Bible Diary for May 19th – May 25th

May 19th


1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11:
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13:
Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Gospel: Jn 20:19-23:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Sometimes, we quarrel with God and ask if God truly is risen: “Where is God in my experience of darkness? Is He just sleeping?” Our human instinct is to seek for a sign especially when we are making decisions, having problems or in doubt. But today we are being reminded that our fraternal love is the sign that would illustrate perfectly faith in the Risen Christ among unbelievers. Lord Jesus how many times did we doubt your love for us? Yet every time we doubted you, you also lifted us up, sending your emissary of goodwill, giving encouragement and enlightenment. Indeed, your inspiration enkindles the goodness deep within us that emboldens us to face problems and confusions. Thank you Lord for your constant support and love! Amen. Have time with your loved ones and share your deepest longings, concerns, difficulties or doubts at this stage of your journey.

May 20th

St. Bernardine of Siena

1st Reading: Gn 3:9-15, 20:
After Adam had eaten of the tree, the Lord God called to him and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!” The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me— she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.” The Lord God then asked the woman, “Why did you do such a thing?”

The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

Gospel: Jn 19:25-34:
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.

When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out.

In the realm of music, a person who has perfect pitch is a person who can recognize and name any note or group of notes with absolute certainty, as if the person had a built –in tuning fork in his or her head. It is a great gift to have perfect pitch, but it is also a great source of frustration and suffering, for then the person having it detects the slightest sound out of tune or false note. Spiritually speaking, Mary was endowed with perfect pitch, being completely attuned to God. And this is difficult, nay, impossible for us to imagine, let alone understand.

But the downside of this was that she suffered acutely when she came in contact with sin, hate, pettiness, pride, etc. And so, during the public life of Jesus, as she witnessed the mounting opposition of his enemies and could already anticipate how it would all end, in anticipation she suffered the Cross more than we will ever be able to imagine. As Simeon predicted when the child Jesus was presented in the Temple, “and you yourself a sword will pierce” (Lk 2:35). Today we are remembering that Mary, too, was crucified in her own way.

May 21st

St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions

1st Reading: Jas 4:1-10:
Beloved: Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that the Scripture speaks without meaning when it says, The spirit that he has made to dwell in us tends toward jealousy?

But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Begin to lament, to mourn, to weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

Gospel: Mk 9:30-37:
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”

But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

There are people who don’t want to understand especially if the truth is something that shakes their world. They would rather continue not knowing. Amidst this stubbornness, Jesus again patiently teaches His disciples on the true fate of the Messiah. But this time, by teaching them what true greatness means, that it is not all about position of power and authority but of humility and powerlessness, of meekness and gentleness as embodied by a child. Perhaps this is a gentler approach for the disciples to later on understand that saving others entails death to oneself, and ultimately giving oneself as a ransom for others even unto death.

The path that Jesus lays upon us is difficult. To enter the school of humility itself is already a great task. Perhaps it is worth noting my personal profile today and becoming aware of my own desires for power, authority and recognition and see whether its manifestations hamper my journey towards self-giving. A little mindfulness of how I behave when given power and authority will help a lot in my efforts to become like what Jesus wants me to be. Lord, break me and mend me back to the person that you want me to be today. Teach me Your way of humble service that I may cease to struggle trying to find a comfortable perch in the hierarchy of the world. May I be happy in my service and humble in my achievements. Amen.

May 22nd

St. Rita of Cascia

1st Reading: Jas 4:13-17:
Beloved: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”– you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.” But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin.

Gospel: Mk 9:38-40:
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.”

May 23rd

1st Reading: 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 9:41-50:
Jesus said to his disciples: “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. “Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”

We are jealous sometimes of our relationships and possessions, so much so that we want to have exclusive claim to them. The disciples were not immune to this very human feeling. They expressed and manifested it to their Teacher who in turn patiently schooled them into the kind of love that is not limited by boundaries. This band of brothers who professed their faith in Him were the only ones willing to stick it out with Him. Jesus called them by name. And so amidst their insecurities and weaknesses, Jesus did not give up on them.

He moved forward with them believing in them that someday, they would truly learn and live the teachings of their Master. What provokes my jealousy and envy? Human as these feelings are, still we are called to have control over ourselves. Acknowledging the sources of our envy and jealousy is the first step towards overcoming them. Lord, help me to realize that what I have is already amazing. May I be too busy thanking you for all that is given me so that I will have no time to think of the things I lack. Amen.

May 24th

1st Reading: Jas 5:9-12:
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.

Gospel: Mk 10:1-12:
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached him and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” They replied, “Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.”

But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

I have always admired the boldness of Jesus in this evangelization campaign. Seventy-two disciples is not a small army of preachers. We easily can imagine their short preparation for the task. They had just heard the teachings of the Lord and seen his miracles. And then they were sent. Why? Because the harvest was rich, and Jesus knew the will of the Father. Can we guess here the intention of Jesus during his nights of praying? Yes, he asked the Lord of the harvest and the workers were abundant. Isn’t that a lesson for us? Therese understood it. The advice of Jesus to them deserves reflection. They were lambs among wolves. There is no evangelization without risk and opposition.

Christian disciples have to be confident in God, not in human means, like purse or bag. Francis of Assisi was such a disciple; Anthony M. Claret was one too in his missions through Catalunya. He stressed that poverty is the first quality of the evangelizer. Greetings are simple: “Peace!” Stability is demanded. No concern for meals. The message is one of awakening: “The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.” This seems to echo John the Baptist’s preaching. The final remark is not to be forgotten. The Gospel is the ultimate invitation. The gesture of wiping off of the dust is a symbol. The allusion to Sodom is a reminder for the future.

May 25th

St. Bede the Venerable
St. Gregory VII
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

1st Reading: Jas 5:13-20:
Beloved: Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing a song of praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Elijah was a man like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain upon the land. Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Gospel: Mk 10:13-16:
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Addressing his disciples he says, “He that hears you, hears me and he that despises you despises me“ and the Father who sent him. In other words, to listen to the messengers of Jesus is equivalent to listening to him personally; to reject those messengers is to reject Jesus and to reject God. And, in our own times, perhaps we should emphasize that those “messengers” are not just priests and religious. They include all those who sincerely proclaim the Gospel by their words and their lives.

Each of us needs to hear those warnings of Jesus addressed to ourselves. How well have we really responded to the call of Jesus in the Gospel? How open are we to hear that message coming to us from different kinds of people in our community? How committed are we to accepting, living and sharing that Gospel with others? There is never any room for complacency or for indifference in our Christian life. We are all called to conversion and above all to share God‘s mercy to others.