Bible Diary for May 12th – 18thBible Diary
4th Sunday of Easter
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus
1st Reading: Acts 13:14, 43-52:
While they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. After that, when the assembly broke up, many Jews and devout God-fearing people followed them; and to these, they spoke, urging them to hold fast to the grace of God. The following Sabbath almost the entire city gathered to listen to Paul, who spoke a fairly long time about the Lord. But the presence of such a crowd made the Jews jealous. So they began to oppose, with insults, whatever Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out firmly, saying, “It was necessary, that God’s word be first proclaimed to you, but since you now reject it, and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we turn to non-Jewish people.
For thus we were commanded by the Lord: I have set you as a light to the pagan nations, so that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” Those who were not Jews rejoiced, when they heard this, and praised the message of the Lord; and all those, destined for everlasting life, believed in it. Thus the word spread, throughout the whole region. Some of the Jews, however, incited Godfearing women of the upper class, and the leading men of the city, as well, and stirred up an intense persecution against Paul and Barnabas. Finally, they had them expelled from their region. The apostles shook the dust from their feet, in protest against this people, and went to Iconium, leaving; the disciples, filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
2nd Reading: Rev 7:9, 14b-17:
After this, I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the throne, and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands. The elder replied, “They, are those who have come out of the great persecution; they have washed, and made their clothes white, in the blood of the Lamb. This is why they stand before the throne of God, and serve him, day and night, in his Sanctuary. He, who sits on the throne, will spread his tent over them. Never again, will they suffer hunger or thirst, or be burned by the sun, or any scorching wind. For the Lamb, near the throne, will be their Shepherd, and he will bring them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away their tears.”
Gospel: Jn 10:27-30:
My sheep hear my voice and I know them; they follow me and I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from me. What my Father has given me, is greater than all things else. To snatch it out of the Father’s hand, no one is able! I and the Father are One.”
You are lucky to be considered God’s sheep. You belong to his fold. Jesus has a strong bond of friendship with you. He likes you. How come that many times you still go astray? Sin is an indication that you are not completely God’s own. It is a refusal to belong to him. You are giving a part of you to something else, something that is evil. Lord, help me to be always in your fold. Always guide me that I may never stray away from your paths of righteousness. I am happy to be considered your child. Thank you for sending Jesus to me to show me your ways. Help me realize the value of friendship with you, by listening to the voice of your son.
Our Lady of Fatima
1st Reading: Acts 11:1-18:
The Apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem the circumcised believers confronted him, saying, ‘You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.” Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying, “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when in a trance I had a vision, something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me. Looking intently into it, I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.’
But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir, because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time a voice from heaven answered, ‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’ This happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into the sky. Just then three men appeared at the house where we were, who had been sent to me from Caesarea. The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”
Gospel: Jn 10:1-10:
Truly, I say to you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the shepherd of the sheep enters by the gate. The keeper opens the gate to him and the sheep hear his voice; he calls each of his sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but rather they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Jesus used this comparison, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, I am the gate of the sheep. All who came were thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not hear them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved; he will go in and out freely and find food. The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness.
Jesus introduces himself as the gate as he develops the theme of the good shepherd. He wants to help his disciples identify whom they should follow and who are the good or bad guys. Jesus is the gate. As such he expects his sheep and the shepherd to enter the sheepfold through him. They pass through him to find rest when coming home and pasture when going out. They are nourished properly in the open and they come home satisfied and are secured by Jesus himself. Jesus considers those who do not pass through him as thieves or robbers.
They pose as sheep or shepherds to victimize the hapless innocent followers of Jesus. They terrorize them and do murderous acts. Christians must be intelligent enough whom to listen to in terms of deepening their faith. They should follow their ordained ministers who listen to the voice of Christ himself and have no intention of enriching themselves through their ministries. The image of the gate is somehow static and fixed, but it symbolizes the stability of Jesus’ protection of his flocks.
1st Reading: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26:
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, “My brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilledwhich the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms: Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it. and: May another take his office.
Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.
Gospel: Jn 15:9-17:
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love! You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you all this, that my own joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you! There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants anymore, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead, I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father. You did not choose me; it was I who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is my command, that you love one another.
We may wonder why Jesus says, “No greater love than this, to give one’s life to one’s friends.” The context tells us clearly that Jesus considers his disciples friends, not slaves or servants. He is going to die for them as treasured friends. He asks them to do the same among themselves. That is the way they show their love for one another. That is what friendship is all about. It is sacrificing oneself for the sake of others that one’s friends may survive. This is heroism par excellence. The expressions used like “love one anotherﾅ remain in my love” seem to be romantic.
Actually they are tall orders. Relationship with Jesus and with fellow disciples enjoins us to prioritize the interest or needs of others. It is a violation of this commandment when a disciple of Christ sacrifices his fellow disciples in order to survive. When the going gets rough, he puts the blame on others, rather than on himself, to escape criticisms or responsibility. On the cross, Jesus takes responsibility on our sins. Instead of us suffering the consequences, he voluntarily takes all the punishments for our faults and misbehaviors.
