Giving Your All

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”
(Mark 12:38-44)

Scripture Study

12:38–39 As Jesus continues teaching in the temple courts he now takes direct aim at the scribes, who have been among his fiercest opponents. Earlier he had warned his disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (8:15 RSV); now he tells his listeners, Beware of the scribes (using the same Greek verb, blepō). His point is not for people to stay away from the scribes, one of whom he has just praised (12:34), but to take care to avoid conduct like theirs. Such conduct—the opposite of what Jesus enjoins on Christian leaders (9:35; 10:15, 42–44)—will be severely condemned.

12:40 That the scribes devour the houses of widows could refer to their mismanaging widows’ estates, or sponging off their hospitality, or charging excessive legal fees, or other ways of fleecing them.10 Such financial abuse recalls Jesus’ denunciation of the temple as a “den of thieves” (11:17). In an empty show of piety, and perhaps as a cover for their fraudulent activity, the scribes recite lengthy prayers.

12:41 After denouncing the counterfeit piety of the scribes who “devour the houses of widows” (v. 40), Jesus now shows his disciples an example of true piety, on the part of a widow.

12:42 The poor widow who comes along is an example of the anawim (lowly ones) often mentioned in the Old Testament, the poor and afflicted who find their joy in God alone (Isa 29:19; 61:1; Zeph 2:3). Widows had no inheritance rights in ancient Israel, and usually had to rely on their children, male relatives, or charity for survival. The rich had drawn attention to themselves with their noisy donations, but Jesus’ attention is drawn to this lowly widow.

12:43–44 Jesus calls his disciples to himself—Mark’s signal that important instruction is about to take place—and makes a solemn declaration: this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors. One can imagine the disciples’ jaws dropping, as they had when Jesus declared the danger of riches (10:25–26). Had not the wealthy contributed far more toward the adornment and maintenance of the temple? Was not this woman’s donation practically worthless, so insignificant as to be beneath mentioning? Jesus explains: God measures the gifts given him on a basis totally different from human calculations. He looks at the inner motives of the heart (see 1 Sam 16:7; Luke 16:15).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel we read about the poor widow who gave her all to the Lord. Her simple generosity, her offering her whole livelihood, was a response to God’s unconditional love. God’s love comes first. When we get this wrong, everything else in the spiritual life is thrown off kilter. Listen to how St. John expresses this predilection: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as the expiation of our sins.”

If we play the game of loving God in order to get God to love us, then we are lost. If we think that we can earn salvation or we can work our way into God’s heart, then we are lost. Here’s a good way to think about it: we wouldn’t exist were it not for God’s love. God needs nothing; therefore whatever exists outside of God exists because God desires some good for it. Love precedes, therefore, our intelligence, our courage, our wills, our designs and purposes, indeed our very existence.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Trust In God

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.

The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts
The LORD shall reign forever,
your God, O Zion, through all generations! Alleluia.
(Psalm 146:1-2, 6-7, 8-10)

Scripture Study

A hymn of someone who has learned there is no other source of strength except the merciful God. Only God, not mortal human beings (Ps 146:3–4), can help vulnerable and oppressed people (Ps 146:5–9).

146:1–2. The psalmist’s words sound particularly forceful if one thinks about the brevity of life on earth: “The contemplative life of the Prophet compels him—if such an expression may be used—to place himself at the end of time. There, seeing the frailty of all things, which because they are of this world wither with age, he dedicates himself to giving praise to God. The end of the world will come quickly to us all: it will come at the moment of our death, when the ties that bind us to everything around us are severed. We will then turn our desires to the activity that will be ours eternally—the giving of praise” (Cassidorus, Expositio psalmorum, 146).

146:5–9. Man may be frail, but God is powerful. The God proclaimed here is the God of Israel (“of Jacob”: cf. Ps 46:7); there is no other: he is the maker of all things. Moreover, it is he who shows mercy to those in every kind of need (vv. 7–9). Therefore he can always be relied on.

146:10. The psalmist’s God (“my God”: v. 2), is the God of Israel (v. 5) and the God of Zion (“thy God”: v. 10), of Jerusalem, to whom he proclaims God’s eternal kingdom.

