Bible Diary for November 26th – December 2ndBible Diary
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
1st Reading: Ezk 14:11-12, 15-17
That the people of Israel may no longer stray from me. Instead of defiling themselves with all their transgressions, they will be for me, a people, and I will be their God—word of Yahweh.“
The word of Yahweh came to me in these terms,
If I also let wild beasts roam the land to deprive it of children; so that it becomes a desolation, without a passerby, because of the beasts, if these three men were in the land, as I live, word of Yahweh, they would not save their sons or daughters, but only they, themselves, would be spared, while the land would be made desolate.
The same would happen if I brought the sword against this land; and ordered the sword to go through the land, destroying people and animals.
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28
But no, Christ has been raised from the dead, and he comes before all those who have fallen asleep. A human being brought death; a human being also brings resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all die, so, in Christ, all will be made alive. However, each one in his own time: first Christ, then Christ‘s people, when he comes.
Then, the end will come, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, after having destroyed every rule, authority and power. For he must reign and put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death.
When the Father has subjected everything to him, the Son will place himself under the One who subjected everything to him. From then on, God will be all in all
Gospel: Mt 25:31-46
When the Son of Man comes in his glory with all his angels, he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be brought before him; and, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will he do with them, placing the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
The king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, blessed of my Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me into your home. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to see me.‘
Then the righteous will ask him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and give you food; thirsty, and give you something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome you; or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and go to see you?‘ The king will answer, ‘Truly I say to you: just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me.‘
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of my sight, into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.‘
They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help you?‘ The king will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you: just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.‘
And these will go into eternal punishment; but the just, to eternal life.“
Yahweh declares himself as the God of Israel. The Gospel presents the Last Judgement where Christ, the judge, bares our soul to us. Christ, the King, will finally deliver the Kingdom to the Father, having defeated death once and for all.
How funny or strange it would have been, if the people on the right answered thus: “Yeah, Lord, we knew it was you we were serving when we fed the hungry and clothed the naked.“ It doesn‘t fit the script, right? The remarkable thing is, these good souls had no idea they were serving Christ when they were engaging in these acts of mercy! Doing good was just their second (or first?) nature. Goodness is never so better when it is done unawares. How about you?
Pray that good be done to the world through you without you being aware of it.
Make a prayer of consecration to Christ, the King.
1st Reading: Dn 1:1-6, 8-20
In the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign as king of Judah, king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem. The Lord delivered into his hands king Jehoiakim of Judah, and some of the vessels from the temple of God as well. These he carried off, to the land of Shinar, and placed in the treasure house of his god.
King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief eunuch Ashpenaz to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility: young men without physical defect, handsome, intelligent and wise; well-informed, quick to learn and understand; and suitable for service in the king’s palace. They were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. They were allotted a daily portion of food and wine from the king’s table; and were to be trained for three years, after which, they were to enter the king’s service.
Among these were young men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
As Daniel was resolved not to make himself unclean with the king‘s food or wine, he begged the chief eunuch to spare him this defilement. By the grace of God, the chief eunuch had been sympathetic to Daniel. But he was afraid of the king, so he said, “If the king, who has allotted your food and drink, sees that you look more emaciated than the other young men of your age, he might think ill of me. It will put my life in danger to give in to your wish.“
Daniel then turned to the steward whom the chief eunuch had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink, and see how we look in comparison with the young men who eat food from the king‘s table. Then treat us in accordance with what you see.“
The steward agreed and tested them for ten days, at the end of which, they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate the king‘s food. So the steward continued to give them vegetables instead of the choice food and wine.
To these four youths God gave wisdom and proficiency in literature, and to Daniel the gift of interpreting visions and dreams.
At the end of the period set by the king for the youths‘ training, the chief eunuch presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them and found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These four became members of the king‘s court. In any matter of wisdom and discernment about which the king consulted, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Gospel: Lk 21:1-4
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury of the temple. He also saw a poor widow, who dropped in two small coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them. For all of them gave an offering from their plenty; but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on.“
Robert Louis Stevenson said that “you can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.“ Often times, we are influenced by the criterion: the bigger or higher the amount of the gift, the better. And we forget that what counts in giving is not the gift but the giver; it‘s not the gift in itself but the thoughts and intentions that go with it. In fact, what counts most is the love that accompanies the gift for we can give without loving.
