Daily Bible Reflections

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:19 pm

September 24, 2010


St. Isarnus of Toulouse
Friday of the 25th Week

Eccl 3:1-11
Ps 144
Lk 9:18-22


Peter’s Confession about Jesus

18Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ ” 20Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” 21He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
22He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

THE MESSIAH OF GOD

Peter’s confession of Jesus is contained in all three Synoptic gospels. In Mark and Matthew, the event takes place in the region of Caesarea Philippi, north of Israel. Matthew has an additional material: Jesus calls Peter “blessed” and gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:17-19). The Lucan setting is a deserted place near Bethsaida by the Sea of Galilee, while Jesus prays in solitude.
When asked what people say about who their Master is, the disciples answer: John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the ancient prophets. According to the “rule of three,” the emphasis is on the last of the three opinions. Jesus is therefore compared with the “ancient” or classical prophets who popular Jewish beliefs hold did not die, but were taken up into heaven. Though popular opinion gives him an honorable status, Jesus calls upon the disciples to give an alternative evaluation. Speaking for the group, Peter tells Jesus that he is the Messiah.
The Messiah (Greek Christos, “anointed”) would have been understood by Peter and companions in the popular Jewish sense of an anointed agent in the Davidic, kingly, and political tradition. The appellation “of God” would make Jesus one sent from God, one who has a special relationship with God. Peter, however, would not have understood that Jesus, the Messiah, would suffer greatly, be rejected, and be killed—as Jesus predicts after the confession. It is for Luke, writing in the light of Jesus’ resurrection and the grace of the Holy Spirit years later, to present the true and complete picture of the Messiah. Jesus is the Davidic Messiah because he is the true heir to God’s promise to David about the latter’s lasting dynasty (Lk 1:33). Jesus is “of God” because he is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35). He will suffer because “Moses and the prophets” (Scriptures) say that it is necessary that the Messiah should suffer before he enters into his glory (Lk 24:26). Unless Jesus is seen and accepted as a suffering Messiah, any confession will fall short.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:57 am

September 25, 2010


St. Albert of Jerusalem
Saturday of the 25th Week

Eccl 11:9—12:8
Ps 90
Lk 9:43b-45


The Second Prediction of the Passion

43While [the crowd and the disciples] were all amazed at his every deed, [Jesus] said to his disciples, 44“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 45But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

SON OF MAN

The form is frequently used in the book of Ezekiel as God’s address to the prophet and must mean simply “O man”: “Son of man, stand up! I wish to speak with you” (Ez 2:1). The Aramaic form bar nasa is used in Dn 7:13 to designate one “like a son of man” who appears on the clouds before the Ancient of Days and receives a kingdom. This figure symbolizes Israel (Dn 7:18, 22) who is persecuted but who will receive his reward from God. The title appears in the apocryphal books of Enoch and Esdras where the son of man is presented as the righteous one who reveals all hidden treasures, overcomes kings and powerful ones, and sits on the throne with the power to judge.
In the New Testament, the phrase does not appear in the epistles, and in the gospels, it is used only by Jesus. To scholars this suggests that the title was original with Jesus, but was not used later by the Church.
The phrase is used in the gospels with various associations and meanings. The Gospel reading belongs to numerous groups of texts which speak of the passion and death of the Son of Man. It is precisely as Son of Man that Jesus suffers and dies. It is Jesus’ humanity that makes him capable of suffering, and thus it is under this title that he experiences his passion.
But Jesus will rise again and will someday return in glory. And so, as the Son of Man, he will come in glory at the end of time. This apocalyptic-eschatological coming is obviously derived from the “Son of Man” from Daniel. The glorious fate of Israel is embodied in the person and destiny of Jesus.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:27 am

September 26, 2010


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Am 6:1a, 4-7
Ps 146
1 Tm 6:11-16
Lk 16:19-31


The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

[Jesus said to the Pharisees,] 19“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 25Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. 26Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ 27He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”

