Rank #1: A King to Behold: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Epiphany
Readings: Isaiah 60:1–6 Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 10–13 Ephesians 3:2–3, 5–6 Matthew 2:1–12
An “epiphany” is an appearance. In today’s readings, with their rising stars, splendorous lights, and mysteries revealed, the face of the child born on Christmas day appears.
Herod, in today’s Gospel, asks the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah is to be born. The answer Matthew puts on their lips says much more, combining two strands of Old Testament promise—one revealing the Messiah to be from the line of David (see 2 Samuel 2:5), the other predicting “a ruler of Israel” who will “shepherd his flock” and whose “greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth” (see Micah 5:1–3).
Those promises of Israel’s king ruling the nations resound also in today’s Psalm. The psalm celebrates David’s son, Solomon. His kingdom, we sing, will stretch “to the ends of the earth,” and the world’s kings will pay Him homage. That’s the scene too in today’s First Reading, as nations stream from the East, bearing “gold and frankincense” for Israel’s king.
The Magi’s pilgrimage in today’s Gospel marks the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Magi, probably Persian astrologers, are following the star that Balaam predicted would rise along with the ruler’s staff over the house of Jacob (see Numbers 24:17).
Laden with gold and spices, their journey evokes those made to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba and the “kings of the earth” (see 1 Kings 10:2, 25; 2 Chronicles 9:24). Interestingly, the only other places where frankincense and myrrh are mentioned together are in songs about Solomon (see Song of Songs 3:6, 4:6, 14).
One greater than Solomon is here (see Luke 11:31). He has come to reveal that all peoples are “co-heirs” of the royal family of Israel, as today’s Epistle teaches.
His manifestation forces us to choose: Will we follow the signs that lead to Him as the wise Magi did? Or will we be like those priests and the scribes who let God’s words of promise become dead letters on an ancient page?
Dec 30 2019
Rank #2: Anointed Ones: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7 Psalm 29:1–4, 9–10 Acts 10:34–38 Matthew 3:13–17
Jesus presents himself for baptism in today’s Gospel not because He is a sinner, but to fulfill the word of God proclaimed by His prophets. He must be baptized to reveal that He is the Christ (“anointed one”)—the Spirit-endowed Servant promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.
His baptism marks the start of a new world, a new creation. As Isaiah prophesied, the Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove—as the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep in the beginning (see Genesis 1:2).
As it was in the beginning, at the Jordan also the majestic voice of the Lord thunders above the waters. The Father opens the heavens and declares Jesus to be His “beloved son.”
God had long prepared the Israelites for His coming, as Peter preaches in today’s Second Reading. Jesus was anticipated in the “beloved son” given to Abraham (see Genesis 22:2, 12, 26), and in the calling of Israel as His “first-born son” (see Exodus 4:22–23). Jesus is the divine son begotten by God, the everlasting heir promised to King David (see Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14).
He is “a covenant of the people [Israel]” and “a light to the nations,” Isaiah says. By the new covenant made in His blood (see 1 Corinthians 11:25), God has gathered the lost sheep of Israel together with whoever fears Him in every nation.
Christ has become the source from which God pours out His Spirit on Israelites and Gentiles alike (see Acts 10:45). In Baptism, all are anointed with that same Spirit, made beloved sons and daughters of God. Indeed, we are Christians—literally “anointed ones.”
We are the “sons of God” in today’s Psalm—called to give glory to His name in His temple. Let us pray that we remain faithful to our calling as His children, that our Father might call us what he calls His Son—“my beloved . . . in whom I am well pleased.”
Jan 06 2020
Rank #3: In a Dark Hour: Scott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday in Advent
Readings: Isaiah 2:1–5 Psalm 122:1–9 Romans 13:11–14 Matthew 24:37–44
Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.
He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).
His point here is that the exact “hour” is not important. What is crucial is that we not postpone our repentance, that we be ready for Him—spiritually and morally—when He comes. For He will surely come, He tells us—like a thief in the night, like the flood in the time of Noah.
In today’s Epistle, Paul too compares the present age to a time of advancing darkness and night.
