Bible Diary for June 2nd – 8thBible Diary
7th Sunday of Easter
Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
1st Reading: Acts 1:1-11:
In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he ascended to heaven. But first he had instructed, through the Holy Spirit, the apostles he had chosen. After his passion, he presented himself to them, giving many signs, that he was alive; over a period of forty days he appeared to them and taught them concerning the kingdom of God. Once, when he had been eating with them, he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the fulfillment of the Father’s promise about which I have spoken to you: John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit within a few days.”
When they had come together, they asked him, “Is it now that you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” And he answered, “It is not for you to know the time and the steps that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.” After Jesus said this, he was taken up before their eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight. While they were still looking up to heaven, where he went, suddenly, two men dressed in white stood beside them and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will return in the same way as you have seen him go there.”
2nd Reading: Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23:
Christ did not enter some sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself. He is now in the presence of God, on our behalf. He had not to offer himself many times, as the high priest does: he, who, may return every year, because the blood is not his own. Otherwise, he would have suffered many times, from the creation of the world. But no; he manifested himself only now, at the end of the ages, to take away sin by sacrifice, and, as humans die only once, and afterward are judged, in the same way, Christ sacrificed himself, once to take away the sins of the multitude. There will be no further question of sin, when he comes again, to save those waiting for him.
Gospel: Lk 24:46-53:
“So it was written: the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And that is why I will send you what my Father promised. So remain in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Jesus led them almost as far as Bethany; then he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And as he blessed them, he withdrew, and was taken to heaven. They worshiped him, and then returned to Jerusalem full of joy; and they were continually in the temple, praising God.
The disciples did not remain looking up to heaven for a long time as Jesus immediately disappeared from their sight. They had to look down more to discern how to start working and chart where they are going. The ascension of Jesus calls us to continue giving witness to God who shows mercy, compassion and forgiveness to his people. Lord, we who remain on earth ask for your assistance as we embark on our own mission based on the talents you have given us. Help us to discern how best we can communicate your love to other people. Give us the grace to make your presence felt.
St. Charles Lwanga and Companions
St. Kevin of Glendalough
1st Reading: Acts 19:1-8:
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered him, “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” He said, “How were you baptized?” They replied, “With the baptism of John.” Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Altogether there were about twelve men. He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.
Gospel: Jn 16:29-33:
The disciples said to him, “Now you are speaking plainly and not in veiled language! Now we see that you know all things, even before we question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “You say that you believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.”
The apostles immediately acknowledge Jesus speaking no longer in a veiled language. We expect that before this happens, there is a long time gap. But in the story, right after Jesus promises not to speak in veiled language anymore (Saturday’s reading), everything becomes clear to the disciples. The apostles come to believe that he comes from the Father. Yet Jesus knows they do not know the whole picture yet. Their belief is still flawed because Jesus’ story is not yet completely revealed. Jesus predicts the apostles will be scattered when crisis comes.
They will not stay with him when he will be put on trial. For Jesus, this is no cause for worry because the Father is with him. He can surpass the trouble he is facing. Likewise, the disciples should not worry because the world will never overcome him. Truly, at the beginning of John’s gospel, it says that Jesus is the light that overcomes darkness. The darkness has not overcome the light. Therefore, his disciples must take courage. We Christians can understand the language of God as long as we believe. St. Augustine once said, “Believe that you may understand.” It is not the other way around.
1st Reading: Acts 20:17-27:
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned. When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace. ”But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again. And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”
Gospel: Jn 17:1-11a:
After saying this, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to your Son, that the Son may give glory to you. You have given him power over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to all those you entrusted to him. For this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the One you sent, Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me, in your presence, the same glory I had with you before the world began. I have made your name known to those you gave me from the world.
They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they kept your word. And now they know that whatever you entrusted to me, is indeed from you. I have given them the teaching I received from you, and they accepted it, and know in truth that I came from you; and they believe that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who belong to you, and whom you have given to me. Indeed all I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and now they are my glory. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I come to you. Holy Father, keep those you have given me in your name, so that they may be one, as we also are.
Jesus says his priestly prayer to the Father. In his prayer, he talks about his own glorification and that of the Father. Glorification here means giving eternal life to those who acknowledge him as the Son of God. Jesus mentions his mission on earth which is none other than to glorify the Father as he makes him known to the people. He makes God’s presence visible through his own bodily presence. He has also communicated to them his teachings which are readily received by his disciples. Jesus prays for his disciples’ safety. He wants them always to stay in his fold, never to wander away from God.
He prays most of all for their unity. Jesus desires the best for his disciples. They are the fruits of his mission. The prayer of Jesus is dubbed as Christian prayer for unity. The unity that God wills for us his disciples is oneness with God and oneness with one another. Our unity is patterned after the Father and Son’s unity which is constant relationship with each other. We need to pray for unity in our communities to give glory to God. We do this best in the Eucharistic celebration.
