Bible Diary for July 8th – 14thBible Diary
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1st Reading: Ez 2:2-5
As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.
2nd Reading: 2 Cor 12:7-10
Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Gospel: Mk 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Ezra is called to be a prophet who will preach God‘s message irrespective of people‘s response. Paul does a plainspeak about his weaknesses which God gracefully uses for God‘s own purposes. Jesus‘ own townsfolk takes offense at his preaching and is astounded by their unbelief. It is interesting to note that Jesus is taken aback by the lack of faith among his own people. We, human beings, are normally astounded by the height of faith that some people have. Lack of faith seems a run-of-the-mill category, an everyday reality within and around us. But it looks like, for God, it is the opposite: For Him, faith is an everyday act and lack of faith is surprising. And how the lack of faith prevents even the efficacy of God‘s own initiatives for human welfare: Jesus was unable to perform many miracles due to the hardness of people‘s hearts. Wouldn‘t it be wonderful to have faith as an everyday presence in our lives! Then we would see even our weaknesses and tragedies becoming channels of God‘s Grace, as Paul could.
Pray for the gift of deep faith.
In humility, surrender to God your weaknesses, asking Him to transform them for His purposes.
St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions
1st Reading: Hos 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22
Thus says the LORD:
I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.
On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me “My husband,”
and never again “My baal.”
I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.
Gospel: Mt 9:18-26
While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.”
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
“Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.”
And from that hour the woman was cured.
When Jesus arrived at the official’s house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, “Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.”
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.
For the Jews, blood is sacred, because it symbolizes life which comes from God alone. To shed one’s own or another’s blood was a serious offense against God. The woman hemorrhaged for twelve years, and so was deemed a grievous sinner. And because her defilement contaminated those around her, she was cast out of the village. Her healing was a multidimensional experience of the coming of God’s kingdom into her life: physically, she was cured; socially, she was reconciled with her family and villagers; spiritually, she was forgiven by God; religiously, she could worship once more in the Temple.
1st Reading: Hos 8:4-7, 11-13
Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames—
such is the calf of Samaria!
When they sow the wind,
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.
When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger’s.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
Gospel: Mt 9:32-38
A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
“Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said,
“He drives out demons by the prince of demons.”
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”
God loves us unconditionally. We do not merit this love by our virtuousness and good works. Rather, it is freely given to us — whether we are virtuous or not. And no matter our sinfulness, God’s love for us is never diminished. But this does not mean that God is not hurt by our infidelity. Hosea proclaims that God is offended by our sins and is tempted to destroy us. However, the Lord proclaims that he will not vent his anger because he is God and not man. Paradoxically, there is nothing we can do to stop God from loving us.
1st Reading: Hos 10:1-3, 7-8, 12
Israel is a luxuriant vine
whose fruit matches its growth.
The more abundant his fruit,
the more altars he built;
The more productive his land,
the more sacred pillars he set up.
Their heart is false,
now they pay for their guilt;
God shall break down their altars
and destroy their sacred pillars.
If they would say,
“We have no king”—
Since they do not fear the LORD,
what can the king do for them?
The king of Samaria shall disappear,
like foam upon the waters.
The high places of Aven shall be destroyed,
the sin of Israel;
thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars.
Then they shall cry out to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall upon us!”
“Sow for yourselves justice,
reap the fruit of piety;
break up for yourselves a new field,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
till he come and rain down justice upon you.”
Gospel: Mt 10:1-7
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.
The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:
first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew;
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew,
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;
Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot
who betrayed Jesus.
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.
Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Their heart is divided,” the Lord says of Israel. But so are our hearts. They are fragmented by conflicting desires: we love God sincerely, yet are so drawn to sin. We know sin destroys our relationship with God and others, yet we secretly succumb to its allurement. We recognize genuine selflessness in us, yet also know of our subtle self-centeredness. We truly value and pursue the truth, yet often spout falsehoods. By your grace, O Lord, gather and heal our divided hearts that we might love purely and wholeheartedly.
1st Reading: Hos 11:1-4, 8c-9
Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.
My heart is overwhelmed,
my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again;
For I am God and not man,
the Holy One present among you;
I will not let the flames consume you.
Gospel: Mt 10:7-15
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts;
no sack for the journey, or a second tunic,
or sandals, or walking stick.
The laborer deserves his keep.
Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it,
and stay there until you leave.
As you enter a house, wish it peace.
If the house is worthy,
let your peace come upon it;
if not, let your peace return to you.
Whoever will not receive you or listen to your wordsC
go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.
Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment
than for that town.”
The Lord compares Israel or Ephraim to a little child he has taught to walk and whom he has raised tenderly to his cheeks. Yet the older Israel grew, the further he drifted away from the Lord. The Lord expresses his sentiments: he is hurt and angered, but at the same time is moved with compassion for Israel. The Lord thus vows not to destroy Israel. Genuine love does not necessarily mean the absence of hurt or anger, but the embrace and transcendence of such anger and the decision, nonetheless, to treat our offender with compassion.
1st Reading: Hos 14:2-10
Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”—
because of me you bear fruit!
Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.
Gospel: Mt 10:16-23
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes.”
Jesus forewarns his disciples of being persecuted on account of him. He assures them though of the presence of the Holy Spirit that will empower them to speak the truth and remain faithful to him. Most likely, Matthew the evangelist wrote this passage in order to strengthen his fledging Christian community that was being persecuted by the Roman Empire. He recalled the words of Jesus and crafted words consistent with his person and message in order to comfort the persecuted Christians and at the same time assure them of the Risen Lord’s presence among them.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
1st Reading: Is 6:1-8
In the year King Uzziah died,
I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,
with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings:
with two they veiled their faces,
with two they veiled their feet,
and with two they hovered aloft.
They cried one to the other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook
and the house was filled with smoke.
Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips,
living among a people of unclean lips;
yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me,
holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
He touched my mouth with it and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips,
your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
Gospel: Mt 10:24-33
Jesus said to his Apostles:
“No disciple is above his teacher,
no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher,
for the slave that he become like his master.
If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul,
how much more those of his household!
“Therefore do not be afraid of them.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
Isaiah had a vision of the glory of God which made him ironically cry out, “poor me, for I am doomed.” The Judeo-Christian tradition believes that no one can see God and live. What this underscores is the infinite divide between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. The experience of the sacred makes us acutely aware of our sinfulness. Hence, after Jesus performs the miracle of the net, Peter steps back, uttering, “Stay away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Despite our sinfulness God calls us and commissions to proclaim his Gospel of salvation.