Wayward Love

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“What is your opinion? 
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray? 
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”
(Matthew 18:12-14)

Scripture Study

18:12–14 Jesus in his second illustration, shows how care for fellow Christians should be extended even to those who have gone astray. In this story about the lost sheep, Jesus draws on a common Old Testament metaphor depicting Israel as a flock of sheep and God as a shepherd (Pss 23; 95:7; Jer 23:1–4; Ezek 34). In particular, this story reflects the prophecy of Ezek 34, which foretold that God himself would become Israel’s shepherd, seeking the sheep who have gone astray. For a shepherd, a single sheep is a valuable financial asset—so precious that the shepherd in Christ’s story temporarily leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to seek the one that is lost. Similarly, so valuable is one of these little ones, that is, one disciple, that the heavenly Father will go to great lengths to rescue him. Christ’s followers should imitate the Father’s pastoral care, seeking and saving the disciples who have gone astray.[1]

Scripture Reflection

This parable clearly shows our Lord’s loving concern for sinners. It expresses in human terms the joy God feels when a wayward child comes back to him. Seeing so many souls living away from God, Saint Pope John Paul II said: “Unfortunately we witness the moral pollution which is devastating humanity, disregarding especially those very little ones about whom Jesus speaks.

What must we do? We must imitate the Good Shepherd and give ourselves without rest for the salvation of souls. Without forgetting material charity and social justice, we must be convinced that the most sublime charity is spiritual charity, that is, the commitment for the salvation of souls. And souls are saved with prayer and sacrifice.”[2]

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 230.
[2] Homily to the Poor Clares of Albano, 14 August 1979.

Incredible Things

Scripture Reading

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. 
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus. 
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? 
Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts? 
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God. 
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
(Luke 5:17-26)

Scripture Study

5:17 Pharisees: Members of a Jewish renewal movement in Palestine, stringent in their obedience to the Law and concern for legal purity. They are often the accusers and enemies of Jesus (5:30; 6:2, 7; 11:37–54; 16:14).

5:21 forgive sins: Jerusalem’s Temple and priesthood were the official channels of forgiveness under the Old Covenant. Jesus challenges this system, offering reconciliation with God by his own authority and on his own terms. This is part of his mission to inaugurate the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34). God only: A doctrine implicit in the OT (Ps 103:2–3; Is 43:25) that hints at Jesus’ divine authority to remit sins (Eph 1:7; 1 Jn 1:7; CCC 1441).

5:24 I say to you, rise: The skepticism of the crowd moves Jesus to demonstrate his authority. It is because sickness is often linked with sin that Jesus can display his forgiving power through a physical healing (Ps 107:17; Is 33:24). The outward miracle thus manifests the inward cleansing of the man’s soul.

5:26 they glorified God: Luke often notes this reaction to Jesus’ work (7:16; 13:13; 17:15; 18:43; 23:47).[1]

Scripture Reflection

The Gospel today tells that wonderful story of the healing of the paralytic. People gather by the dozens to hear Jesus, crowding around the doorway of the house. They bring him a paralyzed man, and because there is no way to get him through the door, they climb up on the roof and open a space to lower him down.

Can I suggest a connection between this wonderful narrative and our present evangelical situation? There are an awful lot of Catholics who are paralyzed, unable to move, frozen in regard to Christ and the Church. This might be from doubt, from fear, from anger, from old resentments, from ignorance, or from self-reproach. Some of these reasons might be good; some might be bad.

Your job, as a believer, is to bring them to him to Christ. How? A word of encouragement; a challenge; an explanation; a word of forgiveness; a note, a phone call. We notice the wonderful urgency of these people as they bring the sick man to Jesus. Do we feel the same urgency within his mystical body today?

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 116.

A Kingdom at Hand

Scripture Reading

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair 
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, 
‘We have Abraham as our father.’

For I tell you, 
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit 
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, 
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor 
and gather his wheat into his barn, 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
(Matthew 3:1-12)

Scripture Study

3:1 John the Baptist: The forerunner to the Messiah. A Levite (Lk 1:5) and relative of Jesus (Lk 1:36), John was considered a prophet by many Jews (21:26) and even by Jesus himself (11:9). His message was accompanied by an austere life of penance and self-denial (CCC 523). ● John’s clothing (3:4) recalls the OT prophet Elijah who “wore a garment of haircloth, with a belt of leather about his loins” (2 Kings 1:8). A figure like Elijah was expected to return before the Messiah (Mal 4:5) to begin restoring the tribes of Israel (Sir 48:10).

3:2 kingdom of heaven: The overarching theme of Matthew’s Gospel. The expression appears 32 times in the Gospel and is equivalent in meaning to “the kingdom of God” (see, e.g., 19:23–24). In their original Jewish context, the words “of heaven” helped to distinguish the kingdom proclaimed by John (3:2) and Jesus (4:17) from popular hopes for a literal restoration of Israel’s political empire (cf. Acts 1:6). Instead, it is a kingdom that comes from the Father in heaven (Mt 6:10). The presence of the kingdom is mediated through the Church in history (16:18–19); its full manifestation, however, awaits the coming of Christ in glory (25:31–46) (CCC 541, 669–71).

3:3 The voice of one crying: A quotation from Is 40:3. ● Isaiah’s oracle outlines John’s mission: he is the important figure who prepares the way of the Lord. All four Gospels connect Isaiah’s words with John’s ministry (Mk 1:3; Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23).

3:6 the river Jordan: Runs along the eastern side of Palestine. Its headwaters begin north of the Sea of Galilee, and it flows southward into the Dead Sea. ● In the OT, the Jordan is associated with God’s deliverance. Like the Red Sea, it parted so that the Israelites could cross over on dry ground and inherit the Promised Land (Josh 3:14–17). Naaman the Syrian was cleansed from leprosy at this location when he “dipped” (LXX: ebaptisato) seven times in the river at the command of Elisha (2 Kings 5:14). Both OT events prefigure the saving power of the Sacrament of Baptism (CCC 1222).

3:11 I baptize you: John’s baptism differed from sacramental Baptism, which confers forgiveness and the regenerating grace of justifying faith (Acts 2:38). His was a visible token of repentance and preparation for the Messiah (cf. Is 1:16; Heb 9:10; CCC 718). with water: John administered a baptism by water alone as a sign of purification. But as was shown in Noah’s day, water alone cannot cleanse the soul; the sinfulness of man’s heart remained unchanged even after the flood (Gen 6:5; 8:21). Only the Sacrament of Baptism infuses the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:5) and marks one’s adoption into God’s family (28:19) (CCC 1265). with fire: A symbol of God and his purifying judgment (Deut 4:24; Sir 2:5; Is 4:3–5; Acts 2:3–4; CCC 696).[1]

Scripture Reflection

John the Baptist’s words remind us of the tremendous power of Christian baptism. John’s baptism at the Jordan served as an important visible expression of one’s repentance in preparation for the messiah. Nevertheless, John recognized that his baptism paled in comparison to what Christ would offer: “The one who is coming after me is mightier than I.… He will baptize you with the holy Spirit” (3:11).

What makes the baptism that Christ offers so powerful? It imparts an identity that we could never earn on our own. Through baptism, God freely forgives all our sins and fills us with his Holy Spirit, making us his children—a status we could not achieve through our own efforts (CCC 1262, 1265). Christian baptism also gives us the power to live in a way that we could not do on our own. Baptism with the Holy Spirit does not merely express a desire to live a better life; it actually changes the person, uniting the soul with Christ’s death and resurrection and filling it with his divine life, so that it has the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1227, 1262, 1265). Filled with Christ’s Spirit, the Christian can begin to love not with his own fallen, selfish love, but with Christ’s divine love overcoming his weaknesses. As St. Paul wrote, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).[2]

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 11-12.
[2] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 68.

Pray, Pray, Pray

Scripture Reading

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness. 
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” 

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
(Matthew 9:35 to 10:1, 5-8)

 

Scripture Study

9:37 the laborers are few: Anticipates the following narrative, where Jesus chooses the apostles as laborers to shepherd the “lost sheep” of Israel (10:6; cf. Jer 23:4; Mt 15:24).

10:1–11:1 The second major discourse in Matthew (see outline). Jesus selects twelve apostles and delivers a “missionary sermon” before sending them to the surrounding Galilean villages and charging them to preach that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (10:7; cf. 3:2; 4:17). Jesus confers on the apostles the same authority of healing and exorcism displayed during his early ministry (10:1, 8; cf. 4:23, 24; 9:35).

10:2 the twelve: Jesus chooses 12 patriarchs, like the 12 sons of Israel in the OT, to carry out his mission (Gen 35:22–26). In doing so, he designates the Church as the restored Israel (cf. 19:28; Gal 6:16). apostles: The Greek term apostolos means “one who is sent forth” (cf. 10:5) and invested with the authority of the sender (cf. 10:40). See chart: The Twelve Apostles at Mk 3.

10:5 nowhere among the Gentiles: Jesus sends the apostles only to the Israelites of Galilee (10:6). This reflects the orde and direction of salvation history. Since God adopted them as his “own possession” (Ex 19:5) and lavished them with privileges (Rom 9:4, 5), it was appropriate that they first hear the New Covenant gospel (cf. Acts 1:8; Rom 1:16). After Jesus’ Resurrection, the apostles are sent also to the Gentiles (28:18–20; Mk 16:16; CCC 543). See note on Mt 4:12.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel, taken from the magnificent tenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, is a portrait of the Church. It shows us what Jesus wants his followers to do and how to do it. We are a missionary Church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Christian Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit. Rather, it is like seed that we are meant to give away.

We do this work together, with others, in community. Ministers need people to support them, pray for them, talk to them, challenge them. Francis of Assisi had an experience of God and then, within months, gathered people around him; Dominic, from the beginning, had brothers in his work. Mother Teresa attracted a number of her former students to join her in her mission. We don’t go it alone.

And prayer is not incidental to ministry. It is not decorative. It is the life-blood of the Church’s efforts. Without it, nothing will succeed; without it, no ministers will come forward. At all points, pray, pray, pray.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 23–24.

Living Outside the Box

Scripture Reading

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!” 
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?” 
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him. 
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 
And their eyes were opened. 
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.” 
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
(Matthew 9:27-31)

Scripture Study

9:27–31 Next, two blind men seek Jesus. People who were blind suffered economic and social hardship, and their condition was sometimes considered punishment for wrongdoing. They call Jesus Son of David—the first time someone addresses him with this royal title that has messianic overtones (see comment on 1:1). “Son of David” also brings to mind David’s heir, King Solomon, who was known in Jewish tradition as a great healer and exorcist. The blind men enter the house, which was Peter’s in Capernaum (see 8:14; 9:1), and in response to their faith Jesus touched their eyes and their eyes were opened. He warned them (to no avail) not to tell anyone about this miracle, in order to avoid sparking popular expectations about a political and nationalistic messiah, which the title “Son of David” might have suggested.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage celebrates the faith of two blind men. To have faith is—to use the current jargon—to live outside of the box, risking, venturing, believing the impossible. When we remain in the narrow confines of our perceptions, our thoughts, or our hopes, we live in a very cramped way. We become closed off to the possibility that sometimes, the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. When someone consciously and confidently opens himself to God, acting as a kind of conduit, the divine energy can flow.

Faith allows someone to live in detachment from all of the ups and downs of life. In the language of St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Lord, I don’t care whether I have a long life or a short life, whether I am rich or poor, whether I am healthy or sick.” Someone that lives in that kind of detachment is free, and because they are free, they are powerful. They are beyond the threats that arise in the context of this world. This is the source of dynamis, of real power.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 137.

Listen to these Words

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
(Matthew 7:21,24-27)

Scripture Study

It was not unusual for Jewish teachers to remind audiences of the two ways, or to warn against false prophets, or to stress the importance of bearing fruit in good works. But what Jesus says next is without parallel. While explaining who will enter the kingdom of heaven, he describes himself as the judge of the world on the final day of reckoning (see 16:28; 25:11–12, 31–46).

