Bible Diary for October 22nd – 28thBible Diary
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 45:1, 4-6
Thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus:
”I have taken you by the right hand
to subdue nations before you and strip kings of their armor,
to open the gateways before you
so that they will be closed no more.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen one,
I have called you by your name
and given you your mission
although you do not know me.
I am Yahweh, and there is no other;
there is no God besides me.
I armed you when you did not know me,
so that, from the rising
to the setting of the sun,
all may know
that there is no one besides me;
I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
2nd Reading: 1 Thes 1:1-5b
From Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy, to the church of Thessalonica, which is in God, the Father, and in Christ Jesus, the Lord.
May the peace and grace of God be with you.
We give thanks to God, at all times, for you, and remember you in our prayers. We constantly recall, before God, our Father, the work of your faith, the labors of your love, and your endurance, in waiting for Christ Jesus our Lord.
We remember, brothers and sisters, the circumstances of your being called. The gospel we brought you was such, not only in words. Miracles, the Holy Spirit, and plenty of everything, were given to you. You, also, know how we dealt with you, for your sake.
Gospel: Mt 22:15-21
The Pharisees went away, considering how they could trap Jesus by his own words. They sent to him their disciples, along with members of Herod‘s party, saying, ”Master, we know that you are an honest man, and truly teach God‘s way. You are not influenced by others, nor are you afraid of anyone. So tell us what you think: is it against the law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus understood their evil intentions, and said to them, ”Hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin with which you pay taxes.”
They showed him a silver coin, and Jesus said to them, ”Whose head is this, and whose name?” They answered, ”Caesar‘s.” Then Jesus replied, ”So give to Caesar what is Caesar‘s, and give to God what is God‘s.”
Even when we do not know God, God knows us through and through. Paul invites Thessalonians to keep memory of their divine call. Jesus settles the question on paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus settles the question on taxes by verifying the engraved image on the coin. It was Caesar‘s, and Jesus tells them to pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. If one were to settle the question as to whom our lives belong, one must look at the engraved image in our souls – whose would it be? Caesar‘s or God‘s who has shaped, known, and called us even before we were born? Let us give to God what belongs to God – our very lives.
We shall pray for a true sense of belongingness to God and His Kingdom.
Draw up a spiritual will and testament for yourself.
St. John of Capistrano
1st Reading: Rom 4:20-25
He did not doubt, nor did he distrust the promise of God, and, by being strong in faith, he gave glory to God: he was convinced, that, He who had given the promise, had power to fulfill it.
This was taken into account, for him to attain righteousness. This was taken into account: these words of Scripture are not only for him, but for us, too, because we believe in him, who raised Jesus, our Lord, from among the dead, he, who was delivered for our sins, and raised to life, for us to receive true righteousness.
Gospel: Lk 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, ”Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, ”My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or your attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, ”Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”
And Jesus continued, ”There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do: I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself: My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell me, who shall get all you have put aside?‘ This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”
Our Lord reminds us to guard ourselves from every kind of greed, for even though we have many possessions, it is not that which gives us life (cf. v.15). Greed or avarice (pleonexia) is a vice that always seeks more possessions. It leads one to keep on acquiring for more without ceasing. This vice is equated with idolatry in Colossians 3:5. Sometimes possessions become ”gods” for other people. Human life or even one‘s soul is sacrificed just to acquire them. In order to free ourselves from this oppressive vice we must learn temperance and we must begin sharing what we have to the needy. Notice that in vv. 18-19 the ‘fool‘ frequently uses the terms ‘I‘ and ‘my.‘ His self-centeredness leads him to exclude God and neighbor from his concerns.
When our focus is only ourselves but God and neighbor are removed from our concerns, we rely much on worldly things and pleasures. Even if we are seemingly fulfilled but in the end we are totally empty. Our life becomes meaningful only if we acknowledge God and give alms to the needy. Thus, instead of desiring much for earthly things and be led into sin, we should use our possessions to serve others and God.
St. Anthony Mary Claret
1st Reading: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21
Therefore, sin entered the world through one man; and through sin, death; and later on, death spread to all humankind, because all sinned. Such has been the fall, but God‘s gift goes far beyond. All died, because of the fault of one man, but how much more does the grace of God spread, when the gift he granted, reaches all, from this unique man, Jesus Christ.
If death reigned through the disobedience of one and only one person, how much more, will there be a reign of life, for those who receive the grace, and the gift of true righteousness, through the one person, Jesus Christ. Just as one transgression brought sentence of death to all, so, too, one man‘s good act has brought justification and light to all; and, as the disobedience of only one, made all sinners, so the obedience of one person, allowed all to be made just and holy.