St. Isidore the Farmer
1st Reading: Acts 12:24-13:5a:
The word of God continued to spread and grow. After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem, taking with them John, who is called Mark.
Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
Gospel: Jn 12:44-50:
Yet Jesus had said, and even cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me, sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I am not the one to condemn him; for I have come, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me, and does not receive my words, already has a judge: the very words I have spoken will condemn him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father, who sent me, has instructed me what to say and how to speak. I know that his commandment is eternal life, and that is why the message I give, I give as the Father instructed me.”
Jesus Christ is the revelation of the Father. Jesus tells his disciples that if they receive him, they receive the Father. If they believe in his words, it is the Father’s words that they believe. Jesus always ties himself to the Father. His authority comes from the Father. Jesus further says he comes as light. He who believes in him does not remain in darkness. He comes to dispel the darkness enveloping the world as to who God is to them and what salvation is all about. Jesus reveals God to them who believe.
Jesus is the one who can give light to the searching soul. Those who refuse to believe face judgment. It is a consequence of not believing in Jesus and God. The act of not believing is an outright rejection of the mercy and compassion of God as presented by Jesus. It is their fault, not God, if they will not be among the lucky ones who go to heaven. For first of all, they have rejected themselves as God’s children. They have not shown their interest in Jesus. They have not taken advantage of his presence and efforts. They do not give time for him.
1st Reading: Acts 13:13-25:
From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, “My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out, and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”
Gospel: Jn 13:16-20:
Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you, if you put it into practice. I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen, and the Scripture has to be fulfilled which says: The one who shares my table will rise up against me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He. Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me.”
Jesus talks about the importance of recognizing the higher up. Jesus is under the authority of his Father in heaven. The Father sent him to take care of the disciples. Jesus obeys his Father because he knows he should respect this higher authority. He recognizes that his Father is higher than he. Why is he saying this? Are they not equal according to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity? The context can give light to these questions. At the last supper, when Jesus urges the disciples to serve one another by washing their feet, he is aware that one of them will disobey.
He defies Jesus’ authority, consequently, also the Father’s authority. Jesus disciples’ must stoop down and serve the others. They must imitate Jesus who recognizes himself as a servant, sent by the Father. They are not exempted from work. The passage serves as a gentle reminder to the Christian communities to keep busy for others. They have not been called by God for nothing. They must maximize their purpose as churches, as gathered and sent by God. In the way they recognize the authority of Jesus and the Father. Failure to do so virtually makes them Judases.
1st Reading: Acts 13:26-33:
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue: “My brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath. For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him put to death, and when they had accomplished all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These are now his witnesses before the people. We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”
Gospel: Jn 14:1-6:
“Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in me! In my Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.
Reflection: Many people do not have direction. They do not know where they are going. They do not know what to do with their lives, their money and their time. This causes fears and frustrations. Jesus assures his disciples as he bids farewell to them that they will be able to follow him in heaven. They will go into his direction. They should not worry what to do and where to go. Their ultimate destiny is heaven. That is why, he is going back to heaven to prepare a place for them. They should not lose this direction. Jesus reminds us that we too are journeying towards the Father.
He teaches us that we can only reach the Father through him, being the way, the truth and the life. The prologue of John’s gospel reminds us that Jesus as the Word of God is constantly journeying towards the Father. It is well expressed in the original Greek (esan pros ton theon). Translations imply Jesus, the Word, is only with the Father, very static, not so dynamic. We who develop faith in Jesus, share in his mission and join him in his journey to Mt. Calvary, will certainly reach the Father.
St. John I
1st Reading: Acts 13:44-52:
On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Gospel: Jn 14:7-14:
If you know me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know him, and you have seen him.” Philip asked him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever sees me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? All that I say to you, I do not say of myself. The Father who dwells in me is doing his own work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do. Truly, I say to you, the one who believes in me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father. Everything you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Indeed, anything you ask, calling upon my name, I will do it.
Jesus is the revelation of the Father. He makes the Father visible to us. Whatever Jesus says and does comes from the Father. Jesus represents the Father. If we know Jesus very well, we will also know the Father. Jesus reminds his disciples, especially Philip, when they demand that he makes known the Father to them, that it is not necessary to do so. They have been following him all the time. By now, they should have figured out who the Father is through his teachings and actuations. Jesus reminds us not to separate him from the Father.
Extreme devotion to the Father can make Jesus disappear in our lives. This happens when we do not anymore care to read the Gospel or listen to it. We do not take seriously listening to the homilies of the priests which should teach us how to apply God’s Words concretely into our daily lives. Jesus reminds us of the importance of our belief in him. We are called Christians because we believe we come to know and love God more when we believe in his Son.