Bible Diary for November 4th – 10thBible Diary
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Charles Borromeo
1st Reading: Dt 6:2-6:
Fear Yahweh, observe his commandments all the days of your life and his norms that I teach you today. So also for your children and your children‘s children that they may live long.
Listen, then, Israel, observe these commandments and put them into practice. If you do this, you will be well and you will multiply in this land flowing with milk and honey, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, promised you.
Listen, Israel: Yahweh, our God, is One Yahweh. And you shall love Yahweh, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. Engrave in your heart the commandments that I pass on to you today.
2nd Reading: Heb 7:23-28:
The former priests were many since, as mortal men, they could not remain in office. But Jesus remains forever, and the priesthood shall not be taken from him. Consequently, he is able to save, for all time, those who approach God, through him. He always lives to intercede on their behalf. It was fitting that our high priest be holy, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens; a priest who does not, first, need to offer sacrifice for himself, before offering for the sins of the people, as high priests do. He offered himself in sacrifice, once and for all. And, whereas, the law elected weak men as high priests, now, after the law, the word of God, with an oath, appointed the Son, made perfect forever.
Gospel: Mk 12:28b-34:
A teacher of the law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.”
The teacher of the law said to him, “Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one, and there is no other besides him. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”
Jesus approved this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.“ And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God,” said Jesus to the lawyer who upheld the equivalency of love of God and neighbor. But there is a catch in the sentence: being not far only implies being close enough; it is no guarantee that one is definitively within the Kingdom. What would move the lawyer – and us – from within the proximity to within the boundaries of the Kingdom? If knowing the greatest commandment with its equivalent love of God and neighbor takes us close to the Kingdom, it is doing the commandment that will move us in. Ask God for the wisdom to know the commandments and the courage to do the same.
1st Reading: Phil 2:1-4:
Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.
Gospel: Lk 14:12-14:
Jesus also addressed the man who had invited him, and said, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don‘t invite your friends, or your brothers and relatives, or your wealthy neighbors. For surely they will also invite you in return, and you will be repaid. When you give a feast, invite instead the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Fortunate are you then, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the upright.”
We are drawn to the powerful tendency to live by the law of reciprocity. We want that others repay us with whatever we have done. We long to have the same treatment we have done to others. There is a subtle and relentless inclination in our desire to do what will make life comfortable and to avoid any form of insecurity. Jesus offers a different approach in dealing with others. You will be blessed because they cannot repay you!
You will be blessed because God has something more for you. You will see that love and grace will freely come and flow into your life. What an amazing thing for Jesus to say! He calls us to have a disinterested benevolence or giving without counting the cost. Self-giving for the poor will bring you great blessing. And the blessing is not in the form of material reward but the experience of unconditional love and unmerited grace. Who wouldn’t count everything as rubbish in order to gain Christ?
1st Reading: Phil 2:5-11:
Brothers and sisters: Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Lk 14:15-24:
Upon hearing these words, one of those at the table said to Jesus, “Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the kingdom of God!”
Jesus replied, “A man once gave a feast and invited many guests. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell those he had invited to come, for
everything was ready. But all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘Please excuse me. I must go and see the piece of land I have just bought.’ Another said: ‘I am sorry, but I am on my way to try out the five yoke of oxen I have just bought.’ Still another said, ‘How can I come, when I’ve just got married?’
The servant returned alone, and reported this to his master. Upon hearing his account, the master of the house flew into a rage, and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly, into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
The servant reported after a while, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, but there is still room.’ The master said, ‘Go out to the highways and country lanes, and force people to come in, to ensure that my house is full. I tell you, none of those invited will have a morsel of my feast.
Jesus’ parable takes an unexpected twist when the invited guests make excuses. The first excuse allows the claims of one‘s business to take precedence over God‘s claim. Do we allow our work to totally absorb us and to keep us away from caring for others? The second excuse allows other goods or possessions to come before God. Do we allow our possessions to possess us? The third excuse puts home and family interests ahead of God. He never meant for family relationships to be used selfishly.The second part of the story focuses on those who had no claim on the king and who would never have considered getting such an invitation.
The “poor, maimed, blind, and lame” represent the outcasts of society — those who can make no claim on the King. There is even ample room at the feast of God for outsiders. This is certainly an invitation of grace — undeserved, unmerited mercy and grace! But this invitation also contains a warning for those who refuse it or who approach the wedding feast unworthily. Grace is a free gift, but it is also an awesome responsibility. God invites each of us to his banquet to feel his joy of being with us. Are you ready to feast at the Lord‘s banquet table?
1st Reading: Phil 2:12-18:
My beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.
Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.
Gospel: Lk 14:25-33:
One day, when large crowds were walking along with Jesus, he turned and said to them, “If you come to me, unwilling to sacrifice your love for your father and mother, your spouse and children, your brothers and sisters, and indeed yourself, you cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not follow me, carrying his own cross, cannot be my disciple. Do you build a house without first sitting down to count the cost, to see whether you have enough to complete it? Otherwise, if you have laid the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone will make fun of you: ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
And when a king wages war against another king, does he go to fight without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand can stand against the twenty thousand of his opponent? And if not, while the other is still a long way off, he sends messengers for peace talks. In the same way, none of you may become my disciple, if he doesn’t give up everything he has.”
What does it mean to you in your life to give up what is not essential? To give up our false claims? Can you think of a time when the choice was not easy? Can you recall a time when you made the wrong choice? What does it cost you to choose what is truly life-giving? How has that compared to the cost of choosing death? Either way, you and I are charged with doing precisely what Jesus calls us to today as we seek to follow him: We are to measure our choices. We are to estimate the cost. We are to do so, always, focusing on the cross of Jesus as the test of truth and love. The truth shall set us free.
