Bible Diary for September 10th – September 16th

10 de septiembre

23º domingo de tiempo ordinario

1st Reading: Ez 33:7-9:
Thus says the Lord: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die, ” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

2nd Reading: Rom 13:8-10:
Brothers and sisters: Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, ” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Evangelio: Mt 18: 15-20:
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

The wellbeing and harmony of the community is threatened when two or more members are not at peace with one another. It is because of its repercussion to the community that every conflict is a communitarian responsibility. First, on effort to reconcile is done on the level of the conflicting parties; then, with their close friends and acquaintances up to the assembly, when the first two efforts on mediation fail. It is thus not a simple matter when we do something wrong even on the personal level.

There will always be a social dimension to our every act. With this in mind, it is imperative to develop a clear social conscience that takes the common good as a factor in every act we do. The world would be a better place if we care enough for the good of others as we care for our own good. I usually have occasions of misunderstanding with others. Sometimes I become passionate with the differences that we have. But today is a day of healing and reconciliation. I will forgive those who hurt me and I will ask forgiveness from those whom I have hurt today.

11 de septiembre

Primera lectura: Col 1: 24–2: 3:
Brothers and sisters: I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.

It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you and for those in Laodicea and all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love, to have all the richness of assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Evangelio: Lucas 6: 6-11:
On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored. But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.

There was an objection from the Pharisees because Jesus was breaking their rules by healing on the Sabbath; their position (their power) was being threatened. There are many like them, whose position and power depend on others remaining powerless. This kind of power always has an agenda, it is power over or against others. It is a jockeying for position and privilege; fundamentally it is aggression. This kind of power exists wherever there are people who have not been converted by the gospel; it exists in the Church, where there are many unconverted. A question for a quiet hour: when was the last time I empowered anyone but myself?

12 de septiembre

Santísimo Nombre de la Santísima Virgen María

Primera lectura: Col 2: 6-15:
Brothers and sisters: As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ. For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.

You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross; despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it.

Evangelio: Lc 6, 12-19:
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Christian faith does not rest on a dogma or any philosophical idea. It rests on a relationship with one person—the person of Christ. Everything else emerges from this personal and collective relationship with, and in Christ. Paul advises us: “Let Christ be your doctrine.” In him dwells the fullness of God. To him all cosmic power and authority belong. In him all beings converge. He connects the heavens and the earth. Being one with God, he stands with us. Luke tells us poignantly: “Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood on a level place.” One who is God stands on a par with us and calls us to be his disciples. Let us gather around him, reach out and touch him, and receive the power that comes out of him and heals us all.

13 de septiembre

San Juan Crisóstomo

Primera lectura: Col 3: 1-11:
Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.

By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

Evangelio: Lucas 6: 20-26:
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

How can people who are at the losing end like the poor, the hungry, the weeping and the likes be ever fortunate in this world? Isn’t it that they represent a sorry lot? That would probably be true if we set our sight only in the here and now, and in this world. But if we expand our horizon and include eternity, the words of Jesus make sense. They are true especially if we suffer all these because we follow Him faithfully.

It is faith that makes us believe that a glorious future awaits those who suffer on behalf of the Lord. How to explain it might be a problem, limited as we are; but countless men and women have risked and found the word of the Lord to be true. And so we are not treading on new ground; a cloud of witnesses have been ahead of us. May their examples and their ultimate triumph inspire us to go on despite hardships and tribulations.

14 de septiembre

Triunfo de la santa cruz

1st Reading: Nm 21:4b-9:
With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” In punishment the Lord sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

2da lectura: Filipenses 2: 6-11:
Brothers and sisters: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Evangelio: Jn 3, 13-17:
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The feast of the Triumph of the Cross marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335 CE. On this feast, we are called upon to meditate on the salvific mystery of the Cross. The Israelites who were bitten by poisonous snakes looked up to the metal image of the fiery serpent on the standard and lived. Similarly, anyone bitten by the poisonous snakes of sin, who looks up to the living Christ on the Cross, shall not die, but live. It is God‘s will that everyone shall be saved. But we have the freedom of choice to look toward the Cross or away from it. The choice is ours; so are the consequences. Take a few minutes today to look at a cross and meditate on it. Keep gazing. What do you find there? Who is there? What happens to you as you keep gazing?

15 de septiembre

Nuestra Señora de los Dolores

1st Reading: 1 Tm 1:1-2, 12-14:
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: Jn 19:25-27:
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

How does the sword that pierces Mary‘s heart reveal thoughts of other hearts? Perhaps it is a prophetic reference to how our hearts reveal their biases and prejudices when faced with the sufferings of others, especially of those on the margins. When a woman was caught in adultery and shamed in public, didn‘t it reveal the dark thoughts of many (John 8:3-4)? In our own times, how do our hearts respond when we hear stories of women disenfranchised, neglected, raped, and killed? Or of children dying of hunger? Or of people with HIV-AIDS are cast away? Do our hearts reveal compassion and care? Or do they reveal indifference and apathy, or even sheer cruelty?

16 de septiembre

Sts. Cornelio y chipriota

1st Reading: 1 Tm 1:15-17:
Beloved: This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel: Lk 6:43-49:
Jesus said to his disciples: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”

There is a saying that thought generates speech, and speech generates action. If this is true, then He who informs your thoughts will also influence your words and actions. Jesus points out that what is inside is manifested by how we speak and act externally. That is one motivation enough to select only what is good to store in our heart and mind. This is a strong invitation to us listeners to hear His words and to let it be the motivation of our speech and action. In doing so, we are building a strong foundation for our future like a house built on solid ground. We will have the mind and heart of Jesus. He will recognize us when He comes again in His glory.