Bible Diary for September 30th – October 6thBible Diary
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Nm 11:25-29:
The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp,” Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses aide, said, “Moses, my lord, stop them.” But Moses answered him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”
Reading 2 Jas 5:1-6:
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
Gospel Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48:
At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
More stonehard sayings of Jesus about discipleship. Following Jesus is really challenging and never a chance to be complacent. Jesus confronts our mediocrity not only with his hard words but his example. Are we brave enough to follow Him? Pray for costly grace and not cheap grace. Are there things that hinder you from following Jesus radically? Try to overcome one today.
St. Therese of Lisieux
Reading 1 Jb 1:6-22:
One day, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?”
But Satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand upon his person.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
And so one day, while his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were ploughing and the asses grazing beside them, and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
While he was yet speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground, and said,
“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God.
Gospel Lk 9:46-50:
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
The disciples of Jesus, like all of us, had the same problem. They were “arguing about which of them was the most important.” Jesus took a child and said, “you must become like children.” Children were not romanticized in those days: a child was a nobody. You must become nobody; then there will be room in you for you—and for all the others.
Reading 1 Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23:
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. Job spoke out and said: Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”
Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Or why was I not buried away like an untimely birth, like babes that have never seen the light? Wherefore did the knees receive me? Or why did I suck at the breasts?
For then I should have lain down and been tranquil; had I slept, I should then have been at rest With kings and counselors of the earth who built where now there are ruins Or with princes who had gold and filled their houses with silver.
There the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest.
Why is light given to the toilers, and life to the bitter in spirit? They wait for death and it comes not; they search for it rather than for hidden treasures, Rejoice in it exultingly, and are glad when they reach the grave: Those whose path is hidden from them, and whom God has hemmed in!
Gospel Mt 18:1-5, 10:
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
We are effortlessly tolerant towards people who have no connection at all with us. But it is only the tolerance of indifference. How could we even think of offering this kind of tolerance to people we love? They deserve something better: they deserve the kind that is a form of love. Today, tolerance is a widely praised virtue; but it is utterly important to check that it is not just another form of heartless indifference – indifference to people, to ideas, to principles, to values, to everything – a kind of nihilism. Look into the person’s eyes and ask, “Tell me what you care about, and I will tell you if I want your tolerance.”
Reading 1 Jb 9:1-12, 14-16:
Job answered his friends and said: I know well that it is so; but how can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him, he could not answer him once in a thousand times. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood him and remained unscathed?
He removes the mountains before they know it; he overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth out of its place, and the pillars beneath it tremble. He commands the sun, and it rises not; he seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea. He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south; He does great things past finding out, marvelous things beyond reckoning.
Should he come near me, I see him not; should he pass by, I am not aware of him; Should he seize me forcibly, who can say him nay? Who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
How much less shall I give him any answer, or choose out arguments against him! Even though I were right, I could not answer him, but should rather beg for what was due me. If I appealed to him and he answered my call, I could not believe that he would hearken to my words.
Gospel Lk 9:57-62:
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
To think about doing something and then to postpone it, is to separate thought from action, and to separate oneself from both. Planning is the great alibi. I feel I could not possibly do something without planning it; it would be most imprudent! So I begin to plan. Then as I go into the details I discover all sorts of uncertainties (of course! – because the future is always uncertain). So I have to plan some more, and more, and more…. All the while, what am I doing? Nothing! I am planning to do something but I am actually doing nothing. But if the house went on fire, I would not have to plan how to get out!
St. Francis of Assisi
Reading 1 Jb 19:21-27:
Job said: Pity me, pity me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has struck me! Why do you hound me as though you were divine, and insatiably prey upon me?
Oh, would that my words were written down! Would that they were inscribed in a record: That with an iron chisel and with lead they were cut in the rock forever! But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; Whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him, And from my flesh I shall see God; my inmost being is consumed with longing.
Gospel Lk 10:1-12:
Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
The Christian Gospel proclaims that the deepest wisdom is hidden in suffering. It is very paradoxical. Any deep teaching is full of paradox. The English word “suffer” originally meant “to allow.” To suffer is to allow the pain of life to reach me. It is natural to try to avoid pain, but when it comes my way, I should let it reach me. Otherwise I will develop a hard outer layer of insensitivity. When we see people who have done this we are inclined to say: suffering has made them hard and bitter. But it has not. It is their rejection of suffering that has done so. Life does not make people hard; it is the denial of life that makes them hard.
Reading 1 Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5:
The LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said: Have you ever in your lifetime commanded the morning and shown the dawn its place For taking hold of the ends of the earth, till the wicked are shaken from its surface? The earth is changed as is clay by the seal, and dyed as though it were a garment; But from the wicked the light is withheld, and the arm of pride is shattered.
Have you entered into the sources of the sea, or walked about in the depths of the abyss? Have the gates of death been shown to you, or have you seen the gates of darkness? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell me, if you know all: Which is the way to the dwelling place of light, and where is the abode of darkness, That you may take them to their boundaries and set them on their homeward paths? You know, because you were born before them, and the number of your years is great!
Then Job answered the LORD and said: Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you? I put my hand over my mouth. Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again; though twice, I will do so no more.
Gospel Lk 10:13-16:
Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
To rephrase a little: Anyone who listens to your words listens to my words, and anyone who listens to my words listens to the words of the one who sent me. To know the real power of words, think of the things that any of your loved ones said to you before dying. Those words are said in a definitive way and they can never be unsaid for all time; they are fixed in amber. They seem more than words, they are almost like solid things, they have weight and shape and fixed position. The person who uttered them is dead but the words still live and have power to move us deeply. In this light, think of the Eucharist.
Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher
Reading 1 Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17:
Job answered the LORD and said: I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you. Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes.
Thus the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his earlier ones. For he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses. And he had seven sons and three daughters, of whom he called the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Kerenhappuch. In all the land no other women were as beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; and he saw his children, his grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren. Then Job died, old and full of years.
Gospel Lk 10:17-24:
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. “Love, joy, peace, patience, understanding, kindness and fidelity. Gentleness and self control” (Gal 5:22-23). Happiness is always caused. There is a natural reason for it; but joy is uncaused. It comes straight from God. Happiness is for cats and dogs; joy is for human beings!