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The Bible Diary is an attractive publication that contains the scripture readings for the Daily and Sunday celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

 Each page contains a reflection and space for the reader to add his or her own thoughts. A real spiritual treasure.

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每日聖言 (Traditional Chinese) (331)


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Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:16

October 24, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 12:35-38 - 
          Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!

In the gospel of Luke, this current parable and other ‘servant‘ parables have an ecclesiological interpretation. There are two important Greek words that the evangelist used: doulos and oikonomos. Both the terms doulos (‘servant,‘ ‘slave‘) and oikonomos (‘steward,‘) refer to the one who renders service to the Christian community. These terms connote that the officials of the community are called to be faithful to their responsibility. As leaders, they must avoid causing problems within the church.
The responsible performance of the obligation to the community is not just meant for the leaders themselves. All Christians are called to be vigilant and be prepared always. If we faithfully do our duties as Christians (as parents, children, parishioners, ministers, etc.) we will receive the promised reward. Jesus assures us by saying, ”Truly, I tell you, he will put on apron, and have them sit at the table, and he will wait on them.” (v.37) ”This role reversal is significant and underscores God‘s absolute gratuity. The servant who is faithful during the time of fulfillment before the parousia will share in the eschatological banquet.” (Karris, 704)
If we have the readiness to serve the Christian community; willingness to contribute for the welfare of the Church; carefulness to avoid causing harm to the church members and officials; we will be like those people who are ”ready, dressed for service and with lamps lit,” waiting for the master‘s return from the wedding.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:15

October 23, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 12:13-21 -
         Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, ”Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, ”My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or your attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, ”Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”
And Jesus continued, ”There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do: I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself: My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.‘ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell me, who shall get all you have put aside?‘ This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”

Our Lord reminds us to guard ourselves from every kind of greed, for even though we have many possessions, it is not that which gives us life (cf. v.15). Greed or avarice (pleonexia) is a vice that always seeks more possessions. It leads one to keep on acquiring for more without ceasing. This vice is equated with idolatry in Colossians 3:5. Sometimes possessions become ”gods” for other people. Human life or even one‘s soul is sacrificed just to acquire them. In order to free ourselves from this oppressive vice we must learn temperance and we must begin sharing what we have to the needy. Notice that in vv. 18-19 the ‘fool‘ frequently uses the terms ‘I‘ and ‘my.‘ His self-centeredness leads him to exclude God and neighbor from his concerns.
When our focus is only ourselves but God and neighbor are removed from our concerns, we rely much on worldly things and pleasures. Even if we are seemingly fulfilled but in the end we are totally empty. Our life becomes meaningful only if we acknowledge God and give alms to the needy. Thus, instead of desiring much for earthly things and be led into sin, we should use our possessions to serve others and God.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:13

October 22, 2017

A GospelGospel: Mt 22:15-21 -
         The Pharisees went away, considering how they could trap Jesus by his own words. They sent to him their disciples, along with members of Herod‘s party, saying, ”Master, we know that you are an honest man, and truly teach God‘s way. You are not influenced by others, nor are you afraid of anyone. So tell us what you think: is it against the law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus understood their evil intentions, and said to them, ”Hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin with which you pay taxes.”
They showed him a silver coin, and Jesus said to them, ”Whose head is this, and whose name?” They answered, ”Caesar‘s.” Then Jesus replied, ”So give to Caesar what is Caesar‘s, and give to God what is God‘s.”

Read: Even when we do not know God, God knows us through and through. Paul invites Thessalonians to keep memory of their divine call. Jesus settles the question on paying taxes to Caesar.
Reflect: Jesus settles the question on taxes by verifying the engraved image on the coin. It was Caesar‘s, and Jesus tells them to pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. If one were to settle the question as to whom our lives belong, one must look at the engraved image in our souls – whose would it be? Caesar‘s or God‘s who has shaped, known, and called us even before we were born? Let us give to God what belongs to God – our very lives.
Pray: We shall pray for a true sense of belongingness to God and His Kingdom.
Act: Draw up a spiritual will and testament for yourself.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:12

October 21, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 12:8-12 -
        I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before people, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But the one who denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.
There will be pardon for the one who criticizes the Son of Man, but there will be no pardon for the one who slanders the Holy Spirit.
When you are brought before the synagogues, and before governors and rulers, don‘t worry about how you will defend yourself, or what to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you have to say.”

