Bible Diary for January 1st – January 7th
New Year’s Day
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
1st Reading: Num 6:22-27:
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and say to them: This is how you shall bless the people of Israel; you shall say: May Yahweh bless you and keep you! May Yahweh let his face shine on you, and be gracious to you! May Yahweh look kindly on you, and give you his peace! In that way shall they put my name on the people of Israel and I will bless them.”
2nd Reading: Gal 4:4-7:
But when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son. He came, born of woman, and subject to the law, in order to redeem the subjects of the law, that we might receive adoption, as children of God. And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts, the spirit of his Son, who cries out: Abba! that is, Father! You, yourself, are no longer a slave, but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance, by God’s grace.
Gospel: Lk 2:16-21:
So they came hurriedly, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the feeding trough. On seeing him, they related what they had been told about the child; and all were astonished on hearing the shepherds. As for Mary, she treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds then returned giving glory and praise to God for all they had heard and seen, just as the angels had told them. On the eighth day, the circumcision of the baby had to be performed; he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
The year begins with the message of blessing. God’s blessing comes to us through the mediation of people around us–like the instrumentality of Moses, Aaron, and Mary. We are, in turn, called to be carriers of this blessing into the lives of others–like the shepherds did. Am I ready to be a conduit of God’s blessing? Baby Jesus, bless me and make my life a blessing for the people around me. On this first day of a new year, bless the members of your family/community using the formula of blessing given by Yahweh.
Sts. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen
1st Reading: 1 Jn 2:22-28:
Who is the liar? The one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This is an antichrist, who denies both the Father and the Son. The one who denies the Son is without the Father, and those who acknowledge the Son also have the Father. Let what you heard, from the beginning, remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning, remains in you, you too, will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise he, himself, gave us: eternal life.
I write this to you, thinking of those who try to lead you astray. You received from him, an anointing, and it remains in you, so you do not need someone to teach you. His anointing teaches you all things. It speaks the truth and does not lie to you; so remain in him, and keep what he has taught you. And now, my children, live, in him, so that when he appears in his glory, we may be confident, and not ashamed, before him when he comes.
Gospel: Jn 1:19-28:
This was the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” John recognized the truth, and did not deny it. He said, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “Then who are you? Elijah?” He answered, “I am not.” They said, “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?”
And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord!” Those who had been sent were Pharisees; and they put a further question to John, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?” John answered, “I baptize you with water, but among you stands one whom you do not know; although he comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal.” This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Christ Jesus is in our midst! We have been rejoicing in this wonderful mystery since Christmas day! As we start a new year John the Baptist invites us to know more about Jesus. He tells those who came to interview him: “Among you stands one whom you do not know.” It is good to ask ourselves “Do I really know Jesus?” Jesus, the “cute” baby born in the very humble manger in Bethlehem, is the Son of God, the Christ! This truth of our faith was taught and defended by our Saints of today–Basil and Gregory–in their fight against Arianism.
The one who refuses to accept this truth–that Jesus is true God and true man–is an antichrist, says John in our 1st reading! To know Jesus, however, is not only to know what our teachers of the faith teach us. To know Jesus is also to know how we are related personally to Jesus. The question “Do you know Jesus” may be rephrased into “What is your relationship with Jesus?” For John the Baptist, he knew Jesus as the word and he saw himself as the voice. John would later on say “He must increase, but I must decrease. (Jn 3:30)”
The Most Holy Name of Jesus
1st Reading: 1 Jn 2:29–3:6:
You know, that he is the Just One: know, then, that anyone living justly is born of God. See what singular love the Father has for us: we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children, and what we shall be has not, yet, been shown. Yet, when he appears in his glory, we know, that we shall be like him, for, then, we shall see him as he is. All who have such a hope, try to be pure, as he is pure. Anyone who commits a sin, acts as an enemy of the law of God; any sin acts wickedly, because all sin is wickedness. You know, that he came to take away our sins, and that there is no sin in him. Whoever remains in him, has no sin, whoever sins, has not seen, or known him.