Scripture Reflection

The contrast between God and humankind is often used in psalms as a way of dealing with the problem of fear before human threats: Trust God and be unafraid of mortals. Here the contrast is used to address the problem of trusting in leaders to save us from the predicaments of human and historical existence.

The problem with human leaders is that they don’t “keep faith forever”; their plans and projects die with them. With their death the hopes of those who trusted in them are dashed. Perhaps Israel’s experience with its leaders is reflected in this wisdom. Their kings and officials were unable to deliver them from the dangers of existence and history. The exile set its seal on their ultimate inability.

The psalm does not say that leaders are unnecessary or not useful. It does warn against trusting them for salvation. Hope based on what passes away is doomed to disappointment. The temptation to put ultimate trust for salvation in human leaders and institutions is perennial. In Psalm 146, praise becomes a critique of such misplaced trust and a proclamation of the only right use of trust—in God who keeps faith!

– James Mays

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

Which Commandment Is Greatest?

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,

and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
(Mark 12:28-34)

Scripture Study

12:29–31 Jesus summarizes the teaching of the entire Old Covenant in two commandments. ● The greatest is the Shema (Hebrew for “hear!”), taken from Deut 6:4–5. The Israelites considered this passage a summary or creed of their faith in the one God of the universe. The second is taken from Lev 19:18. Together these injunctions to love God and one’s neighbor underlie all 613 precepts of the Mosaic Law and especially the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:2–17; Deut 5:6–21). The distillation of Yahweh’s revealed Law into two commandments was prefigured by the two stone tablets of the Decalogue (Ex 34:1).

12:33 burnt offerings and sacrifices: The scribe recalls what is often restated in the Scriptures: the moral laws of God are superior to the sacrificial laws of the Temple (1 Sam 15:22; Jud 16:16; Ps 40:6–8; Hos 6:6; Mic 6:6–8). It is implied that drawing close to the New Covenant kingdom means backing away from the Old Covenant Temple (12:34). ● The sacrificial system as managed by the Levitical priesthood was not part of the Mosaic covenant in Ex 19–24 but was imposed upon the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf in Ex 32. Originally, the Mosaic covenant was to consist only of the Ten Commandments (Deut 5:22; Jer 7:22) and a single sacrificial ceremony where Israelites would renounce idolatry once and for all by slaughtering the very animals they had begun to worship in Egypt (Ex 24:3–8; Ezek 20:7–8). However, the golden calf episode in Ex 32 proved that the Israelites were still attached to their idols and needed a permanent means to eradicate idolatry from the nation. Detailed legislation for priesthood and sacrifice was thus added to Mosaic covenant as Yahweh’s (temporary) solution to this predicament (Ex 25–31, 35–40; Lev 1–27).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, our Gospel for today features the Word of God himself telling us what stands at the heart of the law. A scribe posed, as a kind of game, the following question: “Which commandment is the greatest?” There were hundreds of laws in the Jewish system. So it was a favorite exercise of the rabbis to seek out the single rule that somehow clarified the whole of the law.

So Jesus gives his famous answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What does that mean? The law is finally about love, and the love of God and neighbor are inextricably bound to one another. If we love God, but hate our neighbors, we’re wasting our time.

Why are the two loves so tightly connected? Because of who Jesus is. Jesus is not just a human being, and he is not just God. He is the God-man, the one in whom divinity and humanity come together. Therefore, it’s impossible to love him as God without loving the humanity that he’s created and embraced.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Teach Me LORD

In you I trust; let me not be put to shame,
let not my enemies exult over me.
No one who waits for you shall be put to shame;
those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
(Psalm 25:2-9)

Scripture Study

The laments of the individual were most likely prayerful responses to personal misfortunes such as illness or persecution. They were an integral part of personal liturgical devotion. Frequently, people who were suffering went to the Temple or to some shrine for the purpose of making a formal request to God for deliverance. Laments, with their declaration of trust in God, were simultaneously prayers to God and testimonies of hope for the benefit of the community gathered around the one suffering.

