Bible Diary for September 2nd – 8thBible Diary
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Dt 4:1-2, 6-8:
And now, Israel, listen to the norms and laws which I teach that you may put them into practice. And you will live and enter and take possession of the land which Yahweh, the God of your fathers, gives you. Do not add anything to what I command you nor take anything away from it. But keep the commandments of Yahweh, your God, as I command you. If you observe and practice them, other peoples will regard you as wise and intelligent.
When they come to know of all these laws, they will say, “There is no people as wise and as intelligent as this great nation.“ For in truth, is there a nation as great as ours, whose gods are as near to it as Yahweh, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? And is there a nation as great as ours whose norms and laws are as just as this law which I give you today?
2nd Reading: Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27:
Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Light, in whom there is no change, or shadow of a change. By his own will, he gave us life, through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of offering to him, among his creatures.
So get rid of any filth, and reject the Revailing evil, and welcome the word that has been planted in you, and has the power to save you. Be doers of the word, and not just hearers, lest you deceive yourselves.
In the sight of God, our Father, pure and blameless religion lies in helping the orphans, and widows in their need, and keeping oneself from the world‘s corruption.
Gospel: Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23:
One day, the Pharisees gathered around Jesus, and with them were some teachers of the law who had just come from Jerusalem. They noticed that some of his disciples were eating their meal with unclean hands, that is, without washing them.
Now the Pharisees, and in fact all the Jews, never eat without washing their hands, for they follow the tradition received from their ancestors. Nor do they eat anything, when they come from the market, without first washing themselves. And there are many other traditions they observe; for example, the ritual washing of cups, pots and plates.
So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders, but eat with unclean hands?“ Jesus answered, “You shallow people! How well Isaiah prophesied of you when he wrote: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, for what they teach are only human rules. You even put aside the commandment of God to hold fast to human tradition.“
Jesus then called the people to him again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and try to understand. Nothing that enters a person from the outside can make that person unclean. It is what comes from within that makes a person unclean, for evil designs come out of the heart: theft, murder, adultery, jealousy, greed, maliciousness, deceit, indecency, slander, pride and folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.“
Moses commands absolute obedience to the Law given by Yahweh. James invites us to be doers of the word that has been planted in our hearts. Jesus highlights the need to understand the heart of the law and understand and follow its spirit. In the observance of religion, there is often a tension between fulfilment of ritual obligations and demands of charity and compassion. Such tension is palpable in the encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees following the ri tually unclean act of the disciples. Jesus makes it clear: No law is good if it does not have charity as its fuel. James clarifies it functionally: “pure and blameless religion lies in helping the orphans, and widows in their need, and keeping oneself from the world‘s corruption.“ We live in times of religious terrorism which forgets the centrality of charity at the heart of religion. Pray for those who have missed this essence of religion to rediscover the same and learn the ways of love. How can you practice “pure and blameless religion“ in your context? List out three practical means.
St. Gregory the Great, pope & doctor
1st Reading: 1 Cor 2:1-5:
When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.
Gospel: Lk 4:16-30*:
Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me, to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives; and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed; and to announce the Lord‘s year of mercy.“ (…) Then he said to them, “Today, these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.“
All agreed with him, and were lost in wonder, while he spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph‘s Son?“ (…) Jesus added, “No prophet is honored in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet, Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. (…)
On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw him down the cliff. But he passed through their midst and went his way.
After reading this passage from the prophet Isaiah, Jesus sits and in a silence full of expectation, teaches: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled.“ He is the embodiment of all the scriptures and his proclamation of the Good News is not just directionsetting but already is witnessed in his life. The medium is the message. His pre sence among us begins the year of mercy. He is a merciful presence. The signs of mercy and closeness of God for the poor, the blind and the imprisoned and to all who are in need and helpless, become a reality in his words and deeds.
Jesus himself is the “today“ of God‘s presence in history, because He completes the living witness of God‘s mercy and love. The term “today“ is very significant to Saint Luke (see 19, 9; 23, 43) to teach that Jesus is the savior. Already in the narratives of his infancy, this Evangelist refers the words of the angel to the shepherds: “Today, in the city of David, is born to you a Savior, Christ the Lord“ (Lk 2:11). Every day can be the today of salvation because Jesus embodies the way of God. His words and actions reflect the salvific action of God in the here and now.
