Thursday, March 31, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday!

(Scroll down for Brant's amazing video blog on this Sunday's Readings)
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Octave of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.”  The theme of God’s mercy runs through the readings.

1. In the First Reading, we see an outpouring of God’s mercy through the hands of the Apostles, who are given a gift of God’s power for the healing of physical illnesses and those plagued by evil spirits:

Reading 1 Acts 5:12-16

Divine Mercy and Doubting Thomas (2nd Sunday of Easter)

Want to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday Mass Readings?  Check out the latest video just released.  I hope it helps!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Easter Vigil Readings

--> (Scroll down for Brant Pitre's videos on the Triduum readings, and for commentary on Holy Thursday and Good Friday readings.)

In my two books, Bible Basics for Catholics and New Testament Basics for Catholics, I focus on a series of covenants which are central to the economy of salvation: the (1) Creation (or Adamic; Genesis 1-3; Hosea 6:7), (2) Noahic (David Noel Freedman preferred "Noachian"; Genesis 9), (3) Abrahamic (Genesis 15, 17, 22); (4) Mosaic (Exodus 24), (5) Davidic (2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89); and (6) New (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20).  It has always struck me, and my students, how well this overview of the divine economy accords with the readings of the lectionary of the Mass, especially the readings of the Easter Vigil.

I'll proceed to point out how all these covenants appear in various forms in the seven Old Testament readings that form the backbone of the Liturgy of the Word for the Vigil.

1. The First Reading:

Good Friday: Readings for the Lord's Passion

Every year on Good Friday, we read St. John’s account of the Passion from John 18-19.

One of the themes that runs through this reading is the Priesthood of Christ. This year, I’ve developed this theme also through the Psalm and the Second Reading.

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

Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper

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:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Easter Vigil and the Resurrection Mass Readings

Want to better understand the upcoming Mass readings for Easter?

My new video explaining the Mass Readings for this weekend is now available.

I hope it helps!

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Passion and Death of Jesus (Part 2): The Sunday Mass Readings Explained (Palm Sunday)

Walk through the Passion and Death of Jesus with me in this latest video -- Part 2 of 2 -- on the Mass readings for Palm Sunday this weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Passion and Death of Jesus (Part 1): The Sunday Mass Readings Explained (Palm Sunday)

As a supplement to John's great commentary on this Sunday's Mass Readings, check out my new video on Palm Sunday's readings.  This is part 1, with part 2 set to be released tomorrow.

I hope you find it helpful!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Jesus Cheered, then Killed: Readings for Palm/Passion Sunday

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 an 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.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Woman Caught in Adultery: The Sunday Mass Readings Explained (5th Sunday in Lent)

As a supplement to John's fantastic explanation of this Sunday's Mass Readings, check out my next video on this Sunday's Mass Readings.

I hope you find it helpful!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Jesus and the New Exodus: Readings for 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:

Friday, March 04, 2016

The Parable of the Prodigal Son: The Sunday Mass Readings Explained (4th Sunday in Lent)

As a supplement to John and Michael's amazing written commentaries on the weekly Sunday readings, here's a link to a series of videos in which I explain the Sunday Scriptures.

Hope you find it helpful!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

A New Creation, A 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: