Bible Diary for April 22nd – 28thBible Diary
Fourth Sunday of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 4:8-12
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
“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.”
2nd Reading: 1 Jn 3:1-2
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Gospel: Jn 10:11-18
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
There is no name other than the Name of Jesus that brings salvation. Peter highlights the cure of the man with a handicap as the proof. John speaks of the singular love of God that transforms us to be like Him. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. How big is this family of the shepherd? How big is the sheep community? Jesus makes explicit references to other sheep that are also his, but do not necessarily belong to “this“ fold, but whom he must lead as well so that finally there shall be one sheep and one shepherd. The redeeming name of Jesus is meant not just for a small group of Christians or the so-called “good,“ but for the entire world. The singular love of God cannot be limited to a select few, but flows into the hearts of all. It is not God who rejects us, but we who reject God and one another in the name of God and creed. Perhaps becoming like God demands that we conform to the heart of the Shepherd who cares for all sheep.
Good Shepherd, mold my heart after yours.
Listen to the God-experience of someone who belongs to a faith tradition different from yours.
1st Reading: Acts 11:1-18
The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.
So when Peter went up to Jerusalem
the circumcised believers confronted him, saying,
‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.”
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying,
“I was at prayer in the city of Joppa
when in a trance I had a vision,
something resembling a large sheet coming down,
lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me.
Looking intently into it,
I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth,
the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir,
because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
But a second time a voice from heaven answered,
‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’
This happened three times,
and then everything was drawn up again into the sky.
Just then three men appeared at the house where we were,
who had been sent to me from Caesarea.
The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating.
These six brothers also went with me,
and we entered the man’s house.
He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying,
‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter,
who will speak words to you
by which you and all your household will be saved.’
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them
as it had upon us at the beginning,
and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said,
‘John baptized with water
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us
when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I to be able to hinder God?”
When they heard this,
they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying,
“God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”
Jesus said he came to give us life, life in all its fullness. When one looks at our society, there are many people who have not even the bare necessities of life. There are so many Filipinos who do not own their own houses in their own land. In fact there are many street families and those that cannot even eat three times a day. When one asks, why is this so in our land which is so rich in natural resources. It is because there is such an unequal distribution of wealth, there is the foreign control of our economy and there is the greed of those who gain by exploiting other people. Jesus wants us and everone to have a FULLNESS OF LIFE. Maybe we should begin by doing what we can so that people should at least have their basic necessities fulfilled. We need genuine land reform so that people can own land. We need industrialization to give people a way of earning a living. We need to fight corruption in all its forms so that the money that people acquire unjustly can be used for the social services to people in need. LORD JESUS, GIVE US AND OUR PEOPLE THE FULLNESS OF LIFE.
St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
1st Reading: Acts 11:19-26
Those who had been scattered by the persecution
that arose because of Stephen
went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,
who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well,
proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,
and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul,
and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch.
For a whole year they met with the Church
and taught a large number of people,
and it was in Antioch that the disciples
were first called Christians.
Gospel: Jn 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
What did Barnabas see in Antioch that he recognized as “manifest signs of God‘s favor?“ Did he see wealth, prosperity, easy life? Although material blessings also come from God, I think what Barnabas saw was a community of people who love each other, who help each other in their needs, who are untiring in their preaching of the Good News, who are fair with one another and who are living in peace with one another. But maybe he also saw afflicted people suffering patiently, sick people surrendering themselves fully in God‘s hands, people forgiving each other. I am sure we know how hard it is to build and maintain such a community. We cannot achieve it with only our human efforts. We truly need God‘s grace. That is why when we encounter such a community, we know that they are the manifest sign of God‘s favor.
1st Reading: 1 P 5:5b-14
Clothe yourselves with humility
in your dealings with one another, for:
God opposes the proud
but bestows favor on the humble.
So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that he may exalt you in due time.
Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.
Be sober and vigilant.
Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, steadfast in faith,
knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world
undergo the same sufferings.
The God of all grace
who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you
after you have suffered a little.
To him be dominion forever. Amen.
I write you this briefly through Silvanus,
whom I consider a faithful brother,
exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God.
Remain firm in it.
The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son.
Greet one another with a loving kiss.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Gospel: Mk 16:15-20
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took his seat at the right hand of God.
But they went forth and preached everywhere,
while the Lord worked with them
and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
We have a Sister in our convent who reached the ripe old age of 103. She never was operated on or stayed in the hospital. When asked about her life‘s secret, she answered: “Drink a lot of water and surrender yourself to God.“ What a practical and holy advice. She said that in the past she worried a lot about her family, if they are having enough to eat, if anyone is sick among them, if they have work, etc. Then one day, at prayer she seemed to hear God‘s voice in her soul saying: “Don‘t you think that I love your family more than you can ever love them? So from that time on she put aside all her worries about her family and entrusted them to God. That is what we should do with our worries. We cannot really do anything to solve our problem by worrying about them. After we have done our best to look for the best solution, we should stop worrying and entrust them to God.
1st Reading: Acts 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”
So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”
Gospel: Jn 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Although we know this theoretically, in our daily lives, do we really see Christ in those who come to us? Everyone we meet in our life is someone that is sent to us by Christ. So how can we wave away a beggar who knocks at the window of our car? How can we hide from someone who pesters us with her (what we consider ) trivial concerns? We often wish we were in Christ‘s time, that we could see him daily and live close to him. In reality, if we did live in his lifetime and saw him everyday, we would not recognize him. Just like his neighbors, we would ask: “Who is this who speaks with authority, when we know he is, the son of our neighbor Joseph and his wife, Mary?“ It really takes faith to recognize Christ in those whom we meet in our daily lives. This requires MINDFULNESS – a constant watchfulness so that we will not miss the moment of our visitation.
1st Reading: Acts 13:26-33
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”
Gospel: Jn 14:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This saying is one of those proclamations of Jesus that could not be possible if he were not God. How can any mere human being say he is THE way, THE truth, and THE life? We all want to be sure that our life‘s journey is leading to somewhere meaningful. We know that along the way, we can stray, we can be distracted by temptations, by seductive siren songs. Who will bring us back to the right path and continue on our journey? CHRIST!. We all seek the truth. In our world today there are more lies than truth. Advertisements deceive us at every click of the TV remote. Newspapers and the social media can write false stories as if they really happened. Politicians promise us what they know they cannot fulfill. In our everyday dealings with people, we experience being cheated, lied to, betrayed. Where can we find the truth? IN CHRIST. We cherish our life but around us there is developing a culture of death. Life is becoming cheap. And we have around us people whose lives are miserable, threatened, eroded by poverty, exploitation, injustice. Where can we find life — life in all its fullness? IN CHRIST!
St. Peter Chanel
St. Louis Grignion de Montfort
1st Reading: Acts 13:44-52
On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Gospel: Jn 14:7-14
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
This is a promise that Jesus made and he always fulfills what he promises. Some may object and say “I prayed and prayed for something, but I did not get it.“ There is also a saying that goes: Be careful what you ask, you may actually get it and will be sorry you got it. The thing is God knows what is good for us more than we do. I remember when I was just a young Sister, I was enjoying my teaching in St. Scholastica‘s Manila and I was a bit disappointed when I was told I was going to be transferred to St. Agnes in Legazpi. And yet looking back, those two years in Legazpi are where I really grew up and learned not only to be a real teacher but to take care of young girls since I was appointed in charge of the boarders. I also learned to make speeches for the contestants to the BACS meet or mini Olympics of the schools of the region. It is where I learned to be creative and innovative. God does answer our prayers, not just in the way we want it.