The main thought of Psalm 25 is contrition and forgiveness of sins. Trusting in God, the psalmist prays that he may not be put to shame before his enemies (1–3). He asks for instruction, guidance and mercy (4–5). May the sins of his youth not be remembered by God, who is always ready to teach and guide the meek in the right way of life (6–10).

Scripture Reflection

Learning is the subject of prayer. The knowledge gained through the act of prayer is not to be gained from human teachers and sources. It does not come from the work of reason, the compiling of information, the distillation of general experience. It must come from God, because what this instruction does to and for human life only God can do. The need of it is part of our dependence on God, so it must be the subject of prayer, as it is in the psalm. The life of prayer is incomplete unless there are supplications that say, “Teach me, instruct me, guide me, let me know.”

This is one of the psalms that sees clearly how scripture is the instructions from the LORD, and this instruction of those who fear him, is part of God’s saving work and completes the salvation of liberation and justification with sanctification. Those who are freed from affliction and pardoned of their sin need guidance for life. The psalm taught Israel to seek the grace and salvation given in the torah. It teaches the Church today, to pray for the Spirit to bring into our lives not only the power and mercy of God but as well a being-taught the way we are to live through the knowledge of God’s ways with us.

– James Mays

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

Transcending Definitions

Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent
to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech.
They came and said to him,
“Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man
and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion.
You do not regard a person’s status
but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?
Should we pay or should we not pay?”
Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them,
“Why are you testing me?
Bring me a denarius to look at.”
They brought one to him and he said to them,
“Whose image and inscription is this?”
They replied to him, “Caesar’s.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
They were utterly amazed at him.
(Mark 12:13-17)

Scripture Study

12:13 Pharisees … Herodians: Two opposing groups in NT Palestine. They stand far apart in their political outlook but close together in their opposition to Jesus (3:6). The Pharisees opposed the Roman rule and occupation of Palestine, whereas the Herodians were sympathetic to Rome’s government of Israel through the Herodian dynasty. ensnare him: Roman taxation was a sensitive and potentially explosive issue for Jews of the NT period. Jesus’ opponents thus confront him on the tax in order to trap and eliminate him once and for all. The dilemma they pose appears inescapable: If Jesus agrees with the tax, he will lose credibility with the majority of Jews embittered by Roman rule; if Jesus rejects the tax, he will be reported to the Roman governor for instigating rebellion.

12:16 Whose likeness …? Jesus responds with a riddle that plays on the word “likeness”. Because Caesar’s likeness is stamped on the coin for the tax, it should be given back to him as his rightful property. God’s image and likeness, however, is stamped into every living person, including Caesar (Gen 1:27). Even more important than civil responsibilities is the obligation everyone, including Caesar, has to give himself back to God. In the end, Jesus is able to rise above the controversy over taxation by stressing this higher duty incumbent upon all (CCC 450).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus escapes from a trap with one of his most famous one-liners: “Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” We should not read this as though there is a clearly-demarcated political realm that belongs to the Caesars of the world, and a clearly-demarcated spiritual realm that belongs to God. And we certainly shouldn’t read it in the modern mode—that the public arena belongs to politics, while religion is relegated to the private dimension.

No, this won’t do, precisely because God is God. He’s not a being in or above the world, nor one reality among many. God is the sheer act of being itself, which necessarily pervades, influences, grounds, and has to do with everything, even as he transcends everything in creation.

God is the deepest source for everything in life from sports to law to the arts to science and to medicine. What has seized the lawyer (at his best) is a deep passion for justice, and God is justice itself; what has seized the doctor (at his best) is a deep passion for alleviating suffering, and God is love itself. Everything comes from God and returns to God.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

The Wicked Tenants

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes,
and the elders in parables.
“A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it,
dug a wine press, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey.
At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants
to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard.
But they seized him, beat him,
and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent them another servant.
And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully.
He sent yet another whom they killed.
So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed.
He had one other to send, a beloved son.
He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
So they seized him and killed him,
and threw him out of the vineyard.
What then will the owner of the vineyard do?
He will come, put the tenants to death,
and give the vineyard to others.
Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.
(Mark 12:1-12)

