Everyone who does the will of the Father, that is to say, who obeys him, is a brother or sister of Christ, because he is like him who fulfilled the will of his Father. But he who not only obeys but converts others, begets Christ in them, and thus becomes like the Mother of Christ. Baptized Christians are children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus through the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:12; Rom 8:29; Heb 2:10–11). Membership in this New Covenant family is maintained through a life conforming to God’s will (Mt 7:21). brother … sister … mother: Christ widens the scope of his spiritual family to include his disciples, not to exclude his Mother or his biological relatives

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus identifies us as his disciples. So what do we discover about ourselves? First, that we are a chosen race. As I’ve said many times, our culture puts a huge premium on choice, our choice, personal choice. We care, above all, about freedom, self-direction, and autonomy.

But the Bible is eminently clear that what matters above all is not our choice but God’s choice. We Christians, we followers of Jesus, have been chosen by God for God’s purposes. And this choice is not a matter of reward, as though we are being singled out because of our gifts. Just the contrary.

Your life is not about you. Your will nestles in an infinitely higher will. Your mind is an ingredient in an infinitely more capacious mind. And so the primary question of your life is not, “What do I want?” but rather, “What does God want?”

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

His Faithfulness and Mercy

Once you spoke in a vision,
and to your faithful ones you said:
“On a champion I have placed a crown;
over the people I have set a youth.”

“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.”

“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
I will set his hand upon the sea,
his right hand upon the rivers.”
(Psalm 89:20, 21-22, 25-26)

Scripture Study

89:20 to your faithful ones The Hebrew text here may contain a possible reference to God’s divine council or to Nathan, the prophet who delivered God’s promise to David.

89:21 I have found David, my servant Yahweh chose David after rejecting Saul as king. I have anointed him The Hebrew verb used here, mashach, refers to the process of officially installing a king in Israel.

89:22 my arm may make him strong God promised to use His mighty arm, which He used to create the heavens and earth, to establish and strengthen the Davidic kingdom.

89:25 his horn a concrete noun for an abstract quality; horn is a symbol of strength. 89:26 I will set his hand upon the sea Refers to Yahweh giving power to the Davidic king that resembles Yahweh’s very strength. the rivers: geographically the limits of the Davidic empire (the Mediterranean and the Euphrates); mythologically, the traditional forces of chaos.

Scripture Reflection

Psalm 89 is a prayer that focuses on an experience that is common to all people: human frailty and the passing of time. Our existence is fragile like the grass that sprouts in the morning and withers in the evening. We are called, therefore, to recognize the shortness of our lives so that we may gain wisdom of heart.

It is the grace of God which alone gives meaning and continuity to our actions; through grace eternity enters into our lives and transforms us. In fact, it is the resurrection of Christ that makes this possible: Christ’s Passion is the source of our life after death. In him we have been redeemed and our lives are filled with joy and praise.

– St. Pope John Paul II

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.     

The Kingdom God is At Hand

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
(Mark 1:14-20)

Scripture Study

1:15 time In this context, the Greek word used here, kairos, indicates a period of time predetermined by God. kingdom The Greek word used here, basileia, can denote a geographical territory or the reign of a particular monarch. The kingdom of God refers to God’s reign over all of creation and humanity. Jesus’ teaching in Mark reveals that members of the kingdom of God are marked by childlike humility (Mark 9:33–37; 10:13–16), concern for the poor (10:21–31), sacrificial service (10:42–45), and love for God and neighbor (12:28–34). The language Mark uses to describe God’s rule demonstrates its dynamic character: The kingdom comes (vv. 15; 9:1; compare 15:43), it grows like a seed (4:26, 30), and people can enter it, but only by responding to God’s will (9:47; 10:15, 23–25; 12:34). Is at hand There are obvious examples in history before this time of Yahweh reigning on earth, such as when Israel was established in the promised land or when Yahweh’s temple was built in Jerusalem. However, God’s full reign—as seen in the garden of Eden shortly after creation—had not existed since sin entered the world (Gen 2:4–9, 3; compare Rev 22:1–5). Jesus’ proclamation suggests that the time of God’s full reign on earth is near. believe in the gospel Since Jesus announces the advent of a new kingdom, belief in the gospel entails allegiance to the new king, Jesus.