And this is what the gospel is telling us. Jesus‘ criteria are different from us. He qualifies our giving not by amount, but by the quota of sacrifice, love and commitment of life that presupposes.
The poor widow gave more than everybody else because her two coins represented a part of her life and security. In giving them away she was expressing her faith in trust that God was her whole security and only pledge of her life.
1st Reading: Dn 2:31-45
In your vision you saw a statue—very large, very bright; terrible to look at. Its head was of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. As you watched, a rock cut from a mountain, but not by human hands, struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay; smashing them. All at once the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold crumbled into pieces, as fine as chaff on the threshing floor in summer. The wind swept them off and not a trace was left. But the rock that struck the statue became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.
That was the dream. Now the interpretation. You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given dominion, strength, power and glory, and into whose hand he has placed humankind, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, making you ruler over them. You are that head of gold.
After you, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise. Then a third kingdom, of bronze, will rule the whole world. Last shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; and just as iron breaks and crushes everything else, so will it break and smash all the others. The partly-clay and partly-iron feet and toes mean that it will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron, just as you saw iron mixed with clay. And as the toes were partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. Just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, the people will be a mixture but will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
In the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, never to be destroyed or delivered up to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and put an end to them; and it will endure forever. This is the meaning of your vision of a rock cut from a mountain not by human hands; the rock, which struck the statue and broke into pieces the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold. The great God has shown the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation reliable.”
Gospel: Lk 21:5-11
While some people were talking about the temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down.“ And they asked him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?“
Jesus said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he; the time is near at hand!‘ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, don‘t be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.“
And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen.
W. Somerset Maugham once said that “Nothing in this world is permanent.“ Indeed, everything will pass away, as Jesus prophesied (Luke 21:33). Yes, even the most powerful kingdom, as we have heard in the first reading, will crumble into pieces. Even the most grandiose temple of Jerusalem, as the gospel has mentioned, will be torn down. And what remains is the Kingdom of God, a kingdom which was inaugurated by Jesus never to be destroyed.
In the first reading we see the destruction of the earthly kingdoms and the establishment of a new Kingdom by God as the prophecy concerning the coming of God‘s Kingdom to be established by Jesus.
The destruction of the temple described in the gospel reading marks the inauguration of God‘s kingdom and its sacrament which is the Church by Jesus.
The readings remind us that nothing is permanent in this world. Only God is permanent, and His kingdom. Let us thank God for establishing his Kingdom on earth and for inviting us to be part of this Kingdom. Let us then be active and faithful members of His kingdom.
1st Reading: Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his nobles; a thousand of them attended; and he drank wine with them. Under the influence of wine, he ordered that the gold and silver vessels his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem be brought in, so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines might drink from them. The gold and silver vessels taken from God’s temple were brought in; and the king and his nobles, his wives and concubines drank from them. While they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone.
Suddenly a man’s fingers appeared opposite the lamp stand and wrote on the plastered wall of the king’s palace. Watching the hand as it wrote, the king turned pale. So terrified was he that his knees knocked and his legs gave way.
Daniel was brought in and questioned by the king, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father brought from Judah? I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods, that you have insight and extraordinary wisdom. I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple, wear a gold chain around your neck, and be appointed third in rank in my kingdom.”
Daniel replied, “You may keep your gifts or give them to someone else. Just the same, I will read and interpret the writing for you. You have defied the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels from his temple brought to you, and, together with your nobles, your wives and concubines, you drank wine from them. You praised the idols made of silver and gold, of bronze, iron and stones, which neither see, nor hear, nor understand; but you never glorified God who has power over your life and all your fortunes. So he sent the hand that wrote the inscription which read MENE, TEKEL, PHARSIN. And these words mean: MENE, God has numbered the days of your reign and put an end to it; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PHARSIN, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”
Gospel: Lk 21:12-19
Before all these things happen, people will lay their hands on you and persecute you; you will be delivered to the synagogues and put in prison, and for my sake you will be brought before kings and governors. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.
