Daily Bible Reflections

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:37 pm

September 9, 2010


St. Peter Claver, priest
Thursday of the 23rd Week

1 Cor 8:1b-7, 11-13
Ps 139
Lk 6:27-38


Love of Enemies

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 27“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. 35But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful.
37“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. 38Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

LOVE OF ENEMIES

For the Jews, people are either neighbors or enemies. “Neighbors” are family or clan members, or are fellow Jews. The Jews are enjoined to love their neighbors as they love themselves (Lv 19:8). With regard to a “stranger”—one who is not a member of a tribe or is a non-Israelite—the Jews exhibit a paradoxical combination of hostility and friendliness. They are enjoined to offer hospitality, yet they view a stranger with suspicion.
The “enemies” in the Gospel include people who do direct harm, and the outsiders or foreigners with whom one does not associate. Jesus tells his disciples to behave towards strangers the way they would behave towards members of their own household. Ordinary people love their family and friends. The disciples are to surpass this by loving “strangers,” by not having recourse to generalizing or stereotyping. The Golden Rule tells us to refrain from doing to others what displeases us, and to do good things to them out of the goodness of our hearts.
The attitude of Jesus and of the primitive Church toward the foreigner was thus revolutionary. When the community of believers accepted the Gentiles, the foreigners who joined them would soon outnumber the ethnic Jews.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:44 am

September 10, 2010


St. Nicholas of Tolentino
Friday of the 23rd Week

1 Cor 9:16-19, 22b-27
Ps 84
Lk 6:39-42


Judging Others

39[Jesus told his disciples] a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? 40No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. 41Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

BLIND PERSON

Blindness was very common in the Near East. The Bible recognizes two forms of blindness: (1) trachoma, a contagious infection of the inner mucous lining the eyelids (the conjunctiva) and of the cornea, usually transmitted by flies and poor hygiene; and (2) blindness due to old age, said of Isaac (Gn 27:1) and the priest Eli (1 Sm 3:2).
Because of the pitiful condition of the blind, the Mosaic Law prescribes kindness and assistance to them and forbids putting a “stumbling block” in their path (Lv 19:14; Dt 27:18).
In saying that a blind person cannot guide another blind person, Jesus is condemning a presumptuous, self-serving attitude. The self-proclaimed leader presumes to be a master of another’s destiny. To avoid disastrous consequences, the guide (teacher) needs clear vision. The disciple can be a true guide only when he becomes like his teacher Jesus. How can he do justice to his responsibility to others if he himself has not been thoroughly grounded in God’s word, if he has not made it his own?

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:21 pm

September 11, 2010


St. Ambrose Edward Barlow
Saturday of the 23rd Week

1 Cor 10:14-22
Ps 116
Lk 6:43-49


A Tree Known by Its Fruit; The Two Foundations


[Jesus said to his disciples,] 43“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. 44For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. 45A 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.
46“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? 47I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. 48That one is like a person 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. 49But 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.”

BUILDING A HOUSE


Both the Matthean “Sermon on the Mount” and Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” end with a “demonstration story” of two foundations. Scholars claim that the evangelists derive their materials from the Quelle, their common source. Luke has “rock” and “without foundation” while Matthew has “rock” and “sand.” Luke perhaps thinks that a person building “without foundation” is more plausible than a person building on sand. Luke also states a building process: the builder digs deeply and lays the foundation on rock.
“Building a house” is a metaphor of building a house of life. It involves all human activity and capacity: thoughts, speech, and practice. It begins from a person’s early education and ends only with death.
The disciple “builds his life” on Jesus. He must not be content with being a listener of Jesus; he must act on Jesus’ words. Being thus founded firmly on Jesus, he bears good fruits in words and deeds. He stands the test of time and opposition.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:35 am

September 12, 2010


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ex 32:7-11, 13-14
Ps 51
1 Tm 1:12-17

Lk 15:1-32 (or 15:1-10)


The Parables of the Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and the Lost Son

1The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to [Jesus], 2but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3So to them he addressed this parable... 11Then he said, “A man had two sons, 12and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. 14When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. 16And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 18I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” ’ 20So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. 25Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 27The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 30But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ 31He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 32But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ ”