Riches are means, not an end

When her parents asked the young woman why she wanted to become a nun, she answered: “You would not understand me. You can see only the treasures here on earth and not the treasures that last.” She wanted to point out that they were more focused on the “means” and not on the “end,” on the riches here on earth which she could give them to help support the studies of her brothers and sisters, and not on the “end” of our existence—that is, “heaven,” the experience of intimate communion with God, the loving embrace of God, the destiny of all beings.
The readings remind us that riches are means, not an end. The Gospel emphasizes true wisdom: “Know what is more important in life. Establish proper relation between the means and the end, between riches and destiny of our life.” Thus, we can be assured of what counts more in life, without focusing more on what is secondary.
Pondering on the readings, particularly on the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we can learn the following:
• Use properly your riches. The parable invites us to reflect not so much on hell but on how we use our riches. The warning of Jesus is evident: “Do not focus your attention on the means but on the end. Do not let riches hinder you from becoming more human. Instead, let riches make you more in solidarity with the needy.”
Jesus describes the future of those who are rich but do not share their blessings with the poor and the needy. He does not say that riches are evil or unnecessary for life. Nevertheless, he emphasizes how riches have to be seen as “means” and not “end.” The rich man seems to be happy. He is “dressed in purple garments and fine linen” and dines “sumptuously each day.” On the other hand, Lazarus, the poor man, has nothing to eat. He is “covered with sores” and will gladly eat the scraps that fall from the rich man’s table. God’s justice prevails in the end. The rich man is not able to bring his riches into the life hereafter; he repents too late. The poor man, on the other hand, is rewarded with eternal happiness.
• Trust in God, not in your riches. Nothing is said if the rich man has gained his treasures unjustly. The Gospel does not accuse or condemn the fact of merely being rich. It condemns those who are rich yet do not care about the welfare of others.
Jesus calls foolish those who put their trust in things that are “passing” and not in God. These could not be their “passport” to life. The rich seem to have everything but come empty-handed before God.
• Sin of omission: The rich man does not do anything evil to Lazarus. He does not hurt Lazarus. But neither does he do anything good for Lazarus.
This happens not only among rich and poor nations but also among families, ecclesial communities, and concrete persons. Sometimes we forget the finality of the material goods of the earth. We are called to share with others what we have. This is an invitation for both the rich and the poor.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:08 am

September 27, 2010


St. Vincent de Paul, priest

Jb 1:6-22
Ps 17
Lk 9:46-50


The Greatest in the Kingdom

46An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side 48and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
49Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” 50Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

THE GREATEST

Jesus lived in an agonistic society where people struggled to achieve honor, often at the expense of others. They compared themselves with others and asked who is greater or the greatest.
In the Gospel, the disciples argue who among them is the greatest. In response, Jesus puts before them a child. The Jewish child is chosen as the fitting symbol of the honored citizen of the kingdom. In that patriarchal society, a child has neither personality nor legal rights. In fact a child is virtually a slave until it reaches the age when it assumes legal rights, including the right of inheritance. Classical Western Graeco-Roman romanticism ascribes to the child an image of innocence, simplicity, and humility. The original metaphor of Jesus in its Middle Eastern Jewish setting does not suggest any of these. As a nobody and the least in this world, the child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus makes it clear that the values of the kingdom are quite contrary to those of the world.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:45 am

September 28, 2010


St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, martyrs

Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Ps 88
Lk 9:51-56


Samaritan Inhospitality

51When the days for [Jesus to be] taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, 52and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, 53but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they journeyed to another village.

