Bible Diary for January 21st – 27thBible Diary
Third Sunday of Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jon 3:1-5, 10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’S bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, ”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 7:29-31
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.
Gospel: Mk 1:14-20
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
Jonah prophesies, Ninevites repent, God forgives. Paul reminds the Corinthians about time running out and the need to get one‘s priorities right. Jesus preaches about the dawning of God‘s Kingdom. All three readings speak of discerning the signs of the time and responding redemptively. The Ninevites are reminded of the limited time they have before tragedy would strike; and they repent in time. Jesus speaks of the coming of the Kingdom and the need to wake up to its hour. Paul speaks of living as if there is no much time left. We are all made for eternity, all right; but the kind of eternity awaiting us depends on the manner we make use of the limited time given within the limited space down here on earth. Let‘s look for the signs of the Kingdom and respond to its invitation so that we may not be found wanting at the time it all matters most.
Pray for creative and redemptive use of the time God has given you.
Draw up a list of at least three Kingdom-priorities for you to fulfill this year.
1st Reading: 2 S 5:1-7, 10
All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.
David was thirty years old when he became king,
and he reigned for forty years:
seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah,
and thirty-three years in Jerusalem
over all Israel and Judah.
Then the king and his men set out for Jerusalem
against the Jebusites who inhabited the region.
David was told, “You cannot enter here:
the blind and the lame will drive you away!”
which was their way of saying, “David cannot enter here.”
But David did take the stronghold of Zion, which is the City of David.
David grew steadily more powerful,
for the LORD of hosts was with him.
Gospel: Mk 3:22-30
The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”
Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.
But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property
unless he first ties up the strong man.
Then he can plunder his house.
Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”
In the Scriptures, we can quote words of God the Father and of Jesus but we cannot find any word that we can attribute to the Holy Spirit. It is the aspect of the Holy Trinity that shows that God remains MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM. But in my experience it is the Holy Spirit that seems to be the one that is most active in my spiritual life. I love the feast of the Pentecost. I feel that the Holy Spirit realizes most of the aspirations of my life, enlightening me when I am in darkness or when confronted with difficult choices. I attribute to the Spirit the sudden insights the inspirations that suddenly present themselves to my mind. There are also unexpected events not only in my personal life but in our life as a people that I attribute to the Spirit — like EDSA1. When things seem to go all wrong and there is no solution in sight, the Holy Spirit acts in a manner exceeding our wildest imagination. Maybe that is why Jesus kept on saying that when the Paraclete comes, she will teach the apostles all truth and they would begin to understand what Jesus was trying to tell them all along. “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and we shall be created and thou shalt renew the face of the earth!“
St. Marianne Cope
1st Reading: 2 S 6:12b-15, 17-19
David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom
into the City of David amid festivities.
As soon as the bearers of the ark of the LORD had advanced six steps,
he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
Then David, girt with a linen apron,
came dancing before the LORD with abandon,
as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD
with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn.
The ark of the LORD was brought in and set in its place
within the tent David had pitched for it.
Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
When he finished making these offerings,
he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
He then distributed among all the people,
to each man and each woman in the entire multitude of Israel,
a loaf of bread, a cut of roast meat, and a raisin cake.
With this, all the people left for their homes.
Gospel: Mk 3:31-35
The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
“Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you.”
But he said to them in reply,
“Who are my mother and my brothers?”
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother.”