1:16 Sea of Galilee A lake fed by the Jordan River; it forms the eastern boundary of the region of Galilee. Much of Jesus’ ministry takes place along its western shores. Jesus will cross it in order to expand His ministry into the regions east and north of it (Mark 4:35; 5:1; 6:45). Simon Jesus will rename him Peter (3:16). In addition to being Jesus’ first disciple named in Mark, Simon will be the first person in Mark’s Gospel to recognize Jesus as the Messiah (8:29). Andrew Jews at this time often had Greek rather than Hebrew or Aramaic names.

1:17 Come after me Jesus as rabbi calls His first disciples using a phrase that evokes OT images of prophetic succession (1 Kgs 19:20; compare Mark 9:5; 11:21). Jesus’ call also is a reminder that He is on a journey that has been prepared for Him (vv. 2–3).

1:18 Then they abandoned their nets and followed him The immediacy of their response conveys the urgency of Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God and the level of commitment that it requires (compare 10:28).

1:19 James, the son of Zebedee One of the first disciples and a member of Jesus’ inner group of disciples; not to be confused with James the brother of Jesus. John One of the first disciples and a member of Jesus’ inner circle.

1:20 hired men The Greek word misthōtos indicates a wage-laborer. These men, who have no commitment to Zebedee beyond the wages he pays them, remain in his employment; Zebedee’s own sons, whose natural loyalty is to their father, immediately drop that allegiance and transfer it to Jesus. This motif resurfaces in Mark 10:29–30.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel today is Jesus’ inaugural address, setting the tone for the whole of his preaching. Mark tells us that he was proclaiming the Good News of God, and that this was “the time of fulfillment.”

Something was being brought to completion. What was it? It was everything that the Old Testament had spoken of. Jesus gathered up in his person everything that Israel was about—and this is why his presence was so compelling and why following him was of paramount importance. This is why he says, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” The Good News is him. So now it’s time to make a decision.

Friends, this is the whole story. Everything else is commentary. We are meant to see ourselves in Simon and Andrew, in James and John. When Jesus passes by, we have to respond. The time is now. They got this, and that’s why they responded so promptly.

Now here’s the catch: to follow him means to do what he does, to call other people to the kingdom. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” That line is addressed to all of us, to all the baptized, to all the disciples.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Fools for Christ

Jesus came with his disciples into the house.
Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat.
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him,
for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
(Mark 3:20-21)

Scripture Study

3:20 house Might refer to Simon Peter and Andrew’s house, where Jesus had previously stayed.

3:21 his relatives The Greek idiom used here, meaning “the ones from his side,” can refer to anyone who is closely related to a person, whether by blood or voluntary association. for they said Jesus’ family might have wanted to preserve their reputation. The political ramifications of Jesus’ actions and teaching also could have caused His family to attempt to restrain Him, for fear of reprisal from Roman authorities or local Jewish leaders. Alternatively, they might have not have believed that Jesus was the Messiah and so attempted to silence Him to avoid being ostracized from the religious system (believing that it, too, would reject Him). Since Jesus has been at the center of a crowd almost continuously since His first teaching in Capernaum, it is unclear why His family reacts now.

Scripture Reflection

Based on their reaction, it appears that Jesus’ relatives do not see anything in him other than the ordinary young kinsman they have known all their lives. The whole town of Nazareth will later display a similar response. As the Gospel of John notes, “even his brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5 RSV). The Son of God suffered misunderstanding even from those closest to him: his family and, on a wider scale, his people. So too his followers often experience the pain of misunderstanding or even mockery from family members who do not understand a life of radical commitment to Jesus. In contemporary secular culture, faithfulness to the gospel sometimes entails being willing to appear to the world as “fools for Christ.”