Scripture Study

The parable of the Wicked Tenants narrates the history of Israel. The story stresses that God has been patient with his wayward people throughout the ages. The vineyard represents Israel dwelling in the walled city of Jerusalem (Jer 2:21; Hos 10:1), the tower is the Temple (as in Jewish tradition based on Is 5:1–2), and the tenants are Israel’s leaders stationed in the city. The servants are OT prophets repeatedly sent by God to call for repentance. Many prophets were abused and killed (12:5; Lk 13:34). God eventually sent Jesus as the beloved son (12:6), whom they also killed (12:8). By adding the detail that the son is thrust out of the vineyard (12:8), Jesus predicts his Crucifixion outside the city walls of Jerusalem (Jn 19:20). God will avenge his Son when he sends him to destroy (12:9) the unfaithful of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. ● Morally (St. Bede, In Marcum): the vineyard of Israel signifies every Christian, whose duty it is to cultivate his new life given in Baptism. The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms are sent as messengers one after another, and finally, as recounted in the Gospels, the Father sends his Son. Should we despise these servants in pride, and even spurn the Son of God through sin, the graces we forfeit will be given to others more willing to receive them.

A citation from Ps 118:22–23, a psalm chanted by Passover pilgrims flocking to Jerusalem. ● Psalm 118 foretells the bitter irony of Holy Week: Jerusalem’s leaders (the builders) will reject their Messiah (stone) despite his divine mission (the Lord’s doing), while his work will be called marvelous by those who recognize him with the eyes of faith. The psalm is implying that the old Temple will be replaced with another, where the rejected Messiah will serve as the honored cornerstone of the new edifice (Eph 2:19–22; 1 Pet 2:4–5; CCC 756).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the landowner who planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants. This vineyard stands for Israel, but it could be broadened to include the whole world. Like the landowner, God has made for his people a beautiful and productive place, a place where they can find rest, enjoyment, and good work.

When vintage time drew near, the landowner sent his servants to the tenants to obtain the produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Is this not the whole, sorry history of Israel and its prophets, of the world and the people whom God has sent?

Then we hear the event upon which the parable turns: “Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they killed him.” After the terrible treatment that his representatives have received, the owner sends his son? Is he crazy? Yes, a little. But this is the over-the-top patience and generosity of God, his crazy love. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,” knowing full well what his fate would be.
– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

The Church Is Born

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”
(Acts 2:1-11)

Scripture Study

2:2 There came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind: wind and spirit are associated in Jn 3:8. The sound of a great rush of wind would herald a new action of God in the history of salvation.

2:3 Tongues as of fire: see Ex 19:18 where fire symbolizes the presence of God to initiate the covenant on Sinai. Here the holy Spirit acts upon the apostles, preparing them to proclaim the new covenant with its unique gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38).

2:4 To speak in different tongues: ecstatic prayer in praise of God, interpreted in Acts 2:6, 11 as speaking in foreign languages, symbolizing the worldwide mission of the church.

Scripture Reflection

Ad Gentes, the Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church, quotes St Augustine’s description of the Holy Spirit as the soul, the source of life, of the Church, which was born on the cross on Good Friday and whose birth was announced publicly on the day of Pentecost. Blessed Pope Paul VI spoke of the ‘birth’ of the Church: “Today, as you know, the Church was fully born, through the breath of Christ, the Holy Spirit; and in the Church was born the Word, the witness to and promulgation of salvation in the risen Jesus; and in him who listens to this promulgation is born faith, and with faith a new life, an awareness of the Christian vocation and the ability to hear that calling and to follow it by living a genuinely human life, indeed a life which is not only human but holy . . . Mary, who conceived Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit, the Love of the living God, presides over the birth of the Church, on the day of Pentecost, when the same Holy Spirit comes down on the disciples and gives life to the mystical body of Christians in unity and charity” (Paul VI, Address, 25 October 1969).

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

What Concern Is It Of Yours?

