Bible Diary for November 5th – November 11th

November 5th

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Mal 1:14b-2:2b, 8-10:
A great King am I, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. And now, O priests, this commandment is for you: If you do not listen, if you do not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, says the Lord of hosts, I will send a curse upon you and of your blessing I will make a curse. You have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction; you have made void the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts. I, therefore, have made you contemptible and base before all the people, since you do not keep my ways, but show partiality in your decisions. Have we not all the one father? Has not the one God created us? Why then do we break faith with one another, violating the covenant of our fathers?

2nd Reading: 1 Thes 2:7b-9, 13:
Brothers and sisters: We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us. You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.

Gospel: Mt 23:1-12:
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

What makes a teacher generally effective is not so much the good content of his or her teaching but the quality of his or her personhood. But taken to extreme, the teacher will invest so much in external appearances rather than on the knowledge he or she is supposed to pass. That is why Jesus told the crowds that in front of such teachers, better to focus on their words rather than on who they are because who they are internally and externally do not correspond to their teachings. In this case, their word has more weight than their being. They may not be exemplars of righteousness but they could still be the voice.

November 6th

1st Reading: Rom 11:29-36:
Brothers and sisters: The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given him anything that he may be repaid? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen.

Gospel: Lk 14:12-14:
On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

One time at LCC mall I bought some personal needs. At the cashier, behind me was a young boy. He was holding a tube of toothpaste and small bar of soap. He kept on counting his coins and looked at the tag of the items. After the cashier registered all my items, I told her to include the items of the boy and I will pay for it. The boy looked at me surprisingly, and thanked me. Driving back to the rectory, I kept on thinking of the boy whose face was shining with joy. The following day, a balikbayan box arrived from California containing toiletries and other items. I said to myself, God repaid me immediately.

A seminarian gave me a t-shirt. I was so touched by the gesture. I treasured it. I kept it at the bottom of my folded shirts, so it will always remain new. One rainy day, a trusted seminarian passed by the parish rectory. He was wet but has no extra shirt. I told him to get a shirt in my closet and change. Coming back to my office, he was wearing the shirt I treasured. Though feeling something, I let it go. A few days later, a parishioner brought a gift. To my surprise, it was a pack of three shirts, same color, same brand and size of the shirt the seminarian got from my closet. My heart simply shouted: Wow! My God you did it again? Every time I remember these incidents, I feel deep joy in my heart. “Fortunate are you…You will be repaid at the resurrection of the upright.” Truly, the Lord is risen and alive. What an experience of JOY!

November 7th

1st Reading: Rom 12:5-16ab:
Brothers and sisters: We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly.

Gospel: Lk 14:15-24:
One of those at table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’

And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.'”

Jesus is in a meal setting; the atmosphere is convivial. Everyone is in a good frame of mind after a good meal and the exchange is lighthearted. It is in this context that one of the guests exclaimed about the bliss enjoyed by those who will be eating in the banquet of God. He has a basis. Probably everyone was happy around the table that day sharing the meal with Jesus. Then the harsh truth of the banquet in the Kingdom of God is revealed. It is intended for those invited but they will pass on the chance because they are too busy with their own concerns. Thus others will have a chance and they will respond to the invitation with the openness of those grateful for the opportunity given. And so silence will follow when understanding dawns on those around Jesus. For Jesus’ company is fun only to those who are open to His word.

November 8th

1st Reading: Rom 13:8-10:
Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Gospel: Lk 14:25-33:
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Following the Lord may seem romantic as an ideal but it involves real cost. You have to be ready to give up everything for Him. And so He counsels His would-be followers to sit down first and determine whether they can pay the price of discipleship without flinching. One has to be ready to give all or not bother at all. For to follow the Lord half-heartedly will only waste the efforts made thus far. It is here therefore that the injunction to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our mind and with all our being (Deut. 6,5) becomes clear. If we do this, the crosses that come our way will have its proper place. Even our sacrifices will have meaning. We will not be daunted. We will understand it as part of discipleship.

November 9th

Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica

1st Reading: Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12:
The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the façade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple, south of the altar. He led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing the east, where I saw water trickling from the southern side. He said to me, “This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah, and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh. Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

2nd Reading: 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17:
Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Gospel: Jn 2:13-22:
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

One time after a wedding, during the pictorials, I was not able to control myself. I returned back to the church and shouted very loudly and angrily to the noisy crowd: “Quiet! You are in a church. Respect the Church.” Not to justify my unbecoming action, but with It, I understood deeply what Jesus did in the temple in today‘s gospel. Why did Jesus do it? Why did I do it? The Feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica has the answer. On the front façade of the basilica, prominently written are these words: “OMNIUM ECCLESIARUM URBIS ET ORBIS MATER ET CAPUT”

“Mother and head of all churches of Rome and the World” The Basilica is the first church of Christianity given by the Roman Emperor, erected on the land donated by the Laterani Family, dedicated to Our Savior, the Cathedral Church of the Pope, the bishop of Rome. A building set apart for worship. More importantly than the historical event and value, the basilica same with all parish churches, shrines, chapels and oratories are God‘s special dwelling place. It is the spiritual home of God‘s people. It represents the community spiritually bound together by their faith. All sacred places have to be respected. In this era wherein the people are losing the sense of the sacred, Jesus‘ acts in the temple as well as the feast of the dedication of the Mother Church of all Churches to restore back the sense of the sacred and not to turn it into a marketplace.

November 10th

St. Leo the Great

1st Reading: Rom 15:14-21:
I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another. But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God. For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ. Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation, but as it is written: Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Gospel: Lk 16:1-8:
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’

He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”

The gospel is cast in the negative. And if one is not discerning, he or she might think that astuteness in the service of deceit is being commended here. On the contrary, what is being presented is the technology of making friends as beneficial and may come in handy when one is in dire need. Thus we are being educated into the ways of surviving for the world to come by doing good to others, making friends and being generous. Although our salvation is a personal quest, still a crowd behind our back would be a great help. These are the people whom we come in contact with along the way and have experienced our kindness and generosity. For even though our salvation is primarily our own concern, it takes a village for one to be saved.

November 11th

St. Martin of Tours

1st Reading: Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27:
Brothers and sisters: Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles; greet also the Church at their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners; they are prominent among the Apostles and they were in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

All the churches of Christ greet you. I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus greet you. Now to him who can strengthen you, according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested through the prophetic writings and, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith, to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel: Lk 16:9-15:
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

There is nothing here on earth that cannot be used for eternal life. Consider filthy money in our gospel today. Jesus counsels His hearers to use them to make friends. It may be dirty just as a broom is dirty, but it can sweep clean the way to eternal life. Thus money if used wisely for goodness can be an avenue for salvation. Perhaps Jesus pointed out the positive use of money because this is the easiest commodity that we can give to others. Sometimes we cannot part with our time nor can we share our talents to others because of so many engagements in life. But our money is not hampered by these considerations. It is the easiest to give in our attempts of charity. If we can only master the art of using money for our eternal benefits, we can be sure of a room in God’s mansion.