Bible Diary for October 1st – 8thBible Diary
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ez 18:25-28
But you say: Yahweh‘s way is not just! Why, Israel! Is my position wrong? Is it not rather that yours is wrong? If the righteous man turns from his righteous deeds, and sins, then he dies, because of his sins. And if the wicked man does what is good and right, after turning from the sins he committed, he will save his life. He will live and not die, because he has opened his eyes; and turned from the sins he had committed.
2nd Reading: Phil 2:1-11
If I may advise you, in the name of Christ, and if you can hear it, as the voice of love; if we share the same Spirit, and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you, make me very happy: have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit. On the contrary, let each of you gently consider the others, as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but, rather, that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had:
Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and, in his appearance, found, as a man,
He humbled himself by being obedient, to death, death on the cross.
That is why God exalted him and gave him the name which outshines all names, so, that, at the name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim, that Christ Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Mt 21:28-32
Jesus went on to say, ”What do you think of this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said to him, ‘Son, go and work today in my vineyard.‘ And the son answered, ‘I don‘t want to.‘ But later he thought better of it and went. Then the father went to his other son and said the same thing to him. This son replied, ‘I will go, sir,‘ but he did not go.
Which of the two did what the father wanted?” They answered, ”The first.” And Jesus said to them, ”Truly, I say to you: the publicans and the prostitutes are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven. For John came, to show you the way of goodness, and you did not believe him; but the publicans and the prostitutes did. You were witnesses of this, but you neither repented nor believed him.”
God desires and honors the conversion of a sinner. His love for the sinful humanity impels God to the act of kenosis: emptying one‘s self and privileges as God to become like one of us. Jesus gives the parable of the two sons who had a conversion of heart – one towards obedience and the other, disobedience. Cultures across the world have myths relating to the story of killing the dragon or some wild beast. Often such dragon/beast is a symbol of one‘s own ego. Getting rid of one‘s self – ego – is a hard act. But it is easier when one is full of love for the other. It happens in genuine human love relationships: e.g., between mother and child, husband and wife. When one loves the other, the will of the other becomes a sweet command and one delights in realizing it. When we love God with all our being, we joyfully let God increase and our self decrease in us.
Like Mary, we shall pray: ”May it be done unto me according to your will.”
Recite the Lord‘s Prayer.
Memorial of the Guardian Angels
1st Reading: Ex 23:20-23
The word of Yahweh, the God of hosts was directed to me in this way, ”I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred by a burning anger for her sake. Yahweh says: I will return to Zion and live in her midst. Jerusalem shall be called the city of faithfulness and the mountain of holiness.”
Yahweh, God of hosts speaks, ”Old men and women will again sit in the squares, each with a stick in hand on account of their great age. The squares of the city will be filled with girls and boys playing.”
Yahweh, God of hosts declares, ”If that seems impossible in the eyes of those who have returned from exile, will it be impossible for me as well?”—word of Yahweh.
Yahweh, God of hosts says, ”See, I am going to save my people, bringing them from the east and from the west; and they will live in Jerusalem. They will be my people and I shall be their God, in truth and in justice.”
Gospel: Mt 18:1-5, 10
At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, ”Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, ”I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in my name, receives me.
See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.
We honor today our Guardian Angels. Angels in general are messengers of God, constantly adoring Him and are always ready to serve Him. The Guardian Angels are among them, sent for specific function; ”I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on your way and to bring you to the place I prepared” (Ex. 23:23). Matthew in today‘s gospel speaks of them: ”their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.” Each person has a Guardian Angel. ”From the infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercessions (CCC.36) How God loves us! He never wants us to be separated from Him.
St Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) has a deep love for Guardian Angels and a personal encounter with them. He speaks of them as his guide, defender and messenger. The angels brought the prayers of his spiritual children to him. He exhorts everyone of us: ”Invoke your Guardian Angel, who will enlighten you and guide you. God has given them to you for your protection; therefore you should use him accordingly. The Guardian Angels are 24/7 available to us to guide us to what is good and to avoid falling into sin. They are always at our side.
Angels are not for children alone but for all. Let us recognize them, be them, love them. They are God‘s gift to us.
1st Reading: Zec 8:20-23
Yahweh, the God of hosts speaks, ”Peoples will come from other nations, people from great cities. The inhabitants of one town will talk with those of another, and, say: ‘Come, let us go and implore the favor of Yahweh, and I, too, will seek Yahweh.‘ Many great peoples and powerful nations will come, seeking Yahweh, God of hosts, in Jerusalem and pray to him.”
Yahweh, the God of hosts assures you, ”In those days, ten men of different languages spoken in various lands, will take hold of a Jew by the hem of his garment and say: We, too, want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
Gospel: Lk 9:51-56
As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent ahead of him some messengers, who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for him. But the people would not receive him, because he was on his way to Jerusalem. Seeing this, James and John, his disciples, said, ”Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.