Gospel: Jn 1:29-34:
The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! It is he of whom I said: A man comes after me, who is already ahead of me, for he was before me. I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing to prepare for him, so that he might be revealed in Israel.” And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on him, like a dove from heaven, and resting on him. I myself did not know him, but God, who sent me to baptize, told me, ‘You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting on the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”
The Good News that we celebrate at Christmastime is the “singular love the Father has for us!” The Father, by sending His only begotten Son for us sinners, has revealed His love! We are truly the “beloved” of God as St. John writes in our 1st reading. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget this beautiful truth because we have not experienced unconditional love from those who should love us so, or because we feel so unworthy of being loved because of our sins.
John the Baptist directs our attention to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What awesome mystery! Jesus, the sinless one, has come and clothed Himself with our sinful human nature so that He might wash us clean of our sins! We must never forget this Good News! For when we were baptized we were sealed in the Holy Name of Jesus! The same Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus is the same Holy Spirit we received at our own baptism marking us forever as “beloved” of God!
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
1st Reading: 1 Jn 3:7-10:
My little children, do not be led astray; those who do what is right are upright, just as Jesus Christ is upright. But those who sin belong to the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning. This is why the Son of God was shown to us, he was to undo the works of the devil. Those born of God do not sin, for the seed of God remains in them; they cannot sin, because they are born of God. What is the way to recognize the children of God, and those of the devil? The one, who does not do what is right, is not of God; so, too, the one who does not love his brother or sister.
Gospel: Jn 1:35-42:
On the following day, John was standing there again, with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and said, “There is the Lamb of God.” On hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. He turned and saw them following, and he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They answered, “Rabbi (which means Master), where are you staying?”
Jesus said, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he stayed, and spent the rest of that day with him. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard what John had said, and followed Jesus. Early the next morning, he found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means the Christ), and he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John, but you shall be called Cephas” (which means Rock).
It often happens that we do not know the way that leads to true happiness and the way to eternal life. Who are we to follow? John the Baptist, the Voice of the Word, tells us to follow Jesus just as he directed his two disciples. In a decisive moment the two disciples of John became the disciples of Jesus. Initially, they must have followed more out of curiosity. Eventually, as they heeded the invitation of Jesus, “Come and see,” they became disciples, followers of Jesus.
They left John, the Voice, to follow the word as their new Rabbi (Master)! They remembered well even the time of their decision–it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. They remembered for it was a turning point in their lives! This same Jesus calls for followers even today. Can we remember when we felt the Lord calling us to follow him more closely? Can we remember the moment we truly decided to become his Disciples? When we spend enough time with the Master we cannot but be transformed! Are you ready to commit your life to Jesus as your Master?
St. John Neumann
1st Reading: 1 Jn 3:11-21:
For this is the message taught to you, from the beginning: we must love one another. Do not imitate Cain, who killed his brother, for he belonged to the Evil One. Why did he kill him? Because he, himself, did evil, and his brother did good. So, be not surprised, brothers, if the world hates us; we love our brothers and sisters, and with this, we know, that we have passed from death to life. The one who does not love, remains in death. The one who hates his brother is a murderer, and, as you know, eternal life does not remain in the murderer.
This is how we have known what love is: he gave his life for us. We, too, ought to give our life for our brothers and sisters. If anyone enjoys the riches of this world, but closes his heart when he sees his brother or sister in need, how will the love of God remain in him? My dear children, let us love, not only with words and with our lips, but in truth and in deed. Then, we shall know that we are of the truth, and we may calm our conscience in his presence. Every time it reproaches us, let us say: God is greater than our conscience, and he knows everything. When our conscience does not condemn us, dear friends, we may have complete confidence in God.
Gospel: Jn 1:43-51:
The next day, Jesus decided to set off for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the law, and the prophets: he is Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.”
Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.” Nathanael answered, “Master, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
The Gospel of John presents Jesus as immediately looking for disciples. In a very simple but powerful way the Evangelist tells us Jesus “found” Philip! The Master is still searching for other disciples. Can it be you? Nathanael, whom Philip found is brought to Jesus by Philip who repeats the same invitation to the first two disciples “Come and see.” Nathanael is amazed when Jesus tells him “I saw you under the fig tree!” Jesus tells him in effect, “I know you through and through!” Indeed, the one who calls us knows us more than we know ourselves!
