Bible Diary for May 31st – June 6th

May 31st

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

1st Reading: Acts 2:1–11:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, out of the sky, came a sound, like a strong rushing wind; and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared tongues, as if of fire, which parted and came to rest upon each one of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. Staying in Jerusalem were religious Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered, all excited, because each heard them speaking in his own language.

Full of amazement and wonder, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it, that we hear them in our own native language? Here are Parthians, Medes and Elamites; and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia; Pontus and Asia; Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt; and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene; and visitors from Rome; both Jews and foreigners who accept Jewish beliefs, Cretians and Arabians; and all of us hear them proclaiming in our own language what God, the Savior, does.”

2nd Reading: 1 Cor 12:3b–7, 12–13:
I tell you that nobody inspired by the Spirit of God may say, “A curse on Jesus,” as no one can say, “Jesus is the Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all. The Spirit reveals his presence in each one with a gift that is also a service. As the body is one, having many members, and all the members, while being many, form one body, so it is with Christ. All of us, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, have been baptized in one Spirit, to form one body, and all of us have been given, to drink from the one Spirit.

Gospel: Jn 20:19–23:
On the evening of that day, the first day after the Sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews. But Jesus came, and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” Then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples, seeing the Lord, were full of joy. Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”

The first gift of Jesus to His bewildered disciples when He appeared to them was “Peace.” It was the peace that had seen violence and death and had overcome it. It was a peace that would never give in to doubt and despair anymore. It is the peace of those who have “walked the valleys of death” and lived. This is a very big gift that one can give to others. This is a product of a life that has known hardship and has overcome it. Very few possess this kind of treasure. When the going is rough, we tend to seek persons who could give us proper perspectives of what we are undergoing.

Usually these are people who have undergone the same ordeal themselves and have survived. We draw strength from their wisdom and tranquility. We believe their words because they embody those words themselves. And so Jesus’ peace is a genuine peace. The disciples will be settled from that time on. The moment of fear has passed by. Today I would like to give peace and tranquility to others by being peaceful myself. I will not try to struggle nor compete even with myself. I will just be contented with who I am and what I have today and share these with others.

June 1st

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
St. Justin

Genesis 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.

John 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.

June 2nd

Sts. Marcellinus and Peter

1st Reading: 2 PT 3:12–15a, 17–18:
As you wait for the Day of God and long for its coming, when the heavens will dissolve in fire and the elements melt away in the heat. We wait for a new heaven and a new earth in which justice reigns, according to God’s promise. Therefore, beloved, as you wait in expectation of this, strive that God may find you rooted in peace, without blemish or fault.

And consider that God’s patience is for our salvation, as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you, with the wisdom given him. So then, dearly beloved, as you have been warned, be careful lest those people who have gone astray deceive you in turn and drag you along, making you stumble and finally fall away. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: to him be glory, now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Gospel: Mk 12:13-17:
They sent to Jesus some Pharisees with members of Herod’s party, with the purpose of trapping him by his own words. They came and said to Jesus, “Master, we know that you are truthful; you are not influenced by anyone, and your answers do not vary according to who is listening to you, but you truly teach God’s way. Tell us, is it against the law to pay taxes to Caesar? Should we pay them or not?”

But Jesus saw through their trick and answered, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a silver coin and let me see it.” They brought him one and Jesus asked, “Whose image is this, and whose name?” They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God, what is God’s.” And they were greatly astonished.

An enemy that knows how to flatter is deadly dangerous. You do not know when they will spring their trap while honey drips from their lips. You are lulled to complacency. You let your guards down. Jesus had His share of encounter with those whose lips lie at the same time that their hands ready to strike. He is not caught off guard. He does not need human affirmation. Doing His Father’s work was enough for Him. That is why He was not duped by the sweet words of the Pharisees and some of Herod’s party.

He met their trap head on. All of us are called to such astuteness in front of the enemy. We are called to love but not to lose our good sense. Jesus seeing through their tricks showed them a great lesson that day. Obeying human laws that upholds order in society is not inimical to one’s relationship with God. Caesar is worthy to receive what is his. Just see to it that what is God’s is for God alone.

June 3rd

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions
St. Kevin of Glendalough

1st Reading: 2 Tim 1:1–3, 6–12:
From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of his promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, to my dear son Timothy. May grace, mercy and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I give thanks to God whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly, day and night, in my prayers. For this reason I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains.

On the contrary, do your share in laboring for the Gospel with the strength of God. He saved us and called us—a calling which proceeds from his holiness. This did not depend on our merits, but on his generosity and his own initiative. This calling given to us from all time in Christ Jesus has just been manifested with the glorious appearance of Christ Jesus, our Lord, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light in his Gospel. Of this message I was made herald, apostle and teacher. For its sake I now suffer this trial, but I am not ashamed, for I know in whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is capable of taking care of all I have entrusted to him until that day.

Gospel: Mk 12:18-27:
The Sadducees also came to Jesus. Since they claim that there is no resurrection, they questioned him in this way, “Master, in the Scriptures Moses gave us this law: If anyone dies and leaves a wife but no children, his brother must take the woman, and, with her, have a baby, who will be considered the child of his deceased brother. Now, there were seven brothers. The first married a wife, but he died without leaving any children. The second took the wife, and he also died, leaving no children. The same thing happened to the third. In fact, all seven brothers died, leaving no children. Last of all, the woman died. Now, in the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife? For all seven brothers had her as wife.”

