Bible Diary for October 15th – October 21st
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Teresa of Avila
1st Reading: Is 25:6-10a:
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face; the reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken. On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.
2nd Reading: Phil 4:12-14, 19-20:
Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel: Mt 22:1-14:
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Familiarity sometimes makes us take for granted things that might have been otherwise hard to come by in a different setting. To be considered friend of the king and be one of his honored guests is a chance that ordinary mortals spend a lifetime just to be one. Yet since these friends have been so familiar with the regal presence, they are not as awed as common people are. Hence, they snub and were even irritated with such invitation. The same thing happens sometimes in the spiritual life. Those who are deemed “close” to or familiar with God are the ones who are not that awed with the holy life.
Their sensibilities have been deadened by constant exposure to it that they have no qualms trampling upon it. It is not the result of their friendship with God. It is because pride has set in their hearts such privilege that they now have a bloated understanding of themselves. There are moments when I take God for granted, confident in the fact that He and I are friends. This should not go on. I must value my friendship with God. Today might be a good day to say a prayer of thanks to this God who befriended me and do something to someone today as an act of gratitude to this loving friend of mine.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
1st Reading: Rom 1:1-7:
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Lk 11:29-32:
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Evil people are those who have been repeatedly shown signs in words and deeds that the time of salvation is near yet do not believe. Jesus tried hard to make them understand yet their hearts and minds were already hardened. They were not open to Jesus’ teachings even if it was backed up by miraculous signs and wonders. Jesus was at the point of giving up. Yet He still reserved a last sign, that of His resurrection from the dead after three days, just as Jonah spent three days in the belly of the whale. What a great loss for the people of Jesus’ time who did not open themselves to the teachings of Jesus! They lost eternity because of their persistent unbelief. People who are closed miss out on a lot of good things. May we of the present age not miss salvation by loosening our hearts and minds to God’s word.
St. Ignatius of Antioch
1st Reading: Rom 1:16-25:
Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.” The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Gospel: Lk 11:37-41:
After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
Rituals make life easy by facilitating our movement from one area of our life to the next. For the Jews, eating meals has a sacral dimension; to enter into this sacred act and space, one must wash hands as a ritual cleansing of oneself coming from the profane world with its profane activities. Yet Jesus does not have the patience for such ceremonies that are only for outward appearances. He is more preoccupied with the interior cleanliness of the person. Outward rituals can be dispensed. They are not obligatory. But to be good interiorly is a must.
1st Reading: 2 Tm 4:10-17b:
Beloved: Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Luke is the only one with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is helpful to me in the ministry. I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas, the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. You too be on guard against him, for he has strongly resisted our preaching. At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.
Gospel: Lk 10:1-9:
The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”
During harvest time, a sufficient number of laborers is needed to make the reaping faster and easier. There would be a delay if the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. This is also true with the missionary work of the Church. There are still a lot of people who haven‘t heard and known Christ, but only few people have the courage to dedicate their life for missionary work. Our Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples and sent them ”two by two” because going out in pairs could serve as an avenue to manifest mutual support; to bear witness to the truth of their testimony; and to concretize the message of the gospel of peace.
As baptized Christians, we are called to be missionaries. If not by going to distant places, we can be missionaries in our own ways and in our own places by supporting the mission initiatives of the Church, by praying for all the missionaries, and by being witnesses of the gospel through our words and actions. Each of us could serve as instruments of both “bringing Christ to others” and “bringing others to Christ” in our own way. This would be easier if we perform our mission with another person or with the community itself.
Sts. Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, and Companions
1st Reading: Rom 3:21-30:
Brothers and sisters: Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed, through the forbearance of God– to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.
What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Does God belong to Jews alone? Does he not belong to Gentiles, too? Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Gospel: Lk 11:47-54:
The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.
The tirade of Jesus against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law continues. He will not allow them to forget their historical errors. The truth may be hurtful but it has to be confronted. Any peace that is borne of compromise and not based on a genuine searching of the heart is bound to fail in the long run. An acknowledgement of the wrongs done and a genuine repentance and the seeking of forgiveness must be in place for peace to flourish. But the two groups have hardened their stance. It is not anymore the truth that matters but their pride wounded by Jesus’ bold words. They now commence to find ways and means to silence truth. In the end, the truth will always find itself lonely.
St. Paul of the Cross
1st Reading: Rom 4:1-8:
Brothers and sisters: What can we say that Abraham found, our ancestor according to the flesh? Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. A worker’s wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due. But when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. So also David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.
Gospel: Lk 12:1-7:
At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”
His clash with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law left Jesus with no choice but to warn His disciples against being contaminated by the religious hypocrisy of these religious teachers. They may be able to cover it for a while and fool others by their display of piety, but a day will come when they will be unmasked for who they really are. In our life, we sometimes feel that we could cover up our acts, especially those that reveal our weaknesses. Yet time and time again we are shown that no secret remains as such permanently. But we never learn. The words of wisdom that Jesus imparted to His disciples during His time remain valid until today. Shall we therefore clean up our acts so that there will be no secrets to hide? Or like the Pharisees will we continue conducting our lives as if it is business as usual?
1st Reading: Rom 4:13, 16-18:
Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, I have made you father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist. He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
Gospel: Lk 12:8-12:
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
The boldness which Christ calls for in the faithful proclamation of God‘s truth and love does not come from our own strength and wisdom. Jesus says that the power of our proclamation comes from the Holy Spirit. Let us cease to worry about the consequences of our boldness and focus our attention on the source of it—God‘s Spirit. With great assurance, Jesus says, “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
See how the Holy Spirit did just this in Acts 4:8-10 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” It is not enough simply to look at truths about the Spirit, if we don‘t connect them to our lives. In the twenty-first century, we have become too self-sufficient and indifferent to the promptings of the Spirit. We need to let the Holy Spirit to instruct and guide us.