Bible Diary for September 17th – 23rdBible Diary
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Sir 27:30–28:7
Grudge and wrath, these also are abominations in which sinful people excel.
He who demands revenge will suffer the vengeance of the Lord who keeps a strict account of his sins. Forgive the mistakes of your neighbor and you may ask that your sins be forgiven.
If a man bears resentment against another, how can he ask God for healing? If he has no compassion on others, how can he pray for forgiveness for his sins? As long as he, mere flesh, is resentful, who will obtain his pardon?
Remember your end and give up hatred; keep in mind your final corruption in the grave and keep the commandments. Remember the commandments and do not bear grudges against your neighbor. Remember the Covenant with the Most High and overlook the offense.
2nd Reading: Rom 14:7-9
In fact, none of us lives for himself, nor dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Either in life or in death, we belong to the Lord; It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again, to be Lord, both of the living and of the dead.
Gospel: Mt 18:21-35
Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?“ Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven: A king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment.
The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.‘ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even canceled his debt.
When this servant left the king‘s presence, he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!‘ His fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and
I will pay everything.‘ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.
Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Weren‘t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?‘ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.“
Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.“
In life and death, we belong to the Lord. Hence grudge and wrath towards others shall not have place in us. If God shows mercy to us, we are bound to show mercy to others–so reads the parable of the unforgiving servant. Why does the servant who was forgiven a huge debt get wrathful and unforgiving towards his servant who owed him very little? The truth is, being a recipient of mercy does not always evoke gratitude and humility, but sometimes results in shame and anger–especially when one is egoistic and feels lesser before the forgiving one. We can accept mercy only when we love and respect the one who shows mercy and feel a kinship with him. Then we are ready to share mercy with others and feel kinship with them as well.
Pray for the grace of humility to accept God‘s mercy and share the same with others.
With love and compassion in heart, forgive someone who has wronged you.
1st Reading: 1 Tim 2:1-8
First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanks giving be made for everyone, for rulers of states, and all in authority, that we may enjoy a quiet and peaceful life, in godliness and respect. This is good and pleases God. For he wants all to be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth. As there is one God, there is one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave his life for the redemption of all. This is the testimony, given in its proper time, and of this, God has made me apostle and herald. I am not lying, I am telling the truth: He made me teacher of the nations regarding faith and truth.
I want the men, in every place, to lift pure hands, in prayer, to heaven, without anger and dissension.
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.
This captain is a remarkable man, indeed! Being a gentile as well as Roman official, it would be hard to win the praise of the Jewish elders. But the elders come and speak to Jesus in favor of the captain. They attest to his goodness, his love for Jewish people, and respect for the Jewish faith. Moreover, a captain must have matters of far more serious concern than the illness of one of his servants. But for this man, the wellbeing of his ward is a value, and hence, worth his time and effort.
But Jesus commends him for something far superior: for his deep faith. The captain recognizes the holiness and authority of Jesus. In deference to Christ‘s holiness, the captain refrains from coming in front of him. In recognition of Christ‘s authority, the captain knows that if Christ utters one word, the powers in the heavens, on earth, and under the earth will obey. This gentile‘s faith is so meritorious that his words have entered the Eucharistic liturgy. Every time we prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, we make his prayer our own.
1st Reading: 1 Tim 3:1-13
Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.
Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Gospel: Lk 7:11-17
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
“He was the only son of his mother and she was a widow.“
Did the sight of the woman and her dead son evoke the future scene of Pietá in the mind of Jesus? Perhaps it did, and he felt the pain his widowed mother would undergo when she would lose her only son. Perhaps it was this event of the future that prompted Jesus to reach out to this woman, even without being asked, and raise the son, and give him back to his mother. Was Mother Mary present with his disciples when this event happened? I hope she was, for this would have touched her heart, and when the sword would pierce her heart again at the death of her son, she would have recalled it and found peace and hope.
God, give me a heart like that of your Son that feels the pain of people and respond to it with love.
Sts. Andrew Kim & Paul Chong and Companions
1st Reading: 1 Tim 3:14-16
I give you these instructions, although I hope I will see you soon. If I delay, you will know how you ought to conduct yourself in the household of God, that is, the Church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. How great, indeed, is the mystery of divine blessing!
He was shown in the flesh and sanctified by the spirit;
presented to the angels and proclaimed to all nations.
The world believed in him: He was taken up in glory!
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.“
On several occasions, Jesus referred to children as models for how his followers should be. “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven“ (Matt 18:3), he said. However, children also have their dark side. They can be brutal in taunting their peers. They can be real bullies and control freaks. They sometimes insist on getting what they want, even if what they want is unfair to others.
Today Jesus compares the present generation to this dark side of children. Such people, who have already made their conclusions and judgments, are totally blind to the intimations of truth and, in their childish stubbornness, reject all contrary evidence. If John the Baptist was austere, they rejected his austerity as evil. But when Jesus went around eating and drinking with people, they accused him of being a glutton.