Jesus replied, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry, but are like the angels in heaven. Now, about the resurrection of the dead, have you never had thoughts about the burning bush in the book of Moses? God said to Moses: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are totally wrong.”

The realities of the life to come are vastly different from that of the present age. That is why no one can talk about it better than He who is the author of such life. No wonder the opponents of Jesus have it all wrong. They judge the future with their present observation and experience. Even in the religious sphere, it is not the Word of God which is the norm but their own way of seeing things and their own judgment of them. And so, no consensus could either be achieved. Jesus brings the truth of heaven here on earth. But the people of the earth were adamant to hold on to their earthly truth.

It takes a humble heart to learn from others. It might be difficult to let go of the things we hold dear but the secret of being renewed is when we render ourselves obsolete every day. There is always a new possibility. Truth come to us with freshness and new ways of seeing it every day. We need not close ourselves to only one of the many. We can also enrich our understanding by considering new information revealed along the way. Thus our appreciation of the truth progresses and grows deeper in time.

June 4th

1st Reading: 2 Tim 2:8–15:
Remember Christ Jesus, risen from the dead, Jesus, son of David, as preached in my Gospel. For this Gospel I labor and even wear chains like an evildoer, but the word of God is not chained. And so I bear everything for the sake of the chosen people, that they, too, may obtain the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus and share eternal glory. This statement is true:

If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;
If we endure with him, we shall reign with him;
If we deny him, he will also deny us;
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.

Remind your people of these things and urge them in the presence of God not to fight over words, which does no good, but only ruins those who listen. Be for God an active and proved minister, a blameless worker correctly handling the word of truth.

Gospel: Mk 12:28-34:
A teacher of the law had been listening to this discussion and admired how Jesus answered them. So he came up and asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is: Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.”

The teacher of the law said to him, “Well spoken, Master; you are right when you say that he is one, and there is no other besides him. To love him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.” Jesus approved this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

One thing good about laws is that they make life neat. For those who don’t want the hassles of discovering by trial and error what is right and just, spelled out laws that govern ones’ conduct is welcome indeed. Just like the teacher of the law of our gospel today who validates with Jesus what right living is, with reference to the law of course.

And Jesus did not disappoint. He met him where he is at that moment. Jesus quoted from their holy book what a just man is supposed to do. But being an expert of the Torah himself, the teacher of the law desired to have more. There is a glimmer of insight in his eyes that is beginning to radiate in all his being. It was his elaboration and personal appropriation of the law that made him close to the kingdom of God.

June 5th

St. Boniface

1st Reading: 2 Tim 3:10–17:
You, instead, have closely followed my teaching, my way of life, my projects, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions and sufferings. You know what happened to me at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. How many trials I had to bear! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. All who want to serve God in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil persons and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

As for you, continue with what you have learned and what has been entrusted to you, knowing from whom you received it. Besides, you have known the Scriptures from childhood; they will give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, refuting error, for correcting and training in Christian life. Through Scripture the man of God is made expert and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Gospel: Mk 12:35-37:
As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “The teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the Son of David. How can that be? For David, himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet!’ If David, himself, calls him Lord, in what way can he be his Son?” Many people came to Jesus, and listened to him gladly.

Jesus is being fought by the established religious authority all along the way. They argue with Him on every point and made His every teaching activity a contest of wits and wills. A lesser person would have given up, abandon his dreams and choose a less troublesome life. But not Jesus who works not only for a job but for a mission. He collided with the religious authorities head on, earning their ire at the same moment.

On a positive note, the people who were once kept in the dark by the same religious authorities because they themselves have kept their heart blind from what God wants, are now seeing the light. We see an inverse movement between these two audiences of the Lord. As the teachers of the law become stuck in the mire of their ignorance, the people are more and more gaining enlightenment.

June 6th

St. Norbert

1st Reading: 2 Tim 4:1–8:
In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by the hope I have of his coming and his kingdom, I urge you to preach the Word, in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking or advising, always with patience and providing instruction. For the time is coming when people will no longer endure sound doctrine but following their passions they will surround themselves with teachers to please their itching ears. And they will abandon the truth to hear fables.

So be prudent, do not mind your labor, give yourself to your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. As for me, I am already poured out as a libation, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with which the Lord, the just judge, will reward me on that day; and not only me, but all those who have longed for his glorious coming.

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.”

The battle lines are slowly being drawn. There is Jesus and His followers on the one side, and the Pharisees and the teachers of the law on the other. It is bound to happen. Tension after tension escalated between them whenever Jesus does His public ministry. And so swipes are made of each other. Jesus criticized the favorite past time of the teachers of the law, that is, to play pious all holy. Jesus seeks to tear down their pretensions.

For there is no greater spiritual danger than that coming from someone convinced of his or her contrived holiness. And so Jesus directs the gaze of His listeners to the nobility and greatness of small things done with a sincere heart. The offering of the poor widow that is small in worth but big in generosity trumped all the big offerings of the rich who gave from surplus in contrast to her generosity amidst want. This is where true greatness lie. It is unpretentious and not conscious of itself.