Bible Diary for October 8th – October 14th
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Is 5:1-7:
Let me now sing of my friend, my friend’s song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard:
What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? Now, I will let you know what I mean to do with my vineyard: take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his cherished plant; he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!
2nd Reading: Phil 4:6-9:
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Gospel: Mt 21:33-43:
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”
Jesus has an ongoing conversation with the chief priests and elders in view of having a common agreement with the teachings of Jesus. However, the rift and the divide get wider and bigger. No matter how much Jesus tried, the religious leaders were set in their ways and convinced of their own righteousness. Thus they missed the time of their visitation. There is nothing as unfortunate as a closed mind and a hard head. Throw in pride and you have a deadly combination. How have I been behaving lately with regard to the things that I have? Do I have an owner’s mentality or that of a steward? Today I am reminded by the Gospel that all I have comes from the Lord and I have to administer them wisely and should respond to this generous God with my own acts of generosity to others. I should care more for what I have and share these resources to others to the best that I can.
St. Denis and Companions
St. John Leonardi
1st Reading: Jon 1:1–2:1-2, 11:
This is the word of the Lord that came to Jonah, son of Amittai: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the Lord. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the Lord. The Lord, however, hurled a violent wind upon the sea, and in the furious tempest that arose the ship was on the point of breaking up. Then the mariners became frightened and each one cried to his god. To lighten the ship for themselves, they threw its cargo into the sea. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, and lay there fast asleep.
The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Rise up, call upon your God! Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.” Then they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots to find out on whose account we have met with this misfortune.” So they cast lots, and thus singled out Jonah. “Tell us,” they said, “what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country, and to what people do you belong?” Jonah answered them, “I am a Hebrew, I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!– They knew that he was fleeing from the Lord, because he had told them.– They asked, “What shall we do with you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more turbulent.
Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you; since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you.” Still the men rowed hard to regain the land, but they could not, for the sea grew ever more turbulent. Then they cried to the Lord: “We beseech you, O Lord, let us not perish for taking this man’s life; do not charge us with shedding innocent blood, for you, Lord, have done as you saw fit.” Then they took Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea’s raging abated. Struck with great fear of the Lord, the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him. But the Lord sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From the belly of the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God. Then the Lord commanded the fish to spew Jonah upon the shore.
Gospel: Lk 10:25-37:
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
It is easier to memorize the laws and precepts that would lead to a good life. If you possess a better than average intelligence, committing them to memory would be a breeze. But their actual application to life is something else. It is not only the brain that is involved here. The heart and soul must follow what has been recognized by the head. They too must give their own inputs to make the concepts operational. This is the area which we find most difficult. Concepts are easy to wrestle with; how to act on them is not. And so we are like the young man of the Gospel asking the Lord to show us the way. Jesus was not called Teacher for nothing. He teaches us the correct application of the things we learned from Him.
1st Reading: Jon 3:1-10:
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,” when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his nobles: “Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish.” When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
Gospel: Lk 10:38-42:
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Sitting at the feet of the Lord or serving Him by serving others: these are the two sides of following of the Lord. Both are equally important. But in the order of doing, listening to the voice of the Master and strengthening our relationship with Him takes precedence. Our doing should be grounded on our attentive listening to God and any apostolate that we undertake should spring from our prayer. Without this sitting at the master’s feet, all our actions would be bereft of guidance and direction coming from the Lord. Putting into effect His will is already hard. Putting into operation our will would be harder. This is the reason why Mary had chosen the better portion. It was the better part to start working for God’s project.
St. John XXIII
1st Reading: Jon 4:1-11:
Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh. He prayed, “I beseech you, Lord, is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loath to punish. And now, Lord, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord asked, “Have you reason to be angry?” Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it, where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city.
And when the Lord God provided a gourd plant that grew up over Jonah’s head, giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort, Jonah was very happy over the plant. But the next morning at dawn God sent a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind; and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint. Then Jonah asked for death, saying, “I would be better off dead than alive.”
