Bible Diary for August 26th – September 1stBible Diary
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b:
Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel in Shechem, and assembled the elders, leaders, judges and secretaries. And together they presented themselves before God. Addressing the people, Joshua said to them: “Yahweh, the God of Israel, commands me to say to you: Your ancestors lived beyond the Eu phrates River — Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor — serving other gods.
But if you do not want to serve Yahweh, make known this very day whom you shall serve — whether they be the gods your ancestors served in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites who formerly occupied the land in which you now live. As for me, I and my household will serve Yahweh.“ The people answered: “May God not permit that we ever abandon Yahweh to serve other gods! For it was he who brought us and our ancestors out of Egypt, the house of slavery. It was he who did those great wonders that we have seen; he protected us on the way and through all the land where we passed.
Driving away before us all the nations especially the Amorites who lived in this land. So we shall also serve Yahweh: he is our God!“
2nd Reading: eph 5:21-32:
Let all kinds of submission to one another, become obedience to Christ. So wives, to their husbands, as to the Lord.
The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of whom he is also the Savior. And as the church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband. As for you, husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her. He washed her, and made her holy, by baptism in the word.
As he wanted a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, he, himself, had to prepare, and present her to himself. In the same way, husbands should love their wives, as they love their own bodies. He, who loves his wife, loves himself. And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it.
That is just what Christ does for the Church, because we are members of his body. Scripture says: Because of this, a man shall leave his father and mother, to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church.
Gospel: Jn 6:60-69:
After hearing this, many of Jesus‘ followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?“ Jesus was aware that his disciples were murmuring about this, and so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, not the flesh.
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.“ From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray him. So he added, “As I have told you, no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.“
After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?“ Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.“
Joshua declares his loyalty and commitment to Yahweh and Israelites follow suit. The relationship between husband and wife must be similar in dynamics to the one between Christ and the Church, marked with loyalty and commitment. Several disciples of Jesus could not digest the teachings of Christ and hence, left him. The modern Church suffers from the cafeteria approach of some of its members – picking and choosing what suits their pa late and discarding the rest when it comes to Church teachings or scriptural injunctions. One such example is today‘s second rea ding on the relationship between husband and wife: The subordination that Paul seems to imply seems difficult and unacceptable in the modern often skewed understanding of equality. There are pa rishes that altogether discard this reading whenever it comes around. But if all scripture is inspired by God, there must be some wisdom in that passage, and the key to interpreting it is Christ – what Paul means is a relationship like that of Christ and his Church, one that is ensouled by love, tenderness, and commitment. Who wouldn‘t want a similar relationship? Make a prayer for married couples for their relationship to be defined by loving commitment and tender care. If you are married, spend some quality time with your spouse today. If you are not, reach out and appreciate a couple who models ChristChurch relationships.
1st Reading: 2 Thes 1:1-5, 11-12:
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters,
as is fitting, because your faith flourishes ever more,
and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
Accordingly, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God
regarding your endurance and faith in all your persecutions
and the afflictions you endure.
This is evidence of the just judgment of God,
so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God
for which you are suffering.
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Mt 23:13-22:
But woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door to the kingdom of heaven in people‘s faces. You, yourselves, do not enter it, nor do you allow others to do so. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You devour widows‘ property; and as a show, you pray long prayers!
Therefore, you shall receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel by sea and land to make a single convert; yet, once he is converted, you make him twice as fit for hell as yourselves! Woe to you, blind guides! You say: To swear by the temple is not binding; but, to swear by the gold of the temple is binding. Foolish men! Blind men! Which is of more worth: the gold in the temple, or the temple which makes the gold a sacred treasure? You say: To swear by the altar is not binding, but to swear by the offering on the altar is binding. How blind you are! Which is of more value: the offering on the altar, or the altar which makes the offering sacred? Whoever swears by the altar, is swearing by the altar and by everything on it.
Whoever swears by the temple, is swearing by the temple, and by God, who dwells in the temple. Whoever swears by heaven, is swearing by the throne of God, and by him, who is seated on it.
Before his conversion, St. Augustine, one of the Catholic Church’s greatest theologians, lived a worldly life, siring a child out of wedlock. He confessed that it was the incessant prayers of his mother Monica through the years that allowed grace to finally pene trate his heart and illumine his restless mind. Do we believe in the power of intercessory prayers, which rests not in our completion of our novenas or the sincerity of our hearts, although necessary, but on the mercy of God who chooses to intervene in our lives and save us?
St. Augustine, bishop & doctor
1st Reading: 2 Thes 2:1-3a, 14-17:
We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.
To this end he has also called you through our Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm
and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,
either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word.
Gospel: Mt 23:23-26:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You do not forget the mint, anise and cumin seeds when you demand the tenth of everything; but then, you forget what is most fundamental in the law: justice, mercy and faith! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a mosquito, but swallow a camel.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You fill the plate and the cup, with theft and violence, and then pronounce a blessing over them. Blind Pharisee! Purify the inside first, then the outside, too, will be purified.