So keep this in mind: do not worry in advance about what to say, for I will give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.
You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. But even though, because of my name, you will be hated by everyone, not a hair of your head will perish. By your patient endurance you will save your souls.
“Patience is a virtue.“ We are all familiar with that cliché, and many of us know that patience is listed by Paul (Galatians 5:2) among the fruits of the Spirit. So there‘s no argument that we Christians ought to be patient. But what is patience and why do we need to be patient?
Patience comes from Latin word patior, pati, passus, meaning to suffer. Thus, as a virtue, it disposes one to endure discomfort without complaint. It often goes with the virtues of self-control, humility, and generosity. And we need to be patient because the road to holiness and way to heaven is not easy. As a matter of fact, the insistence of Jesus with which Jesus speaks of persecution made us think that for Him persecution is a very ordinary happening in the life of the Church and its followers. Thus, in moments like this, we need to adopt this evangelical attitude; because, as Jesus would tell us in the gospel, it is “by patient endurance that we will save our lives.“
1st Reading: Rom 10:9-18
You are saved, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and, in your heart, you believe that God raised him from the dead. By believing from the heart, you obtain true righteousness; by confessing the faith with your lips, you are saved. For Scripture says: No one who believes in him will be ashamed. Here, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; all have the same Lord, who is very generous with whoever calls on him. Truly, all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
But how can they call upon the name of the Lord without having believed in him? And how can they believe in him, without having first heard about him? And how will they hear about him, if no one preaches about him? And how will they preach about him, if no one sends them? As Scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news. Although, not everyone obeyed the good news, as Isaiah said: Lord, who has believed in our preaching? So, faith comes from preaching, and preaching is rooted in the word of Christ.
I ask: Have the Jews not heard? But, of course, they have. Because the voice of those preaching resounded all over the earth, and their voice was heard, to the ends of the world.
Gospel: Mt 4:18-22
As Jesus walked by the lake of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come, follow me; and I will make you fish for people.“
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He went on from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them.
At once, they left the boat, and their father, and followed him.
Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium said that the joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness “(EG, 1). But there‘s something more for those who share the good news. The Pope said: “How much good it does when Jesus once more touches our lives and impels us to share his new life. What then happens is that “we speak of what we have seen and heard“ ! Its beauty will amaze us and constantly excite us…and there‘s nothing more precious which we can give others.“ (EG, 264).
The Pope is actually telling us that there is a joy, and in fact, an indescribable joy in sharing the good news. For this, the messengers of good news are blessed. St. Paul in the first reading, also speaks highly of those who become instruments of the proclamation of the word of God: “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news.“
And this is the reward and the privilege that St. Andrew, the saint we are honoring today, received after following the Lord and after preaching the gospel of Christ even to the extent of offering his life to it.
St. Andrew gave us his lifelong career and lifestyle, leaving everything behind, to follow Jesus. His undying faith in a difficult world is an inspiration to us.
1st Reading: Dn 7:2-14
Daniel said, “I saw the following in my vision: the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, and four great beasts, each one different from the other, came out of the sea.
The first was like a lion with eagle‘s wings. As I looked at it, its wings were torn off. It was lifted up from the ground, stood up on its feet like a man, and was given a human heart. The second was a beast like a bear; it was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told: Go and devour much flesh. I went on looking and saw another beast like a leopard with four wings on its back; it had four heads and dominion was given to it.
I continued seeing my visions of the night and saw a terrible fourth beast. It was fearful and extraordinarily strong; it had great iron teeth; it ate, tore into pieces, and crushed underfoot whatever remained. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns. I was looking at the horns, when another small horn sprang among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots to make way for the new. It had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that uttered insolent words.