Though we sit in the darkness, overshadowed by death, we have seen arise the great light of our Lord who has come into our midst (see Matthew 4:16; John 1:9; 8:12). He is the true light, the life of the world. And His light continues to shine in His Church, the new Jerusalem promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.
In the Church, all nations stream to the God of Jacob, to worship and seek wisdom in the House of David. From the Church goes forth His word of instruction, the light of the Lord—that all might walk in His paths toward that eternal day when night will be no more (see Revelation 22:5).
By our Baptism we have been made children of the light and day (see Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5–7). It is time we start living like it—throwing off the fruitless works of darkness, the desires of the flesh, and walking by the light of His grace.
The hour is late as we begin a new Advent. Let us begin again in this Eucharist.
As we sing in today’s Psalm, let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord. Let us give thanks to His name, keeping watch for His coming, knowing that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Nov 25 2019
Rank #4: Saving Family: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Holy Family
Sirach 3:2–6, 12–14 Psalm 128:1–5 Colossians 3:12–21 Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23
Underlying the wisdom offered in today’s Liturgy is the mystery of the family in God’s divine plan.
The Lord has set father in honor over his children and mother in authority over her sons, we hear in today’s First Reading. As we sing in today’s Psalm, the blessings of the family flow from Zion, the heavenly mother of the royal people of God (see Isaiah 66:7, 10–13; Galatians 4:26).
And in the drama of today’s Gospel, we see the nucleus of the new people of God—the Holy Family—facing persecution from those who would seek to destroy the child and His Kingdom.
Moses, called to save God’s first born son, the people of Israel (see Exodus 4:22; Sirach 36:11), was also threatened at birth by a mad and jealous tyrant (see Exodus 1:15–16). And as Moses was saved by his mother and sister (see Exodus 2:1–10; 4:19), in God’s plan Jesus too is rescued by His family.
As once God took the family of Jacob down to Egypt to make them the great nation Israel (see Genesis 46:2–4), God leads the Holy Family to Egypt to prepare the coming of the new Israel of God—the Church (see Galatians 6:16).
At the beginning of the world, God established the family in the “marriage” of Adam and Eve, the two becoming one body (see Genesis 2:22–24). Now in the new creation, Christ is made “one body” with His bride, the Church, as today’s Epistle indicates (see Ephesians 5:21–32).
By this union we are made God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. And our families are to radiate the perfect love that binds us to Christ in the Church.
As we approach the altar on this feast, let us renew our commitment to our God-given duties as spouses, children and parents. Mindful of the promises of today’s First Reading, let us offer our quiet performance of these duties for the atonement of our sins.
Dec 23 2019
Rank #5: Lover of Souls: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Wisdom 11:22–12:2 Psalm 145:1–2, 8–11, 13–14 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2 Luke 19:1–10
Our Lord is a lover of souls, the Liturgy shows us today. As we sing in today’s Psalm, He is slow to anger and compassionate toward all that He has made.
In His mercy, our First Reading tells us, He overlooks our sins and ignorance, giving us space that we might repent and not perish in our sinfulness (see Wisdom 12:10; 2 Peter 3:9).
In Jesus, He has become the Savior of His children, coming Himself to save the lost (see Isaiah 63:8–9; Ezekiel 34:16).
In the figure of Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel, we have a portrait of a lost soul. He is a tax collector, by profession a “sinner” excluded from Israel’s religious life. Not only that, he is a “chief tax collector.” Worse still, he is a rich man who has apparently gained his living by fraud.
But Zacchaeus’ faith brings salvation to his house. He expresses his faith in his fervent desire to “see” Jesus, even humbling himself to climb a tree just to watch Him pass by. While those of loftier religious stature react to Jesus with grumbling, Zacchaeus receives Him with joy.
Zacchaeus is not like the other rich men Jesus meets or tells stories about (see Luke 12:16–21; 16:19–31; 18:18–25). He repents, vowing to pay restitution to those he has cheated and to give half of his money to the poor.
By his humility he is exalted, made worthy to welcome the Lord into his house. By his faith he is justified, made a descendant of Abraham (see Romans 4:16–17).
As He did last week, Jesus is again using a tax collector to show us the faith and humility we need to obtain salvation.
