Tag Archives: Bible Study

A reflection on the meaning of baptism

I found the description of the sacrament of baptism below to be personally true within the soul. To be “born again” by the action of the Spirit in these modern times reveals, (among a great many things), the historical reality of the presence of God in the flesh (Jesus) on earth . One learns confirmation of that visitation to his people, his death, and resurrection over 2000 years ago in one way–through the very same heart that was pierced by the Roman soldiers following his death on the cross. They wanted at that time in history to insure, with their own eyes, the death of the guilty ones; Yet, today, it is the same innocent blood and water mercifully flowing forth from the side of the Savior of the world which washes clean our sinful fallen souls, and enlightens the eyes and ears of our hearts in his bringing our souls into union with the Father—face to face in beatific communion with the Trinity. And there is no power, seen or unseen, nor evil spirit, or sin which plagues us, greater than this love of the Trinity, which God in His fullness of Glory desires to share with all men in the sacrament of baptism–Baptism reveals the meaning of life and the search for truth: To come to know, love, and serve God in this life, and be with him joyful forever in the next.

The following is from ‘Jesus of Nazareth, by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, pg. 20:

“Jesus’ Baptism, […] is understood as a repetition of the whole history, which both recapitulates the past and anticipates the future. His entering into the sins of others is a descent into the “inferno.” But he does not descend merely in the role of a spectator, as in Dante’s Inferno. Rather, he goes down in the role of one whose suffering-with-others is a transforming suffering that turns the underworld around, knocking down and flinging open the gates of the abyss. His Baptism is a descent into the house of the evil one, combat with the “strong man” (cf. Lk 11:22) who holds men captive (and the truth is that we are all very much captive to powers that anonymously manipulate us!). Throughout all its history, the world is powerless to defeat the “strong man”; he is overcome and bound by one yet stronger, who, because of his equality with God, can take upon himself all the sin of the world and then suffers it through to the end—omitting nothing on the downward path into identity with the fallen. This struggle is the “conversion” of being that brings it into a new condition, that prepares a new heaven and a new earth. Looked at from this angle, the sacrament of Baptism appears as the gift of participation in Jesus’ world-transforming struggle in the conversion of life that took place in his descent and ascent.”

The Truth About Mary and Scripture — Video

The Mother of God is a gift from the Cross in a world reduced to a desert because of its want of love…

Fratres Daily Mass Readings: Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter 05.29.09

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Reading 1

Acts 25:13b-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea

on a visit to Festus.

Since they spent several days there,

Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying,

“There is a man here left in custody by Felix.

When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews

brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation.

I answered them that it was not Roman practice

to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers

and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge.

So when they came together here, I made no delay;

the next day I took my seat on the tribunal

and ordered the man to be brought in.

His accusers stood around him,

but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected.

Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion

and about a certain Jesus who had died

but who Paul claimed was alive.

Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy,

I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem

and there stand trial on these charges.

And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody

for the Emperor’s decision,

I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab

R. (19a) The Lord has established his throne in heaven.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;

and all my being, bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.

or:

R. Alleluia.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he put our transgressions from us.

R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.

or:

R. Alleluia.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven,

and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, all you his angels,

you mighty in strength, who do his bidding.

R. The Lord has established his throne in heaven.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,

he said to Simon Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He then said to Simon Peter a second time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

He said to him the third time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,

“Do you love me?” and he said to him,

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,

you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;

but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,

and someone else will dress you

and lead you where you do not want to go.”

He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.

And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”


 

Fratres Daily Mass Readings: Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter 05.28.09

Father, they are your gift to me.

St. Dominic
St. Dominic

Reading 1

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth

about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,

the commander freed him

and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.

Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,

so he called out before the Sanhedrin,

“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;

I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

When he said this,

a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,

and the group became divided.

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection

or angels or spirits,

while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.

A great uproar occurred,

and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party

stood up and sharply argued,

“We find nothing wrong with this man.

Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

The dispute was so serious that the commander,

afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,

ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst

and take him into the compound.

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.

For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,

so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;

I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”

O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,

you it is who hold fast my lot.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;

even in the night my heart exhorts me.