I looked and saw the following: Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took his seat. His robe was white, as snow, his hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before him. Thousands upon thousands served him and a countless multitude stood before him.
Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. But as I remembered the haughty words of the horn with human eyes and mouth, which I had seen before, this animal was killed before my eyes; and its body destroyed and cast into the fire. Dominion was taken from the other animals, though they were allowed to stay alive for a time, until the fixed time.
I continued watching the nocturnal vision:
One like a son of man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into his presence.
Dominion, honor and kingship were given him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; his kingdom will never be destroyed.
Gospel: Lk 21:29-33
And Jesus added this comparison, “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as their buds sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all this has happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
To be a visionary is a gift. It is a charism given to some. The prophet Daniel is one among them. He speaks today of his vision about the four kingdoms in the history of Israel. The kingdoms were strong but did not last. At the end God controlled them. “God‘s dominion is eternal, shall never pass away, His kingdom will never be destroyed.“ “Heaven and earth will pass, but my words will not pass away.“ is Jesus‘ assurance to us all. God is a faithful God. He will never fail us. Let‘s aim at things that endure forever. Let‘s store wealth that lasts, that will not rot nor can be stolen.
God gives signs for the coming of His Son in glory, the time for the world to end. The signs are not yet the end, they are just reminders pointing to what is to come. God‘s sign can come in many ways. Most of God‘s manifestations come not in spectacular ways but in the simple, ordinary and humble events. We have therefore to be familiar with His ways, lest we miss his passing by. Spending time with Him in silence, in prayer and reflection is imperative.
1st Reading: Dn 7:15-27
I, Daniel, was deeply troubled, since these visions terrified me. I approached one of those who were standing there, and asked him to tell me what all this meant. He answered me and gave me the interpretation of these things:
‘These four beasts are four kings who will rise from the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, to possess it eternally, forever and ever.‘
Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, different from the others, extraordinarily terrifying, with iron teeth and bronze claws; that ate, tore into pieces and crushed underfoot whatever remained. I also wanted to know about the ten horns it had on its head, and about the other horn which had sprung up, and the three first horns that fell, and about this horn with eyes and a mouth that spoke with arrogance, and that looked greater than the other horns.
As I looked, this horn waged war against the holy ones and was subduing them until the One of Great Age came, to do justice for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom.
Then I was told:
‘The fourth animal shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the kingdoms. It will devour the earth, crush it and destroy it.
The ten horns are ten kings who shall rise from this kingdom. Another one will rise up after them and destroy three kings.
This king shall insult the Most High and persecute the holy ones of the Most High. He shall try to change the feasts and the laws. The holy ones shall be handed over to his power for a time, two times, and half a time.
But judgment will come and dominion will be taken from him; he shall be destroyed and utterly wiped out. The kingship, dominion and leadership of all the kingdoms of the world shall be given to the people of the holy ones of God Most High: his kingdom will be without end. All the kingdoms shall serve him and be subject to him.‘
Gospel: Lk 21:34-36
Be on your guard: don‘t immerse yourselves in a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares, lest that day catch you unaware, like a trap! For, like a snare, will that day come upon all the inhabitants of the earth. But watch at all times and pray, that you may be able to escape all that is going to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.“
“Daniel was troubled of the vision he had. He was in anguish and very much terrified of what he has witnessed in vision. Like Daniel, we are terrified and afraid when we think of the last things, more particularly of death. When we heard of earthquakes, famine, suffering, wars, etc. mentioned in the gospel narratives the more we become fearful. Why do we fear or terrified and in anguish? These will not come to us if we follow Jesus‘ exhortations: “Don‘t immerse yourselves in a life of pleasures, drunkenness and worldly cares.“ “Watch all times and pray, that you may escape all that is going to happen.“ Too much joy of the earthly goods and pleasures will make us attached to the world. Anticipate the joy in the company of our heavenly friends, it will inspire you to be there the soonest.
May we not be tempted of the thought that because the world will end and everything will pass away, we no longer do more, aspire to be more and become more. At the end of our journey, we will give accounting of our life and of the gifts we received.