Saturday, February 27, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 2 Samuel 4-6 and Psalm 36.

The most important passage in today's readings is Chapter 6, the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant in solemn procession to Jerusalem. The Ark, upon which the Lord of Hosts is symbolically enthroned, has lost none of its fearful majesty: When a man reaches out to keep the Ark from tipping over, the act of touching it causes his death. 

Luke will incorporate elements from Chapter 6 into his setting of Mary's Visitation to her kinswoman Elizabeth, starting with David's response to the dramatic death of the man who touched the Ark: "How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?" His words are echoed by Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah when the Virgin Mary appears at her threshold: "How can the Mother of the Lord come to me?" Out of an abundance of caution, David will position the Ark in a family's home "for three months." Mary stayed with Elizabeth "for about three months." When the Ark was finally brought into Jerusalem, the king himself "leapt before the Lord...with joy." Elizabeth testified that the unborn John the Baptist "leapt for joy" in her womb at the sound of Mary's voice. (The Greek word in the ancient manuscripts for 1 Samuel and Luke is the same, whether translated into English as "danced" or "leapt.")

The Gospel of Luke (1:41-45, 56) uses these clues from 2 Samuel 26 to tell us that Mary is the Ark of the Covenant. Now the Lord of hosts is no longer symbolically enthroned: In Mary's unborn child God is truly, really, bodily present among his people The Ark of the Covenant is a "type" or prophetic foreshadowing of Mary, the Mother of God. This passage of Luke's Gospel is also a powerful testimony to the Church's faith that Jesus is truly God.

Start reading 2 Samuel here and Psalm 36 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 2 Samuel 1-3 and Psalm 35.

The death of Saul inspires both a haunting lament and a harsh punishment. David, who had twice held back from touching "the Lord's anointed," here metes out to the foreigner who admits having a hand in Saul's battlefield suicide. 

The next events might be confusing. David is then anointed king--but over Judah alone, not over the entire kingdom. The rest of Israel is still loyal to Saul's family, and recognizes one of Saul's surviving sons as king. The intrigue between David's officer's and those of Saul's family leads to more bloodshed, and another Davidic lament.

Psalm 35 is the prayer of a person who has suffered a public injustice and who asks God for public vindication. According to the NABRE footnote, "The Psalm may appear vindictive, but one must keep in mind that the psalmist is praying for public redress now of a public injustice. There is at this time no belief in an afterlife in which justice will be redressed.... The psalmist seeks lost honor through a trial before God."

Start reading 2 Samuel here and Psalm 35 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Read the Bible

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 29-31 and Psalm 34.

The closing chapters of the First Book of Samuel. The story seems to end abruptly, but it will be taken up again promptly with the first words of 2 Samuel tomorrow. 

Psalm 34 has an interesting heading, referring to the story in Chapter 21 (which we read on Monday) "Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, who drove him out and he went away."  

Start reading here and Psalm 34 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 26-28 and Psalm 33.

Early in their history, God had strictly forbidden his people to practice sorcery, witchcraft, and the summoning of the dead (see Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 8:10-11), which to this day retain their character as gravely sinful (not to mention dangerous). Desperately trying to maintain something of the status quo, Saul plunges past the divine prohibition.

Psalm 33 is one of my go-to Psalms for prayer. It is an assurance that we never make a mistake when giving thanks and praise to God, "for the word of the Lord is upright (or: faithful), and all his works are trustworthy." The Psalm declares, over and over, in the Hebrew form of repetition, that God's plan will never be overturned. This Psalm is also applied to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "the plans of His heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death and to keep them alive in famine."

Start reading here and Psalm 33 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 23-25 and Psalm 32.

Chapter 25 presents the story of Abigail, a woman of Carmel who acted shrewdly, quickly, and decisively to save her household. 

The mosaic of Abigail is from the Basilica of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Rome, in the chapel dedicated to the great women of the Bible. St Alphonsus of Liguori considered Abigail a "type" (a prophetic foreshadowing) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Start reading here and Psalm 32 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 20-22 and Psalm 31.