The First reading taken from the prophet Zechariah speaks so well of God‘s constant desire to gather all peoples into one family under His Fatherhood. A Father of a family or a parish priest will understand by heart this divine desire to have ”one flock under one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). This too is the priestly prayer of Jesus: ”Father may they be one as You and I are one” (Jn 17:20). This theme is also shown in today‘s Gospel reading. Jesus forbade his disciples James and John to retaliate against the Samaritans who did not welcome Him. The unwelcoming actions of the Samaritans are due to the long quarrel between the Jews and Samaritans.
Jesus is not unaware of the conflict. But, He consented to pass that way to Jerusalem. For security and to avoid confrontations, they could have passed through another way. Jesus must have a reason for passing through Samaria. He wanted to reconcile the conflict and to offer friendship and reunite them, as He is faithful to His mission as the ”light to all nations.”
During the civil war, President Abraham Lincoln was criticized for being soft and considerate to his enemies. Many times he was reminded that it was his duty to destroy them. To these, his answer was ”The best way to destroy an enemy is to be friend him. ”Lincoln must have learned it from Jesus. For us Christians, like Jesus, no one is an enemy but only a lost and strayed friend.
St. Francis of Assisi
1st Reading: Neh 2:1-8
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of king Artaxerxes, I was doing my duty as cupbearer. I took up the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad before the king in the past. So, the king said to me, ”Why do you look sad? You don‘t look sick. Is there something that bothers you?”
I became hesitant. And I said, ”May the king live forever! How could I afford not to be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates are burned down?” The king said to me, ”What do you want, then?” I asked help of God from heaven and said to the king, ”If it seems good to the king and if he is pleased with my work, then may he send me to the land of Judah, to the city where my ancestors are buried, that I may rebuild it.”
The queen was sitting beside the king, and the king asked me, ”How long will you be gone? When will you be back?” I told him the date and he allowed me to leave. And I said to the king, ”If it pleases the king, may you give me letters for the governors of the province at the other side of the River that I may travel to Judah; and also a letter to Asaph, the caretaker of the king‘s forest, for I will need wood for the gates of the citadel near the temple, for the walls of the city and for the house where I shall live.”
The good hand of God was supporting me, so that the king gave me what I asked.
Gospel: Lk 9:57-62
As they went on their way, a man said to him, ”I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, ”Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another, Jesus said, ”Follow me!” But he answered, ”Let me go back now, for, first, I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, ”Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them, and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said to him, ”I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, ”Whoever has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
The call to follow Jesus is difficult and hard. Its demands are rigid. No doubt not very many succeed in following Jesus. No doubt the two men in the gospel invited by Jesus did not make it due to the conditions they laid before Jesus. To the other one, after Jesus told him that ”the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head,” nothing more was heard of him.
We honor St. Francis today, one of the most popular and loved saints. Against the oppositions of his family and the people and of the trends of his time, he did what he believed is right. He faced the challenges with his strong faith, he was determined and was resolved to follow Jesus. No doubt, St Francis succeeded in his difficult calling and mission.
Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos
1st Reading: Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12
In the seventh month, all the people gathered as one man in the square before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which Yahweh had given to Israel. Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men, women and all the children who could understand what was being read. It was the first day of the seventh month. So he read it before the plaza in front of the Water Gate from dawn till noon, before the men, women and those children who could understand. All the people were eager to hear the book of the law.
Ezra, the teacher of the law, stood on a wooden platform built for that occasion; and to his right were Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and to his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hasbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was in a higher place; and when he opened it, all the people stood. Ezra praised Yahweh the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and answered, “Amen! Amen!” And they bowed their heads to the ground.
The Levites Joshua, Bani and the rest of their brothers explained the law to the people who were standing. They read from the book of the law of God, clarifying and interpreting the meaning, so that everyone might understand what they were hearing.
Then Ezra, the teacher of the law, said to the people, “This day is dedicated to Yahweh, your God, so do not be sad or weep.” He said this because all wept when they heard the reading of the law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat rich foods, drink sweet wine and share with him who has nothing prepared.
This day is dedicated to the Lord, so do not be sad. The joy of Yahweh is our strength.”
The Levites also calmed the people down, saying, “Do not weep. This day is a festival day. Do not be sad.” And the people went their way to eat, drink and share, and they had a great feast, because they had understood the words that had been proclaimed to them.
Gospel: Lk 10:1-12
After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of him, to every town and place, where he himself was to go. And he said to them, ”The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.
Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!‘ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.
When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them: ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.‘
But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim: ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.‘ I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment it will be better for Sodom than for this town.
The first reading brings my imagination to the Liturgy of the Word that we celebrate during the Mass. The preaching of Ezra reminds all the baptized of the fundamental duty to proclaim the Word. The people were so respectful, attentive, eager and receptive of the preaching. They found deep joy understanding the Law. ”The people went their way to eat, drink and share, and they had a great feast, because they had understood the word that had been proclaimed to them.” This is the ”Joy of the Gospel” that Pope Francis speaks in his ”Gaudium Evangelii.”
