Monday, October 11, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! We've been reading the Bible clear through this year. We've reached the New Testament, so read along with me. But first, let us pray: 


When the fullness of time had come, you sent your Word in the One who said, “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.” No revelation can surpass this, until Jesus comes again in glory. 

Open my mind today to the gift of life and truth your Word offers me through the Church. By your Holy Spirit, grant me wisdom and strength to put this Word into practice and to become, myself, a presence of Jesus for people who are looking for you.

Jesus, eternal Word and Son of the Father, live in me with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.


Today's chapters are Mark 6-8.

Jesus is discredited at Nazareth in part because everybody there knew him and his family, including his "brothers," James, Joses (a form of Joseph), Judas, and Simon. This passage is sometimes thought to contradict the ancient teaching that Mary remained a virgin. However, in his story of the Resurrection, Mark will mention Joses again: as the son of a different Mary than the Mother of Jesus (see Mark 15:47). We also read (last Friday!) that "Mary, the mother of James and Joseph," came to the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning. Since the Gospel of John indicates that the Mother of Jesus had a sister (or close female relative) named Mary, we are on solid ground in connecting that Mary with at least two of the "brothers" (close male relatives) of Jesus named in Mark 6.

In the story of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a miracle we read about in all four Gospels, Mark gives us a detail that no one else does, and in so doing makes a strong textual link to Psalm 23 (the "Good Shepherd" Psalm). Look at the reference in verse 39 to the "green grass": Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads his flock to "green pastures" where "nothing shall I want." This will be completely fulfilled in the Eucharist, which is also being evoked in Mark's language: Jesus "took" the bread, "blessed" it, "broke" it and "gave" it to the disciples to distribute to the people. These same four verbs appear in Mark's Last Supper account (and in our Mass).

Notice that Mark makes sure to explain Jewish customs and Hebrew terms to his Gentile readers. Then in Chapter 8, he relates a second miracle of multiplication of loaves and fish: this time in a predominantly Gentile area. Just a few verses later, the Gospel reaches a turning point in Peter's "confession" of Jesus as the Messiah. Peter may think that being the "anointed one" will mean political glory and power, but this point on, we see Jesus preparing his apostles for his death and resurrection.

Start reading here.

For additional background

I am happy to recommend this volume of The Four Gospels in an edition directed to young readers and their parents. The text of all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the New Revised Standard Translation is accompanied by FAQs that a middle-school reader might ask (or, to be honest,  anybody reading the Gospels for the first time). The footnotes were prepared by a team of Scripture scholars for parents and guardians, making the book ideal for family Bible reading. 

A look inside; I translated the FAQs 
(above the eagle) and footnotes for Mt 16-28!

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