The law itself, introduced later on, caused sin to increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, and, as sin caused death to reign, so grace will reign, in its own time, and, after making us just, and friends of God, will bring us to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Gospel: Lk 12:35-38
Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!
In the gospel of Luke, this current parable and other ‘servant‘ parables have an ecclesiological interpretation. There are two important Greek words that the evangelist used: doulos and oikonomos. Both the terms doulos (‘servant,‘ ‘slave‘) and oikonomos (‘steward,‘) refer to the one who renders service to the Christian community. These terms connote that the officials of the community are called to be faithful to their responsibility. As leaders, they must avoid causing problems within the church.
The responsible performance of the obligation to the community is not just meant for the leaders themselves. All Christians are called to be vigilant and be prepared always. If we faithfully do our duties as Christians (as parents, children, parishioners, ministers, etc.) we will receive the promised reward. Jesus assures us by saying, ”Truly, I tell you, he will put on apron, and have them sit at the table, and he will wait on them.” (v.37) ”This role reversal is significant and underscores God‘s absolute gratuity. The servant who is faithful during the time of fulfillment before the parousia will share in the eschatological banquet.” (Karris, 704)
If we have the readiness to serve the Christian community; willingness to contribute for the welfare of the Church; carefulness to avoid causing harm to the church members and officials; we will be like those people who are ”ready, dressed for service and with lamps lit,” waiting for the master‘s return from the wedding.
1st Reading: Rom 6:12-18
Do not allow sin any control over your mortal bodies; do not submit yourselves to its evil inclinations, and do not give your members over to sin, as instruments to do evil. On the contrary, offer yourselves, as persons returned from death to life, and let the members of your body be as holy instruments, at the service of God. Sin will not lord it over you again, for you are not under the law, but under grace.
I ask again: are we to sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? Certainly not. If you have given yourselves up to someone as his slave, you are to obey the one who commands you, aren‘t you? Now, with sin, you go to death, and by accepting faith, you go the right way. Let us give thanks to God, for, after having sin as your master, you have been given to another, that is, to the doctrine of faith, to which you listen willingly. And being free from sin, you began to serve true righteousness.
Gospel: Lk 12:39-48
Pay attention to this: If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”
Peter said, ”Lord, did you tell this parable only for us, or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, ”Imagine, then, the wise and faithful steward, whom the master sets over his other servants, to give them wheat at the proper time. Fortunate is this servant if his master, on coming home, finds him doing his work. Truly, I say to you, the master will put him in charge of all his property.
But it may be that the steward thinks, ‘My Lord delays in coming,‘ and he begins to abuse the male servants and the servant girls, eating and drinking and getting drunk. Then the master will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he doesn‘t know. He will cut him off, and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
The servant who knew his master‘s will, but did not prepare and do what his master wanted, will be soundly beaten; but the one who does unconsciously what deserves punishment, shall receive fewer blows. Much will be required of the one who has been given much, and more will be asked of the one who has been entrusted with more.
This gospel account is directed primarily to the church official that serve as ‘stewards‘ whom the Master sets over his other servants, the members of the community of believers. Some of them are wise and faithful but others take on some of the characteristics of the ‘fool.”
As baptized, we, too, become ‘stewards‘ and we share the responsibility of the officials of the community. Just as they were given obligations by virtue of the vows they made, every baptized individual share in their responsibility to perform their duties as Christians. The moment the ministers took the vows and the moment individuals were baptized they are left with an obligation to take good care of their brethren.
How do we become good stewards of Christ daily? The gospel for today provides us a ”formula”: First, know God‘s will; second, act on it unceasingly–this act is tantamount to constant preparation; and third, be mindful that if we have much today (talents, knowledge, properties or time) much is expected from us, so live our life to the full. If we do these, anytime our Lord comes again we have nothing to fear for we are ”prepared” for it.
1st Reading: Rom 6:19-23
You see, that I speak in a very human way, taking into account that you are not fully mature. There was a time, when you let your members be slaves of impurity and dis order, walking in the way of sin; convert them, now, into servants of righteousness, to the point of becoming holy.
When you were slaves of sin, you did not feel under obligation to righteousness, but what were the fruits of those actions, of which you are now ashamed? Such things bring death. Now, however, you have been freed from sin and serve God. You are bearing fruit, and growing in holiness, and the result will be life everlasting. So, on one side is sin: its reward, death; on the other side, is God: He gives us, by grace, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Gospel: Lk 12:49-53
I have come to bring fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what anguish I feel until it is finished!
Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, in one house five will be divided: three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Looking at ”fire” negatively, we could say that it is destructive for it could burn or reduce something into ashes; but positively it could refine and purify something, e.g. gold. While it is true that fire could be damaging, but likewise it could be beneficial.
In our Christian life, the proclamation of the gospel is like a ”fire”. While it is true that it could divide people especially when they rejected or misunderstood its message; but if people will listen to it, accept and allow its true message to penetrate their hearts and entire lives it could unite all.
Jesus said that he has come to bring fire upon the earth, and how he wishes it were already kindled (v.49). This connotes that the nature of his message is to purify and to cause people to distinguish falsehood from the truth. Through this message, our faith undergoes purification. By listening to the Gospel each moment it is proclaimed, our ignorance, doubt and erroneous beliefs will gradually be turned into proper knowledge, certainty and authentic faith. It is not enough that we know and believe something, what is more necessary is that we know and believe in what is right and true. We could be deceived in various ways even by those who claim to be proclaimers of the good news yet interpret them wrongly, i.e. ”false prophets”. Certainly, they would bring ”destructive and discordant fire”. Our faith will be purified only by the ”fire” brought about by authentic proclaimers and interpreters of the gospel message, i.e. authorized by the Church founded by Christ. What they bring about is ”refining and purifying fire”.
1st Reading: Rom 7:18-25a
I know, that what is right, does not abide in me, I mean, in my flesh. I can want to do what is right, but I am unable to do it. In fact, I do not do the good I want, but the evil I hate. Therefore, if I do what I do not want to do, I am not the one striving toward evil, but sin, which is in me.
I discover, then, this reality: though I wish to do what is right, the evil within me asserts itself first. My inmost self, agrees and rejoices with the law of God, but I notice in my body, another law, challenging the law of the spirit, and delivering me, as a slave to the law of sin, written in my members. Alas, for me! Who will free me from this being, which is only death? Let us give thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord!
So, with my conscience, I am a servant of the law of God, and with my mortal body, I serve the law of sin.
Gospel: Lk 12:54-59
Jesus said to the crowds, ”When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming‘; and so it happens. And when the wind blows from the south, you say, ‘It will be hot‘; and so it is. You superficial people! You understand the signs of the earth and the sky, but you don‘t understand the present times. And why do you not judge for yourselves what is fit? When you go with your accuser before the court, try to settle the case on the way, lest he drag you before the judge, and the judge deliver you to the jailer, and the jailer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
There are people who are experts in various fields, but fail in spiritual aspect for they are unable to see God‘s hand working in their lives. They mistakenly thought that everything they have achieved is just a product of their own efforts. Evidently, they forget about God‘s providence. Thus, many well-educated people become prone to skepticism or unbelief; many popular individuals tend to lead an immoral life; many rich persons are getting blinded by greed; and many talented folks are using their talents in a wrong way. These attitudes are without difference from that of the Pharisees and of the crowd as stated in the gospel.
Let us remember how God‘s hands work in our life today! In everything that we do we must be aware of God‘s presence; in everything that we achieve we should thank God for this blessing; and in every decision that we make we must ask God for His guidance. Let God become part of everything that we have, for truly we can achieve nothing without his merciful love.
As Christians, do we accept Jesus in our lives wholeheartedly? Do we acknowledge the Giver of all that we have? How often do we thank God?
1st Reading: Eph 2:19-22
Now, you are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the holy people: you are of the household of God. You are the house, whose foundations are the apostles and prophets, and whose cornerstone is Christ Jesus. In him, the whole structure is joined together, and rises, to be a holy temple, in the Lord. In him, you, too, are being built, to become the spiritual Sanctuary of God.
Gospel: Lk 6:12-16
At this time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, he called his disciples to him, and chose Twelve of them, whom he called ‘apostles‘: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.
When we want to see a good and clear view of a particular area, we go to a higher place. In a similar way, if we want to perform a particular action in an exemplary or commendable manner, we have to go up and see it in a wider view by pausing for a while and reflecting about it.
Our Lord, before choosing the Twelve whom he also named apostles, went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. This is what he customarily does during the significant moments of his ministry. Likewise, Christians, before making an important decision/judgment or doing a particular task, must also be prepared not only physically and mentally but also spiritually. Our Lord is our model par excellence of this spiritual preparation. As followers of him, we must ”go into the hills” (v.12) or to a place where we could find solitude and peace; spend an ample time for reflection and communication with God; and then, put into action the fruits of our reflection and prayer. All followers of Christ are called not only to think before doing something but most importantly to pray sincerely and reflect deeply.