Bible Diary for September 3rd – September 9th
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Gregory the Great
1st Reading: Jer 20:7-9:
You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day. I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
2nd Reading: Rom 12:1-2:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Gospel: Mt 16:21-27:
Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
It is easier to follow those who are successful and famous. Everybody loves a winner. But to follow someone in good times and bad requires deep conviction. You have to be convinced of the justness of your cause. The disciples were not exempt from our human tendencies. They were on a roll when Jesus was popular and successful in His public ministry. But being the realist, He disclosed to them the kind of fate that inevitably awaited Him. He would have to drink the cup of suffering and death before His glorious resurrection. Even this momentary setback is bitter in the mouth of the disciples. Peter objected.
This should not mar the triumph that they have right now. This is where the greatness of Jesus shines through. He does not promise His followers a rose-colored life but greatness that comes out from the willingness to suffer. Henceforth all who will follow Him will have no illusion on the kind of fate that awaits them. They will either follow Him or not, with eyes wide open. Am I a follower of the Lord only in good times and do I tend to fall behind when the going gets rough? Today I make an inventory of my brand of following the Lord and identify the times I broke lose when it was tough not to do so. I will make a sincere act of contrition for my failings and will resolve to start afresh with my discipleship to Christ.
1st Reading: 1 Thes 4:13-18:
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.
Gospel: Lk 4:16-30:
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
“Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
Goodwill is usually maintained if we but stick to less contentious topics in our speech and speak of motherhood statements with which everyone agrees. However, once we point out people’s failures and defects, a conflict situation arises. Goodwill is lost. Hostility replaces the once friendly atmosphere. Jesus was acceptable to His townsfolk until such time that He waded into the controversy of His person. The people who knew Him were awed by His speech yet they could not do away with their doubts about Him since they knew His origin. So, Jesus, pointing the reason for the lack of miracles in His town, earned their ire. Love and respect were lost. Jesus would never make significant inroads in His town for the rest of His life.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
1st Reading: 1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11:
Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober. For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.
Gospel: Lk 4:31-37:
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
They say that if you want to get to know yourself better, ask your enemies for they will tell you in detail all your failures and shortcomings. On the part of Jesus, the evil spirits disclosed His identity as the Holy One of God. That is the most embarrassing thing they could say about Him. And coming from the mouth of enemies, this testimony should weigh far more important than those coming from Jesus’ friends. The evil spirits will never voluntarily disclose the grandeur of Jesus’ being had they had other bad things to say about Him.
1st Reading: Col 1:1-8:
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the holy ones and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. Of this you have already heard through the word of truth, the Gospel, that has come to you. Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you, from the day you heard it and came to know the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a trustworthy minister of Christ on your behalf and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
Gospel: Lk 4:38-44:
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Jesus leaves the synagogue and immediately radiates healing and wholeness wherever He goes. Having been recharged in the holy place He now has the energy to do His ministry. Perhaps this passage tells us that Jesus is most effective when He starts His day with a prayer. After a long day’s work, He still has space for a solitary moment with His Father. He does not consider it a loss of time for rest. It amplifies the benefits He gets from a night of sleep. This constancy in prayer will be one of the cherished memories of His disciples about Him. They must have rightly intuited that the source of Jesus’ fecundity in mission is His time spent in communion with God His Father.
1st Reading: Col 1:9-14:
Brothers and sisters: From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Gospel: Lk 5:1-11:
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
This Gospel provides us information on the unique approach Jesus used to “catch” Simon Peter and James and John, Zebedee’s sons. He was doing His normal rounds of preaching and it so happened by the lake of Gennesaret. Jesus espied these fishermen who were deeply concerned with their losses for that day rather than listening to His words. To catch their attention, he engaged the services of one of them, Simon Peter, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He continued His preaching and when He finished, He told Simon to put into the deep. Little did Simon know that on that day, it was not only him and his companions who caught so much fish. Jesus also would make a good haul of three disciples who would later form the inner circle of the group.
Birth of the Virgin Mary
1st Reading: Mi 5:1-4a:
The Lord says: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, And the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.) He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.
Gospel: Mt 1:1-16, 18-23:
The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”
Modern human being prides in being “self-made“—unique and original—and consequently suffers from utter loneliness and depression. Thankfully, the notion of being self-made is a lie. No one fathers (or mothers) oneself: Life is given in love and received with joy. We carry the legacy and heritage of all those who have gone before us. It is this connectedness and being part of something or someone else that the genealogy of Jesus presents before us. We celebrate the Nativity of Mary today—the feast that reminds us that Mary too wasn‘t self-made, but was born of a set of parents who had a significant part in shaping her life. We can be pretty sure that Mary remained grateful to her parents for their role in her life, and to God who was God-with-her. In moments of loneliness, it helps to remind ourselves of our genealogy that links us all the way to God.
St. Peter Claver
1st Reading: Col 1:21-23:
Brothers and sisters: You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds; God has now reconciled you in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister.
Gospel: Lk 6:1-5:
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
Jesus’ movement is now gaining recognition. He is placed under surveillance by the spiritual guardians of the nation. It is no wonder therefore that they keep on complaining to Jesus about how unorthodox and out of line His disciples were. They make it their business to know what is going on in this new group. Instead of getting annoyed, Jesus capitalized on their criticisms by opening their eyes to a perspective that they neglected simply because they had been steeped in the legalistic framework of their faith. These precedents were made by heroes of the nation in breaking certain rules because they put premium on the good of their men rather than man-made laws and conventions. He is now inviting them to refocus their vision. He is inviting them to partake of the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.