Bible Diary for February 4th – 10thBible Diary
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jb 71:-4, 6-7
Job spoke, saying:
Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?”
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.
Gospel: Mk 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
A depressed Job moans the weariness and boredom of the human condition. Paul too narrates the compelling conditions of his life and vocation, but unlike Job, he delights in it with a sense of freedom. Jesus is hemmed in by the sick and the needy, yet he still finds time to respond to their needs and spend time with his Father. The human condition, with its ordinariness and boredom, demands and work, sickness and suffering, can sometimes be almost unbearable, as Job experienced. One may suffer compassion fatigue and burnout by rubbing shoulders with such realities day in and day out. However, the one who can see through such depressing events and discern God‘s designs and one‘s own vocation within all these, can transform them into channels of grace for oneself and for others. Like Jesus, those who remain connected to the source of grace, shall never run dry.
Pray for a heart that remains grounded in God so as to respond to the world around.
Reach out and help a person in need.
St. Philip of Jesus
1st Reading: 1 K 8:1-7, 9-13
The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes,
the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel,
came to King Solomon in Jerusalem,
to bring up the ark of the LORD’s covenant
from the City of David, which is Zion.
All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon
during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month).
When all the elders of Israel had arrived,
the priests took up the ark;
they carried the ark of the LORD
and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels
that were in the tent.
(The priests and Levites carried them.)
King Solomon and the entire community of Israel
present for the occasion
sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen
too many to number or count.
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD
to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary,
the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark,
sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets
which Moses had put there at Horeb,
when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel
at their departure from the land of Egypt.
When the priests left the holy place,
the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house,
a dwelling where you may abide forever.”
Gospel: Mk 6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,
Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret
and tied up there.
As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.
One aspect of Christ‘s ministry that is not often emphasized is his healing ministry. Pope Francis, however, makes it the essence of the Gospel when he said that the task of the Church is not to make moral and dogmatic pronouncements but to HEAL THE WOUNDS AND TOUCH THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE. All of us need healing at one time or the other, some from physical disease, others from spiritual and psychological wounds, and others from both. God has given some people the gift of healing both physical and spiritual wounds. In our own way, even if we are not given this extraordinary gift of healing, we can still do our part in our own small way in our own limited circle. Someone we know just lost a loved one. Staying with this person, listening and offering a shoulder to cry on helps in the healing of this person‘s grief. When we forgive someone who hurt us, we not only heal this person, we heal ourselves also. When we empathize with people who fail, when we are there to console them, it heals the wound to their self-esteem. And when we do these, it is like making the persons suffering touch the hand of Christ who is the one who actually heals them.
St. Paul Miki and Companions
1st Reading: 1 K 8:22-23, 27-30
Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD
in the presence of the whole community of Israel,
and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,
he said, “LORD, God of Israel,
there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;
you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants
who are faithful to you with their whole heart.
“Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?
If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,
how much less this temple which I have built!
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God,
and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant,
utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,
the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;
may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel
which they offer in this place.
Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.”
Gospel: Mk 7:1-13
When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
In vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
Jesus had many occasions to indict the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. As we would say it in our time, they do not walk their talk. We are all prone to this character defect differing only in degrees. It is very easy for us to preach beautiful words and ideal conduct but when it comes to doing what we preach we often fail. Students are very sensitive and very observant about how their teachers practice or do not practice what they preach. They would say something like: He or she is so plastic. And as we know we teach more by example than by words. Lessons are caught not taught. When I was then a College Dean, I had professors in Political Science who taught about participatory democracy, freedom of expression, etc, but in their classrooms, they were “terrorists“ where the students do not dare to question or to express their opinions differing from their own. In our relationship with God, it is better to refrain from words of praise, honor and glory but make best effort to really do God‘s will especially in showing compassion to the poor, the weak and the needy.
1st Reading: 1 K 10:1-10
The queen of Sheba, having heard of Solomon’s fame,
came to test him with subtle questions.
She arrived in Jerusalem with a very numerous retinue,
and with camels bearing spices,
a large amount of gold, and precious stones.
She came to Solomon and questioned him on every subject
in which she was interested.
King Solomon explained everything she asked about,
and there remained nothing hidden from him
that he could not explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom,
the palace he had built, the food at his table,
the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters,
his banquet service,
and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD,
she was breathless.
“The report I heard in my country
about your deeds and your wisdom is true,” she told the king.
“Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes,
I have discovered that they were not telling me the half.
Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard.
Blessed are your men, blessed these servants of yours,
who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom.
Blessed be the LORD, your God,
whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel.
In his enduring love for Israel,
the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.”
Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty gold talents,
a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones.
Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices
as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Gospel: Mk 7:14-23
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;
but the things that come out from within are what defile.”
