Bible Diary November for 11th – 17thBible Diary
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Martin of Tours
1st Reading: 1 K 17:10-16:
So Elijah went to Zarephath. On reaching the gate of the town, he saw a widow gathering sticks. He called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called after her and said, “Bring me also a piece of bread.” But she answered, “As Yahweh your God lives, I have no bread left, but only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am just now gathering some sticks so that I may go in and prepare something for myself and my son to eat — and die.”
Elijah then said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go, and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me. Then make some for yourself and your son. For this is the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of meal shall not be emptied nor shall the jug of oil fail, until the day when Yahweh sends rain to the earth.” So she went and did as Elijah told her; and she had food for herself, Elijah and her son from that day on. The jar of flour was not emptied nor did the jug of oil fail, in accordance with what Yahweh had said through Elijah.
2nd Reading: Heb 9:24-28:
Christ did not enter some sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself. He is now in the presence of God, on our behalf. He had not to offer himself many times, as the high priest does: he, who may return every year, because the blood is not his own. Otherwise, he would have suffered many times from the creation of the world. But no; he manifested himself only now, at the end of the ages, to take away sin by sacrifice, and, as humans die only once, and afterward are judged, in the same way, Christ sacrificed himself, once to take away the sins of the multitude. There will be no further question of sin, when he comes again, to save those waiting for him.
Gospel: Mk 12:38-44:
As Jesus was teaching, he also said to them, “Beware of those teachers of the law, who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace; and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues; and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow‘s and the orphan‘s goods, while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!” Jesus sat down opposite the temple treasury, and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins. Then, Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty; but she gave from her poverty, and put in everything she had, her very living.”
Absolutely nothing escapes the attention of God, as evidenced in Jesus noticing the widow‘s contribution and the act of the widow of Zarephath. This can be good news and bad news! It is good news that none of our little and generous acts goes unnoticed by God who would reward us in plenty. The bad news is that none of our little or big sins escapes the attention of God either. It would be wise to take refuge in His divine mercy, for that alone can ensure us our redemption. Lord, give me the grace to see and recognize the good in others.
1st Reading: Ti 1:1-9:
Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ for the sake of the faith of God’s chosen ones and the recognition of religious truth, in the hope of eternal life that God, who does not lie, promised before time began, who indeed at the proper time revealed his word in the proclamation with which I was entrusted by the command of God our savior, to Titus, my true child in our common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.
For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious. For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.
Gospel: Lk 17:1-6:
Jesus said to his disciples, “Scandals will necessarily come and cause people to fall; but woe to the one who brings them about. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck. Truly, this would be better for that person, than to cause one of these little ones to fall. Listen carefully: if your brother offends you, tell him, and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he offends you seven times in one day, but seven times he says to you, ‘I‘m sorry,‘ forgive him.“ The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!‘ and it will obey you.”
Jesus does not give his disciples an easy answer to their request for faith. He tells them if they had faith “the size of a mustard seed” they could command a mulberry tree to be uprooted and moved to the sea. We distinguish the faith that “moves mountains” from basic trust in God or Christ. Our tendency to distinguish these two types of faith tends to be rooted in the false assumption that the former has to do with manipulating some kind of supernatural power and the latter has to do with submitting to an external authority or set of beliefs or standards of conduct. To have faith means having our whole way of perceiving and responding to life transformed by the prodigality of God‘s mercy.
If having “faith” – even faith the size of a mustard seed – means having one‘s thoughts, feelings, and actions wholly transformed by God‘s Reign in our midst, then it entails being caught by and immersed in God‘s mercy and love. Since God‘s grace is immeasurable, his generosity and mercy elude any of our attempts to manipulate it – either as a power we can control or as a means for justifying or rewarding ourselves. This is why we are “worthless slaves“: those to whom nothing is owed. We serve in the banquet of God‘s kingdom simply because of who we are, or more importantly, because of the One who is the source of everything we have and do.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
1st Reading: Ti 2:1-8, 11-14:
As for yourself, you must say what is consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance. Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.
Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.
For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance* of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.
Gospel: Lk 17:7-10:
Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner‘? No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterward.’ Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I don‘t think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.’”
The point Jesus is making is that God need never be grateful to us for anything we do for him. No matter how much we do for him, we can never put him in our debt. Everything we give to God (or to God through others) is simply giving back to him a small portion of what he has already given us. God can never be a matter of reward for us. He can never be under any obligation to us. God‘s grace is not a merited reward. Perhaps that is what some of the Pharisees thought. They felt that, because they kept the Law perfectly, God owed them salvation.
We can do the same thing ourselves when, for instance, we think that by saying certain prayers or performing certain acts (novenas, indulgences, pilgrimages, and acts of charity) God should give us what we are telling him to do, to give us what we are asking for. All our living out of the Gospel is not a compliment paid to God. On the contrary, we can never be grateful enough to him for showing us the way to truth, love, and freedom which Jesus taught us and for giving us the grace to walk his Way. With God, all our giving is only a partial giving back. We are just sharing what is basically given to us. We are receiving more than we are giving back. All is grace. Our response to the daily offer of grace is gratitude.
1st Reading: Ti 3:1-7:
Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise. They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.
