Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

But I say to you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks, and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favors to those who are good to you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of grace is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return. But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For he is kind toward the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Don’t be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Reflections

For many people, the challenge of Jesus is the most difficult passage in the Gospel. It seems to express a way of life that is totally unrealistic and unattainable. We live today in a world of great violence, of terrorism, of violence and murder, of summary executions and extrajudicial killing. Where do Jesus’ words fit in? “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.” We may feel that we are unable to follow this teaching. We think it would only encourage those people to behave even worse. But Jesus is extending love to the enemy and the sinners. This is the core of Jesus’ teaching, which he himself lived. The Golden Rule which is often expressed as “Do not do to others what you would not want them do to you” is expressed positively by Jesus. This, in fact, is the love that God has for us. It is a an expression of unconditional love. God reaches out in merciful love to every single person without exception. God wills the fullest well-being of every single person. To love as God loves is to focus more on the needs of others. What is hurting inside them that drives them to such behavior? We begin to ask why do they have to act in this way. We can only do this if we have a strong inner sense of security and self-acceptance and above all having ourselves experienced God’s prodigal love.

 © Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 24:42-51

Stay awake then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Obviously, if the owner of the house knew at what time the thief was coming, he would certainly stay up and not allow his house to be broken into. So be alert, for the Son of Man will come at the hour you least expect. Imagine a faithful and prudent servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time. Fortunate, indeed, is that servant, whom his master will find at work when he comes. Truly I say to you, his lord will entrust him with everything he has. Not so with the bad servant, who thinks, ‘My master is delayed.’ And he begins to ill-treat his fellow servants, while eating and drinking with drunkards. But his master will come on the day he does not know, and at the hour he least expects. He will punish that servant severely; and place with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Reflections

Stay awake then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come. On his deathbed, St. Stanislaus Kostka was asked if he feared death. He replied, "None at all. My heart is ready, O God! My heart is ready!" Wheelchair-bound, Karl Rahner was asked whether he feared death. He replied that to die is to be thrust into the awaiting arms of God. We fear dying because of our fear of pain. We may fear death because of the uncertainty of what lies beyond. We may fear judgment because of the manner we have lived our lives. Let us pray for readiness to encounter the Lord at any moment in our life.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

 

 

Gospel: Mt 19:13-15

Then little children were brought to Jesus, that he might lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded those who brought them. Jesus then said, “Let the children be! Don’t hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are humble, like these children.” Jesus laid his hands on them and went away.

Reflections

I do not want the death of anyone but that you be converted and live! Ezekiel explains that we each will be judged according to our actions. The guilt of our forebears cannot be passed on to us, for we are each accountable for our deeds. Neither can the virtues of our parents be genetically instilled in us. Nonetheless, psychology has made us aware of how our family history shapes us. But the Good News is that while our past influences us, it need not determine us. Through grace, we are free to determine the kind of persons we want to become and the way of life we choose to live.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 20:1-16

This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A landowner went out early in the morning, to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard. He went out again, at about nine in the morning and, seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.’ So they went. The owner went out at midday and, again, at three in the afternoon, and he made the same offer. Again he went out, at the last working hour — the eleventh — and he saw others standing around. So he said to them, ‘Why do you stand idle the whole day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ The master said, ‘Go, and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ Those who had gone to work at the eleventh hour came up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received one silver coin. On receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner. They said, ‘These last hardly worked an hour; yet, you have treated them the same as us, who have endured the heavy work of the day and the heat.’ The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So, take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Don’t I have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Why are you envious when I am kind?’ So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.”

Reflections

Take what is yours and go.

The parable about the vineyard workers who are all paid a full daily wage despite having labored unequal number of hours underscores God’s inclusive love. The daily wage is God’s love or salvation which is offered to all, whether one’s people had been called first or later on in history; whether one has been virtuous all one’s life or had turned to God at the end of one’s life. Like those who labored all day, we sometimes accuse God of dealing with us unfairly, perhaps because we cannot fathom the breadth and depth of God’s infinite love.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

 

Gospel: Mt 19:3-12

Some Pharisees approached him. They wanted to test him and asked, “Is a man allowed to divorce his wife for any reason he wants?” Jesus replied, “Have you not read that, in the beginning, the Creator made them male and female? And the Creator said: Therefore, a man shall leave father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body. So, they are no longer two, but one body. Let no one separate what God has joined.” They asked him, “Then why did Moses command us to write a bill of dismissal in order to divorce?” Jesus replied, “Moses knew the hardness of your hearts, so he allowed you to divorce your wives; but it was not so in the beginning. Therefore, I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, unless it be for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” The disciples said, “If that is the condition of a married man, it is better not to marry.” Jesus said to them, “Not everybody can accept what you have just said, but only those who have received this gift. There are eunuchs born so, from their mother’s womb. Some have been made that way by others. But there are some who have given up the possibility of marriage, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who can accept it, accept it.”

