Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zech 2, 14 I am coming to dwell among you

(Zech 2, 14) I am coming to dwell among you

[14] Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.

(CCC 723) In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father's loving goodness. Through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit's power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful (Cf. Lk 1:26-38; Rom 4:18-21; Gal 4:26-28). (CCC 724) In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known (Cf. Lk 1:15-19; Mt 2:11). (CCC 725) Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God's merciful love (Cf. Lk 2:14), into communion with Christ. And the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zech 1, 12 Then the angel of the Lord spoke out and said


(Zech 1, 12) Then the angel of the Lord spoke out and said

[12] Then the angel of the Lord spoke out and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will you be without mercy for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that have felt your anger these seventy years?"

(CCC 336) From its beginning until death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession (Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Ps 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12). "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life" (St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29, 656B). Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zeph 3, 17 The LORD, your God, is a mighty savior

(Zeph 3, 17) The LORD, your God, is a mighty savior

[17] The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you,

(CCC 2676) This twofold movement of prayer to Mary has found a privileged expression in the Ave Maria: Hail Mary [or Rejoice, Mary]: the greeting of the angel Gabriel opens this prayer. It is God himself who, through his angel as intermediary, greets Mary. Our prayer dares to take up this greeting to Mary with the regard God had for the lowliness of his humble servant and to exult in the joy he finds in her (Cf. Lk 1:48; Zeph 3:17b). Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: These two phrases of the angel's greeting shed light on one another. Mary is full of grace because the Lord is with her. The grace with which she is filled is the presence of him who is the source of all grace. "Rejoice… O Daughter of Jerusalem… The Lord your God is in your midst" (Zeph 3:14, 17a). Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the ark of the covenant, the place where the glory of the Lord dwells. She is "the dwelling of God… with men" (Rev 21:3). Full of grace, Mary is wholly given over to him who has come to dwell in her and whom she is about to give to the world. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. After the angel's greeting, we make Elizabeth's greeting our own. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," Elizabeth is the first in the long succession of generations who have called Mary "blessed" (Lk 1:41, 48). "Blessed is she who believed...." (Lk 1:45). Mary is "blessed among women" because she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's word. Abraham. Because of his faith, became a blessing for all the nations of the earth (cf. Gen 12:3). Mary, because of her faith, became the mother of believers, through whom all nations of the earth receive him who is God's own blessing: Jesus, the "fruit of thy womb."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zeph 3, 14-15 Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!

(Zeph 3, 14-15) Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!

[14] Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! [15] The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear.

(CCC 722) The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Col 2:9) should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice" (Cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14). It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle (Cf. Lk 1:46-55) lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zeph 2, 3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth


(Zeph 2, 3) Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth

[3] Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law; Seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the LORD'S anger.

(CCC 711) "Behold, I am doing a new thing" (Isa 43:19). Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the "consolation of Israel" and "the redemption of Jerusalem" (Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 2:25, 38). We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly. (CCC 716) The People of the "poor" (Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc.) - those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord" (Lk 1:17).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mic 4, 1-4 Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD

(Mic 4, 1-4) Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD

[1] In days to come the mount of the LORD'S house Shall be established higher than the mountains; it shall rise high above the hills, And peoples shall stream to it: [2] Many nations shall come, and say, "Come, let us climb the mount of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, that we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [3] He shall judge between many peoples and impose terms on strong and distant nations; 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. [4] Every man shall sit under his own vine or under his own fig tree, undisturbed; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

(CCC 762) The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people (Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6). Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of all nations (Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4). But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant" (LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mic 2, 1-2 Woe to those who plan iniquity


(Mic 2, 1-2) Woe to those who plan iniquity

[1] Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches; In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power. [2] They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance.