INHOSPITALITY OF THE SAMARITANS


When Jesus decides to end his ministry in Galilee and to travel to Jerusalem, he sends an “advance party” who are refused hospitality by the Samaritans. The disciples quite typically do not hesitate to wish destruction upon the Samaritans. This “bad blood” between the Jews and the Samaritans is rooted in history.
The united kingdom of Israel under King David broke up after Solomon into the northern kingdom (10 tribes) and southern kingdom (2 tribes under the Davidic dynasty). Around 722 BC, Sargon the Assyrian defeated the northern kingdom, deported most of the native population, and resettled other peoples in their place in Samaria. The aliens intermarried with the Israelites and the descendants were looked down as impure by the Judeans of the south.
The Judeans themselves were deported to Babylon with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. When they were permitted to return by the Persians in 537 BC, they rejected the Samaritan offer to help in rebuilding the temple (Ez 4:1-14).
After the death of Alexander the Great in 523 BC, the Samaritans, with the help of the Greek rulers, built on Mount Gerizim a temple to Yahweh that never attained equal status with the temple of Jerusalem. Then in 128 BC, the Jewish priest-king John Hyrcanus razed the temple to the ground.
This animosity continued even at the time of Jesus and the early Christians. Between 6-9 AD, the Samaritans strewed bones throughout the Jerusalem temple and so disrupted the Passover that year. In 51 AD, the Samaritans in the village of Gema murdered a Jewish Passover pilgrim. In retaliation, the Jews massacred and burned the entire village.
Jesus rejects the “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” mentality of the Jews which is shared even by his disciples. He takes another road to Jerusalem. Jesus’ sensitivity to the hated Samaritans is further shown in the parable of the “good” Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) and in the story of the ten lepers cleansed by Jesus (Lk 17:15).

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:46 am

September 29, 2010


Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

Dn 7:9-10, 13-14 (or Rv 12:7-12ab)
Ps 138
Jn 1:47-51


The Call of Nathanael

47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” 48Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” 49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

ANGELS

The Greek word angeloi literally means “messengers.” This is also the meaning of the Hebrew melakim, translated as “angels” or “messengers.” As messengers, angels minister and guide believers (Gn 24:7-40), provide for their needs (1 Kgs 19:5-8), protect and deliver them from danger (Ps 34:7), and gather and comfort them (Mt 24:31).
“Archangels” are chief angels or those in high position. Some angels are given this title in the liturgy or popular belief because of the prominent roles they play, as noted in the Scriptures. Three are especially mentioned: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael (“Who is like God?”) is the heavenly spirit who watches over God’s people. He is the leader of the angelic hosts in the battle between the dragon (Satan) and his angels (Rv 12:7). In the Christian liturgy, he is the protector of the Church and the angel who escorts the souls of the departed into heaven. Gabriel (“God is strong”) is one of the seven who stands before God (Tb 12:15), the interpreter of the visions to Daniel (Dn 9:21-27). In the Lucan infancy narratives, he is the angel of the annunciation to Zechariah (Lk 1:11-20) and to Mary (Lk 1:26-38). Raphael (“God heals”) plays a principal role in the Book of Tobit: a guardian in the journey, healer, and expeller of demons. He is one of the seven angels who offer the prayers of God’s people and enter the presence of the Holy One (Dn 12:15).
The Gospel reading alludes to Jacob’s vision where the ladder becomes the point of contact between heaven (the angels) and earth (Jacob, humanity). But Jesus, as the Son of God, now becomes the locus of the divine glory, the point of communication between the earthly and the heavenly.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:06 pm

September 30, 2010


St. Jerome, priest and doctor

Jb 19:21-27
Ps 27
Lk 10:1-12


The Mission of the Seventy[-two]

1The Lord appointed seventy[-two] others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. 2He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. 3Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 4Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. 5Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 6If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. 8Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, 9cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ 10Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 11‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. 12I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

SEVENTY[-TWO] OTHER DISCIPLES

Seventy is a symbolic number, representing the sum or fullness of entities. In Genesis 10, the so-called table of nations lists 70 nations of the world, and Abraham emerges from these nations as the head of a new people of God’s choosing (Gn 12). Abraham, in turn, through Jacob, becomes a family of 70 that goes down to Egypt (Gn 46:27). The 70 of Jacob become multitude in Egypt but they are represented by the 70 elders of Israel (Ex 24:1). In later Judaism, the 70 elders of ancient Israel form the basis for the 70 elders who traditionally make up the Jewish council called the Sanhedrin.
Luke presents the unique account of Jesus appointing 70 (some texts read 72) disciples who, in addition to the Twelve (apostles), are sent on a mission. Perhaps the number corresponds to the 70 nations of the world and suggests an incipient universal mission to the Gentiles initiated by Jesus.
The growth and spread of the Christian faith are not only owed to the pillars (the twelve apostles) but also to the 70 disciples of whom Luke the evangelist is surely a worthy representative.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:46 pm

October 01, 2010


St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor

Is 66:10-14c
Ps 131
Mt 18:1-4

[or Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5
Ps 139
Lk 10:13-16]

Mt 18:1-4


The greatest in the kingdom

1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

WHOEVER HUMBLES HIMSELF LIKE THIS CHILD

The Gospel pericope opens the section called the “Community Discourse” (Mt 18:1—19:1), one of the five great discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Here Jesus teaches how his disciples should refer to one another and gives a model of how the Matthean community should interact with one another.
Matthew works from the episode told in Mk 9:33-34 where the disciples quarrel among themselves about who is the greatest. In the Matthean version, there is no longer any mention of the quarrel about earthly greatness. The disciples approach Jesus with respect and ask to be instructed on what to be great in the kingdom of heaven means.
Jesus teaches them about “becoming like children.” In Jewish society, children, while loved, are not considered important. They accept what those who are larger and greater
give them. Jesus says that to become like a child, one should humble oneself. Children do not humble themselves because they are already little and are aware of their littleness. Adults should be the ones to humble themselves: they must consciously and deliberately live as children who do not run after greatness, who receive things from their elders with gratitude, who are open to learning and accepting new things.
The gospel spirit was lived by St. Therese of the Child Jesus who is known for her childlike confidence in God’s love, her “little way” to holiness. She was declared Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:02 pm

October 02, 2010

Holy Guardian Angels

Ex 23:20-23
Ps 91
Mt 18:1-5, 10


The Greatest in the Kingdom

1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

THEIR ANGELS IN HEAVEN

Children and angels have something in common. Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:4). They are not concerned with their status but only with fulfilling the will of God. Children in Jewish society have no legal status or rights; thus they are virtually invisible in that social setting.
The disciples are taken aback when Jesus holds up a little child before them. But he tells them to go against culturally accepted norms that do not give importance to children. He contends that children are well represented in heaven; their guardian angels are the most influential intercessors who behold the face of God himself.
Children are “little” and are welcomed and blessed by Jesus. They behold him who is God’s faithful image in human form. Having no claim to salvation which is God’s gift freely given and received, children are the fitting symbol of those who enter the kingdom inaugurated by Jesus. But the humble are exalted by God and are given powerful intercessors before the divine throne.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:10 am

October 03, 2010


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Ps 95
2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14

Lk 17:5-10


Attitude of a Servant

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6The 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.
7“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’? 8Would 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’? 9Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? 10So 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.’ ”

Master and Servant—A Reversal of Roles

The movie Anak which stars Vilma Santos gives us a picture of the conditions under which many Filipino domestic workers labor in foreign shores. Some employers treat Filipino workers as servants, even making them work as if they were some kind of slaves. The dire economic situation at home pushes Filipinos to work abroad, many in menial jobs, which in turn rubs on our pride. In this context, today’s Gospel parable touches raw nerves. That people are treated as slaves is bad enough. Does God, too, deal with us as his slaves?
To begin, Jesus speaks—quite naturally—within the framework of the situation of his time regarding slavery. Slavery was a shocking and essential element in all the societies of the ancient world. Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire, had more slaves than free men and women. Israel, too, knew slavery—there were Hebrew and pagan slaves. Servile conditions, though, were comparatively mild in Israel.
The slave is a property of a master and has no personal rights. Some even would classify slaves as res, to the class of things or property. Jesus merely states the condition of a slave in his time when he says that a slave does not eat immediately when he returns from hard work. He still has to prepare the table for his master and to wait on him while he eats.
What does Jesus drive at when he states the shocking and inhuman condition of a servant/slave by way of parable? It is this: we have nothing to boast of before God. If we can delight in and be proud of something in us, it is primarily because of God. Everything is grace. Thus we have no right to claim a wage: “We have done what we were obliged to do” through the grace of God.
Does God then delight in humiliating us? Not at all! In fact, he loves us so much that he sends us his Son so that he may rescue us from our condition of slavery and raise us to the status of beloved children, free and heirs of eternal life with Christ.
But first we must see where we stand before God. That we are creatures, we are dependent on God for everything. Ancient peoples who did not have the Revelation thought that men and women were created to labor as slaves while the gods enjoy rest and leisure. Israel, instead, believed that man and woman are created in God’s likeness.
Moreover, Scriptures teach that we have strayed away from God. When God sends his Son to us, it is not through any merit on our part, but is wholly his graciousness. “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).
Once we have acknowledged that we are unprofitable servants, then we see that God really has high regard for our lowliness and lifts us up. Jesus, our Teacher and Lord, does not behave like a master in the parable, although he has every right to do so. In fact, he reverses the roles. Jesus tells a parable about servants who await their master’s return and draws this lesson: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them” (Lk 12:37). This parable becomes reality in Jesus in the Gospel of John. At the Last Supper, Jesus girds himself with towel and begins to wash the feet of the disciples (Jn 13:4-5). This he does that they may be made clean. This powerful gesture is the symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, where he who is Lord, dies the death of a slave, so that he may release us from the slavery of Sin and Death, and make us free people who will sit with him at the banquet in his Father’s kingdom.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:56 pm

