Tag Archives: scripture commentary

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Monday’s Readings from USCCB

Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,
as we await the advent of Christ your Son,
so that when he comes and knocks
he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. *

Today’s Readings

Daily Meditation:
That He may instruct us in His ways.
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

We want to begin this journey by rallying ourselves
to turn to the Lord with great hope.
In the midst of many discouraging challenges in our lives
and the violence in the world around us,
we desire to spend this day in anticipation of the graces
our God desires to give us.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again. Is. 2

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you;
but say only the word and my soul will be healed.

Today’s Daily Reflection

Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, light from light,
leads us into the light and reveals his holiness.
With confidence, let us make our prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Light that never fades, dispel the mists about us,
– awaken our faith from sleep.

Guard us from all harm today,
– may your glory fill us with joy.

Give us unfailing gentleness at all times,
– toward everyone we meet.

Come to create a new earth for us,
– where there will be justice and peace.

Closing Prayer:
Loving God,
I sense that all is your creation
and everything, and all of us,
are being drawn back toward your loving heart.

Help me to be a person of peace,
to speak about it in an uneasy world,
and to live it among the people
you have put into my life every day.

Light in me a desire to prepare for your coming
to stand in the darkness, waiting, eager and filled with joy.

From Creighton University

Scripture commentary for Friday

Read today’s Scriptures

Saint Paul’s epistle to the Romans is considered the most profound of all his epistles. The breadth of themes and the depth to which he explores them is profound. Today’s First Reading from the seventh chapter of Romans explores how the human person experiences division within himself. St. Paul describes this as “the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.”

Perhaps the most intriguing phrase in today’s First Reading is St. Paul’s admission that “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” His words call out the division in fallen man between what the “I” wants, and what it wills. This is not a mere putting of one’s wants and desires to the side, and acting in spite of them. St. Paul speaks of what modern thought might term a “compulsion” that drives the ego. However, he ascribes this acting out of evil the work of “sin that dwells in me.”

St. Paul is not seeking to cast blame away from himself. He’s not trying to say, “The devil made me do it.” He does indeed admit that this struggle is within his very self: “I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin”. Regardless of how fierce this struggle is, or how deep the division it causes, the remedy is clear and at hand. St. Paul’s entire epistle to the Romans is full of thanksgiving to God for the grace of Christ our Savior.

Diocese of Wichita

Scripture commentary for Oct. 23

Click here for today’s readings

St. Luke the Evangelist presents many “stewardship parables”. Today’s Gospel passage offers two, one much longer than the other. The upshot of both is an explicit moral that lets no Christian off easily: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” How do these words apply to an ordinary Christian?

No Christian is ordinary. At the moment of a person’s baptism, God infuses grace into that adopted child’s soul. The graces given include the divine virtues of faith, hope and charity. God entrusts this grace to his adopted child. Consider this fact in light of Jesus’ words at the end of today’s Gospel passage. God entrusts His own divine life to His adopted children. And of course, the graces received at Baptism are but the “first installment” of our inheritance. As we continue to grow as His children, God continues to bestow grace upon us through the sacraments and prayer.

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much”. What will be required of us, then, as sharers in the divine life? Are you a “faithful and prudent steward”? Both of these virtues—fidelity and prudence—are required to be stewards of the graces that God gives us. Both help keep our attention on our Master: the beginning and end of all the graces of our lives.

Diocese of Wichita

Scripture Commentary for October 22

Read today’s Scriptures

Next year the Church throughout the world will likely celebrate the feast day of “Saint John Paul II”. Nonetheless, as we anticipate his canonization next year on Divine Mercy Sunday, we who have vivid memories of this saint rejoice not only for his holiness, but also for his “talent” of helping us realize that we could possibly be called to the same holiness that so radiated through his life and ministry.

Blessed John Paul II never tired of proclaiming Christ and His divine mercy. He proclaimed this not only in word, but also in deeds such as the forgiveness that he offered in the cell of his would-be assassin. From his own attempted murder, he brought forth the Good News. This attempt on his life was part of a wider drama in bringing the peace of Christ to the Soviet bloc in a non-violent manner. Less immediately successful was his confrontation up against the materialism and consumerism of the West. Nonetheless, if the roots of such Western selfishness run deeper than those of Communism—since so many in the West actually believe in the secular creed that surrounds them, unlike in Communist lands—so do the seeds planted by this holy pastor of the Universal Church. Perhaps the most famous example in this regard is the collection of Wednesday catechesis popularly called his “Theology of the Body”, which his preeminent biographer called a “time-bomb set to go off in the 21st century”.

We give thanks for the life and ministry of Pope John Paul the Great. We ask his continued prayers, that in the face of weakness we will remember his call to “be not afraid”, since the love of Jesus’ divine mercy is infinitely more powerful than sin and death.

Diocese of Wichita

Scripture Commentary for Sunday, Oct. 20

Readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Through our second reading, Saint Paul describes how God’s Word speaks to us through the words of the Bible. But the “Word of God” is not limited to the Bible. We listen to the Word of God in the Bible in order to receive an even greater gift. Opening our selves to this greater gift is one of the most basic “moves” of the Christian life.