– Mary Healy

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Called by Divine Grace

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
(Mark 3:13-19)

Scripture Study

3:13 went up Reflects Exod 24:1–11, where Moses summons Israel’s tribal leaders to join him on Mount Sinai.

3:15 authority to drive out demons A key sign of the presence of God’s kingdom and Jesus’ deliverance of humanity (1:21–28).

3:16 Peter The Greek word for Peter, petros, means “rock.” Paul refers to Peter with the Aramaic form of this name, kephas (e.g., Gal 1:18), suggesting that Jesus originally gave him this name in Aramaic (the primary language of Jesus and His disciples).

3:17 Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder” Mark includes what is presumably the original Semitic form of James and John’s new name. It is unclear why Jesus calls them this, but it may be because of their reputation as strong-willed people (compare Matt 20:20–28).

3:18 Matthew Since Levi the tax collector is not listed here, this seems to be a reference to him. James the son of Alphaeus Possibly the brother of Levi the tax collector (see 2:14). the Cananean This title serves to distinguish Simon from Simon Peter. While most translations have “Zealot” here, some follow a manuscript that reads “Cananean.” The two words are similar in Greek.

3:19 Iscariot The meaning of this epithet is uncertain. It could be a version of the Hebrew phrase ish qeriyyoth, meaning “the man from Kerioth,” referring to a town in Judaea. Alternatively, it could be an Aramaic slur, ishqarya’, meaning “the false one.”

Scripture Reflection

He called to him those whom he desired”: God wants to show us that calling, vocation, is an initiative of God. This is particularly true in the case of the apostles, which is why Jesus could tell them, later on, that “you did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16). Those who will have power and authority in the Church will not obtain this because first they offer their services and then Jesus accepts their offering: on the contrary, not through their own initiative and preparation, but rather by virtue of divine grace, would they be called to the apostolate.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

The Route to Salvation

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, “You are the Son of God.”
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
(Mark 3:7-12)

Scripture Study

3:7 toward the sea Jesus again follows a confrontation with the Pharisees by withdrawing to the sea, accompanied by crowds receptive to His ministry (compare 2:13). Judea Roman province corresponding roughly to the OT kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as the capital. This list of places indicates that news of Jesus’ deeds has reached beyond Galilee (compare 1:39, 45).

3:8 Idumea A territory southeast of Judaea. The places mentioned here—Idumea, the region across the Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon—were inhabited predominantly by non-Jewish people, which suggests that Jesus was attracting non-Jews as well as Jews. Idumea is far south of Galilee, and Tyre is far north; this indicates the broad geographic spread of Jesus’ message. The reception of Jesus by Gentiles is a significant theme in Mark (5:1–20; 7:24–30, 31–37). beyond the Jordan Also known as Perea. Tyre and Sidon Two major Phoenician cities that dominated the Mediterranean coast to the north and west of Galilee.

3:10 touch him The motif of Jesus healing by touch will become more prominent in the narratives that follow (5:25–34; 6:56; 7:32–37; 8:22–26; compare 1:40–45).

3:11 You are the Son of God Resembles the behavior of the first unclean spirit Jesus encountered in Mark’s Gospel—a cry, followed by recognition of Jesus’ identity (see 1:23–24; compare 15:39).

3:12 he warned them sternly Compare 1:25. not to make him known For first-century Jews, the Messiah was a political as well as a religious figure. Jesus’ desire to conceal His identity may have been motivated by a desire to avoid violent repercussions early in His ministry.

Scripture Reflection

By working these cures, our Lord shows that he is both God and Man. He cures by virtue of his divine power and by using his human nature. In other words, only in the Word of God become man is the work of our Redemption effected, and the instrument God used to save us was the human nature of Jesus—his body and soul—in the unity of the person of the Word.