We are also called to seek Jesus daily with repentant hearts. And we should make our own Paul’s prayer in today’s Epistle: that God might make us worthy of His calling, that by our lives we might give glory to the name of Jesus.
Oct 28 2019
Rank #6: To Rise Again: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Maccabees 7:1–2, 9–14 Psalm 17:1, 5–6, 8, 15 2 Thessalonians 2:16–3:5 Luke 20:27–38
With their riddle about seven brothers and a childless widow, the Sadducees in today’s Gospel mock the faith for which seven brothers and their mother die in the First Reading.
The Maccabean martyrs chose death—tortured limb by limb, burned alive—rather than betray God’s Law. Their story is given to us in these last weeks of the Church year to strengthen us for endurance—that our feet might not falter but remain steadfast on His paths.
The Maccabeans died hoping that the “King of the World” would raise them to live again forever (see 2 Maccabees 14:46).
The Sadducees don’t believe in the Resurrection because they can’t find it literally taught in the Scriptures. To ridicule this belief they fix on a law that requires a woman to marry her husband’s brother if he should die without leaving an heir (see Genesis 38:8; Deuteronomy 25:5).
But God’s Law wasn’t given to ensure the raising up of descendants to earthly fathers. The Law was given, as Jesus explains, to make us worthy to be “children of God”—sons and daughters born of His Resurrection.
“God our Father,” today’s Epistle tells us, has given us “everlasting encouragement” in the Resurrection of Christ. Through His grace, we can now direct our hearts to the love of God.
As the Maccabeans suffered for the Old Law, we will have to suffer for our faith in the New Covenant. Yet He will guard us in the shadow of His wing, keep us as the apple of His eye, as we sing in today’s Psalm.
The Maccabeans’ persecutors marveled at their courage. We too can glorify the Lord in our sufferings and in the daily sacrifices we make.
And we have even greater cause than they for hope. One who has risen from the dead has given us His word—that He is the God of the living, that when we awake from the sleep of death we will behold His face, and will be be content in His presence (see Psalm 76:6; Daniel 12:2).
Nov 04 2019
Rank #7: What We Must Do: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Deuteronomy 30:10–14 Psalm 69:14, 17, 30–31, 33–34, 36–37 Colossians 1:15–20 Luke 10:25–37
We are to love God and our neighbor with all the strength of our being, as the scholar of the Law answers Jesus in this week’s Gospel.
This command is nothing remote or mysterious—it’s already written in our hearts, in the book of Sacred Scripture. “You have only to carry it out,” Moses says in this week’s First Reading.
Jesus tells His interrogator the same thing: “Do this and you will live.”
The scholar, however, wants to know where he can draw the line. That’s the motive behind his question: “Who is my neighbor?”
In his compassion, the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable reveals the boundless mercy of God—who came down to us when we were fallen in sin, close to dead, unable to pick ourselves up.
Jesus is “the image of the invisible God,” this week’s Epistle tells us. In Him, the love of God has come very near to us. By the “blood of His Cross”—by bearing His neighbors’ sufferings in His own body, being Himself stripped and beaten and left for dead—He saved us from bonds of sin, reconciled us to God and to one another.
Like the Samaritan, He pays the price for us, heals the wounds of sin, pours out on us the oil and wine of the sacraments, entrusts us to the care of His Church, until He comes back for us.
Because His love has known no limits, ours cannot either. We are to love as we have been loved, to do for others what He has done for us—joining all things together in His Body, the Church.
We are to love like the singer of this week’s Psalm—like those whose prayers have been answered, like those whose lives have been saved, who have known the time of His favor, have seen God in His great mercy turn toward us.
This is the love that leads to eternal life, the love Jesus commands today of each of us—“Go and do likewise.”
Jul 08 2019
Rank #8: La historia redimida: Scott Hahn reflexiona sobre el 3º Domingo de Tiempo Ordinario
Lecturas: Isaías 8,23–9,3 Salmo 27,1.4.13–14 1 Corintios 1,10–13.17 Mateo 4,12–23
La liturgia de hoy nos da una lección de geografía e historia israelita antigua.
En el Evangelio de hoy, Mateo menciona la profecía de Isaías que aparece en la primera lectura. Ambas citas buscan recordar la aparente caída del reino eterno prometido a David (cf. 2 S 7,12–14; Sal 89; Sal 132, 11–12).
