Bible Diary for June 18th – 24thBible Diary
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
1st Reading: Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Remember how Yahweh, your God, brought you through the desert for forty years. He humbled you, to test you and know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He made you experience want, he made you experience hunger, but he gave you manna to eat which neither you nor your fathers had known, to show you that one does not live on bread alone, but also by everything that comes from the mouth of God.
Then do not let your heart become proud and do not forget Yahweh, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery. It is he who has led you across this great and terrible desert, full of fiery serpents and scorpions, an arid land where there is no water. But for you he made water gush forth from the hardest rock.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 10:16-17
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion with the blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not a communion with the body of Christ? The bread is one, and so we, though many, form one body, sharing the one bread.
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 first reading recalls how God led the Israelites through the desert and provided for their needs. Paul invites us to link our eucharistic fellowship with the memory of Christ. Jesus speaks of his body and blood as the food for the world. The first reading begins with the imperative, “Remember!” Without remembrance, our life is a mere collection of fragments of events that have no connectedness, significance, or relevance. Spiritual Alzheimer’s makes our hearts grow cold and proud. In remembrance, we re-member people and events into our lives and heart finds gratitude, love, and mercy. A good place to keep memory of God’s self-gift and interventions is the Eucharist. How “memory-filled” is our Eucharistic celebration?
Pray for a heart that remembers the goodness of the Lord.
Recall an event of God’s intervention in your life and make an act of thanksgiving.
1st Reading: 2 Cor 6:1-10
Being God’s helpers, we beg you: let it not be in vain, that you received this grace of God. Scripture says: At the favorable time I listened to you, on the day of salvation I helped you. This is the favorable time, this is the day of salvation.
We are concerned, not to give anyone an occasion to stumble or criticize our mission. Instead, we prove, we are true ministers of God, in every way, by our endurance in so many trials, in hardships, afflictions, floggings, imprisonment, riots, fatigue, sleepless nights and days of hunger.
People can notice, in our upright life, knowledge, patience and kindness, action of the Holy Spirit, sincere love, words of truth, and power of God. So we fight with the weapons of justice, to attack, as well as to defend.
Sometimes, we are honored, at other times, insulted; we receive criticism as well as praise. We are regarded as liars, although we speak the truth; as unknown, though we are well known; as dead, and yet we live. Punishments come upon us, but we have not, as yet, been put to death. We appear to be afflicted, yet always joyful; we seem to be poor, but we enrich many; we have nothing, but we possess everything!
Gospel: Mt 5:38-42
You have heard, that it was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Vindictiveness and vengefulness, these are the kind of feelings that contributes to the escalation of violence. This may look perfectly alright in a society that is fiercely jealous of its possession. When something is exacted, a corresponding value must be paid. It has no room for forgiveness. The peace that ensues from such rigid possession rest uneasy and insecure.
This may be the reason why Jesus proposes a new way of seeing and evaluating what justice means. He wants us to embrace the violence of others and transform it with our meekness and gentleness. Now this calls for a real strength of the spirit and extraordinary self-discipline. Violence coming from violent people if faced head on with violence will not solve the problem. It will only postpone it to erupt again at a later time. Whereas violence can be transformed if the violent heart finds understanding and the willingness to suffer for his or her transformation. And once they forsake violence, we multiply the presence of people with goodwill. Let this be our silent revolution to rid the world of violence. Let our strength lie not in force but in love.
1st Reading: 2 Cor 8:1-9
Now, I want you to know about a gift of divine grace among the Churches of Macedonia. While they were so afflicted and persecuted, their joy overflowed, and their extreme poverty turned into a wealth of generosity. According to their means even beyond their means—they wanted to share, in helping the saints.
They asked us for this favor, spontaneously, and with much insistence, and, far beyond anything we expected, they put themselves at the disposal of the Lord, and of us by the will of God. Accordingly, I urged Titus to complete, among you, this work of grace, since he began it with you. You excel in everything: in the gifts of faith, speech and knowledge; you feel concern for every cause and, besides, you are first in my heart. Excel, also, in this generous service.
This is not a command; I make known to you the determination of others, to check the sincerity of your fraternal concern. You know well, the generosity of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although he was rich, he made himself poor, to make you rich, through his poverty.
