Bible Diary for April 21st – 27thBible Diary
The Resurrection of the Lord
1st Reading: Acts 10: 34a, 37-43:
Peter then spoke to them, “Truly, I realize that God does not show partiality. No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus, the Nazarene with the Holy Spirit, and power. He went about doing good, and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with him; we are witnesses of all that he did throughout the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem itself.
Yet, they put him to death, by hanging him on a wooden cross. But God raised him to life on the third day, and let him manifest himself, not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God—to us, who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from death. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to bear witness, that he is the one appointed by God, to judge the living and the dead. All the prophets say of him, that everyone who believes in him has forgiveness of sins, through his name.”
2nd Reading: Col 3:1-4:
So then, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals himself, you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Gospel: Jn 20: 1-9:
Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have laid him.” Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around his head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that Jesus must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.
Faith in the resurrection of Christ is not automatic. Knowing or being informed of the details like stone cover moved, empty tomb, linens lying flat, and cloth around his head, is not enough. These are necessary to establish the veracity of the resurrection. Now what to do with them? They can be misinterpreted. Mary of Magdala herself claims Jesus’ body is taken away by someone and is relocated. Peter is quiet about what he sees. He does not go further. Only the other disciple, supposedly John whom Jesus loves makes the act of faith. He sees and believes. The author makes a significant commentary why some have not readily concluded that Jesus is risen from the dead.
They fail to see its meaning because they have not understood the Holy Scriptures. They know the scriptures, but have not understood it. It is very important to be in contact with God’s Word in the Old Testament. Had they understood this, they could have believed right away. For us Christians today, we can appreciate our faith better if we are grounded in the Sacred Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testaments and understand the message they basically convey. Pray to God for an enlightened faith and that the Spirit of the Lord may guide you in your spiritual journey.
1st Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33:
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.
“You who are children of Israel, hear these words. Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God, you killed, using lawless men to crucify him. But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death, because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:
I saw the Lord ever before me, with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted; my flesh, too, will dwell in hope, because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
My brothers, one can confidently say to you about the patriarch David that he died and was buried, and his tomb is in our midst to this day. But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld nor did his flesh see corruption. God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses. Exalted at the right hand of God, he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”
Gospel: Mt 28:8-15:
In fear, yet with great joy, the women left the tomb and ran to tell the news to his disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, “Rejoice!” The women approached him, embraced his feet and worshiped him. But Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid! Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee; there, they will see me.” As the women proceeded on their way, some of the guards went in to the city, and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests met with the elders, and decided to give the soldiers a large sum of money, with this order, “Say that his disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the body of Jesus. If Pilate comes to know of this, we will explain the situation and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.
Jesus is accessible to women. He appears to them along the way as they run to report to the disciples upon discovering that he is not in the tomb. Though they experience joy, Jesus still exhorts them to rejoice. The women spontaneously show their affection to him. He sends them to the disciples and announce his appearance, once they get to Galilee. Meanwhile, the soldiers guarding the tomb are in trouble. They report to the chief priests of the resurrection of Jesus. They in turn coach them to twist the story to discredit the miracle and to betray themselves saying they slept on the job.
Again these priests bribe the soldiers, like Judas Iscariot. No matter what they do to cover up, the story will go on. We owe our faith to women who announced with joy Jesus’ victory over his enemies and death. A new story has just begun and there is no way of stopping it. Jesus resurrected only once but its story that can be told and retold many times. Its retelling is also our responsibility. It is not the monopoly of women. Stopping the talk is like being bribed by the chief priests.
1st Reading: Acts 2:36-41:
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Gospel: Jn 20: 11-18:
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb; and as she wept, she bent down to look inside. She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and answered him, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned, and said to him, “Rabboni!”—which means Master. Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I am ascending to my Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.” So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me.”
Mary of Magdala is presented weeping, unlike the women of yesterday’s reading who were rejoicing. She is still crying over the death of Jesus. She stays behind. She does not join the disciples in going back home. The two angels ask her why she is weeping. At this point she does not believe yet in the resurrection. In her sorrow, she is fixated with the remains’ relocation. Jesus also appears to her, but she does not recognize him. She asks the same question, “Where is the body of Jesus?” When Jesus calls her name, Mary recognizes Jesus and shows her affection.
She keeps touching until Jesus stops her. The imperative verb used in Greek is in the present tense, not aorist, meaning, “Stop touching me.” If in aorist, it would mean, “Don’t begin to touch me.” Instead, Jesus orders her to report to the brothers that he is ascending into heaven. He is going back home to his Father in heaven. At this point we can see joy in the face of Mary. She is happy to testify to the disciples saying, “I have seen the Lord.” She now declares her belief in Jesus’ resurrection. We can do the same.
St. Fidelis Sigmaringen
1st Reading: Acts 3:1-10:
Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.
Gospel: Lk 24:13-35:
That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, (…) While they were talking and debating (…) Jesus himself approached and began to accompany them, but their eyes were not able to recognize him. He asked, “What is it you are talking about?”(…) They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced him to death. They handed him over to be crucified. We had hoped that he would redeem Israel.
