Thursday, April 18, 2019

Readings for Easter Day

(Commentary on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil are  below, just scroll down)
 
The Mass of Easter Day is one of the most joyful in the Church calendar, as the Church basks in the afterglow of the most remarkable intervention of God into human history, the resurrection of his own son. 

1.  The First Reading is Acts 10:34a, 37-43:

Readings for the Easter Vigil








The Readings for the Easter Vigil recount the history of salvation by focusing on the various covenant stages throughout the Biblical storyline.  My book Bible Basics for Catholics follows this same pattern, using stick figure drawings to illustrate these various stages.

The Readings for Good Friday


Every year on Good Friday, we read St. John’s account of the Passion from John 18-19, together with Isaiah 52-53  and Psalm 31.

One of the themes that runs through these reading is the Priesthood of Christ.

1. There is priestly language already in the First Reading, from Isaiah 52 & 53, the famous “Suffering Servant” Song:

The Readings for Holy Thursday




The Readings for the Holy Thursday Mass focus on the continuity between the ancient Jewish Passover and the institution of the Eucharist.  As the Passover was the meal that marked the transition from slavery to Egypt to the freedom of the Exodus, so the Eucharist is the meal that marks the transition from slavery to sin to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

1.  Our First Reading is from Ex 12:1-8, 11-14:

Monday, April 15, 2019

Easter Vigil (The Mass Readings Explained)

Try to wait until at least Saturday, but the Easter Vigil Mass Readings Explained video is now out.

Have a blessed Holy Week.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Announcing My New Book: "Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know"


I am thrilled to announce that you can now pre-order my next book, Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know, which is jointly published by Augustine Institute Press and Ignatius Press. We are trying to spread the word about it quickly since it will be out in time for Easter season.

Let me say a bit about the book. This book is the first book in a new series (more on that soon). It is not a technical work. It aims at to be readable by all audiences. In many ways, it unpacks in simple terms some of the key ideas Brant Pitre, John Kincaid, and I examine in our upcoming book, Paul, A New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology (Eerdmans, forthcoming August 1). Appropriately enough then this book has a Foreword by Brant Pitre. 

I am thrilled with the endorsements it has received, many of which I have posted below. I am especially grateful to Joshua Jipp (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Ben Blackwell (Houston Baptist University) for their kind words about the book. Given the title, I fear many non-Catholics will feel it is not for them, but I hope the endorsements by Jipp and Blackwell will help in this regard.  I was my aim to write  an irenic piece that would be helpful for all Christians interested in the doctrine of salvation in Christ in the New Testament. To that end, I hope Catholics will feel comfortable sharing it with their non-Catholic friends. 

Jesus Cheered, Then Killed: Palm/Passion Sunday C




This Sunday’s readings might seem bipolar or schizophrenic.  We begin Mass with exultant cheering as we relive Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  We end the Readings on a note of solemn silence, unable to process the reality of one of the most egregious abuses of judicial process and power in human history, in which the only innocent man ever to live is executed.  What does it all mean?

Despite a few mysterious prophetic texts that seemed to intimate this possibility, the idea that the Messiah could arrive and subsequently be killed was radically counter-intuitive to most of first-century Jews. 

Yet the conviction of the early Christians, based on Jesus of Nazareth’s own teachings about himself, was that the radically counter-intuitive impossibility was actually prophesied, if one had the eyes to see and the ears to hear it in Israel’s Scriptures.

The Readings for this Mass offer us two of the most poignant prophecies of the suffering of the Messiah.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Passion Sunday (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for The Mass Readings Explained.  You can check it out below.

God bless you.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
"So notice here something really significant about Luke’s account. First, Luke (and Luke alone) tells us that during the Last Supper, Jesus appoints a share in his royal identity as king to the twelve apostles. Literally in the Greek, what Jesus says here, “As my father covenanted the kingdom for me, so I covenant to you, that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” So, effectively what Jesus is doing is constituting (in the figure of the Apostles) a new Israel, where they will rule over this new Israel, sitting on twelve thrones. Secondly, notice also that within these twelve Apostles who are going to reign over the new Israel, Simon Peter has pride of place. And it’s easy to miss that if you read it in English, but in Greek it’s really clear...".

The Mass Readings Explained: Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Jesus and the New Exodus: 5th Sunday of Lent


Lent is drawing to a close.  This week we celebrate the last Sunday of Lent before the beginning of Passion Week.  This Sunday is period of “quiet” between Laetare Sunday and Passion/Palm Sunday, our last opportunity to meditate on the ‘ordinary’ struggle of Lent before the intensity of the events in the last week of Our Lord’s life.  Let’s use it well!

The Readings for this week focus on the theme of a “New Exodus.”  Just as Moses was a savior figure who lead Israel to freedom through the Red Sea, so Jesus leads us to freedom through the waters of Baptism.  Let’s see how this theme plays out:

1.  Our First Reading is Isaiah 43:16-21:

Monday, April 01, 2019

The Woman Caught in Adultery (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's Mass Readings Explained is now out.  Check it out below.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
And I’ll just say, especially to all those Catechumens coming into the Church at Easter time, remember this: what’s past is past. The Lord does not condemn you for what you have done. Now, go, sin no more and live a new life in Christ, either through the waters of baptism for those who are coming into the Church or through the graces of confession for those of us who are in it. Let us enter into the Easter season turning away from sin and turning our hearts and our minds to God.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Whole New World: Readings for Laetare Sunday


The Fourth Sunday of Lent is known as “Laetare Sunday,” from the Latin Introit of the Mass, “Laetare Jerusalem,” “Rejoice, O Jerusalem” (Isa 66:10).  This mid-point of Lent is traditionally a somewhat festive Sunday, to encourage the faithful to see “the light at the end of the tunnel,” as more than half of the fasting and mortification of Lent is behind us.  The use of festive rose-colored vestments is authorized.   Many Catholics relax Lenten observances on this day, before gearing up for the “final push” to Holy Week and the Triduum.