A Love Without Condition

Luke’s parable of the lost son (vv 11-32) used to perplex me. Where is the mother in this drama? Poor father, I thought, torn alone between extreme forces: the younger son, a restless lot, and the elder son, rigid, repressed in his desires.
Henri Nouwen’s commentary on Rembrandt’s painting of the same episode gave me the answer: “The mother is in the father.” Just look at the hands, says Nouwen: “The longer I look at ‘the patriarch,’ the clearer it becomes to me that Rembrandt has done something quite different from letting God pose as the wise old head of a family. It all began with the hands. The two are quite different. The father’s left hand touching the son’s shoulder is strong and muscular. The fingers are spread out and cover a large part of the prodigal son’s shoulder and back... How different is the father’s right hand! This hand does not hold or grasp. It is refined, soft, and very tender. The fingers are close to each other and they have an elegant quality. It lies gently upon the son’s shoulder. It wants to caress, to stroke, and to offer consolation and comfort. It is a mother’s hand... The Father is not simply a great patriarch. He is mother as well as father. He touches the son with a masculine hand and a feminine hand. He holds, and she caresses. He confirms, and she consoles.”
Such is our God in this beautiful Lucan parable. In holding us to himself and in seeking us when we draw away from him, he is firm and tenacious like a father. On the other hand, she is tender and comforting like a mother, in welcoming us and assuring us that there is always room for forgiveness, mercy, and love in God’s great family, especially for the lost, the sinner, the least.
Finally, we need to remember that the center of all three parables in Luke 15 is the joy that God experiences in the recovery and return of someone who wanders away from God’s love. All three repeat the line: “Rejoice with me!” (vv 6-7; 9-10; 23-24; 32). In fact, that is how the whole story starts: the Pharisees and scribes begin to murmur because Jesus (God’s Son) “welcomes sinners and eats with them” (v 2). Indeed, the Kingdom which God the Father/Mother reveals to us in Jesus is a festive one. It is a joyous banquet open to all!

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:24 am

September 13, 2010


St. John Chrysostom, bishop and doctor

1 Cor 11:17-26, 33
Ps 40
Lk 7:1-10


The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave

1When [Jesus] had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. 2A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. 3When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. 4They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, 5for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” 6And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. 7Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. 8For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

I AM NOT WORTHY

In Roman times and in the Roman army, a centurion was a soldier who commanded a division of a hundred soldiers and was the backbone of the army. The centurion in the Gospel is probably a mercenary serving Herod Antipas who was the ruler of Galilee but was a Roman vassal tetrarch.
The Jewish elders in Capernaum declare that the centurion is worthy to be a recipient of God’s favor because he loves the Jewish nation and helped build the synagogue of Capernaum. Though a Gentile and aware of his status in the place, the centurion respects, admires, and even loves the Jews, a rarity among the Roman officials.
Aware of the divide between Jews and Gentiles, the centurion does not consider himself worthy to come to Jesus, a prophet of God, but is confident that if Jesus says the word his servant will be healed. More than the mediation of the Jewish elders, it is the centurion’s disposition that prompts Jesus to heal the centurion’s servant from a distance. For Jesus, faith is shown in humble recognition of one’s unworthiness as well as one’s willingness to obey the word of God. In Luke’s gospel, the models of faith recognize their unworthiness and manifest unconditional obedience to the word. Mary, the mother of Jesus, echoes this in her reply to God’s messenger: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:45).

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:28 am

September 14, 2010


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Nm 21:4b-9
Ps 78
Phil 2:6-11

Jn 3:13-17


The Son of Man

[Jesus said to Nicodemus,] 13“No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
16For 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. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE

To believe (Greek pisteuein) is a key concept in the Gospel of John and appears throughout the Gospel. One can say that for the evangelist, there are only two commandments of Jesus: to believe and to love. Faith is connected with and is the condition for salvation. Everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. John writes his Gospel “that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and through this belief you may have eternal life in his name” (Jn 20:31).
Faith in Jesus is not primarily a matter of assent to his teaching, but trust and union with him. It is readiness to share his destiny and to accept his “hard teachings.” Human intention and efforts alone are not enough to believe. Faith is primarily a gift of God. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (Jn 6:44).
In his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus speaks of the bronze serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert (Nm 21:4-9). The Israelites who were wandering in the desert were losing their faith and rebelled against God and against Moses. In punishment, the Lord sent saraph serpents which bit the people so that many of them died. When the people repented, God ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it in a pole. Anyone who had been bitten and looked at the bronze serpent recovered.
The mounted pole, for the evangelist, is the image of Jesus “mounted” on the cross of Calvary. Those who gaze at the crucified Jesus with faith will have eternal life. For the cross is the sign of God’s love for the world. The cross, formerly a symbol of shame, cruelty, and curse, becomes an instrument of victory and life.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:04 pm