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved,
the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper
and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?
You follow me.”
So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die.
But Jesus had not told him that he would not die,
just “What if I want him to remain until I come?
What concern is it of yours?”

It is this disciple who testifies to these things
and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did,
but if these were to be described individually,
I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.
(John 21:20-25)

Scripture Study

21:23 The word spread: This verse is included to correct a misunderstanding among believers that the Apostle John would remain alive until Christ returns in glory.

21:24 It is this disciple: Equivalent to the evangelist’s personal signature. Apparently, this comment was inserted, not by the evangelist, but by other Christians who knew the facts about Jesus as John did and willingly testified to the veracity of his Gospel.

21:25 many other things: John claims that his Gospel is accurate, not that it is comprehensive or exhaustive (19:35). He has given enough information about the life and ministry of Jesus to elicit faith from his readers (20:30–31; CCC 515).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today in the Gospel Jesus rebuffs Peter’s question about the fate of John. “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” The undercurrent here is the promise of eternal life, the union of divinity and humanity, and the call to follow Jesus. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning or wailing or pain for the old order has passed away.”

Think of the oceans of tears that have been shed by suffering humanity up and down the ages. Think of the agony caused by sickness, psychological torment, and by the death of loved ones. It will all be swallowed up, washed away, taken up into a higher place.

And what makes all of this possible? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. He is the reconciliation of divinity and humanity; he is the new Jerusalem; he is the accomplishment of the covenant.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Feed Them

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
(John 21:15-19)

Scripture Study

Three times Peter reaffirms his love for Jesus as personal restitution for the three times he denied him (13:38; 18:15–18, 25–27). The dialogue in Greek makes use of several synonyms: two different nouns are used for sheep, and two different verbs are used for feed, know, and love. Although this may be a stylistic feature to avoid redundancy, others think it more significant, especially with the verb love. In his first two questions, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him with “willing love” (Gk. agapaō), but in the third question he asks if Peter loves him with merely “friendly affection” (Gk. phileō), which is the word Peter uses in all three of his responses. An intended distinction between these terms would indicate that Jesus, desirous of a complete and heroic love from Peter, was willing by the end of the conversation to settle for his friendship.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the great engagement between the risen Jesus and Peter. Peter knows his sin—he betrayed Jesus three times. But Jesus brings him through the process of repentance and gives him the key to transformation. Three times Peter denied the Lord, and so three times Jesus asks him to reaffirm his faith: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Notice that Christianity is not a set of ideas or convictions or principles. It is a relationship with a person. Do you love Jesus? Has he become your friend?

When Simon says yes, Jesus tests him: “Feed my lambs; tend my sheep, feed my sheep.” The test of love is action. Are we willing to do what Jesus did? Are we willing to go on mission on his behalf?

Then we hear that wonderful closing section: “As a young man you fastened your belt and went about as you pleased; but when you are older you will stretch out your hands, and another will tie you fast and carry you off against your will.” The ultimate test of discipleship is our willingness to abandon our egos and be carried by a power greater than ourselves.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

An Acrobatic Act of Love

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”
(John 17:20-26)

Scripture Study

17:20 those who believe: Jesus’ prayer reaches into the future to bless believers of every age (20:29).

17:23 that the world may know: Envisions unity that is not only spiritual, but also visible and organizational, so that even the world can see it clearly (Eph 4:4–13). The indivisible unity of the Trinity is the source and pattern of this ecclesial oneness (17:11, 21–22).

17:24 may be with me: A prayer for the salvation of believers (14:2–3).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus prays for our unity with him and for us to be immersed in God’s love: “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

We are not simply supplicants or penitents, calling to God from without; we are sons and daughters, calling to him from within. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, even to the limits of godforsakenness, even into sin and death, into the darkest corners of human experience, in order to find us.

But the paschal mystery is intelligible only in the light of the doctrine of the Trinity. This acrobatic act of love is possible only if there is, in the very being of God, a sender and one that he can send, only if there is a Father and a Son. The Father and the Son are united in love, and this love is itself the divine life. And thus there is a spirit, co-equal to the Father and the Son, which is the love shared between them.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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