The Readings can all be connected with the idea of a “new creation” to which God invites us.

1.  The First Reading is Joshua 5:9a, 10-12:

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Parable of "the Prodigal Son" (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for the 4th Sunday of Lent.  Check it out below and you can subscribe today if you like -- Lent's a perfect time!

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
"Why does the parable end this way? I think it takes us all the way back around to the very first verses. What was the setting of the parable in which Jesus delivered it? It was in the context of the Pharisees and the Scribes, who saw themselves as keeping the commandments and as serving God, being angry that Jesus was offering mercy and compassion and salvation and the opportunity for repentance to sinners. They are, in this sense, the Pharisees and the Scribes who feel that way about Jesus eating with sinners are like the elder son, who instead of feeling joy at the repentance of a sinner actually feels anger."

The Parable of the Prodigal Son - The Mass Readings Explained

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bearing the Fruit of Repentance: 3rd Sunday of Lent


In this third week of our spiritual journey through Lent, the Scripture readings remind us of what we might call the “Moses stage” of salvation history, and also drive home the theme of repentance during this holy season.

1. Our First Reading is
Ex 3:1-8a, 13-1

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Fruits of Repentance (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out over at Catholic Productions for the 3rd Sunday of Lent.  Check it out below.

Catholic Productions Notable Quote:
"Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed.  

At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart)."

The Mass Readings Explained: The Fruits of Repentance (3rd Sunday of Lent)

Friday, March 15, 2019

The New Exodus: Readings for 2nd Sunday of Lent


No one wants to be a slave.  Yet many have fallen into slavery in the course of human history, and too often by their own choice.  Jesus tells us, “Everyone who commits a sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).  How do we escape the slavery of sin?

Although loosely related, the Readings for this Sunday are linked by the theme of the Exodus.  In the First Reading, the Exodus is prophesied; in the Gospel, Jesus begins a New Exodus that culminates in the Last Supper and Calvary.

1.  Our First Reading is
Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18:
 

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Transfiguration (The Mass Readings Explained)

The video for the 2nd Sunday of Lent (Year C) is now out.  Check it out below, and you can still subscribe with a 14 day free trial.  God bless.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
"Now, to be very specific here, it’s really crucial to recognize that the new exodus is both similar to the old and different from the old. If you think about it this way, both of them are similar in the sense that they involve a journey that has a beginning and an end, and it’s a journey that is meant to set the people of God free and bring them home to the promised land. However, they’re different in their locations and in their destinies." 

The Transfiguration - Mass Readings Explained with Dr. Brant Pitre

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Doing Battle with the Devil: 1st Sunday of Lent


At the beginning of Lent, the Church reads to us the account of Jesus doing spiritual combat with the devil in the wilderness, reminding us that Lent is a time of warfare.  Through our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we do battle with the power of the devil in our lives, and with God’s grace, defeat him decisively.

1.  The First Reading is Deuteronomy 26:4-10:

Monday, March 04, 2019

The Temptations in the Desert (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video is now out for the 1st Sunday of Lent.  You can check it out below.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
"So the last word before the temptation narrative in Luke’s gospel is, 'the son of Adam, the son of God.' So he’s just told you about Adam and now Jesus goes into the desert and has these three temptations which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in the desert to show that he is now overcoming them. So that’s what’s going on in the temptation in the desert which is why we use it for Lent, because effectively, what’s taking place then, in the Season of Lent, is that we are now going to recapitulate the temptations of Jesus in ourselves."


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Who’s Your Role Model?: 8th Sunday of OT C



Several years ago Charles Barkley, when confronted with the misdeeds of his private life, famously quipped, “I’m not paid to be a role model.  I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.”  He went on to rake in quite a bundle of cash making an “I’m no role model” commercial with Nike.  Many people felt, despite the appearance of laudable honesty, Barkley’s posturing was a kind of excuse to escape culpability for the bad example he sets for youth.  

Monday, February 25, 2019

Good Trees and Bad Trees (The Mass Readings Explained)

This week's video for The Mass Readings Explained is now out.  Check it out below.

Catholic Productions' Notable Quote:
"For he says (at the end), “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So there’s a direct connection between our heart and our mouth. So the vices and the virtues in this context that Jesus is using are vicious words or virtuous words; sinning with our mouths, sinning with our tongues. In context that makes sense because what’s the whole Sermon on the Plain, the second half of its all been about? Judging others, condemning others, blessing those who curse us, praying for those who persecute us. So all of those things are things that we do with the mouth, and Jesus (notice this), in the Sermon on the Plain, as he’s trying to get the disciples to learn what it means to imitate him, notice, he doesn’t spend the whole sermon talking about the sins of the flesh (not that those aren’t important), but he’s first talking about the sins of the tongue, because it’s out of the mouth that the abundance of the heart speaks."



Thursday, February 21, 2019

Loving Our Enemies, Whoever They May Be: 7th Sunday of OT


In many years, we wouldn’t have a seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, because of how Lent usually falls, but we do this year, and it is providential, because the teachings of the Readings for this Lord’s Day are particularly relevant.  The Readings are united by the theme of love for enemies, which is one of the most difficult forms of love to practice.  The First Reading and the Gospel show that, in both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant eras, God is on the side of those who pay back hatred with love.

1. Our First Reading is 1 Sam 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23: