Bible Diary for November 12th – November 18th

November 12th

Domingo 32 en tiempo ordinario
San Josaphat

1st Reading: Wis 6:12-16:
Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.

2nd 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.

Evangelio: Mt 25: 1-13:
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.

The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

To meditate on Wisdom is understanding fully grown; whoever is on the watch for her will be free of anxiety. Stressed out? That’s because we rely so much on ourselves. Our security and satisfaction is in God alone. Taking time to pray and reflect on God’s Word is a real necessity for our survival. Let us commit to pray with the Word of God regularly.

November 13th

San Frances Xavier Cabrini

1st Reading: Wis 1:1-7:
Love justice, you who judge the earth; think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in integrity of heart; Because he is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him. For perverse counsels separate a man from God, and his power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy; Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin. For the holy Spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels; and when injustice occurs it is rebuked. For wisdom is a kindly spirit, yet she acquits not the blasphemer of his guilty lips; Because God is the witness of his inmost self and the sure observer of his heart and the listener to his tongue. For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what man says.

Gospel: Lk 17:1-6:
Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Priests, religious and lay people share in the prophetic function of Jesus through the baptism. The baptized are teachers. Teaching needs constant studies, researches and reflections. We have to enlighten, lead people to the truth. A doctor who prescribes a wrong medicine to a patient, will only affect one person. While a teacher who teaches wrongly, will bring many to falsehood, to wrong doings, to sin. It is “better for that person (to be thrown into the sea to die) than to cause one of these little ones to fall.” “Crooked thinking distances you from God.”

“Lord, increase our faith” was the request of the apostles. Jesus‘ reply was scientific, He explained how a small mustard seed grow naturally, it sprouts, grows, gets bigger branches then bears fruit. Faith has been planted in us. It will increase (grow) if cared for and given the nutrients. Fr. Romy Castro, SVD prescribed spiritual vitamins needed to grow: Vitamin A–Active attendance at church, Vitamin B–Basic Bible reading, Vitamin C–Caring service, Vitamin D-Daily prayer, Vitamin E–Eucharist. To these vitamins let me add, Vitamin S–Sacraments. With these nutrients, we will be spiritually healthy. Our faith will grow and will bear lasting fruits.

November 14th

1st Reading: Wis 2:23–3:9:
God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them. But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it. But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.

For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.

Gospel: Lk 17:7-10:
Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

In today’s first reading we see the apostle Paul giving advice to various groups of Christians. Perhaps it is revealing, in this connection, that the first advice he gives to each group seems to fit that group particularly well. Thus he exhorts Titus to tell the older men to be sober. Why this advice? Because older men can easily become alcoholics if they are not careful, as we all know. The young men, on the other hand, are told to be self-controlled. A good advice for young males with hot blood in their veins, who are tempted to brag, to attempt dangerous stunts, run after skirts, etc.

But the third group, the older women, are told to abstain from gossip. Ah, gossip! Who among us does not enjoy to pass on a juicy tidbit of gossip? And, if someone approaches us with the magic words, “Did you know what X did yesterday?” how can we restrain our curiosity? Yet gossip is the most insidious poison of charity. It destroys reputations like nothing else. And it is spread under the pretext that “I am only telling the truth about people.” We all know the expression “character assassination.” Well, gossip kills. No Christian should indulge in it or encourage it in any way.

November 15th

San Alberto el Grande

1st Reading: Wis 6:1-11:
Hear, O kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels. Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted– For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.

For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends. To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin. For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy, and those learned in them will have ready a response. Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.

Gospel: Lk 17:11-19:
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

After the healing of the ten lepers, the focus narrows to one of the ten, who alone turns back glorifying God and prostrating himself at Jesus‘ feet thanking him. Only after he prostrates himself in thanksgiving do we learn that the one who has turned back in this borderland is a Samaritan. Samaritans were the unwelcome outsiders of Jesus‘ day, and we can think about unwanted refugees or overseas contract workers today. These unappealingly different and unwelcome outsiders, along with outsiders, generally, are received positively by Jesus.