The friendship of David and Saul's son Jonathan is a model of manly affection. The two young men sought each other's flourishing. David's life depended on Jonathan's faithfulness, and Jonathan trusted David to keep his own family line alive. (David would go even further, bestowing Saul's entire heritage on Jonathan's surviving son.)

Today's Psalm is an extraordinary match for the story in Chapter 20 of David's flight from the murderous Saul. While David escapes, the innocent priests of Nob would suffer in his place. Jesus will refer to this incident, but not to lament the unjust killing of the priests. Instead, when some Pharisees reproached Jesus over his hungry disciples' shelling grain to eat (on the Sabbath day), he pointed to David's example of overstepping the Law in the face of human need; see Mt 12:1-8. 

Start reading 1 Samuel here and the Psalm here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 17-19 and (because it is Sunday) Psalms 29 and 30.

David and Goliath! The very names have become a stand-in for a mismatched contest in which the underdog wins an impossible victory. But the Bible makes it clear: the victory is not won by strength or stealth or superior weaponry. It is God, ever-faithful, who saves his people.

Start reading 1 Samuel here and here for the Psalms.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 14-16 and Psalm 28 (for Lent).

Saul dooms his kingship through an act of disobedience to God's command. Samuel the prophet reveals the king's sorry state and sets down a "rule" for all time: "Obedience is better than sacrifices." (Saul's excuse was that goods and livestock that had been taken as loot was going to be offered to God). And so the old prophet Samuel is sent to Bethlehem with a secret assignment: He is to anoint a new king for Israel. 

Whereas Saul, son of Kish, had been strikingly tall and impressive, a kingly figure if there ever was one, Samuel himself will be surprised by the LORD's choice from among the sons of Jesse. (As usual, God chooses the least, the last and the lowliest.) We know the story already. And we know that the boy who will be king is a type (prophetic foreshadowing) of Christ the Shepherd, King and rescuer of his people.

Obedience, surrender to God, can be a gift or an extraction. Who are you obeying and why? Is it out of force (slavery) or out of love and recognition of love and beauty (gift)? If our obedience to God or the Church is consistently forced, what is behind that? Fear? Anxiety? A faith that does not yet quite believe in God's goodness? Lent is a good time to address impediments to the love of God that keep us from an obedience that is free, loving and joyful.

Start reading here and here for Psalm 28. 


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 11-13 and Psalm 27.

King Saul begins to lead the people, and Samuel (somewhat like John the Baptist) prepares to withdraw from the public eye after exhorting the people to be faithful to God. 

On this "introductory" Friday of the Lenten season, look at the way Psalm 27 hints at the mystery of Good Friday: For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble...

Start reading 1 Samuel here and here for Psalm 27.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! I'm reading the Bible clear through this year, and I invite you to read along with me. But first, let us pray: 

My God, I adore and thank your loving and wise Providence, manifested on every page of Sacred Scripture. You have always been close to sinful and erring humanity, and have indicated the way and given hope. Amid the shadows of error and corruption, you kindled the light of your truth; amid universal corruption, you are the Just One; amid so much idolatry, humanity in every corner of the earth has cultivated a sincere worship of you.
Let my reading today increase my trust in your goodness, your mercy, and your unfailing faithfulness.

Today's chapters are 1 Samuel 8-10 and Psalm 26.

“We must be like other nations, with a king.” It seems that the people wanted to make a good show among the nations, according to the established ways. God told Samuel, "You are not the one they are rejecting. They are rejecting me as their king." Well, today we are beginning Lent, so it is a wonderful day to choose God as "king," whatever that means in your real life!

Psalm 25 is a wonderful starter for Lent (I confess it's one of my favorites, too!), because it has this amazing verse: Guide me by your fidelity and teach me, for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long. Isn't that what our Lenten observance is about?

Start reading 1 Samuel here and Psalm 26 here.


If you are looking for a solid but approachable companion to the Bible, I can wholeheartedly recommend A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. Although the authors are top-level Scripture scholars, they write for "real" readers. Notes include recent findings from archaeology and ancient manuscripts, and how each book of the Bible has been understood by the Church Fathers and used in Liturgy.