1st Reading: 1 Cor 2:10b-16:
Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.
Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God,
for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it,
because it is judged spiritually.
The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything
but is not subject to judgment by anyone.
For “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
Gospel: Lk 4:31-37:
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee, and began teaching the people at the Sabbath meetings. They were astonished at the way he taught them, for his word was spoken with authority.
In the synagogue, there was a man possessed by an evil spirit, who shouted in a loud voice, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I recognize you: you are the Holy One of God.“ Then Jesus said to him sharply, “Be silent and leave this man!“ The evil spirit then threw the man down in front of them, and came out of him without doing him harm.
Amazement seized all these people, and they said to one another, “What does this mean? He commands the evil spirits with authority and power. He orders, and you see how they come out!“ And news about Jesus spread throughout the surrounding area.
Each one of us is given authority of some kind – as a parent, a teacher, a priest and whatever responsibility we are given. It is easy to abuse one‘s position of power and privilege. Jesus uses his authority to liberate a person possessed by an evil spirit. Whether we experience the evil spirit as something external or, in many cases, an internal experience of being possessed by our own evil thoughts and deeds, of by shame and guilt that refuse to leave us, Jesus sets us free from anything that destroys our dignity and freedom as sons and daughters of God. His authority is to allow us to move away from fear and shame to a profound experience of being loved, accepted and forgiven. His authority is an experience of grace and not an experience of punishment and exclusion. He models a different kind of authority for us. He invites to imitate his authority of grace. Let us make sure that we use it in such a way as to enhance the abilities of others rather than diminish them.
1st Reading: 1 Cor 3:1-9:
Brothers and sisters,
I could not talk to you as spiritual people,
but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ.
I fed you milk, not solid food,
because you were unable to take it.
Indeed, you are still not able, even now,
for you are still of the flesh.
While there is jealousy and rivalry among you,
are you not of the flesh, and walking
according to the manner of man?
Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another,
“I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?
What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
For we are God’s co-workers;
you are God’s field, God’s building.
Gospel: Lk 4:38-44:
Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His motherinlaw was suffering from high fever, and they asked him to do something for her. Bending over her, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately, she got up and waited on them.
At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, “You are the Son of God!“ He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew he was the Messiah.
Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of him, and finding him, they tried to dissuade him from leaving. But he said, “I have to go to other towns, to announce the good news of the kingdom of God. That is what I was sent to do.“ And Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.
He “laid his hands on every one of them“ and healed them from their illnesses. As Jesus had announced in the synagogue in Nazareth, the Reign of God is now actively entering the lives of people with Jesus bringing them healing and wholeness. Evil spirits shouted at Jesus “You are the Son of God“ as an effort to control him. Whether these were actual cases of possession or were psychological or moral disorders which made people behave in abnormal and harmful ways is not clear. But clearly the presence of the Kingdom is being felt. Healing is taking place and those possessed by evil spirits are freed from their clutches. They experience the healing power of Jesus.
At daybreak, he went off into a quiet place. The desert is the place where God is to be found and very likely, Jesus went there to be alone and pray. The people, who had seen what he did for them, wanted him to stay with them. But he could not and would not. “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also; that is why I have been sent.“ No place could have a monopoly on his hea ling presence. We need to follow him and keep close to him but we cannot cling to him in a way that Revents others from experiencing his healing touch.
1st Reading: 1 Cor 3:18-23:
Brothers and sisters:
Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.
Gospel: Lk 5:1-11:
One day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around him listening to the word of God, he caught sight of two boats, left at the water‘s edge by fishermen, now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There he sat, and continued to teach the crowd.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.“ Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets.“ This they did, and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and they filled both boats almost to the point of sinking.
Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus‘ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!“ For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made, and so were Simon‘s partners, James and John, Zebedee‘s sons.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on.“ So they brought their boats to land and followed him, leaving everything.
Fishing is what Simon Peter knows. It is his path to daily bread and what really matters to him. He has his boat, his nets, his friends.