September 15, 2010


Our Lady of Sorrows

Heb 5:7-9
Ps 31
Jn 19:25-27 [or Lk 2:33-35]


The Crucifixion of Jesus

25Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

WOMAN, BEHOLD, YOUR SON

The Fourth Gospel has two scenes on the mother of Jesus: the miracle at Cana (2:1-11) and the crucifixion of Jesus (11:25-27). In neither of the features does the name “Mary” appear. The two scenes are certainly linked by the term “hour.”
At the wedding feast, Jesus initially rebuffs his mother’s request because his hour has not yet come. But he performs the first of his signs in response to her faith. Mary has taken the risk of trusting in his word when she tells the servers, “Do whatever he tells you” (2:5). This results in the miracle and the incipient faith of the disciples.
Now, the woman who is prepared to commit all to the word of Jesus stands by the cross. She is the model of faith and is now given as “mother” to the Beloved Disciple who clearly is presented as the model of the disciples. But the model disciple must learn from the woman of faith, and he does by standing there with her, not losing his faith in the Master. When the news of the resurrection is announced, this disciple is the first to believe, even by just seeing the empty tomb.
On the cross, the Mother of Jesus becomes the mother of the Beloved Disciple. She teaches the disciple that sorrow will turn into joy, just as Jesus promised. Her unquestioning trust in the word of Jesus turns her to be a true Disciple and Mother.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:44 am

September 16, 2010


St. Cornelius, pope, and St. Cyprian, bishop, martyrs

1 Cor 15:1-11
Ps 118
Lk 7:36-50


The Pardon of the Sinful Woman

36A Pharisee invited [Jesus] to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, 38she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. 39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. 42Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” 43Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. 47So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

FORGIVENESS AND LOVE

The Greek phrase hoti egapesen poly, “hence—or because—she has shown great love,” is ambiguous. If hoti is translated as “because,” the phrase will come to mean that forgiveness is granted as a result of the woman’s love. If hoti is translated as “hence,” the phrase now means that the woman is pouring out her love because she has been forgiven. The latter is more in keeping with the message of the parable: the one who has been forgiven a larger debt loves more (v 43). This implies that the woman comes to Jesus firmly convinced that she has already been forgiven by God. She showers Jesus with signs of love and gratitude. In contrast, the Pharisee who feels no need of God’s forgiveness does not show Jesus as warm a welcome.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:58 am

September 17, 2010


St. Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor
Friday of the 24th Week

1 Cor 15:12-20
Ps 17
Lk 8:1-3


Galilean Women Follow Jesus

1[Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve 2and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

GALILEAN WOMEN

Luke notes that as Jesus journeys from one town and village to another to preach the gospel, he is accompanied by his inner circle of disciples: the Twelve whom he himself chose. This is to be expected. What is surprising is that they are also accompanied by a group of women from Galilee. Women then were allowed to hear the word of God in the synagogue, but they were never disciples of a rabbi unless their husband was a rabbi and was willing to teach them. Yet, Jesus intends that his ministry of teaching and healing also benefits women. He teaches Mary, the sister of Martha (Lk 10:39), and heals Mary Magdalene of seven demons.
There is a debate whether the gospel reflects a historical memory in the life of Jesus, whether Jesus and his group of wandering men were indeed accompanied by a group of unattached women. Whatever might have been the historical fact, Luke’s picture is a reflection of the life of the Christian community in his own time. The evangelist is teaching that women are equally called to be disciples and witnesses as the gospel is preached throughout the world. The women from Galilee would anticipate the likes of Tabitha, completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving (Acts 9:36), Lydia, who welcomes Paul and Barnabas (Acts 16:15), and Priscilla, who along with her husband Aquila, is a missionary collaborator of Paul (Acts 18:2). Moreover, in Paul’s circle we find remarkable women like Phoebe, a deacon at Cenchreae (Rom 16:1), Chloe, host of the church in Corinth (1 Cor 1:11), Mary, Persis, Julia, and other Christian women of Rome (Rom 15:6-17).