Ocho siglos antes de Jesús, la parte del reino donde vivían las tribus de Zebulón y Neftalí fue atacada por los asirios y sus habitantes fueron llevados al cautiverio (cf. 2 R 15,29; 1 Cr 5,26).
Esto marcó el comienzo del final del reino, que terminó desmoronándose en el siglo VI antes de Cristo, cuando Jerusalén fue capturada por Babilonia y las tribus que quedaban fueron llevadas al exilio (cf. 2 R 24,14).
Isaías profetizó que Zabulón y Neftalí, las primeras tierras que fueron degradadas, serían también las primeras en ver la luz de la salvación de Dios. Jesús cumple hoy esa profecía, anunciando la restauración del reino de David, precisamente ahí donde empezó a caer.
Su Evangelio del reino incluye no sólo a las doce tribus de Israel, sino a todas las naciones, simbolizadas en la “Galilea de las naciones”. Al llamar a sus primeros discípulos, dos pescadores del mar de Galilea, los destina a ser “pescadores de hombres”.
Según nos dice San Pablo en la Epístola de hoy, los discípulos han de predicar el evangelio para unir todos los pueblos en un mismo pensar y sentir; en un reino mundial de Dios.
Mediante su predicación, la profecía de Isaías ha sido proclamada. Un mundo en tinieblas ha visto la luz. El yugo de la esclavitud y el pecado, cargado por la humanidad desde el inicio de los tiempos, ha sido destrozado.
Como cantamos en el salmo de hoy, ya somos capaces de habitar en la casa del Señor, de adorarlo en la tierra de los vivos.
Jan 20 2020
Rank #9: Taking the Call: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 1 Kings 19:16–21 Psalm 16:1–2, 5, 7–11 Galatians 5:1, 13–18 Luke 9:51–62
In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s firstborn son (see Joshua 5:6–7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12–13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the Prodigal Son, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.
Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, to make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.
But only He can remove the reproach and restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us—like the Prodigal Son—to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.
God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”
The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.
Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.
Jun 24 2019
Rank #10: God Is with Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 7:10–14 Psalm 24:1–6 Romans 1:1–7 Matthew 1:18–24
The mystery kept secret for long ages, promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, is today revealed (see Romans 16:25–26).
This is the “Gospel of God” that Paul celebrates in today’s Epistle—the good news that “God is with us” in Jesus Christ. The sign promised to the House of David in today’s First Reading is given in today’s Gospel. In the virgin found with child, God Himself has brought to Israel a savior from David’s royal line (see Acts 13:22–23).
Son of David according to the flesh, Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Spirit. He will be anointed with the Spirit (see Acts 10:38), and by the power of Spirit will be raised from the dead and established at God’s right hand in the heavens (see Acts 2:33–34; Ephesians 1:20–21).
He is the “King of Glory” we sing of in today’s Psalm. The earth in its fullness has been given to Him. And as God swore long ago to David, His Kingdom will have no end (see Psalm 89:4–5).
In Jesus Christ we have a new creation. Like the creation of the world, it is a work of the Spirit, a blessing from the Lord (see Genesis 1:2). In Him, we are saved from our sins, are called now “the beloved of God.”
All nations now are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to enter into the House of David and Kingdom of God, the Church. Together, through the obedience of faith, we have been made a new race—a royal people that seeks for the face of the God of Jacob.
He has made our hearts clean, made us worthy to enter His holy place, to stand in His presence and serve Him.
In the Eucharist, the everlasting covenant is renewed, the Advent promise of virgin with child—God with us—continues until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20; Ezekiel 37:24–28).
Dec 16 2019
Rank #11: Here is Your God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 35:1–6, 10 Psalm 146:6–10 James 5:7–10 Matthew 11:2–11
John questions Jesus from prison in today’s Gospel—for his disciples’ sake and for ours.
He knows that Jesus is doing “the works of the Messiah,” foretold in today’s First Reading and Psalm. But John wants his disciples—and us—to know that the Judge is at the gate, that in Jesus our God has come to save us.
