Bible Diary for September 16th – 22ndBible Diary
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 50:5-9a:
The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered my back to those who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I shield my face from blows, spittle and disgrace.
I have not despaired, for the Lord Yahweh comes to my help.
So, like a flint I set my face, knowing that I will not be disgraced. He who avenges me is near. Who then will accuse me? Let us confront each other. Who is now my accuser? Let him approach.
If the Lord Yahweh is my help, who will condemn me? All of them will wear out like cloth; the moth will devour them.
2nd Reading: Jas 2:14-18:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, to profess faith, without showing works? Such faith has no power to save you. If a brother or sister is in need of clothes or food, and one of you says, “May things go well for you; be warm and satisfied,“ without attending to their material needs, what good is that?
So, it is, for faith without deeds: it is totally dead. Say to whoever challenges you, “You have faith and I have good deeds; show me your faith apart from actions and I, for my part, will show you my faith in the way I act.“
Gospel: Mk 8:27-35:
Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?“ And they told him, “Some say, you are John the Baptist; others say, you are Elijah or one of the prophets.“
Then Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?“ Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.“ And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. He would be killed, and after three days rise again.
Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus, turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.“
Then Jesus called the people and his disciples, and said, “If you want to follow me, deny yourself; take up your cross and follow me. For if you choose to save your life, you will lose it; and if you lose your life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, you will save it.“
Translating our faith into concrete action will invite rejection, persecution, and suffering as the world prefers its own ignorance and selfish ways. Living the life of a prophet would mean thinking like God does, which necessarily invites conflict with the ways of the world. Jesus, being the Messiah, was no exception to this. What does it mean “to think like God does“? Who knows the mind of God except the Spirit that searches the depths of God? Are we capable of knowing the thoughts of God, let alone think like He does? Well, being finite human beings, we are unable to grasp the thoughts of God, but thanks to the life of Christ, we can perceive the deeds of God, deeds marked with compassion, love, forgiveness, and letting others be; and we can then work backwards: by doing what Christ did, we will appropriate the thoughts of God. James would wholeheartedly agree. Let us pray for the grace to have our thoughts and deeds aligned with those of God. List out three actions to do this week, actions that would reflect the thoughts of God.
St. Robert Bellarmine, bishop & doctor
1st Reading: 1 Cor 11:17-26, 33:
Brothers and sisters:
In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact
that your meetings are doing more harm than good.
First of all, I hear that when you meet as a Church
there are divisions among you,
and to a degree I believe it;
there have to be factions among you
in order that also those who are approved among you
may become known.
When you meet in one place, then,
it is not to eat the Lord’s supper,
for in eating, each one goes ahead with his own supper,
and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.
Do you not have houses in which you can eat and drink?
Or do you show contempt for the Church of God
and make those who have nothing feel ashamed?
What can I say to you? Shall I praise you?
In this matter I do not praise you.
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my Body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
Gospel: Lk 7:1-10:
When Jesus had finished teaching the people, he went to Capernaum. A Roman military officer lived there, whose servant was very sick and near to death, a man very dear to him. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent some elders of the Jews to persuade him to come and save his servant‘s life.
The elders came to Jesus and begged him earnestly, saying, “He deserves this of you, for he loves our people and even built a synagogue for us.“ Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house, when the Roman officer sent friends to give this message, “Sir, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to welcome you under my roof. You see, I didn‘t approach you myself. Just give the order, and my servant will be healed. For I myself, a junior officer, give orders to my soldiers, and I say to this one, ‘Go!‘ and he goes; and to the other, ‘Come!‘ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this!‘ and he does it.“
On hearing these words, Jesus was filled with admiration. He turned and said to the people with him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.“ The people, sent by the captain, went back to his house; there they found that the servant was well.
The story of the healing of the centurion‘s slave makes us aware of the many blessings that come into our lives every day. Blessings are more remarkable when they come into our lives unexpectedly. Like the healing that takes place in the gospel, it happens because of the centurion‘s faith and not because of his own authority and power. The centurion didn‘t rely on his own power to heal his slave. He had faith. He relied on the power of God made manifest in Jesus. He believed that Jesus could heal his slave simply by saying the word. Or to put it more precisely, the centurion believed in Jesus‘ own merciful authority, an authority that gave freely of itself for the sake of healing and new life. Jesus possessed a merciful authority that sought not its own gain or fame, but an authority that saved others. And who knows where this faith led the centurion. Who knows how the merciful authority of Jesus changed him. Maybe it led, not only to the healing of the slave, but also to being a follower of Jesus and, more importantly, a changed person believing in the power of God‘s mercy. May we have faith like the Centurion. Who knows where this faith will lead us or transform us?