The urgency of proclaiming the gospel caused the Lord to appoint ”seventy-two other disciples, and sent them two by two” with specific instructions. The instructions were drastic and difficult. But they were given so that they will concentrate on the preaching of the Kingdom of God and not linger on the less important matters.
St. James speaks of the wise man as ”the hearer and the doer of the word of God” (1:23). To hear the word of God is a responsibility. It is both a privilege and a task. It could be one‘s salvation or condemnation. And worst, ”On the day of judgment, it will be better for Sodom” than for those who refused it.
Bl. Marie-Rose Durocher
1st Reading: Bar 1:15-22
You will say: May everyone recognize the justice of our God but, on this day, shame and confusion befit the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—our kings and princes, our priests, our prophets, and our fathers, because we have sinned before the Lord. We have disobeyed him and have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God, nor have we followed the commandments which the Lord had put before us. From the day that the Lord brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until this day, we have disobeyed the Lord our God and we have rebelled against him instead of listening to his voice.
Because of this, from the day on which the Lord brought our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, so as to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, the evils and the curse which the Lord pronounced by Moses, his servant, have dogged our footsteps right down to the present day. We did not listen to the voice of the Lord our God speaking through the words of the prophets whom he sent to us, but each one of us followed his perverted heart, serving false gods and doing what displeases the Lord our God.
Gospel: Lk 10:13-16
Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! So many miracles have been worked in you! If the same miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would already be sitting in ashes and wearing the sackcloth of repentance. Surely for Tyre and Sidon it will be better on the Day of Judgment than for you. And what of you, city of Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead.
Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.”
The words of Jesus in today‘s gospel are very strong and are condemnatory. He condemns the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Chorazin is a small city not far from Capernaum, known as the town of Jesus. Jesus visited the city more frequently. Yet, despite of this and the miracles performed before their eyes, the inhabitants remained indifferent. On the other side of the lake of Galilee is the city of Bethsaida. Here, Jesus performed more miracles. He feed the five thousand out of five loaves and two fishes (Mk:30-44). He healed a blind man (Mk8:22-26). Same with Chorazin, the people did not react nor respond to Jesus. He was so unsuccessful. In Capernaum, Jesus stayed longer. It was his base. He was met with many oppositions. On the other side, in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus spent few times only and performed less miracles, the people repented and changed. Thus, Jesus praised Tyre and Sidon and condemned Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.
The lesson is simple: ”To those who have more, more is expected. To those who have less, less is expected.” Let us all count our blessings received. Let us reciprocate it more proportionately. Those who were forgiven more must be more forgiving and merciful.
Our Lady of the Rosary
1st Reading: Bar 4:5-12, 27-29
Take courage, my people, you who preserve the memory of Israel. You have been sold to the nations but not for your destruction; because you had aroused the anger of God, you were delivered to your enemies. For you displeased your Creator in sacrificing to demons and not to God. You have forgotten the Eternal God, the one who nourished you. You have filled Jerusalem with sadness, she who brought you up. For she saw the anger of God fall on you and she said, ”Listen, you neighboring cities of Zion, God has sent me a great sorrow. I have seen the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Eternal one brought on them. I had nurtured them in joy; with tears and sadness I saw them leave. Let no one rejoice on seeing me a widow and abandoned by all. Because of the sins of my children I am now alone, because they have turned away from the law of God.
Take courage, my children, cry out to God, for he who sent you into exile will remember you. Thus, as you distanced yourself from God, return to him and seek him ten times more earnestly. For he who caused these evils to fall on you will bring you salvation and eternal joy.
Gospel: Lk 10:17-24
The seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, ”Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on your name.” Then Jesus replied, ”I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, don‘t rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice, rather, that your names are written in heaven.”
At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, ”I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. I have been given all things by my Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said to them privately, ”Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
On this day of our Blessed Mother, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, let us reflect on what our great men of the church said about the rosary.
”The Rosary is my favorite prayer, a marvelous prayer.”
~ St. John Paul II
”If you desire peace in your hearts, your homes and your country, assemble every evening to pray the Rosary.”
~ Pope Pius IX
”This simple and profound prayer, the Rosary, teaches us to make Christ the principle and end, not only of Marian devotions, but of our entire life.”
~ Bl. Paul VI
”The Rosary is an excellent means of professing our faith”
~ Pope Leo XIII
”If you do not want refusal, entrust to Mary‘s care everything that you want to offer to God.”
~ St. Bernard
”Say the entire Rosary well every day; in the hour of death you will bless the moment you chose so holy a resolution.”
~ St Louis de Monfort
”Stop putting flowers at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mother if you are not prepared to live in public life as real daughters and sons of Mary.”
~ Pope Pius XII