Bible Diary for May 26th – June 1st

May 26th

Domingo de la trinidad
St. Philip Neri

1st Reading: Dt 4:32-34, 39-40:
Moses said to the people: “Ask now of the days of old, before your time, ever since God created man upon the earth; ask from one end of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live? Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the Lord, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other. You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you forever.”

2nd Reading: Rom 8:14-17:
Brothers and sisters: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel: Mt 28:16-20:
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Christianity is not monotheistic; it is Trinitarian, in fact. Our God is One, but within this oneness is the mystery of the Trinity, a community of three Persons who share in the one nature. This mystery cannot be comprehended by our minds; but it can be experienced through our living such Trinitarian communities of loving and sharing with our brothers and sisters on earth. No Christian can walk alone the path of his faith; he can only walk together in a community, reaching out to others holding them and being held by them. Pray for a Trinitarian heart that longs to connect with people around. Choose two other people, and together with them, spend some 30 minutes in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

May 27th

San Agustín de Canterbury

1st Reading: 1 Pt 1:3-9:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel: Mk 10:17-27:
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

Our possessions are blessings from God especially material possessions acquired honestly. It is but natural that we feel a certain closeness to these because they remind us of our efforts, in order to acquire them. Having them is already a blessing; little do we know that divesting them from ourselves will result to even greater blessings. The capacity to leave them behind ultimately rests on what we value most. Are we ready to enjoy spiritual blessings and delights in lieu of the material? The challenge is for us to get ready so that when the invitation of the Lord comes, we are ready.

How do I look at my possessions? If I use them well, I exercise dominion and control over them. If I keep them, fearing that they will diminish, I am possessed by them, and therefore letting go would be difficult. Perhaps I need to check myself today with regard to how I behave regarding my possessions in life. Lord, grant me the grace to take genuine delight in the fruits of my labor. May I find satisfaction in using them, the generosity to share them, and the magnanimity to let go of them when a higher calling beckons me in my life. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 28th

1st Reading: 1 Pt 1:10-16:
Beloved: Concerning the salvation of your souls the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the Good News to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.

Gospel: Mk 10:28-31:
Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

The Durers of Nuremberg were poor and their father was hard working. Albrecht Durer, the oldest son, went to Venice, while Albert worked with his hands in the coal mines and helped his brother financially. After his graduation, Albrecht told Albert he can study now and would support him. Albert said, “Look what the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed, my arthritic right hand prevents me from holding a glass to return your toast, and much less I can’t draw lines on canvas. No, brother, for me it is too late.”

To honor Albert for his great sacrifice, Albrecht lovingly drew his brother’s hands with palms and fingers stretched skyward in prayer. He called his phenomenal art “Hands,” (The Praying Hands). The eyes are the soul’s windows and hands express the soul. “Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched fists … Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me.” (H. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life)

May 29th

1st Reading: 1 Pt 1:18-25:
Beloved: Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious Blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished Lamb. He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another intensely from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for: “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.” This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Gospel: Mk 10:32-45:
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The chalice that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

“A body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest,” a TV advertisement says. Jesus in today’s Gospel wants to ascend, climb up: Greek, anabainó. For him to ascend is to go down first through suffering and death. He is on his final journey to Jerusalem. His mission in obedience to his Father’s will is to reach the finish line. The disciples, however, especially the sons of Zebedee, wanted to stay put and requested a place of honor, so were the ten who did not want to be outdone. It was the same scenario with Peter who desired to stay at the mountaintop of Transfiguration.

He did not want to go down to the valley of death. Jesus used the occasion to teach his disciples that the way to glory starts with humility and death. “It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” (Francis of Assisi) Human nature always seeks the easy way out. This is not true with sanctity. “Invention is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.” (Thomas Edison) The trip to heaven is hard and paved with crown of thorns. There is no alternative way. There is an easy way – to hell!

May 30th

Santa Juana de Arco

1st Reading: 1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12:
Beloved: Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul. Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Gospel: Mk 10:46-52:
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Jesus was determined to get to Jerusalem to finally fulfill his mandate. The mention of Jericho means that he is nearing the final destination. Bartimaues’ faith-journey is a love story. 1) He prayed hard and trusted in God’s mercy to heal his physical blindness and strengthen his spiritual vision. 2) Jesus called him. This call is God’s breaking into the human condition. 3) Climax: Bartimaues threw aside his cloak, a symbol of readiness to follow, of complete faith and obedience. 4) After his sight was restored back, he followed Jesus all the way to Jerusalem. 5) It ended in his “own little calvary.”

It was a love story from blindness to seeing Jesus. Seeing Jesus is immolating him by one’s life. We too have our faith-journey of repentance. 1) We asked God to heal us of our spiritual blindness, of losing a vision of grace by sinning. 2) By his grace, he calls us to the right path. 3) At the confessional, through the absolution, we received the formal sacramental forgiveness. 4) However, unlike Bartimaeus, we don’t throw completely away the cloak of sin. 5) We wander from God’s love again and again. We persist in our spiritual blindness.

May 31st

Visita de la Santísima Virgen María

1st Reading: Zep 3:14-18a:
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.

Evangelio: Lc 1, 39-56:
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

Mary visited Elizabeth upon learning that the latter was pregnant. And yet, it is the Lord who has visited both Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, barren all her life, would have been considered accursed by her people, as barrenness led to the decimation of the clan. In her advanced years, the Lord visited her and blessed her and Zechariah with a son, John. Mary was a maiden from a small and insignificant town of Nazareth. And yet the Lord visited her and chose her to bear our Savior, Jesus. In what ways has the Lord visited us, too, with his compassion?

June 1st

San justin

1st Reading: Jude 17, 20b-25:
Beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh. To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

Gospel: Mk 11:27-33:
Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”– they feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet. So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

When God revealed to Moses his holy name, Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, “I am what I am,” the great divide between heaven and earth disappears for a moment. Once revealed, this name exudes with sanctity, so it should be uttered once yearly. It is believed also that icons are merely not religious pictures, but are “windows on to heaven.” To say the name of God at some other time is sacrilegious. Once revealed, it had to be veiled again. A religious controversy started in 1907 in the monastic polity of Mount Athos, in the north Aegean Sea. On one side are the “deifiers,” and on the other side are the “glorifiers.”

The former holds that when “Jesus Prayer” is recited, heaven descends to earth in the form of divine energy. The glorifiers want to keep his name holy in heaven. (In the Name of the Name, The Economist, 12/22/1) Religious tension continues to flare up between mystics and religious authorities, and folk Catholicism and official church teachings. To favor one is to admit that the other is wrong. Religion is not either-or. In Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor is there male and female. Religion is essentially holistic.