Gospel: Mt 5:43-48
You have heard, that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: love your enemies; and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good; and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.
“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
True love does not discriminate. It accepts reality as it is without a conscious effort to change it. The transformation that takes place is not imposed or forced. It is a response to the overwhelming sense that one is loved even if it is most of the time undeserved. This is a tough commandment to follow. Most of our love is narrow and selfish. It is only reserved to those who love us in return.
This is where the commandment of Jesus displays a freshness never seen before. It invites the listener to an unconditional love that does not define the boundaries for those to be loved and those who will be excluded in that love. It simply embraces all. We must remember that we are called “catholic” which simply put, means “everybody is welcome.” Everybody will feel this welcome only from a loving heart. That is why Jesus invites us to a heart big enough to give space for all.
St. Aloysisus Gonzaga
1st Reading: 2 Cor 9:6-11
Remember: the one who sows meagerly will reap meagerly, and there shall be generous harvests for the one who sows generously. Each of you should give as you decided personally, and not reluctantly, as if obliged. God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to fill you with every good thing, so that you have enough of everything, at all times, and may give abundantly for any good work.
Scripture says: He distributed, he gave to the poor, his good works last forever. God, who provides the sower with seed, will also provide him with the bread he eats. He will multiply the seed for you and also increase the interest on your good works. Become rich in every way, and give abundantly. What you give will become, through us, a thanksgiving to God.
Gospel: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be noticed in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by people. I assure you, they have their reward.
If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.
When you pray, do not be like those who want to be noticed. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have their reward. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will re ward you.
When you fast, do not put on a miserable face, as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father, who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.
There are holiness that distracts because it is too loud. It seeks recognition and praise. This is the brand of holiness that Jesus asks us to shun and flee. It does not help to build the spiritual life of the community. On the contrary it might breed competition, jealousy and envy among those who are not deep enough to realize the shallowness of such contrived form of holiness.
And so Jesus invites us to be more focused on the process and not in the form of holiness. To be mindful of its expressions even if it is not recognized or praised by others. The process unfolds quietly. It does not depend on public accolade. It just goes on and continues silently. And when one is totally absorbed to its everyday manifestation, the center is not anymore you but the wonder that unravels before you. And this has the power to inspire others because of its unself-conscious manifestation in the physical realm.
St. Paulinus of Nola
Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More
1st Reading: 2 Cor 11:1-11
May you bear with me in some little foolishness! But surely you will. I confess that I share the jealousy of God for you, for I have promised you, in marriage, to Christ, the only spouse; to present you to him, as a pure virgin. And this is my fear: the serpent that seduced Eve, with cunning, could also corrupt your minds, and divert you from Christian sincerity. Someone, now, comes, and preaches another Jesus, different from the one we preach, or you are offered a different spirit from the one you have received, with a different gospel from the one you have accepted—and you agree!
I do not see how I am inferior to those super-apostles. Does my speaking leave much to be desired? Perhaps, but not my knowledge, as I have abundantly shown to you in every way.
Perhaps my fault was, that I humbled myself, in order to uplift you, or that, I gave you the gospel free of charge. I called upon the services of other churches, and served you with the support I received from them. When I was with you, although I was in need, I did not become a burden to anyone. The friends from Macedonia gave me what I needed. I have taken care, not to be a burden to you in anything, and I will continue to do so. By the truth of Christ within me, I will let no one in the land of Achaia stop this boasting of mine.
Why? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do!
Gospel: Mt 6:7-15
When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, holy be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth,
as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those
who are in debt to us.
Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their wrongdoings,
your Father in heaven will also forgive yours
If you do not forgive others,
then your Father will not forgive you
Our conception of God influences the kind of spirituality that will give order and meaning to our lives. It will also color how we deal with the world at large. That is why Jesus introduces us to a Father that is wholly different from our own idea of who He is. Jesus serves as a kind of bridge that brings the Father near to us and we to Him. That is why He taught us the Our Father. This is the only prayer that Jesus prayed recorded in the gospels. This is the prayer He wishes all His disciples to be acquainted with.
