Sunday Bible Reflections
In today’s First Reading, it’s like we have our ears pressed to the wall and can hear the murderous grumblings of the elders, chief priests, and scribes—who last week Jesus predicted would torture and kill Him (see Mark 8:31; 10:33–34).
The liturgy invites us to see this passage from the Book of Wisdom as a prophecy of the Lord’s Passion. We hear His enemies complain that “the Just One” has challenged their authority, reproached
them for breaking the law of Moses, for betraying their training as leaders and teachers.
In today’s Gospel, we reach a pivotal moment in our walk with the Lord. After weeks of listening to His words and witnessing His deeds, along with the disciples we’re asked to decide who Jesus
Peter answers for them, and for us, too, when he declares: “You are the Messiah.” Many expected the Messiah to be a miracle worker who would vanquish Israel’s enemies and restore the kingdom
of David (see John 6:15).
The incident in today’s Gospel is recorded only by Mark. The key line is what the crowd says at the end: “He has done all things well.” In the Greek, this echoes the creation story, recalling that God saw all the things He had done and declared them good (see Genesis 1:31).
Today’s Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light as one having authority to interpret God’s law.
Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they’ve turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.
This Sunday’s Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist.
The Twelve Apostles in today’s Gospel are asked to make a choice—either to believe and accept the New Covenant He offers in His Body and Blood or return to their former ways of life.
On this feast, we praise God who has taken the sinless Virgin Mary, body and soul, into His glory.
In our first reading, from Revelation, we find God’s temple in heaven opened and the Ark of the Covenant revealed. The most sacred item in Israel’s history, the Ark had been missing since the Temple’s destruction in 586 B.C. Thus, John reports some startling news. Even more startling is his revelation that the sacred vessel is now a woman, who is mother of the royal Son of David, the Messiah.
Sometimes we feel like Elijah in today’s First Reading. We want to lie down and die, keenly aware of our failures—that we seem to be getting no better at doing what God wants of us.
We can be tempted to despair, as the prophet was on his forty-day journey in the desert. We can be tempted to “murmur” against God, as the Israelites did during their forty years in the desert (see Exodus 16:2, 7, 8; 1 Corinthians 10:10).