The Liturgy of Advent takes us out into the desert to see and hear the marvelous works and words of God—the lame leaping like a stag, the dead raised, the good news preached to the poor (see Isaiah 29:18–20; 61:1–2).
The Liturgy does this to give us courage, to strengthen our feeble hands and make firm our weak knees. Our hearts can easily become frightened and weighed down by the hardships we face. We can lose patience in our sufferings as we await the coming of the Lord.
As James advises in today’s Epistle, we should take as our example the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Jesus also points us to a prophet—holding up John as a model. John knew that life was more than food, the body more than clothing. He sought the kingdom of God first, confident that God would provide (see Matthew 6:25–34). John did not complain. He did not lose faith. Even in chains in his prison cell, he was still sending his disciples—and us—to our Savior.
We come to Him again now in the Eucharist. Already He has caused the desert to bloom, the burning sands to become springs of living water. He has opened our ears to hear the words of the sacred book, freed our tongue to fill the air with songs of thanksgiving (see Isaiah 30:18).
Once bowed down, captives to sin and death, we have been ransomed and returned to His Kingdom, crowned with everlasting joy. Raised up we now stand before His altar to meet the One who is to come: “Here is your God.”
Dec 09 2019
Rank #12: “Today” is the Day: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Malachi 3:19–20 Psalm 98:5–9 2 Thessalonians 3:7–12 Luke 21:5–19
It is the age between our Lord’s first coming and His last. We live in the new world begun by His life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, by the sending of His Spirit upon the Church. But we await the day when He will come again in glory.
“Lo, the day is coming,” Malachi warns in today’s First Reading. The prophets taught Israel to look for the Day of the Lord, when He would gather the nations for judgment (see Zephaniah 3:8; Isaiah 3:9; 2 Peter 3:7).
Jesus anticipates this day in today’s Gospel. He cautions us not to be deceived by those claiming “the time has come.” Such deception is the background also for today’s Epistle (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3).
The signs Jesus gives His Apostles seem to already have come to pass in the New Testament. In Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation, we read of famines and earthquakes, the Temple’s desolation. We read of persecutions—believers imprisoned and put to death, testifying to their faith with wisdom in the Spirit.
These “signs,” then, show us the pattern for the Church’s life—both in the New Testament and today.
We too live in a world of nations and kingdoms at war. And we should take the Apostles as our “models,” as today’s Epistle counsels. Like them we must persevere in the face of unbelieving relatives and friends, and forces and authorities hostile to God.
As we do in today’s Psalm, we should sing His praises, joyfully proclaim His coming as Lord and King. The Day of the Lord is always a day that has already come and a day still yet to come. It is the “today” of our Liturgy.
The Apostles prayed marana tha—“O Lord come!” (see 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). In the Eucharist He answers, coming again as the Lord of hosts and the Sun of Justice with its healing rays. It is a mighty sign—and a pledge of that Day to come.
Nov 11 2019
Rank #13: Harvest Time: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Isaiah 66:10-14 Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20 Galatians 6:14-18 Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel—Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church.
Sent out by Jesus to begin gathering the nations into the harvest of divine judgment (see Isaiah 27:12–13; Joel 4:13), the 70 are a sign of the continuing mission of the Church.
Carrying out the work of the 70, the Church proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom, offers His blessings of peace and mercy to every household on earth—“every town and place He intended to visit.”
Our Lord’s tone is solemn today. For in the preaching of the Church “the kingdom of God is at hand,” the time of decision has come for every person. Those who do not receive His messengers will be doomed like Sodom.
But those who believe will find peace and mercy, protection and nourishment in the bosom of the Church, the Mother Zion we celebrate in this week’s beautiful First Reading, the “Israel of God” Paul blesses in this week’s Epistle.
The Church is a new family of faith (see Galatians 6:10) in which we receive a new name that will endure forever (see Isaiah 66:22), a name written in heaven.
In this week’s Psalm we sing of God’s “tremendous deeds among men” throughout salvation history. But of all the works of God, none has been greater than what He has wrought by the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Changing the sea into dry land was but an anticipation and preparation for our passing over, for what Paul calls the “new creation.”