But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Gospel: Lk 17:11-19:
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, and as he entered a village, ten lepers came to meet him. Keeping their distance, they called to him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” Then, as they went on their way, they found they were cured. One of them, as soon as he saw that he was cleansed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice; and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave him thanks. This man was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did none of them decide to return and give praise to God, but this foreigner?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”
After the healing of the ten lepers, the focus narrows to one of the ten, who alone turns back glorifying God and prostrating himself at Jesus‘ feet thanking him. Only after he prostrates himself in thanksgiving do we learn that the one who has turned back in this borderland is a Samaritan. Samaritans were the unwelcome outsiders of Jesus‘ day, and we can think about unwanted refugees or overseas contract workers today. These unappealingly different and unwelcome outsiders, along with outsiders, generally, are received positively by Jesus.
The story of the grateful Samaritan offers us another image of who and what matters to Jesus and should, therefore, matter to us. Cleansing of lepers is an identifying marker for Jesus‘ mission in 7:22: “Go and tell John . . . the lepers are cleansed.” There is no doubt something to be understood here about the people who live on the margins of our communities, who are treated as invisible or unwanted because of how they look or who they are or where they come from. Jesus clearly notices and loves them and calls us to do the same.
St. Albert the Great
1st Reading: Phlm 7-20:
I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you, brother. Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ to order you to do what is proper, I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay. May I not tell you that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Gospel: Lk 17:20-25:
The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.” And Jesus said to his disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first he must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”
Jesus was asked by some Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come. In their mind, the arrival of a triumphant Messiah-King was a definitive time. Jesus says it is not going to be like that at all and cannot be found by looking around for telltale signs so that you can say it is ‘here’ or ‘there’. No, says Jesus, “the Reign of God is already in your midst”. In other words, it is right in front of them. It is first of all in the very person of Jesus, who is the embodiment of the God‘s presence.
He is the living incarnation of God‘s loving power revealed in his words and deeds. His way of life is the sign to see. The truth of his mercy to sinners and the lost is the sign of God‘s presence. Jesus says that, when his day does come, it will “be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other”. It will be both sudden and everywhere. In the meantime, Jesus “must suffer much and be rejected by the present age”. Words which clearly refer to his own suffering and death.
So, on the one hand, the Reign of God is already here among us and we need look no further than the daily experience of caring and healing presence of Jesus when we do what he calls to do, when we do his mission to care for others. On the other hand, the time of that final coming which will “wipe every tear from our eyes” and be the end of all suffering and rejection is not for us to be anxious about. Each day offers occasions to practice mercy and charity and our positive responses are concrete signs of God‘s presence in our lives.
St. Margaret of Scotland
St. Gertrude the Great
1st Reading: 2 Jn 4-9:
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father. But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another. For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.
Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.
Gospel: Lk 17:26-37:
As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. In those days people ate and drank and got married; but on the day Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. So it was in the days of Lot: people ate and drank, and bought and sold, and planted and built; but on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven, which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, if you are on the rooftop, don‘t go down into the house to get your belongings; and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot‘s wife! Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever gives his life will be born again. I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it might happen that one will be taken, and the other left; though two women are grinding meal together, one might be taken and the other left.” Then they asked Jesus, “Where will this take place, Lord?” And he answered, “Where the body is, there, too, will the vultures gather.”
These texts are not intended to fill us with fear and foreboding of a capricious and judgmental God. They are timely advice not to be caught napping but to remain alert to do good with what each day offers. It is good advice not just for the end of our lives but for every day and every moment of the day. If I am ready now, I will be ready when the final judgment comes. By living consciously in the presence of God, in the ever-present now and living fully what matters most in the moment, we are not postponing what can be done today.
Far from being afraid, we will look forward to the day with anticipation, leaving totally in God‘s hands the hour of his call. In practice, too, that final call will not coincide with the end of the world but with the moment when we face our own mortality and remember what kind of life have we lived. There is no doubt that death comes at any moment. What is important is the accountability of our stewardship. How have we lived our lives? Have we made a difference in our families and communities? Or simply answering two basic questions as we make the journey through life: Have I found joy in my life? Have I given joy to others?
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
1st Reading: 3 Jn 5-8:
Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers; they have testified to your love before the Church. Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey. For they have set out for the sake of the Name and are accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such persons, so that we may be co-workers in the truth.
Gospel: Lk 18:1-8:
Jesus told them a parable, to show them that they should pray continually and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my adversary!’ For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.’ And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for his chosen ones, who cry to him day and night, even if he delays in answering them? I tell you, he will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
We have always a reason to complain about what‘s happening around us. However, the widow in the gospel was a woman vulnerable to being taken advantage of in number of ways. Despite her weak position, she gains her cause by persistence. If an unjust judge grants vindication because someone pesters him, how much more will God vindicate God‘s people in the end? God will act speedily to grant justice. The question is, like the widow, do we have the determination and courage to secure justice for the weak and the defenseless? Are we ready for the long haul fight for justice and peace?
Joan Chittister writes: The great questions of life are questions that do not admit of cheap and easy answers. They are rooted in the bedrock of the culture and demand the emptying out of souls before they can really be answered. The women‘s issue is an obvious one, for instance, but it is not an easy one. That women must soon be seen as equals in the church, adults in the world, artists and thinkers in society is clear. The amount of education and analysis and protest and courage that it will take, on the other hand, to reshape centuries of warped and distorted and heretical thought patterns that have been theologized and institutionalized in the name of God staggers the mind.