Bible Diary for June 2nd – June 8th

June 2nd

Corpus Christi domingo
Sts. Marcelino y Pedro

Primera lectura: Ex 24: 3-8:
When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the Lord, they all answered with one voice, “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.” Moses then wrote down all the words of the Lord and, rising early the next day, he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord, Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls; the other half he splashed on the altar. Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.” Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.”

2nd Reading: Heb 9:11-15:
Brothers and sisters: When Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Gospel: Mk 14:12-16, 22-26:
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.”

The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

God took us out from our sinfulness, blessed us with a new birth in baptism and broke us to be open with our vulnerabilities and in truly following his commandment of love so that we may be able to share in giving witness to the everlasting love he has offered for all of us. How do we truly understand the Eucharist that Christ has established for us? Are we truly nurtured by the Holy Eucharist to follow Christ every day of our lives? Lord Jesus in the Eucharist, you showed us how to be broken in order to share life. We humbly ask you to forgive us for the times that we do not share, avoiding to face our brokenness due to lack of faith in your steadfast and reassuring presence. Give us courage to see our true selves, Lord, and mold us to be a real source of your light and life for others. Amen. Make stronger your life with the Eucharist. Keep the Sabbath Day holy. Attend Mass every Sunday if not every day.

June 3rd

Sts. Charles Lwanga y Compañeros
San Kevin de Glendalough

1st Reading: 2 Pt 1:2-7:
Beloved: May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.

Gospel: Mk 12:1-12:
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture passage: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.

We have a wonderful God. He exerted all efforts to create a world where we can truly maximize our potentials. If the world is a vineyard, it has everything to keep it functioning at its best. And this is for our advantage. But how did we respond to God’s generosity? We took advantage of this world. We are ingrates who even plotted to take away from God the ownership of this world. And so we suffer so much now because of this. We are in an unprecedented time when we have the capacity to destroy the whole of creation. If we will not modify our greed, the very thing that we crave for will be taken away from us.

June 4th

1st Reading: 2 Pt 3:12-15a, 17-18:
Beloved: Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Gospel: Mk 12:13-17:
Some Pharisees and Herodians were sent to Jesus to ensnare him in his speech. They came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or should we not pay?” Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one to him and he said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” They were utterly amazed at him.

Undaunted allegiance to what is true demands nobility and courage. Noblesse oblige. Noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility. (Oxford English Dictionary). At first glance, the Pharisees looked as if they are in favor of Jesus. Perhaps, they were soliciting him to condemn the Roman Empire and its unjust rule of Palestine. But a closer scrutiny shows otherwise; it reveals their hypocrisy. Jesus’ answer exposed their evil intent. Since the Jews are under the Roman sovereignty, the rule requiring paying taxes must be observed. But he also gave a never-heard-before teaching.

In his answer Jesus wants to teach also that giving to Caesar what is his due is noble and demanded of every law abiding Hebrew. Though this obligation to the emperor can be an honor to God, it is never equated with worship. Some people remark that they always pay their tax, never defrauded anyone and robbed anything, why still call on God? Civil obligation is for the “City of Men,” love of God belongs to heaven. While keeping one’s feet on the ground, one needs to fix his eyes to heaven. “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor.” (1 P 2:13-17)

June 5th

San Bonifacio

1st Reading: 2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12:
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God for the promise of life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dear child: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God, whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day. For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.

He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher. On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Gospel: Mk 12:18-27:
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”

The Sadducees were aristocrats and more political than religious. They favored the Roman rule, because they received favors and money. Though they did not believe in the resurrection, it seemed at first that their question was in favor of the resurrection. They used this belief hypocritically to further their own agenda. Levirate marriage in Judaism is mandated by Torah (Dt 25:5-10) by which the brother of a man who died without children has an obligation to marry the widow. This is also a common tradition among the Huns, Mongols and Tibetans.

The intent of the law is continuation of the family and financial security of the widow. The Sadducees’ question presented subtleties, but more so their ignorance about God. If there is no resurrection, dead men don’t rise, there is no remarrying in heaven, therefore, God is not of the living, but of nothingness. Henri Nouwen said, “Unceasing prayer moves us from a self-centered monologue to a God-centered dialogue.” When learned theologians and wise men pray, they think about God and not with God. God becomes a theological disputation, an abstraction, not a living person. God in this sense is scrutinized, almost a nobody, an object of discussion.

June 6th

Memorial de la Santísima Virgen María, Madre de la Iglesia
San Norberto

1st Reading: 2 Tm 2:8-15:
Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. Remind people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about words. This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen. Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.

Gospel: Mk 12:28-34:
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Added to Halakhah (Jewish Law) that comes from the Torah (d’oraita) and numbers six hundred thirteen, there are laws from the rabbis (d’rabbanan) and another from long-standing customs (minhag). With such enormous quantity there is an ample room for pros and cons among the rabbis as to which one is the most important. The love of God includes not only exclusion of false gods but also love of neighbor and nature, living expressions of God’s love. Man is the living image who participates in God’s dignity in the perfection of the divine model. (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Hominis Opificio, 4: PG 44,136).

Sins committed against one’s neighbor and rampant destruction of ecological balance are conclusively a desecration of God’s image. If one cannot respect a fellowman, nothing would prevent that person from disrespecting the beauty of God’s imprint in creation. Man’s authority over creation is not “absolute, but ministerial: it is a real reflection of the unique and infinite lordship of God. Hence man must exercise it with wisdom and love, sharing in the boundless wisdom and love of God.” (Evangelium Vitae, No. 52) Otherwise, “the flower-bed” (Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso, XXII, 151) would be transformed into a catastrophic abyss.

June 7th

1st Reading: Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9:
Thus says the Lord: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not a man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

2nd Reading: Eph 3:8-12, 14-19:
Brothers and sisters: To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Gospel: Jn 19:31-37:
Since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

Working adults are on the top of job-stress sufferers; even children, teenagers and senior citizens are also subjected to stress because of crime, alcoholism, physical, and mental fatigue, and loss of strong social support due to family breakups. But what have these statistics to do with today’s Gospel? When people cry for help, what the world offers is strength in power or a scapegoat. The growing body of researchers ranks prayer and religion high among the best stress busters, according to Therese J. Borchard.

In her new book, The Super Stress Solution, Dr. Roberta Lee wrote: “Research shows that people who are more religious or spiritual use their spirituality to cope with life. They’re better able to cope with stress, they heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being.” “On an intellectual level, spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop trying to control things all by yourself. When you feel part of a greater whole, it’s easy to understand that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life,” she adds. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

June 8th

1st Reading: 2 Tm 4:1-8:
Beloved: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.

Gospel: Lk 2:41-51:
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

Jesus got “lost” so that his parents could find him. It is one of the ironies of the ministry that the very man who works in God’s name is often hardest put to find time for God. “The parents of Jesus lost Him at church, and they were not the last ones to lose Him there.” (Vance Havner) Finding our lost selves in God will help us clearly see our mission in life. This is what the Blessed Virgin did; after finding her “lost” Son, she pondered all things in her heart. Losing is part of life. We have lost things and people in life. We leave them in oblivion, especially those that have hurt us traumatically, such as loss of a marriage in divorce, loss of old friends and home. We have to resurrect those pains to reconcile ourselves with those losses. There are many emotions in finding those losses again. Regrets would not bring them back. Yet, we find better ways in coping with trials, if we face with resignation our loss. Indeed, losing and finding are not so bad after all. “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand (find) ourselves.” (Henry Thoreau)