Augustine, the restless soul, sought for meaning in his life by giving in to his appetites and pursuing his carnal desires, which left him empty. He temporarily found meaning in Manichaeism, a dualistic philosophy and way of life that, through reason and will power, promoted an ascetical life. However, he did not find peace in such moral gymnastics — until he encountered Jesus through the Gospels and the preaching of St. Ambrose. He ultimately found peace and joy, truth and meaning not in his commitment to a philosophy but in his relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Passion of St. John the Baptist
1st Reading: Jer 1:17-19:
We instruct you, brothers and sisters,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to shun any brother
who walks in a disorderly way
and not according to the tradition they received from us.
For you know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked,
so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that
if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.
May the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.
This greeting is in my own hand, Paul’s.
This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
Gospel: Mk 6:17-29*:
For this is what had happened: Herod had ordered John to be arres ted; and had had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her; and John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with your brother‘s wife.“ So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him; but she could not, because Herod respected John. (…)
Herodias had her chance on Herod‘s birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs and the leaders of Galilee. On that occasion, the daughter of Herodias came in and danced; and she delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you.“
And he went so far as to say with many oaths, “I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.“ She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?“ The mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.“ The girl hurried to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish.“
The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths. So he sent one of the bodyguards, with orders to bring John‘s head. (…) then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother.
John the Baptist was imprisoned for denouncing Herod’s adulterous relationship with his sisterinlaw Herodias. Incarceration was meant to silence him. But speak the truth he continued to do, with Herod secretly listening to him with fascination. Like Herod, we attempt to conceal the falsehoods about us, yet are mysteriously drawn by grace to the truth. Do we ultimately silence the truth about us, preferring to live a lie? Do we have the courage to allow the truth to reveal ourselves to us? Or, like John the Baptist, are we willing to speak the truth notwithstanding the dire consequences?
1st Reading: 1 cor 1:1-9:
Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the Church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gospel: Mt 24:42-51:
Stay awake then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Obviously, if the owner of the house knew at what time the thief was coming, he would certainly stay up and not allow his house to be broken into. So be alert, for the Son of Man will come at the hour you least expect.
Imagine a faithful and prudent servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time. Fortunate, indeed, is that servant, whom his master will find at work when he comes. Truly I say to you, his lord will entrust him with everything he has. Not so with the bad servant, who thinks, ‘My master is delayed.‘
And he begins to illtreat his fellow servants, while eating and drinking with drunkards. But his master will come on the day he does not know, and at the hour he least expects. He will punish that servant severely; and place with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
On his deathbed, St. Stanislaus Kostka was asked if he feared death. He replied, “None at all. My heart is ready, O God! My heart is ready!” Wheelchairbound, Karl Rahner was asked whether he feared death. He replied that to die is to be thrust into the awaiting arms of God. We fear dying because of our fear of pain. We may fear death because of the uncertainty of what lies beyond. We may fear judgment because of the manner we have lived our lives. Let us pray for readiness to encounter the Lord at any moment in our life.
1st Reading: 1 cor 1:17-25:
Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.
Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Gospel: Mt 25:1-13:
This story throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven: Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were sensible. The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not take extra oil. But those who were sensible, took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!‘ All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.‘ The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you.
You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.‘ When the bridegroom came, the foolish maidens were out buying oil, but those who were ready went with him into the wedding feast, and the doors were shut.
Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!‘ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.‘ So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
For the Jews God is Totally Other. For the Infinite God to become enfleshed in a finite creature is foolishness. For the Greeks, the material world is defiled and imperfect, a mere shadow of the Real. For the infinite God to be incarnate in a fragile human being is a scandal. For us Christians, while the Incarnation reveals the perfect love of God who condescends to embrace our human condition, the Cross reveals the breadth and depth of the love of God who embraces death in order to save us. How foolish and beautiful our God is.
Blessed Virgin Mary
1st Reading: 1 Cor 1:26-31:
Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.
Gospel: Mt 25:14-30*:
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each, according to his ability; and he went away. (…)
After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents (…) The master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you in charge of many things. Come and share the joy of your master.‘ (…)
Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said (…) I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!‘ But his master replied, ‘Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered.
You should have deposited my money in the bank, and given it back to me with interest on my return.
Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them.
The parable of the talents is many times wrongly interpreted in the gospel. The parable does not justify a gospel of economic prosperity and accumulation of wealth and properties. Instead, it challenges believers not to emulate the Master. He is a man who reaps where he does not sow and gathers where he has not scattered seed. He aggressively seeks to increase his profit and wealth by all means. He reprimands the servant for failing to invest the money with the bankers so that he might have gained interest — a practice forbidden in scripture (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:3538). The parable is located in Jesus‘ eschatological discourse (24:125:46) where he instructs his disciples to endure through difficult times and to live in anticipation of the Lord‘s return. Like all the pa rables in this section, it exemplifies the certainty of the Lord‘s coming and how the disciples are to live in the meantime. The parable is a critique to a way of life centered on profit and accumulation of wealth. This is not the way of the disciples since Jesus, the real Master, is centered on the co ming of the Reign of God. All who would follow Jesus are called to share one‘s life and service to others. Those who are found faithful may hear their Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.“