He Is Faithful

Scripture Reading
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”

“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”Top of Form

Bottom of Form

(Psalm 89:2-3,4-5,27,29)

 

 

Scripture Study

 

Psalm 89 The community laments the defeat of the Davidic king, to whom God promised kingship as enduring as the heavens (Ps 89:2–5). The Psalm narrates how God became king of the divine beings (Ps 89:6–9) and how the Davidic king became king of earthly kings (Ps 89:20–38). Since the defeat of the king calls into question God’s promise, the community ardently prays God to be faithful to the original promise to David (Ps 89:39–52).

89:3–5 David’s dynasty is to be as long-lasting as the heavens, a statement reinforced by using the same verbs (establish, stand) both of the divine love and loyalty and of the Davidic dynasty and throne, cf. Ps 89:29–30.[1]

89:19–29. It was God who chose the king (v. 19), anointed him (v. 20) and promised to give him strength to deal with his enemies (vv. 21–24) and a realm stretching from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and the Tigris (vv. 24–25). He also promised that he would be a Father to his son the king and would give him a line of descendants that endured forever (vv. 26–29; cf. 2 Sam 7:13; Ps 2). In the book of Revelation St John applies the words of v. 27 to Jesus risen from the dead when he calls him “the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev 1:5).[2]

 

Scripture Reflection

 

The covenant with David incorporated the Davidic kingship into the eternal structure of God’s reign, but the temporal career of the people subjected it to all the fluctuations and uncertainties of human history. The portrayal of the messiah in the power of his enemies, rejected and scorned, his life cut short, has another counterpart in the passion narrative of the Gospels. The psalm read as Scripture on Maundy Thursday is a powerful witness that the very cosmic reign of God is involved in what is happening on that day; and it makes it very clear how much the outcome depends on and reveals the faithfulness of God. While the psalm contains no resolution of the dilemma, it clearly speaks of an appeal to the faithfulness of God.

– James Mays

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

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 304.
[2] Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 793.

The Baptist Arrives

Scripture Reading
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son. 
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her. 
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.” 
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” 
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. 
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
(Luke 1:57-66)

 

Scripture Study

1:59. Circumcision was a rite established by God under the Old Covenant to mark out those who belonged to his chosen people: he commanded Abraham to institute circumcision as a sign of the Covenant he had made with him and all his descendants (cf. Gen 17:10–14), prescribing that it should be done on the eighth day after birth. The rite was performed either at home or in the synagogue, and, in addition to the actual circumcision, the ceremony included prayers and the naming of the child. With the institution of Christian Baptism the commandment to circumcise ceased to apply. At the Council of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1ff), the apostles definitively declared that those entering the Church had no need to be circumcised.

1:60–63. By naming the child John, Zechariah complies with the instructions God sent him through the angel (cf. Lk 1:13).

1:64. This miraculous event fulfils the prophecy the angel Gabriel made to Zechariah when he announced the conception and birth of the Baptist (Lk 1:19–20). St Ambrose observes: “With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief” (Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.).[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel reflects on the absolutely pivotal figure of John the Baptist. It’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus. John sums up Israel, and without the Israelite background, the story of Jesus becomes opaque.

The story of John’s birth brings his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, into focus. Both are strongly priestly personages. Elizabeth is a descendant of the family of Aaron, the first priest of Israel, and Zechariah was a practicing temple priest.

What’s important for our purposes is that John was of very priestly stock. So why, when we first hear of him in his adult life, is he out in the desert and not in the temple? Well, there was a long prophetic tradition that criticized the temple for its corruption. In John’s time, the temple was mired in very messy, vile, and violent politics. So what is he doing in the desert? He is offering what the temple ought to be offering but wasn’t, due to its corruption, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 39–40.

Our Magnificat

Scripture Reading

“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”

“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”

“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.”

“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
(1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8)

 

Scripture Study

2:1, 3, 9 Hannah appeals to a God who maintains order by keeping human affairs in balance, reversing the fortunes of the arrogant, who, like Peninnah, boast of their good fortune at the expense of those like Hannah who receive less from the Lord. Hannah’s admission places her among the faithful who trust that God will execute justice on their behalf.

2:10 The reference “his king … his anointed” recalls the final sentence of the Book of Judges and introduces the kingship theme that dominates the Books of Samuel.[1]

Scripture Reflection

The song of Hannah is a psalm in praise of God for his saving action among his people; the book of Samuel ends (2 Sam 1:51) with another psalm extolling divine intervention through the dynasty of David. Both songs contain similar elements, but Hannah’s, even though it ends by referring to the king and his anointed, concentrates more on the specifics of God’s actions: it stresses his preference for the weak, the hungry, the barren and the needy over those who have plenty. The Magnificat (Lk 1:46), which takes its inspiration from this passage, tells us that in the fullness of time God will intervene in a definitive way. All disciples, in reflecting on the blessings bestowed upon them, should make this prayer one of their own by humbly coming before God and saying, “My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior, for he has done great things for me.”

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

 

 

[1] Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 334.

The Visitation

Scripture Reading
Mary set out in those days
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.”
(Luke 1:39-45)

 

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]

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. I’ve always been fascinated by Mary’s “haste” in this story of the Visitation. 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. We are dominated today by the ego-drama in all of its ramifications and implications. The ego-drama is the play that I’m writing, I’m producing, I’m directing, and I’m starring in. We see this absolutely everywhere in our culture. Freedom of choice reigns supreme: I become the person that I choose to be.

The theo-drama is the great story being told by God, the great play being directed by God. 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. And like Mary, we have to find our place in God’s story.

– 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), 106.

Enter the King of Glory

Scripture Reading

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

(Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6)


Scripture Study

24:1–2. This first stanza (recording perhaps the words of a Levite or a temple servant on seeing the approach of pilgrims) echoes Genesis 1:1–10: God is the lord of all things because he created them (cf. Ex 9:29; Deut 10:14) and he set the earth upon the seas (in line with ancient eastern cosmogony: cf. Job 38:4–6; Ps 104:5); yet, at the same time God has made himself accessible in the temple. St Paul appeals to the opening words of this psalm, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”, to show that there are no unclean foods, contrary to the view of some Christians of Jewish bent (cf. 1 Cor 10:25–26). These words show that all created things are good.

24:3–6. These verses would have come from an entrance rite at the temple: to a question put by visitors (v. 3), a Levite or porter replies by stating the conditions to be met if one is to receive the Lord’s blessing there (vv. 4–5). Unlike Psalm 15, where there is mention only of proper respect for one’s neighbor (referred to in a condensed way here), there is the additional requirement about not worshipping idols (“what is false”: v. 4). Verse 6 may come from a reply made by incoming pilgrims—identifying themselves as worshippers of the God of Israel.[1]

Scripture Reflection

The three parts of the psalm concern the central elements of faith, life, and worship. The psalm gives the inhabitants of the world a confession with which we may acknowledge how the world came to exist and whose we are. Existence in the world is possible because of the existence of the world. The world exists because the will and the work of the LORD have prevailed against the chaos of nonexistence to bring forth a benevolent and life-sustaining order.

The psalm also announces that the LORD “comes” to us. The LORD stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:20). He has come to be present with us and for us. He comes as the victor who has prevailed against the chaos of unbeing and so is able to prevail against the chaos of evil. That is good news. Unless he were there for us with his blessing and righteousness, we would have nowhere to go to find help to sustain and set right our lives. Our existence depends on his creation; our blessing and righteousness depend on his coming.

This theme of advent has prompted the location and use of the psalm in the Christian year on the Sunday of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On these occasions the psalm discloses the mystery of Mary’s child. The babe born in a stable is the king of glory. The man who enters the holy city only to be rejected and executed is the hidden king of glory. In him God comes to us and for us to bring blessing and righteousness.

– James Mays

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

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 99–100.

The Messenger

Scripture Reading

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth. 
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years. 

Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. 
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense. 
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. 

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard. 
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John. 
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. 
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God. 
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” 

Then Zechariah said to the angel,
“How shall I know this? 
For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 
And the angel said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. 
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.

Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. 

After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”
(Luke 1:5-25)

 

Scripture Study

The archangel St Gabriel gives Zechariah three reasons why he should rejoice over the birth of this child: first, because God will bestow exceptional holiness on him (v. 15); second, because he will lead many to salvation (v. 16); and third, because his whole life, everything he does, will prepare the way for the expected Messiah (v. 17).

In St John the Baptist two prophecies of Malachi are fulfilled; in them we are told that God will send a messenger ahead of him to prepare the way for him (Mal 3:1; 4:5–6). John prepares the way for the first coming of the Messiah in the same way as Elijah will prepare the way for his second coming (cf. St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.; St Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on St Matthew, 17, 11, in loc.). This is why Christ will say, “What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee’ ” (Lk 7:26–27).[1]

Scripture Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us about John the Baptist’s parents. We see with utter clarity that John is a priestly figure. Zechariah, his father, is a temple priest and Elizabeth his mother is a descendant of Aaron the very first priest.

Now flash forward thirty years and see John emerging in the desert. The first question is, “Why is this son of a priest not working in the temple?” And the second is, “Why are the people going out from Jerusalem to commune with him?” The answer to the first is that he is engaging in a prophetic critique of a temple that has gone bad. And the answer to the second is that he is performing the acts of a purified temple priest out in the desert. His baptism was a ritual cleansing and a spur to repent, precisely what a pious Jew would have sought in the temple.

And the picture becomes complete when Jesus arrives to be baptized and John says, “Behold the Lamb of God.” This is explicitly temple talk. He is saying that the one who is to be sacrificed has arrived. He is the fulfillment of priesthood, temple, and sacrifice. The priestly figure has done his work and now he fades away.

– Robert Barron

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

 

 

[1] Saint Luke’s Gospel, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2005), 28–29.

A Righteous Man

Scripture Reading

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 
but before they lived together, 
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame, 
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit 
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, 
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him 
and took his wife into his home.
(Matthew 1:18-24)

Scripture Study

The virginal conception of Jesus is the work of the Spirit of God. Joseph’s decision to divorce Mary is overcome by the heavenly command that he take her into his home and accept the child as his own. The natural genealogical line is broken but the promises to David are fulfilled; through Joseph’s adoption the child belongs to the family of David. Matthew sees the virginal conception as the fulfillment of Is 7:14.

1:18 Betrothed to Joseph: betrothal was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and wife. The betrothal was followed some months later by the husband’s taking his wife into his home, at which time normal married life began.

1:19 A righteous man: as a devout observer of the Mosaic law, Joseph wished to break his union with someone whom he suspected of gross violation of the law. It is commonly said that the law required him to do so, but the texts usually given in support of that view, e.g., Dt 22:20–21 do not clearly pertain to Joseph’s situation. Unwilling to expose her to shame: the penalty for proved adultery was death by stoning; cf. Dt 22:21–23.

1:20 The angel of the Lord: in the Old Testament a common designation of God in communication with a human being. In a dream: see Mt 2:13, 19, 22. These dreams may be meant to recall the dreams of Joseph, son of Jacob the patriarch (Gn 37:5–41:19).

1:21 Jesus: in first-century Judaism the Hebrew name Joshua (Greek Iēsous) meaning “Yahweh helps” was interpreted as “Yahweh saves.”

1:23 God is with us: God’s promise of deliverance to Judah in Isaiah’s time is seen by Matthew as fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, in whom God is with his people.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel centers on the intriguing figure of Joseph. Joseph is one of the most beloved of the saints, featured in countless works of art and prominent in the devotional lives of many. We know almost nothing about him, yet some very powerful spiritual themes emerge in the accounts of Joseph. He had become betrothed to Mary and this union had been blessed by God. And then he finds that his betrothed is pregnant.

This must have been an emotional maelstrom for him. And at a deeper level, it is a spiritual crisis. What does God want him to do? Then the angel appears to him in a dream and tells him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” He realizes at that moment that these puzzling events are part of a much greater plan of God’s. What appears to be a disaster from his perspective is meaningful from God’s perspective.

Joseph was willing to cooperate with the divine plan, though he in no way knew its contours or deepest purpose. Like Mary at the annunciation, he trusted and let himself be led.

– Robert Barron

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

 

 

[1] Donald Senior, John J. Collins, and Mary Ann Getty, eds., The Catholic Study Bible, 2nd Ed.: Notes, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 1337–1338.

A Royal Son

Scripture Reading

O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. 

The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.

Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
(Psalm 72:1-2,3-4, 7-8,17)

 

Scripture Study

72:1. “Justice” or “righteousness” is an attribute connected with the saving power of God (cf. Ps 9:4, 7; 19:9; etc.). Use is made of expressions “king” and “royal son”, which mean the same thing, to underline the principle of dynastic legitimacy.
72:2–4. The king shares in God’s saving power, which comes from on high (v. 3; cf. Is 45:8; 55:12), when he cries out in defense of the poor (vv. 3–4).
72:5–8. A reign as good as the one described here should last forever; it falls like rain to make the earth fruitful. Its fruits are righteousness (v. 7; cf. Hos 6:3). Instead of “may he live” (v. 5), which is how the Septuagint translates it, the Hebrew text says “may they fear thee”; the Greek text has made the correction to improve the sense. The desires expressed about the extent of the kingdom are in line with the boundaries mentioned in the promises (cf. Zech 9:10; Sir 44:22)—from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth (cf. Gen 15:18).
72:15–17. These acclamations serve to round off the prayer for the king, desiring that he should continue to be prayed for (v. 15), that the country should have good things in plenty during his reign (v. 16) and that he himself would be praised the world over (v. 17; cf. Gen 12:3).[1]

Scripture Reflection

Psalm 72 is a prayer for the anointed king asking that God bring about his rule on earth through the reign of the king. It looks and hopes for a new era created by God through the person of the king. But Christians have always known that they can pray this psalm in its fullness only for the heir of David who was Jesus of Nazareth.

