Sunday, September 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: 

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 8-10 and (because it is Sunday) Psalms 126 and 127. 

Chapter 8 is God's dream for the city of Jerusalem.

With Chapter 9, the book shifts so much that some scholars attribute the last section to a different prophet. Here, the Messianic prophecies start raining down upon us: The king, humble and victorious, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey; the blood of the covenant that will set captives free from the pit; mourning for the one whom they have pierced, mourning as for an only son; striking the shepherd and the sheep will be dispersed. All of that awaits us in the next two days.

Psalm 126 is a short psalm that recalls the joy of the return from exile. The experience of the pain that preceded their joy becomes a parable about life.

Psalm 127 is in two parts, but the theme of both of them is that human efforts avail nothing: God is the source of all achievement. The image of the gate might be mystifying, but recall from some of the historical books that the city gate is where basic legal matters were handled. It was the town's court of law. And you always want to show up in court with a strong group of supporters.

Start reading Zechariah here and the Psalms 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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