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:36 am

September 18, 2010


St. Joseph of Cupertino
Saturday of the 24th Week

1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49
Ps 56
Lk 8:4-15


The Parable of the Sower

4When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to him, [Jesus] spoke in a parable. 5“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. 6Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. 7Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.” After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”
9Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. 10He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that ‘they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.’
11“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. 12Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. 14As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. 15But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

A SOWER WENT OUT TO SOW HIS SEED

In first century Palestine, there were various practices of planting. One is described in the Gospel—that of plowing after sowing. Some seed is lost because it has no good soil or is choked by thorns. But in the end, the abundant harvest far compensates for the loss. This is a picture of Jesus’ work of ushering in the kingdom. He meets many obstacles, but ultimately he achieves success which far outweighs any failure.
In the interpretation of the parable, the seed is “the word” (Mk 4:14) which Luke qualifies with “of God.” The “seed” of the farming story is the “word of God” in the realization of God’s purpose in Jesus’ ministry. The meaning is grounded in the story of Israel where Yahweh is active in creation and in salvation by the power of his word. The prophets were the bearers of the word of God. But the word of God is spoken in its fullness and finality by Jesus (Heb 1:1-2) who discloses and brings to fruition the divine purpose.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:06 pm

September 19, 2010


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Am 8:4-7
Ps 113
1 Tm 2:1-8

Lk 16:1-13 (or 16:10-13)


The Parable of the Dishonest Servant

1[Jesus] said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. 2He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ 3The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 4I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ 5He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ 7Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ 8And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. 11If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 13No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Be Enterprising and Resourceful!

The gospel parable seems to jump out directly from newspapers’ headlines. Every day we read stories of managers and agents accused of and dismissed for mismanaging or squandering the money entrusted to them. Accounts of falsified documents, forgery or counterfeiting, misuse of funds, illegal lobbying, etc.—it seems that Jesus speaks of our time rather than his own. We wonder if human nature has changed for the better, if there is something truly new under the sun.
The deeds of the steward are rather commonplace; what is surprising and disturbing is the commendation that he receives. We expect to hear Jesus vigorously denounce the swindling, but he gives none. Jesus purposely sets the scene to draw from the story an important but unexpected lesson: “Do you see the resourcefulness of the children of this world? They secure their future without delay. Would that you were as capable as they are in securing your future with God!”
Let us focus on the steward. Is he guilty of the imputation that he squandered his master’s property? Most probably he is. But he does not waste time trying to justify himself. Neither does he suffer the illusion that he can find employment elsewhere. He faces his immediate concern: how to secure his future. Will he dig ditches? Never! Will he be a beggar? What a horrible disgrace that will be for him!
He comes out with an acceptable solution and pursues it. He approaches his master’s debtors one by one. He tears up their bills and gives them new ones—but for a much smaller amount. In so doing, he has the debtors think they are recipients of a particular favor from him. He also controls a form of blackmail on them in case they complain because they have agreed with his arrangement.
The steward loses his commission in changing and lowering the accounts. But it is much better than losing everything. In reality, it is the master who pays the price of the transaction. But how will he unmask the culprit when the steward has the relieved debtors at his control and he has the figures correct, accounted for in the promissory notes? At the end, the master can only be impressed by the cleverness of the trick. Truly a masterpiece of cunning!
The point of the parable is not the dishonesty and bad faith of the crook. The Gospels in fact condemn all forms of dishonesty. The point rather is the decisiveness, resourcefulness, and prudence of the steward when faced with the specter of failure and poverty. Would that the children of light be as decisive and resourceful in securing their future—not by amassing wealth, but by laying up treasures of the kingdom!
When it comes to providing ourselves and our dear ones a good life and a promising future, we use our resourcefulness and abilities. If we apply the same resourcefulness in community building, in outreach programs, and in worship activities, we help build God’s kingdom here on earth and lay up for ourselves inexhaustible treasures in heaven.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:52 pm

September 20, 2010


Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions, martyrs

Prv 3:27-34
Ps 15
Lk 8:16-18


The Parable of the Lamp

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 16“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 17For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. 18Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

NO ONE who LIGHTS A LAMP

In ancient Palestine, a house is built in a way that it is illumined from a single source. Set on its own stand, a lamp (Greek luchnos) gives light to all in the house (Mt 5:15) and to all who enter it. Both Luke and Matthew stress that a lamp is meant to shed light, not to be concealed. In the parable of the Sower (Lk 8:4-15), the disciples who willingly receive the word of God become even more receptive to it. In the process, they enhance their chances of recognizing it in the future. Here, Luke points out that those who believe do not stop at receiving the word and keeping it to themselves. They go on to share the light of God’s word with others. They proclaim what they have heard—even to the Gentiles, who prove to be more receptive to Jesus’ teaching.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:47 pm