October 04, 2010


St. Francis of Assisi, religious

Gal 1:6-12
Ps 111
Lk 10:25-37


The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
29But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. 31A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. 34He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ 36Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

PRIEST, LEVITE, SAMARITAN

Looming in the background of the Gospel story is Jerusalem, its temple, and the ritual purity required in the temple service.
The first to see the half-dead man is a priest. If the victim is a non-Jew or is dead, the priest would be defiled by touching him. The Levite comes next and he, too, passes the victim by. He probably sees the priest’s response from afar and follows his example.
Following the tripartite division of people then—the priests, the Levites, and all the people of Israel—one would expect a lay Israelite to be next. So it is unexpected to see a Samaritan—whom the Jews do not consider “neighbor.” This hated enemy—a trader—is the first to feel compassion for the victim.
This scandalous story paints a difficult but challenging nature of love of neighbor. Instead of answering the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus redirects the inquiry: “Who acted as a neighbor?” From the question of neighbor as object of love, Jesus makes the neighbor as the subject of love. The “neighbor” is the one who loves any person in need and manifests his love in concrete acts of mercy.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:58 pm

October 05, 2010


St. Attilanus
Tuesday of the 27th Week

Gal 1:13-24
Ps 139
Lk 10:38-42


Martha and Mary


38As [Jesus and his disciples] continued their journey [Jesus] entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. 39She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 40Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” 41The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 42There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

TALE OF TWO SISTERS

The tradition about the sisters Martha and Mary is known both to Luke and to John. Today’s Gospel is part of Luke’s Travel Narrative, and he situates it in an unnamed village in Galilee. John has Martha and Mary living in Bethany, near Jerusalem, and they have a brother named Lazarus whom Jesus raises from the dead (Jn 11).
In the Gospel, Martha welcomes Jesus to “her home.” In some parts of the Mediterranean world, the oldest girl generally inherits the mother’s home. Martha here is a woman of social standing and status; she has authority in her home despite the presence of a male (if Luke knew of the brother Lazarus whom he does not mention).
Martha is not merely concerned with domesticity, with preparation in the kitchen. “Serving” (diakonia) is also ministering in the life of the Church. Martha then is a prosperous, independent woman, an icon of the patronesses of the “house-churches” in early Christianity like Chloe (1 Cor 1:11) and Phoebe (Rom 16:1).
Martha is contrasted to Mary who sits at Jesus’ feet. That Jesus teaches a woman and that Mary sits on a place reserved for men are out of place in the culture of the time. There is something “revolutionary” in the scene. Jesus not only breaks the socio-religious exclusion and makes Mary a disciple; he also judges Mary’s action as the “better part.”
Scholars focus on the anxiety of Martha over many things connected with her diakonia. Indeed, service is important in the Church, but anxiety over so many ministries can be a danger to discipleship. Jesus encourages anxious and distracted disciples to center themselves on God who values and provides for them (Lk 12:24, 28). Here Jesus tells Martha to adopt Mary’s listening attitude as a means of overcoming her distraction so that she may be more content and effective in her ministry of service.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:47 pm

October 06, 2010


St. Bruno, priest
Wednesday of the 27th Week

Gal 2:1-2, 7-14
Ps 117
Lk 11:1-4


The Lord’s Prayer

1[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread
4and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

FATHER!