Looking at the Our Father, we see a structure that could form our relationship with the Father of Jesus and our Father as well. First, there is praise and thanksgiving to this awesome God. Then the prayer of petition follows. Perhaps what is amazing in this prayer is the fact that when we forgive, we are also forgiven. Ultimately, forgiving others is to forgive ourselves also. So the next time we pray, let God take center stage in our prayer and not our problems and needs. That is the least of our concern for the loving God anticipates our needs and will respond accordingly. And secondly, what we do to others will eventually be what will be done to us in return.
Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
1st Reading: Dt 7:6-11
You are a people consecrated to Yahweh, your God. Yahweh has chosen you from among all the peoples on the face of the earth, that you may be his own people. Yahweh has bound himself to you and has chosen you, not because you are the most numerous among all the peoples (on the contrary, you are the least). Rather, he has chosen you because of his love for you and to fulfill the oath he made to your fathers. Therefore, with a firm hand Yahweh brought you out from slavery in Egypt, from the power of Pharaoh.
So know that Yahweh, your God, is the true and faithful God. He keeps his covenant, and his love reaches to the thousandth generation for those who love him and fulfill his commandments, but he punishes in their own persons those who hate him and he repays them without delay.
So keep the commandments, the norms and the laws that today I command you to practice
2nd Reading: 1 Jn 4:7-16
My dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves, is born of God and knows God.
Those who do not love have not known God, for God is love. How did the love of God appear among us? God sent his only Son into this world, that we might have life, through him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that, he first loved us and sent his Son, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another.
No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love comes to its perfection in us.
How may we know that we live in God and he in us? Because God has given us his Spirit.
We ourselves have seen, and declare, that the Father sent his Son to save the world. 15 Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them, and they in God.
We have known the love of God and have believed in it. God is love. The one who lives in love, lives in God, and God in him.
Gospel: Mt 11:25-30
On that occasion, Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise you; because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this was your gracious will.
Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy; and my burden is light.”
When one travels, it is always pleasant when the load is light. Too many baggage spoils the fun. It is therefore an art to travel light, to carry only what is necessary, and to let go of things one can do without. In this travel we call life, we need not agonize on what to carry and on what to let go. Jesus had solved the problem for us. He invites us to carry His load which is easy and light. Where does this sense of lightness come from? It is not because of a reduced load. It rather stems from an attitude that one brings in carrying the load. Jesus loves much that the load He carries in the name of love becomes nothing. Likewise, when we carry loads for the ones we love, they weigh nothing. In the end, it is not the weight but the disposition that is important when we carry the yoke of life.
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
1st Reading: Is 49:1-6
Listen to me, O islands, pay attention, people from distant lands. Yahweh called me from my mother’s womb; he pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in his quiver. He said to me, “You are Israel, my servant, Through you I will be known.” “I have labored in vain,” I thought, “and spent my strength for nothing.” Yet what is due me was in the hand of Yahweh, and my reward was with my God. I am important in the sight of Yahweh, and my God is my strength.
And now Yahweh has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him. He said: “It is not enough that you be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, that my salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.”
2nd Reading: Acts 13:22-26
After that time, God removed him and raised up David as king, to whom he bore witness saying: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will do all I want him to do.
It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Savior of Israel, Jesus. Before he appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life’s work, he said: ‘I am not what you think I am, for, after me, another one is coming, whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.’
Brothers, children and descendants of Abraham, and you, also, who fear God, it is to you that this message of salvation has been sent.
Gospel: Lk 1:57-66, 80
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;” and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.
There was communal joy when Elizabeth finally gave birth to a son. It was not only her pregnancy but of the community as well. Hers is to address her barrenness and have a biological child from her own womb. The community’s hopes and dreams that Yahweh their God once again walk on their land is revived. And so naming the child was a communitarian affair as well. For names in ancient times point to one’s destiny as well. They have to be careful. This miracle child is too precious to be impeded later on by an inappropriate name.
And so they were surprised when the mother named the child contrary to public opinion. They want to validate it with the father who is still mute and deaf at that time. And when he confirmed what his wife’s choice of name is, then his tongues were loosened. Heaven sanctioned the name. God’s graciousness descend on the land that day. The people’s hopes were validated. It is now incarnated in the child.