Sunday, July 25, 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: 

Everlasting Father,

All time belongs to you, and all the ages. In signs, in songs, in words of promise, you reassured your chosen ones, “I am with you; fear not.” You taught them through the prophets to trust that your saving deeds were not limited to the past.

When Jesus came, he fulfilled “all that was written in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”

The Church has found him everywhere in these same holy books.

Help me to find Jesus in my reading today, to listen to him, and to follow him with all my heart.


Today's chapters are Isaiah 59-61 and (because it is Sunday), Psalms 109 and 110.

We could read Chapter 59 in the light of the encouragement that came before it: with so much goodness, and so many promises, do not yield to moral compromise! God has even greater gifts to bestow than those already described. Indeed, Chapter 60 can almost be read as a lead-up to the words that Jesus will stand up in the synagogue at Nazareth to read for the Sabbath. And the first words of his homily that day were, "Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (see Luke 4:21).

Psalm 109 is one of the "cursing" psalms, considered so contrary to modern sensibilities that it does not even appear in the current Liturgy of the Hours. In form, it is a lament. The afflicted person, in a kind of courtroom setting, asks that the curses and injustices being inflicted upon him might recoil on his adversaries. One thing about the Psalms is their emotional honesty: There is no false courtesy before God, no hiding of feelings that might be ugly or inappropriate. In this, the Psalms are a model for our prayer.

Psalm 110 is one of the most important of the royal messianic Psalms. Jesus himself will cite it (Mt 22:41-45) to point out that David (the "author" of the Psalms) here calls the Messiah his "Lord." This clearly means that the Messiah, "David's Son," is David's superior! This Lord, "begotten before the Daystar," is also "high priest according to the order of Melchizedek."

Start reading 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.

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