When Jesus and his crowd turn up on the beach, there may have been nothing but a little more than a distraction – a crowd listening to Jesus interested to listen to his teachings and Simon Peter had no time for that. He had a fruitless night and he needed to wash these useless nets. He will need renewed strength to throw them all again tomorrow. So it must have seemed strange when Jesus climbed aboard. The request to try again to fish may have seemed even stranger. It is enough to make a tired man laugh. Something tells Simon that this is worth the risk. The boat moved and the nets lowered, filled, and all too soon there are two boats at risk of sinking under the catch of the day. Simon‘s initial response is to send Jesus away. Simon is now only conscious of the distance between himself and Jesus. Simon has touched the nearness and grace of God and has made him aware of his unworthiness: ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!‘ Jesus understands what is happening. Fear can make a person reject another. And so, embracing Simon‘s hesitation and fear, Jesus responds with an invitation to follow him and from now on he will be catching people. And so Simon and his companions leave everything behind and begin a new life-project.
1st Reading: 1 Cor 4:1-5:
Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.
Gospel: Lk 5:33-39:
Some people asked him, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it, that your disciples eat and drink?“ Then Jesus said to them “You can‘t make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later, the bridegroom will be taken from them; and they will fast in those days.“
Jesus also told them this parable: “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new coat will be torn, and the piece taken from the new coat will not match the old coat. No one puts new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet, no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.‘“
The old wineskin has to be replaced by the new wineskin. Otherwise we have not really moved away from the past and are stuck in the old language of our faith. We are in a fast chan ging world that requires a faith that reexpresses itself with who we are at the moment and the self that keeps groping with new meanings and directions. Pope Francis, in one of his Masses in Rome, said: “Being Christian means allowing oneself to be renewed by Jesus in this new life. It is a harmo nious whole, harmonious, and the Holy Spirit does it! He renews all things: He renews our heart, our life, and makes us live differently, but in a way that takes up the whole of our life.
Being Christian ultimately means, not doing things, but allowing oneself to be renewed by the Holy Spirit – or, to use the words of Jesus, becoming new wine.“
Being a parttime Christian is an old wineskin. Being a Christian of pieces means seeking my comfort zones and compromising my values. Everything that matters has remained too private and has not impacted on my relationships with others and the world. True renewal is not measured by my personal view on wellness. It requires the difficult work of inner conversion, a deep change of mind and heart. It demands the courage to face the true self and put on a new wineskin. True renewal is new wine in fresh skins. The search for new wineskins is to find Jesus that opens the door to our deepest center.
Feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1st Reading: Mi 5:1-4a (or Rom 8:28-30):
The LORD says:
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
(Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
And the rest of his brethren shall return
to the children of Israel.)
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
And they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.
Gospel: Mt 1:1-16, 18-23*:
This is how Jesus Christ was born: Mary his mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to disgrace her.
While he was pondering over this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a son. You shall call him ‘Jesus‘ for he will save his people from their sins.“
All this happened in order to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he will be called Emmanuel, which means: God – with – us.
An ecological reflection is the lens to see the wider meaning of the gospel today. We need a deeper appropriation of the meaning of God-with-us in Christ. We need to redefine the appreciation of God-with-us to the appreciation of God-withall-living-creatures including the nonhuman. The incarnation of God in Christ can be seen as a profound and sweeping gesture and stance, that is, an incarnation into the very tissue of biological existence and system of nature. Richard Rohr connects creation and incarnation:
Two thousand years ago was the human incarnation of God in Jesus, but before that there was the first and original incarnation through light, water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, fruit, birds, serpents, cattle, fish, and “every kind of wild beast“ according to our own creation story (Genesis 1:325). This was the “Cosmic Christ“ through which God has “let us know the mystery of his purpose, the hidden plan he so kindly made from the beginning in Christ“ (Ephesians 1:9). Christ is not Jesus‘ last name, but the title for his life‘s purpose. Jesus is the very concrete truth revealing and standing in for the universal truth. As Colossians puts it, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.“ (1:15), he is the one glorious part that names and reveals the even more glo rious whole. “The fullness is founded in him … everything in heaven and everything on earth“ (Colossians1:1920).