When he got home away from the crowd
his disciples questioned him about the parable.
He said to them,
“Are even you likewise without understanding?
Do you not realize that everything
that goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
since it enters not the heart but the stomach
and passes out into the latrine?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him.
From within the man, from his heart,
come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder,
adultery, greed, malice, deceit,
licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly.
All these evils come from within and they defile.”
Actually, it is important for everyone to develop an inner freedom that enables him/her to do and to say what one thinks is right and not be affected by the reactions of people. What we have to pay attention to is what we utter, because words can wound, words can kill. And it also shows what kind of person we are. Once we have uttered these words we cannot totally erase them even how much we apologize. Remember the story of how a wise person asked someone to go up a tower and there throw down a basket of feathers. Then he asked the person to gather all the feathers which of course is impossible. That is a graphic description of how the words we utter cannot be taken back. Lord, help us to keep watch over our tongue.
St. Jerome Emiliani
St. Josephine Bakhita
1st Reading: 1 K 11:4-13
When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).
So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Gospel: Mk 7:24-30
Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, “Let the children be fed first.
For it is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied and said to him,
“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.
Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
1st Reading: 1 K 11:29-32; 12:19
Jeroboam left Jerusalem,
and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road.
The two were alone in the area,
and the prophet was wearing a new cloak.
Ahijah took off his new cloak,
tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam:
“Take ten pieces for yourself;
the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp
and will give you ten of the tribes.
One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant,
and of Jerusalem,
the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’”
Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.
Gospel: Mk 7:31-37
Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
I am sure that even how much we try, we will never truly know how it feels to be deaf — to hear no sound, to live in absolute silence. Imagine not being able to listen to the voice of your loved ones, to listen to the sounds of nature — the chirping of birds, the tinkle of water, the rush of rivers, the sound of waves. Imagine not being able to listen to music — to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc. or even to the singing of a children‘s choir. We take these things for granted and yet what a great difference to our lives if we lose this hearing capacity. But there are other kinds of deafness besides the physical one. We can be deaf to God‘s call to a certain vocation. We can turn a deaf ear to our conscience whispering to us to avoid evil and to do good. We can be deaf to our parents, teachers, or guardians who try to guide us. We can be deaf to the cries of the poor, the needy, the abandoned, the persecuted, to the victims of violence. We close our ears to the groaning of nature raped by human greed and desecrated by pollution. When Jesus looked upon the deaf person in the Gospel, touched his ears and commanded it to be opened, the person must have fallen into ecstatic bliss when he began to hear again. We do not need a miracle to open the ears of our heart to listen to God‘s voice speaking to us in the depth of our heart and in nature and people around us.
1st Reading: 1 K 12:26-32; 13:33-34
Jeroboam thought to himself:
“The kingdom will return to David’s house.
If now this people go up to offer sacrifices
in the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem,
the hearts of this people will return to their master,
Rehoboam, king of Judah,
and they will kill me.”
After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold
and said to the people:
“You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough.
Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
And he put one in Bethel, the other in Dan.
This led to sin, because the people frequented those calves
in Bethel and in Dan.
He also built temples on the high places
and made priests from among the people who were not Levites.
Jeroboam established a feast in the eighth month
on the fifteenth day of the month
to duplicate in Bethel the pilgrimage feast of Judah,
with sacrifices to the calves he had made;
and he stationed in Bethel priests of the high places he had built.
Jeroboam did not give up his evil ways after this,
but again made priests for the high places
from among the common people.
Whoever desired it was consecrated
and became a priest of the high places.
This was a sin on the part of the house of Jeroboam
for which it was to be cut off and destroyed from the earth.
Gospel: Mk 8:1-10
In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.
He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Believe it or not, we can sometimes experience spiritual enlightenment during a political event. I remember during Martial Law in the Philippines, many of us Sisters were attending a convention of about 500 workers in St. Joseph‘s College on Labor Day. While we were there, Marcos was giving a talk in Luneta. All of a sudden we found ourselves — actually the whole campus of St. Joseph surrounded by the military because they thought we and the 500 workers might march to Luneta and heckle Marcos. We could not get out. As it turned into evening the Sisters of St. Joseph worried about how to feed the workers. They cooked all the rice they had and opened all the canned goods they could find but of course these were too little for so many. And so we Sisters from other congregations called up our convents to send food to the workers. Soon cooked food from all parts of Manila found their way to St. Joseph. Like in the Gospel we asked the workers to sit by 50s in the auditorium and distributed the food. The next day we had more than 12 baskets of food left over which we then wrapped for the workers to take home. In our reflection, we came to the conclusion that in the Gospel story the miracle was not really the suspension of natural laws but the conversion of hearts.