And as the exodus generation was protected in a wilderness of serpents and scorpions (see Deuteronomy 8:15), He has given His Church power now over “the full force of the Enemy.” Nothing will harm us as we make our way through the wilderness of this world, awaiting the Master of the harvest, awaiting the day when all on earth will shout joyfully to the Lord, sing praise to the glory of His name.
Jul 01 2019
Rank #14: Kingdom of the Son: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of Christ the King
Readings: 2 Samuel 5:1–3 Psalm 122:1–5 Colossians 1:12–20 Luke 23:35–43
Week by week the Liturgy has been preparing us for the revelation to be made on this, the last Sunday of the Church year.
Jesus, we have been shown, is truly the Chosen One, the Messiah of God, the King of the Jews. Ironically, in today’s Gospel we hear these names on the lips of those who don’t believe in Him—Israel’s rulers, the soldiers, and a criminal dying alongside Him.
They can only see the scandal of a bloodied figure nailed to a cross. They scorn Him in words and gestures foretold in Israel’s Scriptures (see Psalm 22:7–9; 69:21–22; Wisdom 2:18–20). If He is truly King, God will rescue Him, they taunt. But He did not come to save Himself, but to save them—and us.
The good thief shows us how we are to accept the salvation He offers us. He confesses his sins, acknowledges he deserves to die for them. And He calls on the name of Jesus, seeking His mercy and forgiveness.
By his faith he is saved. Jesus “remembers” him—as God has always remembered His people, visiting them with His saving deeds, numbering them among His chosen heirs (see Psalm 106:4–5).
By the blood of His cross, Jesus reveals His Kingship—not by saving His life, but by offering it as a ransom for ours. He transfers us to “the Kingdom of His beloved Son,” as today’s Epistle tells us.
His Kingdom is the Church, the new Jerusalem and House of David that we sing of in today’s Psalm.
By their covenant with David in today’s First Reading, Israel’s tribes are made one “bone and flesh” with their king. By the new covenant made in His blood, Christ becomes one flesh with the people of His Kingdom—the head of His body, the Church (see Ephesians 5:23–32).
We celebrate and renew this covenant in every Eucharist, giving thanks for our redemption, hoping for the day when we too will be with Him in Paradise.
Nov 18 2019
Rank #15: No Favorites: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirtiety Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Sirach 35:12–14, 16–18 Psalm 34:2–3, 17–19, 23 2 Timothy 4:6–8, 16–18 Luke 18:9–14
Jesus draws a blunt picture in today’s Gospel.
The Pharisee’s prayer is almost a parody of the thanksgiving psalms (see for example Psalms 30, 118). Instead of praising God for His mighty works, the Pharisee congratulates himself for his own deeds, which he presents to God in some detail.
The tax collector stands at a distance, too ashamed even to raise his eyes to God (see Ezra 9:6). He prays with a humble and contrite heart (see Psalm 51:19). He knows that before God no one is righteous, no one has cause to boast (see Roman 3:10; 4:2).
We see in the Liturgy today one of Scripture’s abiding themes—that God “knows no favorites,” as today’s First Reading tells us (see 2 Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34–35; Romans 2:11).
God cannot be bribed (see Deuteronomy 10:17). We cannot curry favor with Him or impress Him—even with our good deeds or our faithful observance of religious duties such as tithing and fasting. If we try to exalt ourselves before the Lord, as the Pharisee does, we will be brought low (see Luke 1:52).
This should be a warning to us—not to take pride in our piety, not to slip into the self-righteousness of thinking that we’re better than others, that we’re “not like the rest of sinful humanity.”
If we clothe ourselves with humility (see 1 Peter 5:5–6)—recognize that all of us are sinners in need of His mercy—we will be exalted (see Proverbs 29:33).
The prayer of the lowly, the humble, pierces the clouds. Paul testifies to this in today’s Epistle, as he thanks the Lord for giving him strength during his imprisonment.
Paul tells us what the Psalmist sings today—that the Lord redeems the lives of His humble servants.
We too must serve Him willingly. And He will hear us in our distress, deliver us from evil, and bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom.