When Jesus said this, He surely did not mean to diminish the importance of a family. He was only pointing at a new level of relationship that goes beyond blood relationship — the bond of FAITH AND LOVE. In our experience as members of a human family, we know the many factors that can lead to conflicts in the family even to rifts and even to hatred. How many cases have we known where the death of old parents can cause envy, jealousy and enmity over inheritance, etc. Blood relationship seems not to overcome such sad alienation among family members. But if their bond goes beyond blood into a strong relationship of FAITH, even if conflicts happen, there is a great chance that they will overcome these and remain in close spiritual union. There is a saying that “blood is thicker than water“ – that somehow we tend to look beyond the failings of those related to us by blood. But I think the one that is more effective in preserving this family unity is when each member has truly a deep faith and that each one sincerely wishes to do or to accept God‘s will in faith and love. FATHER, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
St. Francis de Sales
1st Reading: 2 S 7:4-17
That night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
I have not dwelt in a house
from the day on which I led the children of Israel 319
out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
In all my wanderings everywhere among the children of Israel,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’
“Now then, speak thus to my servant David,
‘The LORD of hosts has this to say:
It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
And if he does wrong,
I will correct him with the rod of men
and with human chastisements;
but I will not withdraw my favor from him
as I withdrew it from your predecessor Saul,
whom I removed from my presence.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”
Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.
Gospel: Mk 4:1-20
On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea.
A very large crowd gathered around him
so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down.
And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land.
And he taught them at length in parables,
and in the course of his instruction he said to them,
“Hear this! A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it
and it produced no grain.
And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit.
It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
And when he was alone,
those present along with the Twelve
questioned him about the parables.
He answered them,
“The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.
But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
they may look and see but not perceive,
and hear and listen but not understand,
in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?
Then how will you understand any of the parables?
The sower sows the word.
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once
and takes away the word sown in them.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who,
when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy.
But they have no roots; they last only for a time.
Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
they quickly fall away.
Those sown among thorns are another sort.
They are the people who hear the word,
but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches,
and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word,
and it bears no fruit.
But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
The parable of the sower has been read by people throughout the ages. Certainly there are nuances of meaning in different contexts but the meaning remains: THE DIFFERENT WAYS OF RECEIVING THE WORD OF GOD. In our times, who could be the Satan that plucks the word of God out of our hearts — would it be the love of money, prestige, power? What are our roots — good family life, religious education, fidelity in prayer? What are the thorns that choke up the life of the seed — worries about our loss of power, loss of material things? Then there is the good soil. What makes soil good? Could it be radical openness to what the word demands from us? Could it be fidelity to this word amid temptations, challenges, difficulties, suffering and misery? Could it be nourishment through prayer, sacrifice and service to people? Lord, please give me first of all the gift of listening with the ear of my heart. Help me to understand what your word is telling me at the moment. Give me the courage to do what you are asking from me in spite of obstacles and difficulties. And finally, grant that when the seed grows in me and bears fruit, help me to share it with others in compassion and love. Amen.
Conversion of St. Paul
1st Reading: Acts 22:3-16
Paul addressed the people in these words:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia,
but brought up in this city.
At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law
and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today.
I persecuted this Way to death,
binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.
Even the high priest and the whole council of elders
can testify on my behalf.
For from them I even received letters to the brothers
and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem
in chains for punishment those there as well.
“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus,
about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me.
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’
And he said to me,
‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’
My companions saw the light
but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.
I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’
The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told about everything
appointed for you to do.’
Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light,
I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.
“A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law,
and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
came to me and stood there and said,
‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’
And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw him.
Then he said,
‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will,
to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice;
for you will be his witness before all
to what you have seen and heard.
Now, why delay?
Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away,
calling upon his name.’”
Gospel: Mk 16:5-18
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.”
The Road to Damascus has become synonymous to the experience of conversion. This is taken from the dramatic conversion of Saul, the persecutor of Christians, to Paul, the apostle of Christ. I watched in YouTube the story of a Moslem woman who was teaching in a university. She had a colleague who is a zealous Christian and she used to be intrigued by this woman‘s faith. She can however not believe when this woman keeps on saying at certain situations: “With God, nothing is impossible“. They were not actually friends. Years after they parted ways, the Moslem woman was diagnosed with a 4th degree breast cancer. She fell into deep depression and then remembered her Christian colleague. She looked for her present address and went to seek her out. When she found her she said she remembered that she always said with God nothing was impossible, so could she pray over her and ask God to cure her of her cancer. The Christian woman reluctantly did so. When Moslem woman went to the doctor for her next breast examination, the doctor said unbelievingly that there was no more trace of the cancer. The woman then had herself baptized and is now a lay preacher. We thank God for such extraordinary show of grace but we thank God also for the less spectacular conversions that happen in our daily life — the cure of an addiction, the grace to forgive, the discovery of a vocation.