1st Reading: Acts 20:28-38:
At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears. And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. They were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
Gospel: Jn 17:11b-19:
Holy Father, keep those you have given me in your name, so that they may be one, as we also are. When I was with them, I kept them safe in your name; and not one was lost, except the one who was already lost, and in this, the Scripture was fulfilled. And now I come to you; in the world I speak these things, so that those whom you gave me, might have joy-all my joy within themselves. I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, I do not ask you to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. I have sent them into the world as you sent me into the world; and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
Jesus continues his priestly prayer to the Father. He intercedes for the apostles’ safety. His prayer shows how valuable the apostles are because they have been given to him as gifts by the Father. Weak as they are, he keeps and guards them as his own in the Father’s name so that no one falls away and is lost, except the one who betrays him. Jesus also knows that his disciples are happy for him going to the Father and that they too may completely share in his joy in heaven. As he goes away, he will send them to face the world that hates them.
The world is anything that is hostile to Jesus and the apostles. Jesus asks the Father that they will be safe from the scheme of the evil one. They should not be led to sin and betray him. They should not be misled to espousing worldly values, but the truth to which they have been consecrated. How do we pray? When we believe that other people close to us are valuable gifts from God, we too will pray hard for their safety. We pray that they may be safe from danger and harm.
1st Reading: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11:
Wishing to determine the truth about why Paul was being accused by the Jews, the commander freed him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene. Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.
Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees, so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst and take him into the compound. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
Gospel: Jn 17:20-26:
I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their word will believe in me. May they all be one, as you Father are in me and I am in you. May they be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity; and the world shall know that you have sent me, and that I have loved them, just as you loved me.
Father, since you have given them to me, I want them to be with me where I am, and see the glory you gave me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. As I revealed your name to them, so will I continue to reveal it, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I also may be in them.”
Jesus ends his priestly prayer praying also for other believers. He prays not only for his apostles but also other believers who do not belong to his inner circle. He prays for the unity of all among themselves and their unity with God. When Christians are united with God in love and prayer, the world will believe that Jesus is truly sent by God. When the Christians attain unity among themselves and with God, they will attain the highest form of unity, the perfection in unity. Again, the effect is that the world will come to believe that Jesus is sent by God.
Since Jesus loves them so much, because they are responding to his teachings, they are also entitled to see his glory in heaven. Unity for us today is expressed not in uniformity, but in recognition that others are different from us. Though others may have another culture, different tastes and priorities, we can still be united as humans and disciples under one God. The liturgy helps us to unite our hearts and minds to God and to one another. Praying together can unite us also in times of grief and sorrow.
1st Reading: Acts 25:13b-21:
King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea on a visit to Festus. Since they spent several days there,
Festus referred Paul’s case to the king, saying, “There is a man here left in custody by Felix. When I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and demanded his condemnation. I answered them that it was not Roman practice to hand over an accused person before he has faced his accusers and had the opportunity to defend himself against their charge. So when they came together here, I made no delay; the next day I took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in.
His accusers stood around him, but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected. Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these charges. And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”
Gospel: Jn 21:15-19:
After they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Look after my sheep.” And a third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was saddened because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus then said, “Feed my sheep! Truly, I say to you, when you were young, you put on your belt and walked where you liked. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will put a belt around you, and lead you where you do not wish to go.” Jesus said this to make known the kind of death by which Peter was to glorify God. And he added, “Follow me!”
Jesus asks seemingly simple, easy and the same question to Peter. Actually, the question asked three times is difficult to answer specially if you are talking to the person eye to eye and you have not yet really understood what he means. At first, Peter is not bothered by it, but when Jesus repeats it the second and third time, he becomes nervous. Though he remains composed and a little bit changed because of the previous appearances of Jesus, he must handle the situation to the best of his ability and swift, in the hearing of his fellow apostles.
Thus, Peter answers consistently in the affirmative. He is talking not anymore to Jesus who preached in Galilee and in Jerusalem, but to the Risen Lord who has overcome all oppositions and death. Jesus appreciates his answers and how he will end up loving him. The Risen Lord may be asking the same question to us. Do we, not just I, and my family, my community and my church love him? We show our love for Jesus by feeding the hungry and taking care of the poor and protecting their rights. There is no such thing as love without service and justice.
1st Reading: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31:
When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him. Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or our ancestral customs, I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem. After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty. But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation. This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.”
He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Jn 21:20-25:
Peter looked back and saw that the disciple Jesus loved was following as well, the one who had reclined close to Jesus at the supper, and had asked him, “Lord, who is to betray you?” On seeing him, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I come, is that any concern of yours? Follow me!” Because of this, the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die.
Yet Jesus did not say to Peter, “He will not die,” but, “Suppose I want him to remain until I come back, what concern is that of yours?” It is this disciple who testifies about the things and has written these things down, and we know that his testimony is true. But Jesus did many other things; if all were written down, I think the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
The passage is the last part of John’s gospel. Peter would like to focus on John who reclined close to Jesus at Last Supper. How about him? Will he undergo the same? Jesus’ reply seems to mean it should not be his (Peter’s) concern. His concern should rather be following Jesus. The last paragraph introduces the gospel writer we know as John the Evangelist. He testifies or certifies that everything he has written in the gospel story is true. We understand the truth here as something to do for our salvation, not so much the accuracy of the data presented.
The writer limited his story to just a few episodes on the life of Jesus and that is enough for his audience. The reader or listener will come to know more about Jesus in the process when he is also doing God’s works and dying on his own cross for the love of Jesus. Each Christian should ask, “How about me?” What does Jesus want of me? The answer must be clear: “Follow Jesus.” Follow him as he is described in the gospel. Therefore, we must not stop reading and reflecting the gospel and acting accordingly.