Oct 21 2019
Rank #16: Respondiendo a la llamada: Scott Hahn reflexiona sobre el 13º Domingo de Tiempo Ordinario
Lecturas: 1 Reyes 19, 16–21 Salmo 16,1–2.5.7–11 Gálatas 5,1.13–18 Lucas 9,51–62
En la primera lectura de esta semana, al discípulo de Elías se le permite dar el beso de despedida a sus papás antes de disponerse a seguir la llamada del profeta.
Pero estamos llamados a seguir a alguien más grande que Elías. Eso es lo que la liturgia de esta semana nos quiere decir.
En el Bautismo, nos hemos revestido con el manto de Cristo, fuimos llamados a la casa de un nuevo Padre; en el reino de Dios se nos dio una nueva familia. Hemos sido llamados a dejar nuestras vidas pasadas y nunca mirar atrás; a seguirle a donde quiera que nos guíe.
Elías fue arrebatado en un torbellino y su discípulo recibió una doble porción de su espíritu (cfr. 2 Re 2,9–15). También Jesús, como nos recuerda el Evangelio, fue “arrebatado” (cfr. Hch 1,2.11.22), y nos dio su Espíritu para que tuviéramos vida y para guiarnos en nuestro camino a su reino.
Y en esta semana la epístola nos dice que la llamada de Jesús sacude el yugo de toda servidumbre, nos libera de los rituales la Antigua Ley, nos muestra que la Ley se cumple en el seguimiento de Jesús y en servirnos unos a otros por amor.
Su llamada dispone nuestras manos para un nuevo arado, una nueva tarea: ser mensajeros enviados a preparar a todos los pueblos para conocer a Cristo y entrar en su Reino.
Elías bajó fuego del cielo para consumir a quienes no quisieron aceptar a Dios (cfr. 2 Re 1,1–16). Pero a nosotros nos acompaña un Espíritu diferente.
Vivir por el Espíritu de Cristo implica enfrentar oposición y rechazo, como lo experimentaron los apóstoles en el Evangelio de esta semana. Es como vivir en el exilio sin tener ciudad fija, sin un lugar en este mundo al cual llamarle hogar o donde reclinar la cabeza.
Sin embargo, en el salmo de hoy escuchamos la voz de Aquel a quien seguimos (cfr. Hch 2,25–32; 13,35–37). Nos llama a apropiarnos de su fe, a soportar las dificultades con la confianza en que Él no nos abandonará, en que nos mostrará el “camino del amor” y nos guiará a la alegría plena de su presencia para siempre.
Jun 24 2019
Rank #17: A Great Chasm: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Amos 6:1, 4–7 Psalm 146:7–10 1 Timothy 6:11–16 Luke 16:19–31
The rich and powerful are visited with woe and exile in today’s Liturgy—not for their wealth but for their refusal to share it; not for their power but for their indifference to the suffering at their door.
The complacent leaders in today’s First Reading feast on fine foods and wines, reveling while the house of Joseph, the kingdom of Israel (see Amos 5:6), collapses around them.
The rich man in today’s Gospel also lives like a king—dressed in royal purple and fine linen (see 1 Maccabees 8:14).
The rich man symbolizes Israel’s failure to keep the Old Covenant, to heed the commandments of Moses and the prophets. This is the sin of the rulers in today’s First Reading. Born to the nation God favored first, they could claim Abraham as their father. But for their failure to give—their inheritance is taken away.
The rulers are exiled from their homeland. The rich man is punished with an exile far greater—eternity with a “great chasm” fixed between himself and God.
In this world, the rich and powerful make a name for themselves (see Genesis 11:4) and dine sumptuously, while the poor remain anonymous, refused an invitation to their feasts.
But notice that the Lord today knows Lazarus by name, and Joseph in his sufferings—while the leaders and the rich man have no name.
Today’s liturgy is a call to repentance—to heed the warning of One who was raised from the dead. To lay hold of the eternal life He promises, we must pursue righteousness, keep the commandment of love, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle.
“The Lord loves the just,” we sing in today’s Psalm.
And in this Eucharist we have a foretaste of the love that will be ours in the next life—when He will raise the lowly to the heavenly banquet with Abraham and the prophets (see Luke 13:28), where we too will rest our heads on the bosom of our Lord (see John 13:23).
