Readings: Job 38:1, 8-11 Psalm 107:23-26, 28-31 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 Mark 4:35-41 “Do you not yet have faith?” Our Lord’s question in today’s Gospel frames the Sunday liturgies for the remainder of the year, which the Church calls “Ordinary Time.” In the weeks ahead, the Church’s liturgy will have us journeying with Jesus and His …
Sunday Bible Reflections
In the cryptic message of the prophet Ezekiel, long centuries before the Lord’s coming, God gave His people reason to hope. Ezekiel glimpsed a day when the Lord God would place a tree on a
mountain in Israel, a tree that would “put forth branches and bear fruit.” Who could have predicted that the tree would be a cross on the hill of Calvary, and that the fruit would be salvation?
All of today’s readings are set in the context of the Passover. The First Reading recalls the old covenant celebrated at Sinai following the first Passover and the Exodus.
In sprinkling the blood of the covenant on the Israelites, Moses was symbolizing God’s desire in this covenant to make them His family, His “blood” relations.
Quoting Moses’ words in today’s Gospel, Jesus elevates and transforms this covenant symbol to an extraordinary reality. In the new covenant made in the blood of Christ, we truly become one with His
body and blood.
Last Sunday, we celebrated the sending of the Spirit, which sealed God’s new covenant and made a new creation.
In this new creation, we live in the family of God, who has revealed himself as a Trinity of love. We share in His divine nature through His Body and Blood (see 2 Peter 1:4). This is the meaning of the three feasts that cap the Easter season— Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi.
The giving of the Spirit to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history.
The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God’s chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai (see Leviticus 23:15–21; Deuteronomy 16:9–11).
In today’s first reading, St. Luke gives the surprising news that there is more of the story to be told. The story did not end with the empty tomb, or with Jesus’ appearances to the Apostles over the course of forty days. Jesus’ saving work will have a liturgical consummation. He is the great high priest, and he has still to ascend to the heavenly Jerusalem, there to celebrate the feast in the true Holy of Holies.
Today’s First Reading begins by giving us a time frame—the events take place during the days between Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost. We’re at the same point in our liturgical year. On Thursday we celebrated His being taken up in glory, and next Sunday we will celebrate His sending of the Spirit upon the Church.
Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel today also captures the mood of departure and the anticipation. He is telling us today how it will be when He is no longer in the world.
God is love, and He revealed that love in sending His only Son to be a sacrificial offering for our sins.
In these words from today’s Epistle, we should hear an echo of the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac at the dawn of salvation history. Because Abraham obeyed God’s command and did not withhold his only beloved son, God promised that Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel, would be the source of blessing for all nations (see Genesis 22:16–18).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He is the true vine that God intended Israel to be—the source of divine life and wisdom for the nations (see Sirach 24:17–24).
In Baptism, each of us was joined to Him by the Holy Spirit. As a branch grows from a tree, our souls are to draw life from Him, nourished by His word and the Eucharist.