I set the LORD ever before me;

with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,

my body, too, abides in confidence;

Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,

nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

You will show me the path to life,

fullness of joys in your presence,

the delights at your right hand forever.

R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

“I pray not only for these,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me,

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,

but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,

that the love with which you loved me

may be in them and I in them.”

Fratres Daily Mass Readings: Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter 05.27.09

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Reading 1

Acts 20:28-38

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:

“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock

of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,

in which you tend the Church of God

that he acquired with his own Blood.

I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,

and they will not spare the flock.

And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth

to draw the disciples away after them.

So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,

I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.

And now I commend you to God

and to that gracious word of his that can build you up

and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.

I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.

You know well that these very hands

have served my needs and my companions.

In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort

we must help the weak,

and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

When he had finished speaking

he knelt down and prayed with them all.

They were all weeping loudly

as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,

for they were deeply distressed that he had said

that they would never see his face again.

Then they escorted him to the ship.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Show forth, O God, your power,

the power, O God, with which you took our part;

For your temple in Jerusalem

let the kings bring you gifts.

R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.

or:

R. Alleluia.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,

chant praise to the Lord

who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.

Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:

“Confess the power of God!”

R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Over Israel is his majesty;

his power is in the skies.

Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;

he gives power and strength to his people.

R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Gospel

Jn 17:11b-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:

“Holy Father, keep them in your name

that you have given me,

so that they may be one just as we are one.

When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,

and I guarded them, and none of them was lost

except the son of destruction,

in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to you.

I speak this in the world

so that they may share my joy completely.

I gave them your word, and the world hated them,

because they do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

I do not ask that you take them out of the world

but that you keep them from the Evil One.

They do not belong to the world

any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth.

Your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world,

so I sent them into the world.

And I consecrate myself for them,

so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”


Fratres Daily Sacrifice of the Mass Readings: Memorial of Saint Cyril, monk, and Saint Methodius, bishop 02.14.09

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Gn 3:9-24

The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
On your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.”

To the woman he said:

“I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing;
in pain shall you bring forth children.
Yet your urge shall be for your husband,
and he shall be your master.”

To the man he said: “Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat,
“Cursed be the ground because of you!
In toil shall you eat its yield
all the days of your life.
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you,
as you eat of the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
shall you get bread to eat,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dirt,
and to dirt you shall return.”
The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

For the man and his wife the LORD God made leather garments,
with which he clothed them.
Then the LORD God said: “See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is evil!
Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand
to take fruit from the tree of life also,
and thus eat of it and live forever.”
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden,
to till the ground from which he had been taken.
When he expelled the man,
he settled him east of the garden of Eden;
and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword,
to guard the way to the tree of life.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 90:2, 3-4abc, 5-6, 12-13

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten
and the earth and the world were brought forth,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Gospel
Mk 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over-seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

 Memorial of Saint Cyril, monk, and Saint Methodius, bishop

Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Patrons of Europe: Sts. Cyril and Methodius

              “The apostolic and missionary activity of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which belongs to the second half of the ninth century, can be considered the first effective evangelization of the Slavs. [ ] Their work is an outstanding contribution to the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the Continent can ignore [ ] Cyril and Methodius are as it were the connecting links or spiritual bridge between the Eastern and Western traditions, which both come together in the one great Tradition of the universal Church. For us they are the champions and also the patrons of the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, for the rediscovery through prayer and dialogue of visible Unity in perfect and total communion…”

– Pope John Paul II
Slavorum Apostoli 23, 25, 27

[Note: Click here to read the 1985 Pope John Paul II encyclical, Slavorum Apostoli (Apostles to the Slavs) on the life and work of the brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius. Pope John Paul II declared Saints Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe (in addition to Saint Benedict).]

Fratres Daily Sacrifice of the Mass Readings: Friday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time 02.13.09

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Reading 1
Gn 3:1-8

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.
When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of the day,
the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God
among the trees of the garden.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 32:1-2, 5, 6, 7

R. (1a) Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
R. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.

Gospel
Mk 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
” Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”