It is not a coincidence that Holy Mass follows the pattern that it does. The two main parts of the Mass—called the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist—are not interchangeable. The Mass would not make sense if we celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist first, and then the Liturgy of the Word. This is so because the Word is proclaimed first as a preparation, in order to lead us as pilgrims and disciples towards the Word made Flesh.

We can see this if we overlay the outline of the Mass upon the outline of salvation history. Consider what we might call the “first half” of salvation history: the time of the Old Testament. During this long period of time, “God spoke” his Word “in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets.” But in the “second half” of salvation history—the time of Christ and His Body, the Church—“God spoke to us”, and speaks to us today, “through His Son”, the Word made flesh, who proclaimed to His followers: “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Catholics are at times accused of being ignorant of the Scriptures, and unfortunately there are times when this criticism is justified. To that extent, we must dispel our ignorance, because the words of Saint Jerome are just as true today as when he wrote them: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

But if our devotion to Scripture does not lead us to a deeper devotion to the Eucharist, we miss the entire point of God becoming human, of the divine Word becoming flesh and blood. After all, what did God the Son say on this earth that God the Father could not have said from the heavens? Couldn’t God the Father have spoken the Beatitudes from Heaven, rather than Jesus speaking them during the Sermon on the Mount? Couldn’t God the Father have taught His People from Heaven how to pray to Him, rather than Jesus teaching us the “Our Father”? What words had to be spoken by one who is both fully divine and fully human? “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my Body, which will be given up for you.”

Diocese of Wichita

Scriptures for Monday, October 14

Read the Scriptures here.

Romans is the longest of St. Paul’s letters: that’s one reason why you find it first among all the apostolic letters, immediately following Acts of the Apostles. But Romans is also the most profound of all the apostolic letters. St. Paul explores for the Romans every important theme of the Gospel. This week—perhaps in an hour of Adoration, or in your prayer corner at home—take your study bible and read the introduction to this great letter of St. Paul.

Given its importance, our First Reading at weekday Mass comes from Romans for the next four weeks. Within today’s passage is a brief phrase that sounds innocent enough, but is full of matter for spiritual reflection. Saint Paul points out to the Romans that they are “called to be holy”. The same, of course, is true of each of us Christians. One could say that the whole of Romans is an unpacking of this call.

The word “called” is used three times in today’s First Reading. Reflect on how these three instances fit together. The first is in the first sentence of Romans, where Paul describes himself as “called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God”. The second is where Paul, fulfilling his own calling, describes the Roman Christians as “called to belong to Jesus Christ”. The third is Paul’s concluding phrase in describing those to whom he’s writing: “called to be holy”. We can say that the last phrase describes all Christians, who through baptism begin to “belong to Jesus Christ”: that is, His Mystical Body which is the Church. Within this Church each member has his or her particular role, so that all the members of the body might work together. For Paul, this particular vocation was apostleship. For yourself, pray for an increase of grace today either to discern or to live out this vocation, so that through it you may grow in that holiness which is participation in Jesus Christ.

Diocese of Wichita

Commentary for Sunday’s readings

Click here to see the readings.

We have all been to various types of Masses during our lives. At one’s parish, Masses throughout the year are celebrated with greater or lesser solemnity depending upon the feast day. There are also different occasions in people’s lives that we celebrate at Mass: a wedding Mass, Confirmation Mass, or Ordination Mass, among others.

No matter the occasion, almost everything important in our lives takes place within Holy Mass. This is because at its heart, the Mass is a sacrifice—the Sacrifice of Jesus’ Body and Blood—and everything important in Catholic life is about sacrifice. Sacrifice is what marriage is about; sacrifice is what the priesthood is about; sacrifice is what accepting the gifts of the Holy Spirit are about.

We accept the gifts God gives us only in order to share those gifts with others. We never accept God’s gifts merely to pursue our own interests. All this is to be able to say, in the words of our First Reading, “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.”

Gratitude is the root of all true love. Until we recognize how much in our lives is “given”, how much in our lives is a gift, how much in our lives is sheer grace, we are (because of original sin and actual sins) ungrateful for what we have in life, and so we lack the charity that should mark our lives. One of the deepest ‘moves’ in our spiritual life—and certainly one necessary for spiritual growth—is gratitude for the sacrifices we are called to make. God loves a cheerful giver, and a cheerful giver loves God. Further, one who does not give (and cheerfully, at that) does not love God.

As Christians, we’re called to recognize that God the Father not only gave us His own Son, but also that He gave his Son to us as one of us. Christ is that great gift Who is the perfect image of the Father, and the perfect image of what it means to be human. Because Jesus is “one of us”, He teaches us by His example on the Cross, as well as by the grace flowing from His Cross. When we approach the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with humility, we can better understand and believe how Jesus in His humanity gave thanks for offering His life for us at the Last Supper and Calvary, and so sacramentally at Holy Mass.

Diocese of Wichita

Scripture Commentary

From Catholic News Service, their “Word to Life” series about this Sunday.