1st Reading: 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31a:
Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it.
Some people God has designated in the Church
to be, first, Apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers;
then, mighty deeds;
then gifts of healing, assistance, administration,
and varieties of tongues.
Are all Apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?
Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
Gospel: Lk 7:11-17:
A little later, Jesus went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. As he reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.
On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Don‘t cry.“ Then he came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!“ And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us. God has visited his people.“ This news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.
We find Jesus with a crowd of followers entering the town of Nain, and they are met by a funeral procession that is leaving town. At the city gates, a mother is weeping and pained by the loss of her only son. Many mourning parents who have shed the same tears as this mother testify that nothing compares to the devastation of losing a child. But we are quickly told that this is not the only loss she has endured. Her son‘s death was preceded by that of her husband. Coupled with the lost is the socioeconomic setting where women encounter gender inequality in property ownership, job opportunities, and access to resources. When the funeral procession ends, the crowd will depart, and she will have to return to the agony of another empty chair at the dinner table. She will have to face the reality of having no food to feed herself. How will this woman care for herself and any remaining members in her family? The reality of widows in the ancient world is lifethreatening at worst, helpless most of the time. It is made very clear that the widow will now have no means of economic support: both her husband and her only son are dead. The woman is bereft not only of a son, but of any means to sustain her own life.
St. Januarius, bishop & martyr
1st Reading: 1 Cor 12:31 — 13:13:
Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, love is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
Gospel: Lk 7:31-35:
And Jesus said, “What comparison can I use for the people? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, about whom their companions complain, ‘We piped you a tune and you wouldn‘t dance; we sang funeral songs and you wouldn‘t cry.‘
Remember John: he didn‘t eat bread or drink wine, and you said, ‘He has an evil spirit.‘ Next, came the Son of Man, eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Look, a glutton for food and wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.‘ But the children of Wisdom always recognize her work.“
Jesus criticizes the indifference and cynicism of those who reject both him and John. He compares them to children in a city square calling to their playmates. “When we played lively music for you, you would not dance; when we played funereal music, you would not mourn.“ This comparison Jesus applies to John the Baptist and himself. John led an austere life in the desert eating, as we are told elsewhere, only locusts and wild honey. They said he was mad and rejected him. Jesus came leading a highly convivial life, mixing with all kinds of people. They called him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and other sinful people. The focus is the strict separation of those who are considered holy and moral and those who simply are considered immoral and who have vices. The latter have to be excluded; they do not belong to God; they merit God‘s punishment. When people see things in black and white, nothing that can be done. God speaks to us in so many ways and through so many people and situations. We have at all times to be ready to listen with an open mind and heart. Jesus concludes with the enigmatic statement, “Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.“ Both John and Jesus could both be described as children of Wisdom, whose lives witness God‘s inclusive love.
St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, priest & martyr
St. Paul Chong Ha-sang, martyr & Companions
1st Reading: 1 Cor 15:1-11:
I am reminding you, brothers and sisters,
of the Gospel I preached to you,
which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved,
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you,
unless you believed in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he was buried;
that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures;
that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
After that he appeared to James,
then to all the Apostles.
Last of all, as to one born abnormally,
he appeared to me.
For I am the least of the Apostles,
not fit to be called an Apostle,
because I persecuted the Church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them;
not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.
Therefore, whether it be I or they,
so we preach and so you believed.
Gospel: Lk 7:36-50:
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share his meal, so he went to the Pharisee‘s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that, a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that he was in the Pharisee‘s house.