The story of the grateful Samaritan offers us another image of who and what matters to Jesus and should, therefore, matter to us. Cleansing of lepers is an identifying marker for Jesus‘ mission in 7:22: “Go and tell John . . . the lepers are cleansed.” There is no doubt something to be understood here about the people who live on the margins of our communities, who are treated as invisible or unwanted because of how they look or who they are or where they come from. Jesus clearly notices and loves them and calls us to do the same.

November 16th

Santa Margarita de Escocia
Santa Gertrudis

1st Reading: Wis 7:22b–8:1:
In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, Not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, Firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, And pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle. For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion, and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.

For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; And passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets. For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom. For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars. Compared to light, she takes precedence; for that, indeed, night supplants, but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom. Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things well.

Gospel: Lk 17:20-25:
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

Who does not like fireworks? It is always fascinating to see the rockets, those swift shafts of light shooting through the dark sky, suddenly exploding into a multicolored ball of gigantic sparks. Well, it seems that many Christians would like Christianity to be as full of surprises and as entertaining as a fireworks show. They would want flashy things to happen, so that the rest of the world would be alerted to the fact that things are moving on the Christian scene!

Yet, nothing much seems to happen, at least nothing that can create headlines in the newspapers. Why not, they ask in dismay. The answer to these questions is given in today’s gospel reading. For at the time of Jesus some Pharisees were also on the lookout for the Kingdom of God and they expected some kind of spiritual fireworks. But Jesus tells them that there is nothing spectacular about the Kingdom of God, that it is already among them (a better translation than within). He is referring here (cf. Lk 10:9, 11; 11:2a) to the occasions when people turn to God. There is nothing spectacular in a conversion, yet it changes one’s destiny forever.

November 17th

Santa Isabel de Hungría

1st Reading: Wis 13:1-9:
All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan; But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods. Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them.

Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them. For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him. For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. But again, not even these are pardonable. For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Gospel: Lk 17:26-37:
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

These texts are not intended to fill us with fear and foreboding of a capricious and judgmental God. They are timely advice not to be caught napping but to remain alert to do good with what each day offers. It is good advice not just for the end of our lives but for every day and every moment of the day. If I am ready now, I will be ready when the final judgment comes. By living consciously in the presence of God, in the ever-present now and living fully what matters most in the moment, we are not postponing what can be done today.

Far from being afraid, we will look forward to the day with anticipation, leaving totally in God‘s hands the hour of his call. In practice, too, that final call will not coincide with the end of the world but with the moment when we face our own mortality and remember what kind of life have we lived. There is no doubt that death comes at any moment. What is important is the accountability of our stewardship. How have we lived our lives? Have we made a difference in our families and communities? Or simply answering two basic questions as we make the journey through life: Have I found joy in my life? Have I given joy to others?

November 18th

Santa Rosa filipina Duchesne
Dedicación de las basílicas de los apóstoles Pedro y Pablo

1st Reading: Wis 18:14-16; 19:6-9:
When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land, bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth. For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew, serving its natural laws, that your children might be preserved unharmed. The cloud overshadowed their camp; and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging: Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road, and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood. Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand, after they beheld stupendous wonders. For they ranged about like horses, and bounded about like lambs, praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.

Gospel: Lk 18:1-8:
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

We all know people who won’t take no for an answer. You refuse them once, they insist. You refuse them again, they insist again. Finally, you shoo them away with a violent outburst of temper. And you think that the matter is settled. But it isn’t. The petitioners return on the next day and beg you to listen to them. You refuse again, explaining as patiently as you can why you are refusing their petition. But they ignore your explanations, merely repeating and repeating their request with a great show of despair. They even hang on to your clothes like gnats or pests.

What do you do after a while? You throw your hands in the air and grant them their request—against your better judgment, of course. But what is the alternative? Lose your mind? The parable in today’s gospel reading reflects a similar situation and presents a thoroughly annoying widow who pesters a wicked judge endlessly—until he finally gives in to save his sanity. Jesus tells us here that we must not fear to insist and importune God with our requests. If a wicked judge finally gives in to a perseverant request, how much more a kind Father?