Lectio Divina for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

(Zenit.org) by Monsignor Francesco Follo

1) A lesson to live the present and a bewildering command

The first reading and the gospel of the Roman Liturgy about the parable of the poor Lazarus and of the rich glutton, [i] give the direction how to live the present. They don’t have the aim of terrifying us regarding the future punishment if we do not behave. These texts from the Bible tell us that the one who looks only for his or her overabundance cannot take care of the brothers in need and cannot recognize the Son of God in the poor Lazarus. Lazarus is Christ who has suffered all our pain and who has the wounds of the crucified love. He is at our door and waits.

Let’s contemplate the scene narrated by Christ. We see a rich man without name (or better his name are his riches) and a second man named Lazarus[ii]( = the one helped by God because he has nothing). Both men are under the look of the Almighty but they receive His presence in a different way.

The first doesn’t need it; he is so well off that he can enjoy –independently from God – a life with abundant banquets and elegant garments. The other has no one except God; he doesn’t have anything to eat and his body is covered in sores. Nobody goes near him, only dogs approach and console him.

Let’s now have a look at ourselves: we too have sores that we can hide under our riches, but God knows them. These sores make us lie down on earth and implore the heaven. They sharpen our hunger for completeness and are “loopholes” that open us to the Mystery. We are blessed when we miss being “poor” because this is the truth of our being a person. We are poor but we do not deny it to ourselves so that it disguises what we are; if we do not put ourselves at God’s level we think that we can do without him. What do we have that we didn’t receive from Him? Let’s remember that the kingdom of heaven is ours because we are poor of heart, we are sons and daughters, we are men and women … like Jesus… for this reason we are “rich,” rich of His love, rich of having God as Father.

Then we will be able to do the impossible: “to love our enemies” (as we are remembered in today’s Gospel of the Ambrosian liturgy).

A monk from Mount Athos comments this stupefying command of Christ: “There are men that wish suffering and agony in the eternal fire to their enemies and to the enemies of the Church. In thinking so they don’t know God’s love. The one that has the love and the humility of Christ cries and prays for the entire world. Maybe you say: this one is an evildoer and he must burn in the eternal flame. But I ask you: let’s suppose that the Master gives you a place in his kingdom. If you see burning in the eternal fire the one to whom you have wished eternal suffering, would you not have compassion for him even if he had been an enemy of the Church? Do you have a heart of stone? In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no room for stones. There, the humility and the heart of Christ who has mercy of everybody, are required” He ends with this prayer:” Master, as you have prayed for your enemies, teach us through the Holy Spirit to love them and even to pray for them. However it is a difficult thing for us sinners if your grace is not with us.”

Let’s look at Saint Francis of Assisi who was poor and humble, because there is nothing greater than to learn the humility and the begging of Christ (Lazarus is the symbol of Jesus mendicant of love). The humble person lives poor and happy, all is good to his heart. Only the one who is humble and poor of heart sees God in the Holy Spirit. Humility is the light in which we see God who is the light: in his light we see light. Our dawn “dies” in God’s day.

2) Death is not a level, it is a scale

The counterbalance is seen in the second part of the parable where the parts are inverted: now the rich in under and Lazarus is up. Death shows that the Kingdom of God has won. When one dies, he opens his eyes. Death is the time when we see things as they really are. Death is the dramatic door that allows the sunset of our human dawn to “die” in the light of the everlasting day of God.

Now comes on stage also the other five brothers of the rich man (the sixth brother) who continue to live “carefree” in their riches. It is their way of living that makes them blind in front of the “seventh” (seven is a number that is the symbol of completeness) brother (Jesus) who is near, just over the door through which they don’t want to look because there is the wounded poor. They are blind in front of the Holy Scriptures (that yet are very clear).

The rich man of this parable doesn’t oppose God and doesn’t oppress the poor; he just doesn’t see him and lives as if God doesn’t exist nor has anything to do with him.

Now the rich man asks the poor for a drop of water for himself and to warn his brothers. What good would do to warn them? They have the prophets and Moses and don’t need anything else. There are not the voices that are missed, not the evidences, but the freedom to understand and the clear mind to see. It is the way of living as a rich man that makes blind.

The way to the Cross is a road of light that takes to Heaven. This road has a name: charity, with lot of synonyms: mercy, pity, compassion, sharing, solidarity, communion, unity, welcoming, participation and assumption.

The road that takes to Heaven is Called Christ. There are no other ways. There are no other roads. There are no other lanes. It is a love pure, true, real, spiritual, made of concreteness and of the gift of one’s life and riches that takes to Heaven. On this road we find the consecrated Virgins. On the day of their consecration the Bishop prayed: “Give them the warmth of love to love you above all others. Make their lives deserve praise without seeking to be praised. May they give you glory by holiness of action and purity of heart. May they love you and fear you; may they love you and serve you. Be you their glory, their joy, their whole desire. Be their comfort in sorrow, their wisdom in perplexity, their protection in the mist of justice.” ( Rite of the Consecration of the virgins)

From zenit.org

Scripture Commentary for Sunday.

Catholic News Service provides a “Word to Life” series on the Sunday readings. Read the commentary for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 29, 2013.

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