(CCC 2534) The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. "Lust of the eyes" leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth commandment (Cf. 1 Jn 2:16; Mic 2:2). Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three prescriptions of the Law (Cf. Wis 14:12). The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jon 2, 3-10 I called to the LORD, and he answered me

(Jon 2, 3-10) I called to the LORD, and he answered me

[3] Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the midst of the nether world I cried for help, and you heard my voice. [4] For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me. [5] Then I said, "I am banished from your sight! yet would I again look upon your holy temple." [6] The waters swirled about me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me; seaweed clung about my head. [7] Down I went to the roots of the mountains; the bars of the nether world were closing behind me forever, But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD, my God. [8] When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; My prayer reached you in your holy temple. [9] Those who worship vain idols forsake their source of mercy. [10] But I, with resounding praise, will sacrifice to you; What I have vowed I will pay: deliverance is from the LORD.

(CCC 2585) From the time of David to the coming of the Messiah texts appearing in these sacred books show a deepening in prayer for oneself and in prayer for others (Ezra 9:6-15; Neh 1:4-11; Jon 2:3-10; Tob 3:11-16; Jdt 9:2-14). Thus the psalms were gradually collected into the five books of the Psalter (or "Praises"), the masterwork of prayer in the Old Testament.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jon 2, 1 He remained in the belly of the fish three days

(Jon 2, 1) He remained in the belly of the fish three days

[1] But the LORD sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

(CCC 627) Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for “it was not possible for death to hold him” (Acts 2:24) and therefore “divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3). Both of these statements can be said of Christ: "He was cut off out of the land of the living" (Isa 53:8), and "My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption" (Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10). Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death (Cf. 1 Cor 15:4; Lk 24:46; Mt 12:40; Jon 2:1; Hos 6:2; cf. Jn 11:39).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jon 1, 3 To flee to Tarshish away from the LORD


(Jon 1, 3) To flee to Tarshish away from the LORD

[3] But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD.

(CCC 28) In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being: From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:26-28). (CCC 29) But this "intimate and vital bond of man to God" (GS 19,1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man (GS 19 § 1). Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call (Cf. GS 19-21; Mt 13:22; Gen 3:8-10; Jon 1:3).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Am 8, 11 I will send famine for hearing the word

(Am 8, 11) I will send famine for hearing the word

[11] Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send famine upon the land: Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD.

(CCC 2269) The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger. The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them (Cf. Am 8:4-10). Unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone's death, even without the intention to do so. (CCC 2835) This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but… by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Deut 8:3; Mt 4:4), that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD" (Am 8:11). For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: the Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist (Cf. Jn 6:26-58).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Am 8, 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning

(Am 8, 10) I will turn your feasts into mourning

[10] I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentations. I will cover the loins of all with sackcloth and make every head bald. I will make them mourn as for an only son, and bring their day to a bitter end.

(CCC 2449) Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: "For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land'" (Deut 15:11). Jesus makes these words his own: "The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me" (Jn 12:8). In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against "buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals…," but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren (Am 8:6; cf. Mt 25:40): When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: "When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus (P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Am 8, 4-6 You who trample upon the needy

(Am 8, 4-6) You who trample upon the needy

[4] Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! [5] "When will the new moon be over," you ask, "that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! [6] We will buy the lowly man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!"

(CCC 409) This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:19; cf. 1 Pt 5:8) makes man's life a battle: The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity (GS 37 § 2).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Am 7, 1-2 Forgive, O Lord GOD! How can Jacob stand?

(Am 7, 1-2) Forgive, O Lord GOD! How can Jacob stand?

[1] This is what the Lord GOD showed me: He was forming a locust swarm when the late growth began to come up (the late growth after the king's mowing). [2] While they were eating all the grass in the land, I said: Forgive, O Lord GOD! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!