The focus is an exchange that Jesus will have with evildoers. Curiously, the sinners he addresses are not what we might expect—serial murderers, militant atheists, godless world rulers, and the like. Rather, they are individuals who lived their lives as professed Christians! These are folks who call Jesus Lord and who claim to have done miraculous works in his name. Yet, in spite of their Christian façade, the judge declares: I never knew you.

The point is that religious confession is no substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus and the obligation to obey his Father’s will. If our creed and our conduct are out of alignment, then our profession of Jesus as Lord is not a true submission to his lordship. The mere fact that believers can perform miracles in Jesus’ name, which is an exercise of charismatic grace, is no proof that sanctifying grace has penetrated their lives or brought them closer to Christ.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel asks how we apply the Lord’s teaching. “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse.” This is the heart of it: if you are rooted in God, then you can withstand anything, precisely because you are linked to that power which is creating the cosmos. You will be blessed at the deepest place, and nothing can finally touch you.

But the one who does not take Jesus’ words to heart, “will be like the fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” When the inevitable trials come, the life built on pleasure, money, power, or fame will give way.

So the question is a simple one: where do you stand? How goes it with your heart? On what, precisely, is the whole of your life built?

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 121.

Fishers of Men

Scripture Reading

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father 
and followed him.
(Matthew 4:18-22)

 

Scripture Study

4:18 Jesus next summons four men to be his disciples. He finds them at the Sea of Galilee, a lake about thirteen miles long, north to south, and seven miles across at its widest. In the spring, after the winter rains, this is a place of stunning natural beauty—green hills, flowery meadows, gentle breezes, shimmering waters.

When the voice of Jesus reaches these men, they are fishing. We are not to picture in our minds a recreational activity—a leisurely afternoon of bait-and-tackle fishing. These are professional fishermen. They have in hand circular fishing nets, weighted around the perimeter, that were thrown from a standing position in shallow water. Nets like these were designed to catch large shoals of fish at a time to be sold at the local fish markets in Capernaum or dried for export to other places.

4:19–20 Simon and his brother Andrew are the first to be called. “Come after me,” Jesus urges them. This is a remarkable scene on many counts. Jewish rabbis were normally chosen as mentors by interested students, not the other way around. Thus by taking the initiative to gather disciples to himself, the Messiah adopts a new and unconventional tactic. Even more striking is the brothers’ response: without deliberation or hesitation they drop their nets and set out after the Galilean preacher who promises to make them fishers of men. Other rabbis accepted students who studied their teachings; Jesus forms disciples who, like himself, “catch” people and draw them to salvation.

4:21–22 Further down the shoreline, a second call goes out to James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They too respond with amazing promptness. Only here the summons to follow Jesus is met with greater sacrifice, for these brothers not only leave behind their fishing gear, but they also bid farewell to their father. Theirs is a break with family as well as livelihood, and both decisions are made immediately.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel reports the Lord’s calling his first disciples. What is it about this scene that is so peaceful and right? Somehow it gets at the very heart of Jesus’ life and work, revealing what he is about. He comes into the world as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, a representative from the community which is God—and thus his basic purpose is to draw the world into community around him.”

“He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” There is so much packed into that simple line. Well, we notice the way that God acts. He is direct, in your face; he does the choosing. Jesus is not offering a doctrine, a theology, a set of beliefs. He is offering himself. Become my disciple. Apprentice to me.

“And I will make you fishers of men.” One of the best one-liners in the Scripture. God is the creator, the one who makes us from nothing. And what he makes us is always a reflection of himself: a fisher of men.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 81–82.

Son and Father

Scripture Reading

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike. 
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. 
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. 
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 
For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
(Luke 10:21-24)

 

Scripture Study

Revealed them to the childlike: a restatement of the theme announced in Lk 8:10: the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed to the disciples.