Jesus, the Master, knows our entire personal histories–both our good points and bad points. Sometimes we are afraid to become disciples because we feel we are not good enough. But there is no perfect candidate for discipleship. There are only imperfect candidates! The Divine Master is constantly in search for vessels of clay so that when He has found other disciples who also may say: “. . . we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves (2 Cor 4:7).”
St. André Bessette
1st Reading: 1 Jn 5:5-13:
Who has overcome the world? The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus Christ was acknowledged through water, but also through blood. Not only water, but water and blood. And the Spirit, too, witnesses to him, for the Spirit is truth. There are, then, three testimonies: the Spirit, the water and the blood, and these three witnesses agree. If we accept human testimony, with greater reason must we accept that of God, given in favor of his Son.
If you believe in the Son of God, you have God’s testimony in you. But those who do not believe, make God a liar, since they do not believe his words when he witnesses to his Son. What has God said? That he has granted us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has life, those who do not have the Son of God do not have life. I write you, then, all these things, that you may know, that you have eternal life, all you, who believe in the name of the Son of God.
Gospel: Mk 1:7-11 (or Lk 3:23-38):
He preached to the people, saying, “After me comes one who is more powerful than I am; I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” At that time, Jesus came from Nazareth, a town of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And the moment he came up out of the water, heaven opened before him, and he saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And these words were heard from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved, the One I have chosen.”
When we love a person we want to know as much as we can about him or her. We want to know his or her family as well. It is the same with our relationship with Jesus. We are invited to get to know Jesus and his family, his roots! The Gospel of Luke, which we follow here, traces the ancestry of Jesus through the ancestry of Joseph. The Gospel of Luke, (unlike that of Matthew who goes only to Abraham,) goes as far back as Adam, who is recognized as being from God!
This family tree of Jesus that goes back to “Adam who was from God” tells us that Jesus shares in our human lot. The Good News is that we have a Master who understands our human frailty. We have a Master who can be compassionate with us! As we are introduced to the family tree of Jesus, so we may likewise introduce our own to Jesus. We might want to let the Lord even heal our wounded family tree. The Lord cares now only for us individually but also our families!
St. Raymond of Peñafort
1st Reading: 1 Jn 5:14-21:
Through him we are fully confident that whatever we ask, according to his will, he will grant us. If we know that he hears us whenever we ask, we know that we already have what we asked of him. If you see your brother committing sin, a sin which does not lead to death, pray for him, and God will give life to your brother. I speak, of course, of the sin which does not lead to death. There is also a sin that leads to death; I do not speak of praying about this.
Every kind of wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin leads to death. We know, that those born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God, protects them, and the evil one does not touch them.We know, that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil. We know, that the Son of God has come and has given us power to know the truth. We are in him who is true, his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God, and eternal life.My dear children, keep your selves from idols.
Gospel: Jn 2:1-11:
Three days later there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.“ Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come.” “However his mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew. Immediately he called the bride–groom, and said, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. But you have kept the best wine until the end.” This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way he showed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
“We know, that we belong to God.” This has become a reality when we were inserted into the family of God through the Baptism. We received the Faith of the Church and we strive to live by that Faith. In today’s reading Mary teaches us what Faith is. The Evangelist John records the first miracle of Jesus–water changed into wine. It is on this occasion that Mary, the mother of Jesus is addressed “Woman!” It is an address quite disconcerting. But Jesus was teaching his own mother that she may not relate to him only on human terms but on terms of Faith. She was soon to assume a new “motherhood.”
She would become the mother of all the redeemed as she was to fulfill the prophesies of Genesis 3:15 and Revelations 12:1. The Faith of The Woman we find in her words to the servants “Do whatever he tells you!“ The servants followed the instruction of the Woman and obeyed the Guest from Nazareth who ordered them to fill the jars with water. What if they had not obeyed? It is good that they listened to Mary and obeyed Jesus! We cannot do anything less. We must heed our Mother’s advice and obey Jesus. When we obey, miracles happen!