But God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”
Gospel: Lk 11:1-4:
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
We have fond memories of those we love. These memories mark our understanding and appreciation of their person. The disciples’ memory of Jesus is marked by His deep and profound prayer life. So much so that they were inspired to emulate His example. They asked Him to teach them how to pray. Because of this, the only prayer that Jesus taught them and us is the one recorded in the Gospel.
The Our Father is simply strings of words that convey our sentiments to the Father. By itself it could not bring us to holiness. It is what happens inside, the inner transformation that matters. Jesus can only teach us the words He used while praying. It is our own personal labor to put substance to these borrowed words in our life.
1st Reading: Mal 3:13-20b:
You have defied me in word, says the Lord, yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping his command, And going about in penitential dress in awe of the Lord of hosts? Rather must we call the proud blessed; for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity.” Then they who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively; And a record book was written before him of those who fear the Lord and trust in his name.
And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; Between the one who serves God, and the one who does not serve him. For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, And the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.
Gospel: Lk 11:5-13:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Persistence is the greater part of asking. This is proven in the Gospel by the insistent friend to the point of being a nuisance. The problem is, sometimes when we ask something from the Lord we are sensitive and easily slighted. A small delay, some inconveniences, that come with the asking and silence from God are interpreted as rejection and we easily give up, sore at the Lord who does not accede to our wishes. But beggars can’t be choosers. They cannot dictate the terms in this particular transaction. They can only wait. So while waiting, we have to keep up the effort. God surrenders willingly to those who are persistent.
1st Reading: Jl 1:13-15; 2:1-2:
Gird yourselves and weep, O priests! wail, O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! The house of your God is deprived of offering and libation. Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, Into the house of the Lord, your God, and cry to the Lord! Alas, the day! for near is the day of the Lord, and it comes as ruin from the Almighty. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; Yes, it is near, a day of darkness and of gloom, a day of clouds and somberness! Like dawn spreading over the mountains, a people numerous and mighty! Their like has not been from of old, nor will it be after them, even to the years of distant generations.
Gospel: Lk 11:15-26:
When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”
Those who will not believe will always find a reason to reinforce their unbelief. They might go through the motions of searching for the truth but since their heart is set, no amount of proof will sway them. In today’s Gospel, people accused Jesus of driving demons by the power of the prince of demons, Beelzebul. Others wanted that He justify Himself by way of heavenly signs. There was not much that could be done here since they had already judged Him. So Jesus did not indulge their pettiness. Rather he strove to reason with them to demonstrate that His healing could not possibly come from the evil one. After all, the healings He did were miraculous signs that unfolded before their very eyes yet they refused to believe. One more would not make a difference.
St. Callistus I
1st Reading: Jl 4:12-21:
Thus says the Lord: Let the nations bestir themselves and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there will I sit in judgment upon all the neighboring nations. Apply the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; Come and tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for great is their malice. Crowd upon crowd in the valley of decision; For near is the day of the Lord in the valley of decision. Sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withhold their brightness. The Lord roars from Zion, and from Jerusalem raises his voice; The heavens and the earth quake, but the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the children of Israel.
Then shall you know that I, the Lord, am your God, dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain; Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through her no more. And then, on that day, the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; And the channels of Judah shall flow with water: A fountain shall issue from the house of the Lord, to water the Valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a waste, and Edom a desert waste, Because of violence done to the people of Judah, because they shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem for all generations. I will avenge their blood, and not leave it unpunished. The Lord
dwells in Zion.
Gospel: Lk 11:27-28:
While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”
At first glance, Jesus seemed to deflect the praise given to His mother and re-channel it instead to those who hear God’s word and keep it. But a deeper reading of His words will tell us that He is elevating the virtues of Mary, not because she was His biological mother but because she accepted the Word of God without hesitation and allowed herself to be God’s vessel in the incarnation of His Son. It is true that Mary’s blessedness will always be connected to Jesus. That is why the woman in the crowd praised her because she had an extraordinary Son. But the Son would not have been Man if not for Mary’s docility to God’s word. That is why the Son praised his mother because of her extraordinary reception of, and obedience to, the word of God.