Day after day we seek to cast our hope on the side of what is true and what is worth doing. There will be days when we will be tempted to choose the side of compromises and falsehood for the cost to follow Jesus may seem just too high. And there will be days when the line between truth and lying is not entirely clear. On those days – in all of our days – may the gift that the One who promises life also freely grants forgiveness and strength for a new day to live differently. And may we awaken tomorrow with a heart renewed to try again to choose Jesus’ cross and promise of fullness of lie. Whatever the cost, may we follow his way and not ours.
1st Reading: Phil 3:3-8a:
Brothers and sisters: We are the circumcision, we who worship through the Spirit of God, who boast in Christ Jesus and do not put our confidence in flesh, although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.
If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I. Circumcised on the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee, in zeal I persecuted the Church, in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.
But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Gospel: Lk 15:1-10:
Meanwhile tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what he had to say. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law frowned at this, muttering, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable:
“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbors together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.
What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbors, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”
The gospel says that tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. To some of the Pharisees and scribes this was quite scandalous. It was bad enough socializing with them but to share their food was unthinkable; they were unclean and one became unclean by sitting at the same table with them. To eat with people was a sign of recognition and acceptance; as far as the Pharisees were concerned these were immoral and unholy people. Being very intimate with them, the Pharisees and scribes confirmed their conviction and belief that Jesus was like them. In reply, Luke gives us three separate parables touching the same theme. We have two of them today.
The third and most famous is the Prodigal Son. Each one is a picture of God‘s attitude towards the sinner and it is very different from that of the Pharisee. These stories were told as Jesus’ response to their criticism. He spent time in their company not because he did not mind what they did; on the contrary, his whole purpose was to affirm their dignity as persons and change them. But he could not do that at a distance. The only way is being with them as the best way of making them feel significant, accepted, and loved. Much of this is highly relevant for our Christian life today. There is probably a lot more of the Pharisee in our Christian hearts than we are prepared to admit. The challenge is on us to reach out to the sinner and to the lost.
Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica
1st Reading: Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12:
The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the southern side.
He said to me, “This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
2nd Reading: 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17:
Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
Gospel: Jn 2:13-22:
As the Passover of the Jews was at hand, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple court he found merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple court, together with the oxen and sheep. He knocked over the tables of the money changers, scattering the coins, and ordered the people selling doves, “Take all this away, and stop making a marketplace of my Father‘s house!”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: Zeal for your house devours me like fire.
The Jews then questioned Jesus, “Where are the miraculous signs which give you the right to do this?” And Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then replied, “The building of this temple has already taken forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?”
Actually, Jesus was referring to the temple of his body. Only when he had risen from the dead did his disciples remember these words; then they believed both the Scripture and the
words Jesus had spoken.
Do we know what matters in life and what doesn’t? Are we caught and obsessed by the world‘s focus on wealth and security? Jesus threw out the money changers because their ever-expanding market was eclipsing the real meaning of the temple. He wanted to shake people up so they could remember what mattered most in worshiping God. Jesus reminded them that it was God‘s place, or was supposed to be, and if they didn’t perceive the presence of the living God there, then there was nothing distinctive about the temple at all. What Jesus did literally shook things up and so the leaders asked Jesus to produce some credentials to authorize the bold and brazen thing he had just done.
Jesus said “Destroy this Temple and I‘ll raise it back up in three days.” A bold claim, of course. John was not referring to the temple as building but to a deeper reality, that the “temple” in question was Jesus’ own body. Jesus, the embodiment of God‘s presence, was standing right in front of these people but they were far more impressed with brick-and-mortar than they were with flesh-and-blood presence of someone who made God closer to their lives. He reminded them that the Father‘s house is ultimately not about making money but worshiping God as the ultimate source of blessing and grace.
St. Leo the Great
1st Reading: Phil 4:10-19:
Brothers and sisters: I rejoice greatly in the Lord that now at last you revived your concern for me. You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity. Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.
You Philippians indeed know that at the beginning of the Gospel, when I left Macedonia, not a single church shared with me in an account of giving and receiving, except you alone. For even when I was at Thessalonica you sent me something for my needs, not only once but more than once. It is not that I am eager for the gift; rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account. I have received full payment and I abound. I am very well supplied because of what I received from you through Epaphroditus, “a fragrant aroma,” an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Gospel: Lk 16:9-15:
And so I tell you: use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes.
Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones. So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own?
No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You do your best to be considered righteous by people.
But God knows the heart, and what is highly esteemed by human beings is loathed by God.”
“If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater.” In other words, if we can be trusted with the material goods that come into our lives and use them to build the Kingdom of God, to create a more just and equitable society, then we can be trusted with something much greater, to commune with God freed from our possessions and positions. Jesus reminds us that the material goods that come into our lives (no matter how they may have been acquired) do not belong absolutely to us. Everything on this earth belongs to God.
We are only the stewards of what has come into our possession and we will be judged on how we make use of it. That leads obviously to the next warning that we cannot be at the same time give ourselves totally to God and become slaves of money and anything connected with wealth. We saw that in the case of the rich man who wanted to follow Jesus. He is possessed by his possessions and so could not surrender his life to Jesus.
Many of us think we can and we try to compromise but, to give ourselves to God completely, we must become free of the lure of wealth and deeper still by an acquisitive mentality. “I buy therefore I am” of the present world is the dominant mindset and lifestyle. We end up being consumers and destroy the earth with our disposable mindset and behavior.