St Thomas Aquinas speaks to this crowding around Jesus, which is repeated by Christians throughout all time: “The holy human nature of our Lord is our only route to salvation; it is the essential means we must use to unite ourselves to God. Thus, we can today approach our Lord by means of the sacraments, especially and pre-eminently the Eucharist. And through the sacraments there flows to us, from God, through the human nature of the Word, a strength which cures those who receive the sacraments with faith.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

Humanity in Communion with God

Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up here before us.”
Then he said to the Pharisees,
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
(Mark 3:1-6)

Scripture Study

3:2 They watched Jesus closely Probably refers to the Pharisees (v. 6). so that they might accuse him Profaning the Sabbath was a capital offense (Exod 31:14–15; 35:2; Num 15:32–36).

3:4 to save life rather than to destroy it Jesus’ question about the Sabbath is provocative and was intended to question common viewpoints. Elsewhere Jesus teaches that love of neighbor not only fulfills the law but is central to the kingdom of God (12:29–34). Here, Jesus tangibly demonstrates that human traditions and moral codes should not conflict with love of neighbor.

3:5 hardness of heart This biblical idiom, often rendered as “hardness of heart,” indicates both stubbornness and opposition to God’s workings (Mark 2:6–8).

3:6 Pharisees One of the three Jewish schools of thought in Palestine at the time of Jesus according to the Jewish historian Josephus. While the extent of their influence is unclear, the Pharisees apparently had some influence in political, religious and social spheres in Jewish Palestine. The Pharisees were known for their skill at interpreting the Law of Moses, and they held strict views on what was appropriate behavior for a righteous person. In Mark, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for holding to traditions rather than obeying God’s commands. the Herodians A political party who generally supported Herod Antipas’ regime.

Scripture Reflection

This incident raises the question: Why did Jesus deliberately heal on the sabbath, knowing that it would provoke such furious antagonism? Note that in all four Gospels, every one of the healings initiated by Jesus takes place on the sabbath. On other days, the sick themselves or their relatives or friends approach Jesus to seek healing, but only on the sabbath does Jesus takes the initiative. Why does Jesus apparently prefer to heal on the sabbath? The declaration given provides the answer. The Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath, and he exercises his lordship by undoing the effects of sin and inaugurating the new creation by which humanity is restored to the fullness of life that God intended from the beginning. Jesus thereby fulfills the original purpose of the sabbath: to bring humanity into communion with God.

– Mary Healy

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Lord of the Sabbath

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
(Mark 2:23-28)

Scripture Study

2:25–26 Have you never read what David did?: Jesus defends the action of his disciples on the basis of 1 Sm 21:2–7 in which an exception is made to the regulation of Lv 24:9 because of the extreme hunger of David and his men. According to 1 Samuel, the priest who gave the bread to David was Ahimelech, father of Abiathar.

2:27 The sabbath was made for man: a reaffirmation of the divine intent of the sabbath to benefit Israel as contrasted with the restrictive Pharisaic tradition added to the law.

2:28 The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath: Mark’s comment on the theological meaning of the incident is to benefit his Christian readers; although Mk 2:8–9 are addressed to the scribes, the sudden interruption of thought and structure in Mk 2:10 seems not addressed to them nor to the paralytic. Moreover, the early public use of the designation “Son of Man” to unbelieving scribes is most unlikely. The most probable explanation is that Mark’s insertion of Mk 2:10 is a commentary addressed to Christians for whom he recalls this miracle and who already accept in faith that Jesus is Messiah and Son of God.

Scripture Reflection

In these passages, Christ teaches God’s purpose in instituting the sabbath: God established it for man’s good, to help him rest and devote himself to divine worship in joy and peace. The Pharisees, through their interpretation of the Law, had turned this day into a source of anguish and scruple due to all the various prescriptions and prohibitions they introduced.

By proclaiming himself “lord of the sabbath”, Jesus affirms his divinity and his universal authority. Because he is lord he has the power to establish other laws, as Yahweh had in the Old Testament.