No one knows who the Son is except the Father: Jesus is the divine Son of God and, so, the heir of his Father’s authority and estate (Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; 17:2). The Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in being, and no one of them possesses more of the divine life and knowledge than another. Since the Son is no less perfect than the Father, he is uniquely qualified to reveal the inner life of the Trinity to the world (Jn 1:18; 14:9) (CCC 253, 2603).[1]

Scripture Reflection

In the Gospel reading today we witness Jesus in intimate conversation with his Father. We are being invited into very deep mysteries by this passage. Jesus addresses his Father and thereby reveals his own deepest identity within the Holy Trinity. He says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, you have revealed them to the little ones.”

It is most important to keep in mind that this is not simply a good and holy man addressing God, but rather the very Son of God addressing his Father. We are being given a share in the inner life of God, the conversation between the first two Trinitarian persons.

And what are the “things” that have been concealed from the learned and revealed to the little ones? Nothing other than the mystery of Jesus’ relationship to his Father, the love that obtains between Father and Son, the inner life of God. From the beginning, this is what God wanted to give us.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 128–129.

CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd Edition)

Amazed

Scripture Reading

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” 
He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 8:5-11)

Scripture Study

8:5 centurion: A Roman military commander of 100 soldiers. Emphasis falls on his ethnic identity as a Gentile who has faith in Jesus (8:10). According to Luke, he was favorable to the Jewish nation and responsible for building a synagogue in Capernaum (Lk 7:5).

8:8 Lord, I am not worthy: Demonstrates great faith and humility. Jesus “marveled” (8:10) that such virtue was displayed by a Gentile.

8:11 sit at table: Alludes to an OT promise of a great feast to accompany the messianic age (Is 25:6–9). See note on Mt 22:2. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: Jesus hints at the universal spread of the gospel to all nations in the Church (28:19). ● These OT patriarchs are linked with God’s covenant oath to Abraham that all nations would eventually share his blessings (Gen 22:18; CCC 543). The covenant was renewed with Isaac (Gen 26:3–5) and Jacob (Gen 28:14).[1]

Scripture Reflection

What is it to be amazed? The dictionary speaks of something that fills us with wonder and awe; something that astonishes us. In our reading today we see Jesus being amazed by the centurions great faith.

The faith-filled words of the centurion are evoked in the Eucharistic liturgy just before receiving Holy Communion. As the Catechism explains: “Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the centurion: … ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed’ ” (CCC 1386).[2]

Like the centurion, we acknowledge our unworthiness to have Jesus enter under the roof of our souls. Yet just as the centurion believed Jesus was able to heal his servant, so we trust that Jesus can heal us as he becomes the most intimate guest of our soul in Holy Communion.

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

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 20.

CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd Edition)

[2] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 127.

Embrace the Light

Scripture Reading

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
(Romans 13:11-14)

Scripture Study

13:11 salvation is nearer: With reference to our personal judgment as well as to Christ’s future return in glory (Heb 9:27, 28; 1 Pet 1:5).

13:12 the night: The present evil age, when death and darkness still pervade the world (Gal 1:4). It is essentially a time for conversion, until the unending day of eternity dawns (Rev 22:5). In the meantime, Christians must be on guard against the devil, protecting themselves with the armor of light (Eph 6:11–17; 1 Thess 5:8).

13:14 put on the Lord Jesus: That is, renew the commitments you made at Baptism, when you were first clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27). One has to flee the occasions of sin that entice the flesh.[1]

Scripture Reflection

The Church uses this inspired text in the liturgy of Advent to help us prepare for the coming of the Lord. Christ came into the world by his Incarnation; he also comes to souls through grace; and at the end of time he will come as Judge. Rising like the sun, he dispelled the darkness when he came into the world, and he continues to dispel whatever darkness remains in souls the more he obtains mastery over the hearts of men.[2]

Bishop Robert Barron asks: “Why does the coming of the Son of Man strike fear in us? If he is the Son of God, then he will break into our sinful world like a cleansing fire and like a wild storm and like a violent revolution. Well, if he is the life, that life which is opposed to him has to give way; and if he’s truth, then false claimants to truth must cede to him; and if he’s the way, then the false ways have to be abandoned. And all of this will hurt. So we must watch, pray, and renounce our sins.”

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

 

 

 

[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 277.
[2] Saint Paul’s Letters to the Romans & Galatians, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 126.