The “Lord’s Prayer” was probably taught by Jesus to his disciples in Aramaic, their native language, or in Hebrew, the language of the Scriptures and of official prayer. It has come down to us in Greek, in the version of Matthew (6:9-13) and here in Luke. It is difficult to pinpoint when and where exactly Jesus gave the prayer.
Luke presents the prayer as model for those who do not know how to pray, especially for pagans converted to the Christian faith and must pray, no longer to the gods and goddesses, but to the God of Israel who is also the Father of Jesus. Luke concentrates on the essentials in initiating the new Christians to prayer. They must first of all be taught to accept God as father. The Greek Pater translates the Aramaic Abba (“dear father”) by which Jesus addresses the Father and which is now the address of the empowered believers. Abba is the word by which infants would call their father, comparable to “Daddy,” just like they would call their mother “Mommy.” Abba therefore reveals a relationship that is simple, intimate, trustful, filial. Abba is also a more solemn, responsible adult address to a father. Grown-up sons and daughters use this to address their father, lovingly and tenderly, but also in the spirit of obedience. In fact, the only time the Aramaic Abba occurs on Jesus’ lips is when he agonizes in Gethsemane, yet accepts the cup of suffering (Mk 14:36). In a culture where a mark of true manhood is obedience to one’s father, Jesus shows his trust in God and his readiness to do God’s will.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:48 pm

October 07, 2010


Our Lady of the Rosary

Gal 3:1-5
Lk 1
Lk 11:5-13

[or Acts 1:12-14
Lk 1
Lk 1:26-38]


Further Teachings on Prayer

5[Jesus] said to [his disciples], “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ 7and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ 8I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
9“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? 12Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 13If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

FRIEND

Two Near Eastern values are at play in the parable of a friend who calls at midnight: hospitality and honor (and shame). Hospitality is offered to outsiders, in this case a man who has arrived from a long journey. The friend of the traveler has to provide for the traveler’s needs, and so he does not hesitate to ask his neighbor for help. Besides, the traveler is the community’s visitor and everyone is responsible for his welcome. If the man refuses to attend to the traveler, he will be greatly shamed before the community.
On the other hand, the neighbor to whom the man appeals will likewise lose face if he refuses to be disturbed and to offer something. The village people will think that he is inhospitable and uncooperative. And the neighbor who appeals to him will now cease to consider him a friend. For the first factor of friendship in that culture is the understanding, “Your honor shall be as my honor.” And since honor is worth more than anything, the friend will get out of bed to help his neighbor-friend maintain his honor by observing hospitality.
Jesus tells the disciples that God hears his children’s petition. We have but to ask and we will receive, to seek and we shall find. God does not even have to be awakened before he gives us what we need. He gives these out of his own goodness, even to the unworthy.

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Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:47 pm

October 08, 2010


St. Demetrius
Friday of the 27th Week

Gal 3:7-14
Ps 111
Lk 11:15-26


Jesus and Beelzebul

[After Jesus had driven out a demon that was mute,] 15some of [the crowd] said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” 16Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. 17But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. 18And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. 19If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that [I] drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. 22But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. 23Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
24“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ 25But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”

THE STRONGER MAN

The “Beelzebul controversy” is common in the Synoptic gospels (Mk 3:22-30; Mt 12:22-32). That Jesus is accused of a demonic power is deeply rooted in the gospel tradition. His success in exorcism prompts the accusation that he is in league with Beelzebul.
In response, Jesus tells the parable of a strong man. The imagery speaks of a military conquest: the strong man guards his palace. The Roman emperors and even the Herodian rulers thought of their domain as “households” over which they hold eminent dominion—over all the property and the bodies of their subjects.
The strong man is Beelzebul, the prince of demons. He is also identified as Satan. He reigns over his palace (kingdom) with demons as agents. He is a strong, dark power who holds sway over human beings. But Jesus is the stronger man. His battle with Satan is reminiscent of Old Testament images of God armed as a hero battling his enemies (Is 59:16-18). The new era that Jesus inaugurates marks the beginning of the end of Satan’s power. Jesus is God’s agent who, with the power of God’s word, vanquishes Satan at their initial encounter (Lk 4:1-13) and at the passion, where his humble obedience in suffering conquers Satan’s pride.

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