Through him the God of the universe has already bestowed righteousness, peace, and victory upon those who find in him the nearness of the reign of God. For them, the prayer is a form of petition for the consummation of the kingdom of God. The conclusion of the psalm turns its attention to the One who alone does marvelous things. It reminds the reader that it is the God of Israel who alone will be forever praised and whose glory will fill the whole earth.

– James L. Mays

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

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 246–248.

From the Father

Scripture Reading
Jesus said to the Jews:
“You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. 
I do not accept testimony from a human being,
but I say this so that you may be saved. 
John was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. 
But I have testimony greater than John’s. 
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.”
(John 5:33-36)

Scripture Study

John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the Son of God (1:34). Although Jesus had no need to have recourse to any man’s testimony, not even that of a great prophet, John’s testimony was given for the sake of the Jews, that they might recognize the Messiah. Jesus can also point to another testimony, better than that of the Baptist—the miracles he has worked, which are, for anyone who examines them honestly, unmistakable signs of his divine power, which comes from the Father; Jesus’ miracles, then, are a form of witness the Father bears concerning his Son, whom he has sent into the world.

Jewish legal tradition required two or three witnesses to sustain a claim in court (Deut 19:15). Jesus has a list of witnesses beyond the required number: (1) John the Baptist (5:33), (2) his miracles (5:36), (3) the Father (5:37), (4) the Scriptures (5:39), (5) and Moses (5:46) all bear witness to his divine authority and mission.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Today’s Gospel Jesus says that his Father’s works testify to his identity. Jesus’ words are the Father’s words and his deeds are the Father’s deeds. His story is the Father’s story.

Nature speaks of God, the philosophers say true things about God, the arts can reflect him, lives of the saints can indicate him—but Jesus is the icon.

We sense in this passage, if I can put it this way, the humility of the Logos: “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.” Neither the words nor the deeds of Jesus are “his own.” They are received from the Father. The Trinitarian theological tradition respects this when it speaks of the Son as the interior word of the Father and as having received everything from the Father.

– 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), 172.

I Will Praise You Lord

Scripture Reading

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.

Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.

“Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.”
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
(Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13)

Scripture Study

30:1–3. The entire canticle reflects a thanksgiving liturgy in the temple after recovery from an illness that threatened the psalmist’s life.

30:4–5. The range of focus of the previous verses is extended by noticing how God acts: his “favor” far exceeds his “anger” (v. 5; cf. Is 54:7–8).

30:6–10. Divine anger really consists in his “hiding his face”, leaving man on his own (v. 7) when he thinks he can fend for himself (v. 6). The psalmist himself experienced this, but he reacted in time and had recourse to God (vv. 8–10) and put this argument to him—that his death would serve no purpose because if he were to die he could not praise him. Life only makes sense because he can praise the Lord, the source of all good. “If life didn’t have as its aim to give glory to God, it would be detestable—even more, loathsome” (St J. Escrivá, The Way, 783).

30:11–12. “Dancing” and being attired “with goodness”, as against mourning and penance, are external expressions, probably in a liturgical context, of the joy that accompanies praise; a joy that wells up inside “my soul” (literally “glory”, perhaps in the sense of physical health) and then is voiced (v. 12).

In Christian liturgy this psalm is said in the Easter Vigil, after the reading of Isaiah 54:5–14, which proclaims the consolation and rescue of Jerusalem after God had momentarily abandoned it. In this context the psalm reveals its prophetic meaning, insofar as it proclaims what God did when he raised Jesus Christ after he tasted death.[1]

Scripture Reflection

The psalmist’s earlier untroubled life is attributed to the royal pleasure of God. His distress comes when the LORD hides his face. His restoration is a change worked by the LORD. He sees his previous attitude as a mistaken reading of God’s favor, for he said in his self-confidence what should be said only in complete dependence on God: “I shall never be moved.”  Now he sees his life as a vocation of thanksgiving to the LORD. Correlating the course of life so directly with the sovereignty of God is, of course, risky. All sorts of distortions and misreadings are possible. But there is a strong faith in the providence of God here. Prayer and praise, if they are to be authentic and vigorous, must have actual life as their subject and not hover carefully in generalities above the earth. Life must be experienced in relation to God, sought and received as from the LORD’s hand.

– James Mays

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

 

 

[1] James Gavigan, Brian McCarthy, and Thomas McGovern, eds., Psalms and the Song of Solomon, The Navarre Bible (Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers, 2003), 116–117.