He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter his glory?” (…) As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When they were at table, he took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; but he vanished out of their sight. (…)
The story of the two disciples going to Emmaus tells us that there are other followers of Jesus aside from the apostles and some women coming from Galilee. The two disciples are not simply bystanders or observers, objectively detached from what happened to Jesus. They discuss, not just talk about it, to make sense out of their failed expectations and hopes. It also tells us of the Risen Lord walking with them. Unrecognized as such, Jesus facilitates their sharing and he listens to their story which is accurate. After they talk, Jesus talks. He shakes them. “How dull you are!”
They know everything, but they do not understand the meaning. So Jesus interprets (hermeneuein) for them the scriptures that speaks of his resurrection. He concludes his explanation with the breaking of the bread. Finally, they recognize him. Then he disappears. It is true that Jesus is risen. The two disciples are lucky to have Jesus with them. In their confusion, they unexpectedly get the high quality interpreter. They share what they have felt along the way. “Were not our hearts burning (…)” They too become the first hand eyewitnesses and ear witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. We can also be witnesses.
1st Reading: Acts 3:11-26:
As the crippled man who had been cured clung to Peter and John, all the people hurried in amazement toward them in the portico called “Solomon’s Portico.” When Peter saw this, he addressed the people, “You children of Israel, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him.
You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.
Now I know, brothers and sisters, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.
For Moses said:
A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen in all that he may say to you. Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people.
“Moreover, all the prophets who spoke, from Samuel and those afterwards, also announced these days. You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, In your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
Gospel: Lk 24:35-48:
Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made himself known, when he broke bread with them. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”) In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but he said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at my hands and feet, and see that it is I myself! Touch me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As he said this, he showed his hands and feet.) (…)
Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you: Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the prophets and in the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “So it was written: the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.
Jesus appears to the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem as the two disciples going to Emmaus recount their experience with the Risen Lord along the way. The topic is how Jesus is made known to them. In their minds before, he is finished. He is dead. Yet he continues appearing to them. How can they change their mental set so quickly, including their emotional disposition? They have not finished mourning yet and here he comes appearing just like that like a ghost. In his appearance this time, the group mistakes him for a ghost.
Though they are excited because of the surprise, they cannot process in their minds what is going on. Jesus presents his resurrected body. He asks them to touch him. In front of them is the real Jesus. He asks for food and he eats. So what is still the problem? Jesus explains the scriptures to open their minds. Scriptures are still needed to understand all that has happened to Jesus. Once they understand and believe, they are bound to proclaim repentance and forgiveness and to give witness to him all over the known world. They will start in Jerusalem while they are still euphoric.
1st Reading: Acts 4:1-12:
After the crippled man had been cured, while Peter and John were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They laid hands on Peter and John and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word came to believe and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly class. They brought them into their presence and questioned them, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
Gospel: Jn 21:1-14
(…) When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, “Friends, have you anything to eat?” They answered, “Nothing.” Then he said to them, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find something.” When they had lowered the net, they were not able to pull it in because of the great number of fish. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” At these words, “It’s the Lord!” Simon Peter put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and jumped into the water. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish; they were not far from land, about a hundred meters.
When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed into the boat and pulled the net to shore. It was full of big fish— one hundred and fifty-three—but, in spite of this, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” And not one of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” for they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and he did the same with the fish. (…)
Jesus appears to the disciples for the third time according to John. He makes himself visible by the Lake of Tiberias or Sea of Galilee. The apostles have gone back to fishing, but at that night, they did not catch anything. As they return ashore, Jesus shouts out to them if they have enough catch and therefore have something to eat. When they answer “nothing,” Jesus commands them to try again, throwing the net at the right side of the boat. Without questioning who he is, they obey. This must be the result of their previous utter disappointment in Jerusalem.
Their minds are submissive to anyone including this unrecognized stranger and potential consumer of fish. The miraculous catch makes them recognize Jesus. Their effort to pull the net full of fish adds to their certainty that it is the Lord. Other fisher folks at the vicinity are called to help. They have unmistakably identified him unlike when Jesus appeared in Jerusalem. Now there is something to eat. At meal time, Jesus again distributes bread and this time fish to his disciples. When the bread is distributed to us in the Eucharist, we must recognize it is the Lord.
1st Reading: Acts 4:13-21:
Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened.
Gospel: Mk 16:9-15:
After Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary of Magdala, from whom he had driven out seven demons. She went and reported the news to his followers, who were now mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he lived, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he showed himself in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. These men also went back and told the others, but they did not believe them. Later Jesus showed himself to the Eleven while they were at table. He reproached them for their unbelief, and hardness of heart, in refusing to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.
Scholars agree that this passage of Mark’s gospel is added by an editor who thought it would be good also if Mark ends his gospel with Jesus’ appearances like the other gospels. It is not in the original text of Mark. We cannot also remove or ignore it because it has been recognized by the Church as inspired and canonical. The story emphasizes the incredulity of Jesus’ followers when they receive the news from Mary of Magdalene. They do not celebrate but are still mourning and grieving over the death of Jesus. Also they do not believe the two men going supposedly to Emmaus when they return to them and tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
When Jesus himself appears to the Eleven, he scolds them for refusing to believe those who have seen him and testified. Without further ado, he sends them to proclaim the Good News to all the earth. Christians are not excused from giving witness. This is a tall order of the Risen Lord. Being skeptical does not sit well with Jesus. There should be no more room for disbelief. This passage is addressed to those who find it hard to believe in Christ’s resurrection.