Sts. Timothy and Titus
1st Reading: 2 Tim 1:1-8
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
Gospel: Mk 4:26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
“To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Whenever we go to the wake of an acquaintance, we cannot help but think of our own mortality. We know that all of us will die but somehow we shelve the thought of our own death and we go on with our everyday preoccupations as if it were not coming. But when we are informed of the death of someone even younger than us, maybe, we are forced to face our own reality. Today‘s Gospel speaks of death as being “ripe for the harvest“. When we hear of 30-year-old people dying of a stroke, we shake our heads and say they are too young to die. But maybe in God‘s time they are ripe for the harvest. Actually, the important thing is not to live a long life but to live it fully. Every moment of life is precious and we have no right to it. So when we get up in the morning, aren‘t we pleasantly surprised and feel totally grateful that we have awaken to a new day of life? We can imagine how even more grateful people are who have survived an accident, or got healed of a terminal disease. They feel they have a new lease in life and they make a resolution to make most of the days. And maybe they become more appreciative of the goodness of people and of the beauty of nature around them. God of the living, we thank you for life and for good health. Help us to spend these days in the service of our neighbors and when we are ripe for the harvest, help us to surrender our lives to you in joy. Amen.
St. Angela Merici
1st Reading: 2 S 12:1-7, 10-17
The LORD sent Nathan to David, and when he came to him,
Nathan said: “Judge this case for me!
In a certain town there were two men, one rich, the other poor.
The rich man had flocks and herds in great numbers.
But the poor man had nothing at all
except one little ewe lamb that he had bought.
He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.
She shared the little food he had
and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.
She was like a daughter to him.
Now, the rich man received a visitor,
but he would not take from his own flocks and herds
to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb
and made a meal of it for his visitor.”
David grew very angry with that man and said to him:
“As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death!
He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold
because he has done this and has had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!
Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘The sword shall never depart from your house,
because you have despised me
and have taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.’
Thus says the LORD:
‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.
I will take your wives while you live to see it,
and will give them to your neighbor.
He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
You have done this deed in secret,
but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel,
and with the sun looking down.’”
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin:
you shall not die.
But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed,
the child born to you must surely die.”
Then Nathan returned to his house.
The LORD struck the child that the wife of Uriah had borne to David,
and it became desperately ill.
David besought God for the child.
He kept a fast, retiring for the night
to lie on the ground clothed in sackcloth.
The elders of his house stood beside him
urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not,
nor would he take food with them.
Gospel: Mk 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:
“Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,
so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up,
rebuked the wind,
and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”
The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”
They were filled with great awe and said to one another,
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
What does a clean heart mean? Somehow in the development of our spirituality, we associate cleanliness with chastity, and relate it mainly to the 6th and the 9th commandments. But actually purity of heart is much wider than this. To have a pure heart means to have a heart free of falsehood, of evil intentions, of scheming thoughts and plans. Stated positively, it means authenticity, simplicity, guilelessness. Our constant prayer is for God to create a clean heart in us because we know that our ego is so tricky that it worms its way into everything we think and do even in our good deeds and intentions. When we admonish someone we convince ourselves that it is for his/her own good but if we examine our hearts carefully there can be a secret satisfaction lurking there in discovering some defect in our neighbor and we can become smug and selfrighteous about not having that defect. When we say we are doing good things for other people, don‘t we sometimes use people to make us appear good and generous? CREATE A CLEAN HEART IN ME, O LORD!