September 21, 2010


St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist

Eph 4:1-7, 11-13
Ps 19
Mt 9:9-13


The Call of Matthew

9As Jesus passed on… he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 10While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. 11The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 13Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

JESUS SAW MATTHEW SITTING AT THE CUSTOMS POST

Scriptures abound with stories of persons encountered and called by God while they are going about their daily concerns. Moses was called by God through the burning bush while he was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro (Ex 3:1-2). God indicated to Samuel his election of David as king while the boy was out tending the sheep (1 Sm 16:11-13). Through the prophet Elijah, God called Elisha while he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen (1 Kgs 19:19). God called Amos to be a prophet while he was going about his work as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores (Am 7:14). In turn, Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John while they were occupied as typical Galilean fishermen (Mt 4:18-22). Now, he calls Matthew while he sits busy working as a tax collector. God needs not the idealists or the idle but the “workers for the harvest” (v 38; Lk 10:2).
Indeed, the Lord is with us, sharing the details of our life, and guiding us as we go about our tasks for God’s kingdom. The Matthean community, in particular, felt that Jesus is Immanuel—God with us. The Gospel of Matthew ends with this assurance of the risen and glorified Christ: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (28:20). God is with us not only during “prayer time” but in all details of our life, be they banal or extraordinary.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:08 am

September 22, 2010


St. Thomas of Villanova
Wednesday of the 25th Week

Prv 30:5-9
Ps 119
Lk 9:1-6


The Mission of the Twelve

1[Jesus] summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.

JESUS SUMMONED THE TWELVE

Jesus is called Rabbi (Teacher)
by many of his followers. Here, we get a glimpse of his ways. While prospective students of the law usually choose the teacher under whom they will study, Jesus’ followers are handpicked by him (Lk 6:13). The Twelve are not only mathetai, followers and companions of Jesus in his ministry. They are apostoloi, people who are sent on a mission
(Lk 6:13). Jesus expects them to continue his work when he returns to the Father.
Jesus then goes about preparing the Twelve for their mission. He gives them specific instructions so that they will know what to do. He tells them how to cope with tough times. Above all, Jesus empowers them—he passes on to them his authority. The expression “power and authority” is repeatedly used by Luke to refer to Jesus’ own ability to rebuke both demons and diseases (4:36; 5:17; 6:19). Encouragement without empowerment is enthusiasm without
direction. Jesus himself is the recipient of his Father’s trust and empowerment.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:58 pm

September 23, 2010


St. Pius (Padre Pio) of Pietrelcina, priest

Eccl 1:2-11
Ps 90
Lk 9:7-9


Herod’s Opinion of Jesus

7Herod the tetrarch heard about all that [Jesus was doing], and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; 8others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” 9But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.

HEROD THE TETRARCH


Herod the tetrarch is Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan princess. At his father’s death, Antipas got Galilee and Peraea, while his full-brother Archelaus (Mt 2:22) got Judea, Samaria, and Idumaea. Their half-brother Philip (Lk 3:1) reigned over the northern region of Iturea and Trachonitis. The brothers owed their inheritance to the Roman emperor, for Rome was the world power at this time. Although he is sometimes referred to as “King Herod,” “tetrarch” really means a ruler of a fourth part.
Antipas was sly, ambitious, and luxury-loving. He divorced his first wife, a Nabataean princess, to marry Herodias, his niece and the wife of another half-brother, Herod Philip, a resident of Rome. When John the Baptist took the couple to task for their adulterous union, Herod had him arrested and executed. In 36 AD, war broke out between Antipas and Aretas, the Nabatean king whose daughter Antipas had repudiated. Antipas’ army was destroyed and people interpreted it as God’s punishment for the killing of the Baptist. In 39 AD, Antipas was summoned to Rome to answer charges against him. He ended up banished to Lyons in France, and Herodias joined him there.
In the Gospel, Herod makes the arrogant claim that he has already eliminated John the Baptist. In reality, however, he is “greatly perplexed” when he hears about Jesus whom some people consider as John redivivus. Herod probably thinks that John has returned to haunt him and render him judgment for his crimes. He desires to see Jesus to make sure who he really is and to assuage his fears.

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