The Sabbath had been established not only for man’s rest but also to allow him to give glory to God: that is the correct meaning of the expression “the sabbath was made for man.” Jesus has every right to say he is lord of the sabbath, because he is God. Christ restores to the weekly day of rest its full, religious meaning: it is not just a matter of fulfilling a number of legal precepts or of concern for physical well-being: the Sabbath belongs to God; it is one way, suited to human nature, of rendering glory and honor to the Almighty. The Church, from the time of the apostles onwards, transferred the observance of this precept to the following day, Sunday—the Lord’s day—in celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

New From The Old

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
(Mark 2:18-22)

Scripture Study

2:18 Pharisees Luke 18:11–12 indicates that fasting was a characteristic of the Pharisees’ piety. People came to Jesus and objected In both Jewish and Graeco-Roman culture, a teacher was held responsible for the behavior of his students (compare Mark 2:23–24). Previously, the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples to explain Jesus’ behavior (v. 16); now they ask Jesus to explain His disciples’ behavior.

2:19 fast Mourning or penitential activity would be inappropriate at a joyous occasion such as a wedding.

2:20 is taken away from them Jesus’ remark foreshadows His own future—His betrayal, arrest, and execution.

2:21 the new from the old Jesus emphasizes the change brought about by the kingdom’s arrival. While the previous analogy (vv. 19–20) contrasted present and future, this verse distinguishes between old and new.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel people ask Jesus why he doesn’t encourage fasting among his followers. Jesus’ answer is wonderful: “How can the guests at a wedding fast while the groom is still with them?” (That’s a typically Jewish style, by the way: answering a question with another question.)

This great image of the wedding feast comes up frequently in the New Testament, most obviously in the wedding feast at Cana narrative. And it is echoed in the Tradition. Jesus is the wedding of heaven and earth, the marriage of divinity and humanity; he is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride. In him, the most intimate union is achieved between God and the world.

Could you imagine people fasting at a wedding banquet? Could you imagine going into an elegant room with your fellow guests and being served bread and water? It would be ridiculous! So says Jesus: “As long as the groom is with them, how could they fast?” The mark of the Christian dispensation is joy. Exuberance. Delight. God and the world have come together. What could be better news?

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Behold, the Lamb of God

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.
(John 1:35-42)

Scripture Study

1:36 John the Baptist’s testimony makes his disciples’ following of Jesus plausible.

1:37 The two disciples: Andrew (Jn 1:40) and, traditionally, John, son of Zebedee. A disciple, called “another disciple” or “the other disciple,” is mentioned in Jn 18:15 and Jn 20:2; in the latter reference he is identified with the disciple whom Jesus loved. There is also an unnamed disciple in Jn 1:35–40.

1:39 Four in the afternoon: literally, the tenth hour, from sunrise, in the Roman calculation of time. Some suggest that the next day, beginning at sunset, was the sabbath; they would have stayed with Jesus to avoid travel on it.

1:41 Messiah: the Hebrew word māśiâh, “anointed one” appears in Greek as the transliterated messias only here and in Jn 4:25. Elsewhere the Greek translation christos is used.

1:42 Simon, the son of John: in Mt 16:17, Simon is called Bariona, “son of Jonah,” a different tradition for the name of Simon’s father. Cephas: in Aramaic = the Rock; cf. Mt 16:18. Neither the Greek equivalent Petros nor, with one isolated exception, Cephas is attested as a personal name before Christian times.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in our Gospel for today, we hear John the Baptist proclaim, in response to meeting Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

One of the earliest heresies that the Christian church fought was Marcionism, the conviction that Jesus should be interpreted in abstraction from the Old Testament. But the categories that the Gospel writers used to present Jesus as the Christ were, almost exclusively, drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures.

In John’s prologue, the passage before today’s reading, we read that the Word of God’s covenantal love, which was addressed to Abraham, Moses, and David, has become flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is the covenant in person. But throughout Israel’s history, the covenant between God and humanity is always accompanied by sacrifice.

That brings us to today’s reading, where John the Baptist offers one of the most important interpretive keys of the New Testament: Jesus will play the role of the sacrificial lambs offered in the temple, and through a sacrifice, take away the sins of the world.

One reason that people today have such a difficult time appreciating Jesus is that we have become, effectively, Marcionites. To really understand the Christological language of John, we need to understand the great story of Israel.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.