Am I childlike or childish in my relationship with God and my brothers and sisters?
1st Reading: Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
Therefore, I, the prisoner of Christ, invite you, to live the vocation you have received. Be humble, kind, patient, and bear with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep, among you, the unity of spirit, through bonds of peace. Let there be one body, and one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God, the Father of all, who is above all, and works through all, and is in all.
But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ‘s gift. Therefore, it is said: When he ascended to the heights, he brought captives and gave his gifts to people.
As for his gifts, to some, he gave to be apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, he prepared those who belong to him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.
Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
As Jesus moved on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom-house; 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.“
A pastor once ran into a “lost sheep“ of his parish. This man had stopped going to church a long time ago. The pastor gently invited him to return to church. The man said with no little self-righteousness: “Father, I don‘t go because the church is full of crooks and hypocrites.“ And the pastor responded: “If so, please do come. We can always make room for one more.“
The Church belongs to saints and sinners alike. Perhaps more sinners than saints, for the Church exists for their sake: “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do.“ We go to Church not to proclaim our righteousness to the world, but to humbly declare our sinfulness and need for God, and to receive His mercy and healing. By calling Matthew to belong to his band of apostles, Jesus makes it clear that from the greatest to the least in the Church, everyone is sinful and all stand in need of God‘s mercy.
1st Reading: 1 Tim 6:2c-12
Those, whose masters are Christians, should not show less respect, under the pretext that, they are members of the church. On the contrary, they must give a better service, since they are doing good works, on behalf of believers, and dear friends.
Teach and stress these things. Whoever teaches in some other way, not following the sound teaching of our Lord Christ Jesus, and true religious instruction, is conceited, and understands nothing. This one is crazy about controversies and discussions, that result in envy, insults, blows and constant arguments between people of depraved minds, and far from the truth. For them, religion is merely for financial gain.
In reality, religion is a treasure, if we are content with what we have. We brought nothing into the world and we will leave it with nothing. Let us, then, be content with having food and clothing. Those who strive to be rich fall into temptations and traps. A lot of foolish and harmful ambitions plunge them into ruin and destruction. Indeed, the love of money is the root of every evil. Because of this greed, some have wandered away from the faith, bringing on themselves afflictions of every kind.
But you, man of God, shun all this. Strive to be holy and godly. Live in faith and love, with endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith and win everlasting life, to which you were called, when you made the good profession of faith, in the presence of so many witnesses.
Gospel: Lk 8:1-3
Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod‘s steward; Suzanna; and others, who provided for them out of their own funds.
Just as the Church belongs to sinners and saints, it belongs to men and women as well. Jesus‘s band of followers included both men and women; and going by Luke‘s accounts, some of those women had notorious past – not the kind that people would expect a “holy man“ to associate with. But Jesus was a holy man with a difference – he was one who helped everyone rediscover God‘s image hidden within. For him, both men and women were children of God, worth embracing and redeeming.
When Pope Francis widened the scope of the foot-washing ritual of Holy Thursday, many people swallowed hard (and some could hardly swallow) the image of him washing the feet of women. Several churches around the world still refused to include women among those whose feet were washed. It is a pity that several of us would still cling to our neuroses and serve human traditions, but turn a blind eye to the invitation of the Gospel!
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
1st Reading: 1 Tim 6:13-16
Now, in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Jesus Christ, who expressed before Pontius Pilate the authentic profession of faith: preserve the revealed message to all. Keep yourself pure and blameless, until the glorious coming of Christ Jesus, our Lord, who God will bring about at the proper time; he, the magnificent sovereign, King of kings and Lord of lords. To him, alone, immortal, who lives in unapproachable light, and whom no one has ever seen or can see, to him, be honor and power, for ever and ever. Amen!
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!“
The disciples asked him, “What does this story mean?“ And Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to others it is given in the form of stories, or parables, so that, seeing, they may not perceive; and hearing, they may not understand.
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.
Parables of Jesus are revelatory in two ways – it reveals our nature and possibilities as well as God‘s nature and actualities. No committed sower would ever sow precious seeds along the way or on the rock or among thorns; he would rather sow every seed in the most fertile soil. But the sower of the parable is different – he sows it everywhere, with no care for the nature of the soil. Was it an accident? It doesn‘t look so: for, to sow on rocky ground and among thorns, one must walk on the rocks and among thorns, bearing the hardness of the rock and pricking of the thorns. So, what does it tell us about God, the sower? He would walk, bearing every inconvenience and pain, on any way and rock or among thorns and bushes to sow His seed; he would not exclude any kind of soil. He must be doing it with the hope that at least some of the seeds would sprout and mature; or that the soil would change overtime and the seeds would bear fruit.