Monday, September 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: 

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 Zechariah 11-13. 

Notice the prophecy that crosses Chapters 12 and 13: a "spirit of mercy and supplication will come upon "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" when they "look on him whom they have thrust through" (some translations say "pierced"), "and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child.... On that day a fountain will be opened purify from sin and uncleanness."

From the Patristic Era onwards, the one whom they have thrust through has been identified with Jesus Crucified, whose heart, pierced by a Roman lance, poured out blood and water as from a fountain. That blood and water, in its turn, has been recognized as representing the sacraments, especially Eucharist and Baptism. Baptism plunges us into the death and resurrection of Jesus and makes us sharers in his sonship; Eucharist allows us to unite our daily "prayers, actions, joys and sufferings" with that one sacrifice of Jesus and to receive the only nourishment that can sustain the life of Christ in us until we are completely united with him in Heaven. The theme of "the pierced One" has been a major focus in the rich biblical theology of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI).

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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