Reflections
Let no one separate what God has joined Jesus quotes the Old Testament, “Let no one separate what God has joined,” and defends the indissolubility of marriage, which is a sign of God’s undying love. Every sacrament makes visible God’s love and grace. In the Eucharist, the consecrated bread and wine make present the body and blood of our Lord. In marriage, the love of the couple for each other is the visible sign of God’s love. A couple that nourishes and cares for each other, understands and forgives one another, remains faithful to each other throughout their lives makes palpable God’s abiding love for the world.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” On hearing this, the disciples were astonished and said, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and answered, “For human beings it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter spoke up and said, “You see, we have given up everything to follow you. What, then, will there be for us?” Jesus answered, “You, who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, also, will sit, on twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name’s sake, they will receive a hundredfold, and be given eternal life. Many who are now first, will be last, and many who are now last, will be first.

Reflections


It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven Wealth in itself is not intrinsically evil. It is how we use it that can be sinful or virtuous. Similarly, knowledge and power are morally neutral entities. They may be used either for good or evil. The possession of any of these carries with them the responsibility to use them for the welfare of others. The possession of these though can enslave or sway a person to use them for one’s own selfish gain. Let us thank the Lord for all he has given us. And let us ask the grace to use all we have for the greater good.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 18:21—19:1

Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven: A king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment. The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free, but even canceled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ His fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt. Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.” Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.” When Jesus had finished these sayings, he left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea, on the other side of the Jordan River.

Reflections
Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is not the absence of hurt or anger. Instead it is a decision to treat my offender with respect and charity. But to forgive is also a process. The heart needs to heal and the anger needs to dissipate somewhat before I can decide to be magnanimous toward my offender. Moreover, to forgive is not only an act of charity toward the other, but also toward myself. The longer I refuse to forgive, the longer I remain miserable. But ultimately, to forgive is God’s grace operating within us.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 19:16-22

It was then, that a young man approached him and asked, “Master, what good work must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One, only, is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The young man said, “Which commandments?” Jesus replied, “Do not kill; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother. And love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these commandments. What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell all that you possess, and give the money to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.” On hearing this, the young man went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

Reflections

Sell all that you possess, and give the money to the poor The rich young man, though morally upright, could not leave behind his wealth in order to follow Jesus. Some, Jesus calls to literally leave everything behind and live a mendicant’s life, relying on God’s providence. Others, Jesus calls to renounce private ownership and take a vow of poverty. All of us however are invited to examine ourselves and identify our attachments — whether to persons or positions, to material things or comfort zones — that hinder us from following Jesus more perfectly. Let us ask for the grace of interior freedom so that we might be free to go wherever Jesus bids.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Lk 1:39-56


Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary‘s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord‘s word would come true!“ And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my savior! He has looked upon his servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name! From age to age his mercy extends to those who live in his presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised our fathers, Abraham and his descendants forever.“ Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.

Reflections


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.


Because she remained sinless, death could not touch her body. At the moment of death, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. She is thus the first to participate in her Son’s bodily resurrection. The Father and Son through the Spirit share with her the resurrection promised to all who remain faithful to the end; that is, redemption of one’s entire personhood and eternal communion with God. Mary is thus the icon of our ultimate aspirations. In her glorious Assumption, we glimpse what God offers us also — preservation of our transformed body and soul and eternal life with God.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Jn 6:51-58

I am the living bread from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.” The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. “My flesh is really food, and my blood is truly drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. This is the bread from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.”

Lectio Divina

Read: The theme of discerning runs through the readings today. Wisdom calls us out to take the path of discernment. Paul invites us to understand the will of God and follow it. The eucharistic discourse of Jesus is an invitation to discern the true bread that ensures eternal life.
Reflect: We do meet some people who seem to be inhabiting a world different from ours. When we meet genuinely spiritual people or those who have passionately and “foolishly” [in a worldly sense] dedicated their life to some just cause, we say that they are marching to a different drum. In other words, they are people who have discerned something deeper and beyond the ordinary and perceive life from a higher angle and respond accordingly. Jesus invites us today to apply such discernment in understanding who he is, which would enable us to live life differently meriting eternity.
Pray: Ask God for the gift of discernment of the divine in our everyday life.
Act: Write out a brief reflection on what the Eucharist means for you.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

Gospel: Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14


At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in my name, receives me. See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father. What do you think of this? If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you, when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it, than about the ninety-nine that did not go astray. It is the same with your Father in heaven. Your Father in heaven doesn’t want even one of these little ones to perish.

Reflections


Your Father in heaven doesn’t want even one of these little ones to perish In 1941, Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo, imprisoned in Pawiak then transferred to Auschiwtz where he was killed by the guards by a lethal injection of carbolic acid. It is not the manner of death that is remarkable but the circumstances that led to his execution. During his second month in Auschwitz, several inmates were chosen to be starved to death, in order to threaten those contemplating escaping from prison. Kolbe was not among those chosen but volunteered to take the place of an inmate with a family. He sacrificed his life that another may live.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2018

 

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