She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood behind him, at his feet, weeping. She wet his feet with tears; she dried them with her hair; she kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them. (…)
Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, (…) Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously canceled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?“ Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.“
And Jesus said, “You are right.“ And turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave me no water for my feet when I entered your house; but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. (…)
This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.“ Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.“
Both Simon, the Pharisee, and Jesus encounter the same woman. But each of them sees her differently. Simon labelled her a ‘sinner.‘ She has a less dignified reputation. Is she not a prostitute? Mingling her reputation with her current behavior leads Simon to certain conclusions of both her and his guest. Clearly – if Jesus is so significant – he should also know ‘…who and what kind of woman this is…‘ Common convention expected a host to welcome with water, a kiss, an anointing. It may seem extravagant, but after walking in the dust and dirt a greeting like this would bring some relief. It indicated arrival at a place of safety and rest. It was an act of service. But Jesus it seems, despite being invited by Simon, was not welcomed properly. The woman‘s willingness to openly break into the Pharisee‘s world of dignity and order is a daring gesture. Her actions challenge the poor hospitality Simon offered to Jesus. Jesus, too addresses his lack of social graces. Jesus also takes the opportunity to highlight the love and faith of the very one Simon‘s thoughts have cast aside. Simon wanted to cast her out. Jesus allowed her to touch and love him. Her gesture called for mercy and forgiveness. She is forgiven and given new life. Simon failed to love and showed no mercy. Jesus gave her dignity back.
Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
1st Reading: eph 4:1-7, 11-13:
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace:
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the extent of the full stature of Christ.
Gospel: Mt 9:9-13:
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the customhouse; and he said to him, “Follow me!“ And Matthew got up and followed him. Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew‘s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why is it, that your master eats with sinners and tax collectors?“
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.“
Learn God‘s desire to extend mercy. He desires charity, not formality, mercy, not show, and warns you against having a form of godliness while denying the exercise of mercy and forgiveness. True religion consists not in external observances, shows of holiness, or doubtful disputations, but in faith in Christ, love for God and your neighbor, and good works. The Pharisees‘ sacrifices were merely stiffness and social observance and not grace filled. Issues of personal honor were irrelevant to Jesus. What mattered were needs, and the capacity to meet those needs. The righteousness of Jesus could offset any unrighteousness of others. Rather than be weighed down by them, his presence, interest and love would lift them up and give them back their dignity and freedom. Today we face the same temptation when we stress the Church centered practicalities of ritual, worship and law, and forget the outward-looking exercise of mercy and justice in a world in need of healing and reconciliation. With Jesus, religion has to serve our deep need for personal conversion and societal transformation. The private quest for personal holiness could be justified only to the extent that it involved growth in compassion.
Blessed Virgin Mary
1st Reading: 1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49:
Brothers and sisters:
Someone may say, “How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come back?”
What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be
but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind.
So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.
So, too, it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living being,”
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.
Gospel: Lk 8:4-15*:
As a great crowd gathered, and people came to him from every town, Jesus began teaching them with a story: “The sower went out to sow the seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the way, was trodden on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground; and no sooner had it come up than it withered, because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew up with the seed and choked it. But some seed fell on good soil and grew, producing fruit, a hundred times as much!“ And Jesus cried out, “Listen then, if you have ears to hear!“ “(…)
Now, this is the point of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the wayside are people who hear it; but immediately, the devil comes and takes the word from their minds, for he doesn‘t want them to believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are people who receive the word with joy; but they have no root; they believe for a while, and give way in time of trial. Among the thorns are people who hear the word, but, as they go their way, they are choked by worries, riches, and the pleasures of life; they bring no fruit to maturity. The good soil, instead, are people who receive the word, and keep it, in a gentle and generous mind, and, persevering patiently, they bear fruit.“
The central message is that some of the seed that the sower plants will wither and die, while some will find fertile soil and flourish. So it is with the Word of God and the Word of Jesus. It is a message of confidence and hope for those whose hearts are open and ready to receive God‘s word. As he finished the parable, Jesus called out to all, inviting them to hear. He did not mean that they just physically hear. They are meant to listen carefully, to assimilate fully and to implement effectively all that he says. He is the Sower, the seed is the Word, those spoken to are the soil. Then follows the explanation which really carries the original parable further than its simple message. In fact, it becomes more like an allegory where each part has a meaning of its own rather than the one point that a parable normally makes. And, whereas in the parable the emphasis was on the sower, here the emphasis is very much on the soil which receives the seed. Each example is made to represent a particular way in which the message is received or not. It is quite clear to which group we are called to belong. With which one, in fact, should I honestly identify myself? How am I responding to God‘s word in my daily life? Is my life fruitful in living the values of the Kingdom?