(CCC 2584) In their "one to one" encounters with God, the prophets draw light and strength for their mission. Their prayer is not flight from this unfaithful world, but rather attentiveness to the Word of God. At times their prayer is an argument or a complaint, but it is always an intercession that awaits and prepares for the intervention of the Savior God, the Lord of history (Cf. Am 7:2, 5; Isa 6:5, 8, 11; Jer 1:6; 15:15-18; 20:7-18).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Am 5, 21-25 I hate, I spurn your feasts


(Am 5, 21-25) I hate, I spurn your feasts

[21] I hate, I spurn your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities; [22] Your cereal offerings I will not accept, nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings. [23] Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps. But if you would offer me holocausts, [24] then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream. [25] Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?

(CCC 2100) Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit...." (PS 51:17). The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor (Cf. Am 5:21-25; Isa 1:10-20). Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13; 12:7; Cf. Hos 6:6). The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father's love and for our salvation (Cf. Heb 9:13-14). By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God. (CCC 1435) Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right (Cf. Am 5:24; Isa 1:17), by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance (Cf. Lk 9:23).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joel 3, 5 Shall be rescued who calls on the name of the LORD

(Joel 3, 5) Shall be rescued who calls on the name of the LORD

[5] Then everyone shall be rescued who calls on the name of the LORD; For on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant, as the LORD has said, And in Jerusalem survivors whom the LORD shall call.

(CCC 678) Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgement of the Last Day in his preaching (cf. Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3:19; Mt 3:7-12). Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light (cf. Mk 12:38-40; Lk 12:1-3; Jn 3:20-21; Rom 2:16; 1 Cor 4:5). Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned (cf. Mt 11:20-24; 12:41-42). Our attitude to our neighbour will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love (cf. Mt 5:22; 7:1-5). On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Joel 3, 1-4 I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind

(Joel 3, 1-4) I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind

[1] Then afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; [2] Even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days, I will pour out my spirit. [3] And I will work wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke; [4] The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, At the coming of the Day of the LORD, the great and terrible day.

(CCC 1287) This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people (Cf. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2). On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit (Cf. Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8), a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost (Cf. Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14). Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age (Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18). Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn (Cf. Acts 2:38). (CCC 715) The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of "love and fidelity" (Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:25-28; 37:1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3:1-5). St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost (Cf. Acts 2:17-21). According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Joel 2, 12-13 Return to me with your whole heart


(Joel 2, 12-13) Return to me with your whole heart

[12] Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; [13] Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.

(CCC 1430) Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, "sackcloth and ashes," fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance (Cf. Joel 2:12-13; Isa 1:16-17; Mt 6:1-6; 16-18).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hos 11, 9 For I am God and not man

(Hos 11, 9) For I am God and not man

[9] I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

(CCC 208) Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness (Cf. Ex 3:5-6). Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa 6:5). Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Lk 5:8). But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger… for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst" (Hos 11:9). The apostle John says likewise: "We shall… reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" (1 Jn 3:19-20).

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hos 11, 1-4 I drew them with human cords

(Hos 11, 1-4) I drew them with human cords

[1] 1 When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. [2] The more I called them, the farther they went from me, Sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. [3] Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; [4] I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.

(CCC 219) God's love for Israel is compared to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"(Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Isa 49:14-15; 62 :4-5; Ezek 16; Hos 11).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hos 6, 4-6 It is love that I desire, not sacrifice,

(Hos 6, 4-6) It is love that I desire, not sacrifice,

[4] What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away. [5] For this reason I smote them through the prophets, I slew them by the words of my mouth; [6] For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.

(CCC 2100) Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit...." (PS 51:17). The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor (Cf. Am 5:21-25; Isa 1:10-20). Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13; 12:7; Cf. Hos 6:6). The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father's love and for our salvation (Cf. Heb 9:13-14). By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hos 6, 1 Let us return to the LORD he will heal us

(Hos 6, 1) Let us return to the LORD he will heal us

[1] In their affliction, they shall look for me: "Come, let us return to the LORD, For it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.

(CCC 589) Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them (Cf. Mt 9:13; Hos 6:6). He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet (Cf. Lk 15:1-2, 22-32). But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mk 2:7). By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name (Cf. Jn 5:18; 10:33; 17:6, 26).