Bible Diary for August 19th – 25thBible Diary
20th Sunday in Ordinary time
1st Reading: Pro 9:1-6:
Wisdom has built her house set upon seven pillars; she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine and laid her table. Next, she sent her servants to call from the central square of the city, “Pass by here, you who are fools.“
To the senseless she says, “Come, eat and drink of the bread and wine I have prepared. Give up your foolishness and you will live; take the straight path of discernment.“
2nd Reading: eph 5:15-20:
Pay attention to how you behave. Do not live as the unwise do, but as responsible persons. Try to make good use of the present time, because these days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Do not get drunk: wine leads to levity; but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Gather together to pray, with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing, and celebrate the Lord in your heart, giving thanks to God, the Father, in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, always, and for everything.
Gospel: Jn 6:51-58:
I am the living bread from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.“
The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?“ So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
“My flesh is really food, and my blood is truly drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. This is the bread from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.“
The theme of discerning runs through the readings today. Wisdom calls us out to take the path of discernment. Paul invites us to understand the will of God and follow it. The eucharistic discourse of Jesus is an invitation to discern the true bread that ensures eternal life.
We do meet some people who seem to be inhabiting a world different from ours. When we meet genuinely spiritual people or those who have passionately and “foolishly“ [in a worldly sense] dedicated their life to some just cause, we say that they are marching to a different drum. In other words, they are people who have discerned something deeper and beyond the ordinary and perceive life from a higher angle and respond accordingly. Jesus invites us today to apply such discernment in understanding who he is, which would enable us to live life differently meriting eternity.
Ask God for the gift of discernment of the divine in our everyday life. Write out a brief reflection on what the Eucharist means for you.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, abbot & doctor
1st Reading: ez 24:15-23:
The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, “Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?”
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.
Gospel: Mt 19:16-22:
It was then, that a young man approached him and asked, “Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?“ Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One, only, is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.“
The young man said, “Which commandments?“
Jesus replied, “Do not kill; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. And love your neighbor as yourself.“
The young man said to him, “I have kept all these commandments. What do I still lack?“ Jesus answered, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell all that you possess, and give the money to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.“ On hearing this, the young man went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.
The rich young man, though morally upright, could not leave behind his wealth in order to follow Jesus. Some, Jesus calls to literally leave everything behind and live a mendicant’s life, relying on God’s providence. Others, Jesus calls to renounce private ownership and take a vow of poverty. All of us however are invited to examine ourselves and identify our attachments — whether to persons or positions, to material things or comfort zones — that hinder us from following Jesus more perfectly. Let us ask for the grace of interior freedom so that we might be free to go wherever Jesus bids.
St. Pius X, pope
1st Reading: ez 28:1-10:
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man,
say to the prince of Tyre:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Because you are haughty of heart,
you say, “A god am I!
I occupy a godly throne
in the heart of the sea!”—
And yet you are a man, and not a god,
however you may think yourself like a god.
Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel,
there is no secret that is beyond you.
By your wisdom and your intelligence
you have made riches for yourself;
You have put gold and silver
into your treasuries.
By your great wisdom applied to your trading
you have heaped up your riches;
your heart has grown haughty from your riches–
therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
Because you have thought yourself
to have the mind of a god,
Therefore I will bring against you
foreigners, the most barbarous of nations.
They shall draw their swords
against your beauteous wisdom,
they shall run them through your splendid apparel.
They shall thrust you down to the pit, there to die
a bloodied corpse, in the heart of the sea.
Will you then say, “I am a god!”
when you face your murderers?
No, you are man, not a god,
handed over to those who will slay you.
You shall die the death of the uncircumcised
at the hands of foreigners,
for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD.
Gospel: Mt 19:23-30:
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.“ On hearing this, the disciples were astonished and said, “Who, then, can be saved?“ Jesus looked at them and answered, “For human beings it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.“ Then Peter spoke up and said, “You see, we have given up everything to follow you. What, then, will there be for us?“
Jesus answered, “You, who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, also, will sit, on twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name‘s sake, they will receive a hundredfold, and be given eternal life. Many who are now first, will be last, and many who are now last, will be first.
Wealth in itself is not intrinsically evil. It is how we use it that can be sinful or virtuous. Similarly, knowledge and power are morally neutral entities. They may be used either for good or evil. The possession of any of these carries with them the responsibility to use them for the welfare of others. The possession of these though can enslave or sway a person to use them for one’s own selfish gain. Let us thank the Lord for all he has given us. And let us ask the grace to use all we have for the greater good.