Sep 23 2019
Rank #18: Waiting on the Lord: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Genesis 18:1–10 Psalm 15:2–5 Colossians 1:24–28 Luke 10:38–42
God wants to dwell with each of us personally, intimately—as the mysterious guests once visited Abraham’s tent, as Jesus once entered the home of Mary and Martha.
By his hospitality in this week’s First Reading, Abraham shows us how we are to welcome the Lord into our lives. His selfless service of his divine guests (see Hebrews 13:1) stands in contrast to the portrait of Martha drawn in this week’s Gospel.
Where Abraham is concerned only for the well-being of his guests, Martha speaks only of herself—“Do you not care that my sister has left me by myself? . . . Tell her to help me.” Jesus’ gentle rebuke reminds us that we risk missing the divine in the mundane, that we can fall into the trap of believing that God somehow needs to be served by human hands (see Acts 17:25).
Our Lord comes to us not to be served but to serve (see Matthew 20:28). He gave His life that we might know the one thing we need, the “better part,” which is life in the fellowship of God.
Jesus is the true Son promised today by Abraham’s visitors (see Matthew 1:1). In Him, God has made an everlasting covenant for all time, made us blessed descendants of Abraham (see Genesis 17:19, 21; Romans 4:16–17, 19–21).
The Church now offers us this covenant, bringing to completion the word of God, the promise of His plan of salvation, what Paul calls “the mystery hidden for ages.”
As once He came to Abraham, Mary, and Martha, Christ now comes to each of us in Word and Sacrament. As we sing in this week’s Psalm: He will make His dwelling with those who keep His Word and practice justice (see also John 14:23).
If we do these things we will not be anxious or disturbed, will not have our Lord taken from us. We will wait on the Lord, who told Abraham and tells each of us: “I will surely return to you.”
Jul 15 2019
Rank #19: Familia salvadora: Scott Hahn reflexiona sobre la fiesta de la Sagrada Familia
Lecturas: Sirácide 3,2-6.12-14 Salmo 128,1-2.3.4-5 Colosenses 3,12-21 Mateo 2,13-15, 19-23
El misterio de la familia en el plan de Dios subyace en la sabiduría que se ofrece en la liturgia de hoy.
En la primera lectura de hoy escuchamos que Dios ha puesto al padre en el lugar de honor frente a sus hijos y afirma la autoridad de la madre sobre su prole. Como cantamos en el salmo, las bendiciones de la familia fluyen desde Sión, la madre celestial del pueblo real de Dios (cf. Is 66,7.10-13; Ga 4,26).
Y en el drama del Evangelio de hoy, vemos el núcleo del nuevo pueblo de Dios -la Sagrada Familia- sufriendo la persecución de quienes buscan destruir al niño y su Reino.
También Moisés -que fue llamado a salvar al hijo primogénito de Dios, el pueblo de Israel (cf. Ex 4,22; Si 36,11)-, fue también amenazado al nacer, por un tirano celoso y enfadado (cf. Ex 1,15-16). Y así como Moisés fue salvado por su madre y su hermana (cf. Ex 2,1-10; 4,19), Jesús también es rescatado por su familia, de acuerdo el plan de Dios.
Así como Dios llamó a Egipto a la familia de Jacob, para convertirla en la gran nación de Israel (cf. Gn 46,2-4), Dios guía hacia allá a la Sagrada Familia para preparar la venida del nuevo Israel de Dios: la Iglesia (cf. Ga 6,16).
Al comienzo del mundo, Dios estableció la familia en el “matrimonio” de Adán y Eva, y los dos se hicieron un solo cuerpo (cf. Gn 2,22-24). Ahora, en la nueva creación, Cristo es hecho “un cuerpo” con su Esposa, la Iglesia, como nos indica la Epístola (cf. Ef 5,21-32).
Por esta unión nos convertimos en elegidos de Dios, santos y amados. Y nuestras familias han de irradiar el amor perfecto que nos liga a Cristo en la Iglesia.
Mientras nos acercamos al altar en esta fiesta, renovemos nuestros compromisos de cumplir con los deberes que Dios nos ha encargado como esposos, hijos y padres. Conscientes de las promesas de la primera lectura de hoy, ofrezcamos el cumplimiento callado de esos deberes, en expiación por nuestros pecados.
Dec 23 2019