Bible Diary for October 22nd – October 28th

October 22nd

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. John Paul II

1st Reading: Is 45:1, 4-6:
Thus says the Lord to his anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, subduing nations before him, and making kings run in his service, opening doors before him and leaving the gates unbarred: For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel, my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not. I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me. It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun people may know that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.

2nd Reading: 1 Thes 1:1-5b:
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.

Gospel: Mt 22:15-21:
The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

There are questions that genuinely seek the truth while there are questions that seek the downfall of the enemy. This is the reason why you have to be always on your toes when dealing with such people. You will never know when they will spring the trap. But Jesus is not the type to flee from such occasions. He knows where He comes from and the clarity of His purpose makes Him ready for such eventualities. It’s because of this that the religious leaders could not beat Him in the war of words. A coalition of the aggrieved is beginning to form.

Life will always be hard for those who stand for the truth. Am I honest in paying my taxes and all dues that I owe to others for services rendered to me? Jesus does not stop the payment of taxes to the government of His time because it ensures the environment where income could be made. I too should render a just account of all my legitimate income. I will be doing my share in ensuring the government’s capacity to deliver services to the people.

October 23rd

St. John of Capistrano

1st Reading: Rom 4:20-25:
Brothers and sisters: Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness. But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was credited to him; it was also for us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.

Gospel: Lk 12:13-21:
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’

And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

Family problems do happen especially if it involves inheritance. If the parents have not made a clear provision as to the division of the properties involved, misunderstanding and conflict may arise. And so one person among the crowd sought the help of Jesus to get what he thought was his legitimate share of the inheritance. He was probably banking on the moral authority that Jesus has acquired on the course of His ministry.

But Jesus will not be simply dragged to an internal conflict between family members. Rather, He pointed to the root cause of the problem which is greed. Things would not have reached this point between the brothers had fairness governed their lives. And so Jesus told them what should be their true preoccupation first. They must grow rich before God by doing good. If such is the case, no problem of this sort will crop up. The heart will automatically do what is just and fair.

October 24th

St. Anthony Mary Claret (Founder of the Claretians)

1st Reading: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21:
Brothers and sisters: Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned. If by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many. For if, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all. For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous. Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel: Lk 12:35-38:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”

During the early Christian community, people had this sense of alertness with regard to the second coming of Jesus. They lived in an apocalyptic time. That is why what they did and said was geared towards preparation for the coming of the Lord. But this sense has left us now. After more than two thousand years of waiting, we have lost this urgency and spiritual preparedness when the Master comes. Today, the Gospel reminds us that whether the Master’s coming is near or not, we still have to be ready. This readiness should not be borne out of fear but of genuine love for the Master. Fear only makes us anxious and afraid, while love bestows the quality of joy in what we do because we have been always prepared. May we be prompt and proud when the Lord calls on us on the Last Day.

October 25th

1st Reading: Rom 6:12-18:
Brothers and sisters: Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not!

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

Gospel: Lk 12:39-48:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.

“But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

It seems that our Gospels nowadays take an apocalyptic turn. No wonder since we are nearing the end of our liturgical calendar when we will celebrate the Christ the King Sunday. It is also the image of the things to come when this age will close and end. It will see the triumph of Jesus as King of heaven and earth. Meanwhile, we are led to think about our state of preparations for the great day. The Gospel also reminds us that we have been told ahead about this coming future.

We have no cause to delay. A wise servant must handle his time as if it’s the time when the Lord will come again in glory. He is burdened by this advanced knowledge. If he who already knows, yet does not do something to make himself ready, he will be punished more than those who are ignorant. For knowledge is both a blessing and a responsibility. How one uses it will spell the difference between salvation and damnation.

October 26th

1st Reading: Rom 6:19-23:
Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel: Lk 12:49-53:
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Now the words of Jesus take an ominous turn. What we thought as feel good teachings have now given way to the harsh realities that await those who cling to Jesus. Their lives will not be easy. They will make hard choices because they insist on following Jesus. This reminds us that our discipleship does not come cheap. Sometimes, we have to give up what we most hold dear, our loved ones. Perhaps this is the reason why many are called but few are chosen. We have no courage to pay the price when it is called for. If until now our lives have been beds of roses and no cross has ever rocked our world, then we should question ourselves. The pain of the cross is the clearest sign of our discipleship. Without that we have nothing to boast. May we stand firm in our following of the Lord even when it costs us dearly.

October 27th

1st Reading: Rom 7:18-25a:
Brothers and sisters: I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gospel: Lk 12:54-59:
Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

It is strange how the emotional atmosphere can vary so greatly from family to family. In some families the tension between the members is almost palpable. There is little talk and no laughter. The faces are grim. One senses that currents of animosity and anger are flowing just below the surface of things. All members are divided against all. In other families we find quite the opposite. The members are relaxed and smiling. The conversation is animated and interrupted by bursts of laughter. There is affectionate bantering being tossed about.

Obviously there is a profound unity binding the members of such happy families. In today’s first reading the apostle Paul gives us the secret formula to become a happy family. He writes to the Ephesians: “Be humble, kind, patient, and bear with each other in love.” If every member of a given family would follow this simple but difficult advice, what peace, joy and union of hearts would follow! And here, let us notice that the first words of Paul are “be humble.” It is often our dear little ego which gets us into trouble. Let us ask the Lord Jesus for humility.

October 28th

Feast of St. Jude
St. Simon

1st Reading: Eph 2:19-22:
Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Gospel: Lk 6:12-16:
Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

There are major decisions in our lives that are sometimes heavy for us to bear alone. And so we resort to prayer, communing with God hoping that He will be with us when we finally make our choice. In the case of Jesus, this is not something added as an afterthought. Prayer always preceded His major decisions in life. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is about to choose from among His disciples those who will be His closest collaborators. He needs to talk with His Father. This is clearly a big decision to make. But even with prayer, Jesus still made a mistake in the person of Judas Iscariot. This reminds us that things do not always go our way even if we have prayed over it. They have a purpose that we don’t know. Surprises in life occur and we have to be ready. May our faith be big enough to accept when things go contrary to what we desire.