The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1st Reading: ez 34:1-11:
The word of the Lord came to me:
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who have been pasturing themselves!
Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool,
and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured.
You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick
nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost,
but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered
and wandered over all the mountains and high hills;
my sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them.
Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD,
because my sheep have been given over to pillage,
and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast,
for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep,
but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep;
because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I swear I am coming against these shepherds.
I will claim my sheep from them
and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep
so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
I will save my sheep,
that they may no longer be food for their mouths.
For thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
Gospel: Mt 20:1-16*:
This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A landowner went out early in the morning, to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard. He went out again, at about nine in the morning and, seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.‘ So they went. (…)
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, (…) Those who had gone to work at the eleventh hour came up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received one silver coin. On receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner. (…)
The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So, take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. (…) So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.“
The parable about the vineyard workers who are all paid a full daily wage despite having labored unequal number of hours underscores God’s inclusive love. The daily wage is God’s love or salvation which is offered to all, whether one’s people had been called first or later on in history; whether one has been virtuous all one’s life or had turned to God at the end of one’s life. Like those who labored all day, we sometimes accuse God of dealing with us unfairly, perhaps because we cannot fathom the breadth and depth of God’s infinite love.
St. Rose of Lima, virgin
1st Reading: ez 36:23-28:
Thus says the LORD:
I will prove the holiness of my great name,
profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Gospel: Mt 22:1-14*:
Jesus continued speaking to them in parables: “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A king gave a wedding banquet for his son. (…) but the guests refused to come. Again, he sent other servants, (…) But they paid no attention and went away, some to their farms, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them. The king was furious. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city.
Then he said to his servants, (…) Go instead to the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.‘ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests. The king came in to see the wedding guests, and he noticed a man not wearing a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding clothes?‘ But the man remained silent.
So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.‘ For many are called, but few are chosen.“
Through Ezekiel, God promises to gather his scattered and exiled people and bring them back home to Israel. Interiorly, he vows to cleanse them of their defilement and, so as they might not stray again, replace their heart of stone with a heart of flesh. On our own, despite our knowledge of the good and our good intentions, we commit sin and cling to our evil ways. God promises to put his spirit within us so that through grace operating within us we might be faithful to him and his decrees. Love within us will empower us to love without.
1st Reading: Rev 21:9b-14:
The angel spoke to me, saying,
“Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Gospel: Jn 1:45-51:
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets: he is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.“ Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?“
Philip said to him, “Come and see.“ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.“ Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?“ And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.“
Nathanael answered, “Master, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!“ But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.‘ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.“
Nathaniel was led to Jesus through Philip, who excitedly informed him of having found the messiah. We have been led to Jesus through the inspi ring witness of others — the canonized saints, virtuous ordinary men and women, family members and friends whose love for Jesus has attracted us. Amazingly, God entrusts his saving Word to us fragile human vessels to draw others to him despite our sinfulness and woundedness. But as others have led us to Jesus, do we by our faith in him, our life of service, our joy and zeal also lead others to Jesus?
Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Louis of France, king
St. Joseph Calasanz, priest
1st Reading: ez 43:1-7ab:
The angel led me to the gate which faces the east,
and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel
coming from the east.
I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters,
and the earth shone with his glory.
The vision was like that which I had seen
when he came to destroy the city,
and like that which I had seen by the river Chebar.
I fell prone as the glory of the LORD entered the temple
by way of the gate which faces the east,
but spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court.
And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the LORD.
Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple,
while the man stood beside me.
The voice said to me:
Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,
this is where I will set the soles of my feet;
here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.
Gospel: Mt 23:1-12:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have sat down on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say; but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even lift a finger to move them.
They do everything in order to be seen by people: they wear very wide bands of the law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first places at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and they like being greeted in the marketplace, and being called ‘Master‘ by the people. But you, do not let yourselves be called Master, because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters.
Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, he who is in heaven. Nor should you be called Leader, because Christ is the only Leader for you. Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great.
Jesus teaches his disciples to do what the Pharisees instruct, but not to follow their example, “for they do not do what they say.” When we were younger we said to ourselves we will not follow the hypocritical ways of our elders. Relying on sheer will power, we vowed to walk the talk, to be men and women of integrity. But as we grew older, we recognized the dis parity between our values and convictions and our actions and decisions. Humbled, we’ve learned to pray for God’s grace which alone will empower us to live what we preach and believe.