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.

The Visitation

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
(Luke 1:39-56)

Scripture Study

1:41 leaped in her womb: Elizabeth’s experience parallels that of Rebekah in Gen 25. ● Both Luke and the Greek OT use the same verb (Gk. skirtaō) to describe children leaping or stirring in the womb. As Rebekah’s experience signaled the preeminence of Jacob over his older brother Esau (Gen 25:22–23), so the similar experience of Elizabeth was a sign that Jesus would be greater than his older cousin John (3:16; Jn 3:27–30).

1:42 Blessed are you: Elizabeth blesses Mary with words once spoken to Jael and Judith in the OT (Judg 5:24–27; Jud 13:18). ● These women were blessed for their heroic faith and courage in warding off enemy armies hostile to Israel. Victory was assured when both Jael and Judith assassinated the opposing military commanders with a mortal blow to the head. Mary will follow in their footsteps, yet in her case both the enemy destroyed and the victory won will be greater, for she will bear the Savior who crushes the head of sin, death, and the devil underfoot (Gen 3:15; 1 Jn 3:8) (CCC 64, 489).

1:43 mother of my Lord: This title reveals the twin mysteries of Jesus’ divinity and Mary’s divine maternity (CCC 449, 495). Note that every occurrence of the word Lord in the immediate (1:45) and surrounding context refers to God (1:28, 32, 38, 46, 58, 68). ● Mary’s divine motherhood was the first Marian dogma expounded by the Church. The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (a.d. 431) defined her unique relationship to Christ and honored her with the title “Mother of God” (Gk. Theotokos). This was reaffirmed in 1964 at Vatican II (Lumen Gentium, 53).

1:46–55 The Magnificat (Latin for “magnifies”) is a hymn of praise and a recital of God’s covenant faithfulness. Mary extols humility (1:48) and rejoices in God’s blessings on the lowly (1:47, 52–53). The song also introduces the theme of God’s “mercy” (1:50, 54), which flows into the following episode (1:58, 72, 78) (CCC 2097, 2619). ● The Magnificat is imbued with themes and imagery from the OT. It closely resembles the Song of Hannah in 1 Sam 2:1–10, while other passages illumine the background (Ps 89:10, 13; 98:3; 111:9; Sir 33:12; Hab 3:18).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel recounts the story of Mary’s visitation to her cousin, Elizabeth. Upon hearing the message of Gabriel concerning her own pregnancy and that of her cousin, Mary “proceeded in haste into the hill country of Judah” to see Elizabeth. Why did she go with such speed and purpose? Because she had found her mission, her role in the Theo-drama.

The Theo-drama is the great story being told by God, the great play we all find ourselves in. What makes life thrilling is to discover your role in it. This is precisely what has happened to Mary. She has found her role—indeed a climactic role—in the Theo-drama, and she wants to conspire with Elizabeth, who has also discovered her role in the same drama.

Mary recapitulates the story of Israel, the story of redemption. We can, as it were, read the whole Old Testament in her: “He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.”

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

Glory to God

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
(John 17:1-11)

Scripture Study

17:1 raised his eyes: A traditional prayer gesture (Ps 123:1; Mk 6:41). the hour: The time of Christ’s Passion begins in earnest. Because it involves his rejection and the aggressive assault of the devil, it is also called the hour of “darkness” (Lk 22:53). See topical essay: The “Hour” of Jesus at Jn 4.

17:3 eternal life: To possess life is to know the living God in his triune glory. Although this knowledge has a cognitive and intellectual dimension, it also includes a relational bond of love, friendship, and communion with God that grows steadily until our union with him is complete in heaven (Eph 1:17; 1 Jn 4:7). ● Personal knowledge of God is a sign of the New Covenant, according to Jer 31:33–34. the only true God: The NT doctrine that God is a Trinity is built on the OT doctrine that Yahweh alone is God (Deut 6:4; 32:39). This ancient belief, held dear both in Israel and in the Church, stands in sharp contrast to the pagan notion that many gods exist and deserve our recognition (Ex 20:3–6; Is 43:10; 1 Cor 8:5–6).

17:6 revealed your name: Possibly the divine name “I am”, which is shared by Jesus (8:58; 18:6). Or, too, it may refer to the general revelation of the Father’s life and love through the Incarnation (14:6–11) (CCC 2812).

Scripture Reflection

The word “glory” here refers to the splendor, power and honor which belong to God. The Son is God equal to the Father, and from the time of his incarnation and birth and especially through his death and resurrection his divinity has been made manifest. The glorification of Jesus has three dimensions to it. 1) It promotes the glory of the Christ, in obedience to God’s redemptive decree, makes the Father known and so brings God’s saving work to completion. 2) Christ is glorified because his divinity, which he has voluntarily disguised, will eventually be manifested through his human nature which will be seen after the Resurrection invested with the very authority of God himself over all creation. 3) Christ, through his glorification, gives man the opportunity to attain eternal life, to know God the Father and Jesus Christ, his only Son. This in turn redounds to the glorification of the Father and of Jesus while also involving man’s participation in divine glory.

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