Many times Christians are confronted with various forms of persecution because of their faith. This faith is tested constantly and gradually: from simple criticism and condemnation to severe persecution; from insult or attack on one‘s dignity to physical attack or violence. Many, because of fear and weakness, gave up their faith and turn their back from God. How about us, what shall we do when we are confronted with such situation? Shall we face our persecutors and trust God; or shall we surrender our faith just to spare ourselves from suffering?
Jesus assures us that during the time of persecutions the Holy Spirit will teach us what we have to say (cf. v.12). Just like warriors who use armors or defensive covering for their body to secure themselves and to have confidence in facing their enemies; we, Christians, need a ”spiritual armor,” the Holy Spirit, that would give us confidence to face our persecutors, protect our souls from fear and secure our faith.
In times that we are persecuted because of our faith, we must not fear but trust in God, who will send his Spirit to guide and teach us what to say. If we are confronted with our persecutors yet we still acknowledge the Son of Man and never blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, our Lord will acknowledge us before the angels of God!

Thursday, 12 January 2017 15:10

October 20, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 12:1-7 -
           Meanwhile, such a numerous crowd had gathered that they crushed one another. Then Jesus spoke to his disciples in this way,
”Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered that will not be uncovered; or hidden, that will not be made known. Whatever you have said in darkness will be heard in daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places, will be proclaimed from housetops.
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who put to death the body and, after that, can do no more. But I will tell you whom to fear: Fear the one who, after killing you, is able to throw you into hell. This one you must fear. Don‘t you buy five sparrows for two pennies? Yet not one of them has been forgotten by God. Even the hairs of your head have been numbered. Don‘t be afraid! Are you less worthy in the eyes of God than many sparrows?

Jesus cautions his listeners of the leaven of the Pharisees, that is, hypocrisy. Just like a leaven (zyme) that penetrates within bread and, though hidden, acts powerfully; the hypocrites, though virtuous in the surface, deep within them are hidden vices.
Today, there are people who appear to be exemplary and honorable individuals but in reality filled with wickedness, dishonesty and immorality. Followers of Christ should not let themselves be contaminated by their corrupting influence. Jesus reminds us that hypocrisy won‘t work for ”nothing is covered that will not be uncovered; or hidden, that will not be made known.” (v.2)
In rendering service to God and to other people, our intention must be pure. In receiving the sacraments, especially the Holy Communion, we make sure that we are in the state of grace. Before facing the altar to bring offering, admit humbly our wrong deeds and be reconciled with our neighbors, with the Church and with God. Only those who walk in the path of truth and righteousness are worthy to be called true disciples of Christ.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:50

October 19, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 11:47-54 -
        A curse is on you, for you build monuments to the prophets your ancestors killed. So you approve and agree with what your ancestors did. Is it not so? They got rid of the prophets, and you build monuments to them!
For that reason the wisdom of God also said: I will send prophets and apostles and these people will kill and persecute some of them. But the present generation will have to answer for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the Sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, the people of this time will have to answer for them all.
A curse is on you, teachers of the law, for you have taken the key of knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you prevented others from entering.”
As Jesus left that place, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees began to harass him, asking him endless questions, setting traps to catch him in something he might say.

The killing and persecution of the prophets and apostles which is cited in the gospel recalls the event of the killing of Abel (Gen 4:1-12) and murder of the priest Zechariah in the court of the house of the Lord (2 Chr 24:20-22). These incidents serve as outcomes of envy and murderous rage. For Luke prophets and apostles hold the same function. They are both sent by God to proclaim his word. Since there are those who cannot accept their words or envious of them, killing and persecution took place.
Sufferings and difficulties are among the crosses that a follower of Christ must carry. They were experienced by early Christian and saints; and up to now, being experienced by the members of the Church founded by Christ. In the midst of them, we could use our own knowledge of the doctrine of the Church in order to endure until the end. Let this knowledge become our tool to make prudent judgment; to attain a deeper relationship with Christ; and to lead and encourage others to do the same. Be not like the lawyers in Luke‘s communities who possess the key of knowledge but their conduct have prevented them from using it for themselves and others.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:48

October 18, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 10:1-9 -
           After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of him, to every town and place, where he himself was to go. And he said to them, ”The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.
Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!‘ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.
When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them: ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.‘

During harvest time, a sufficient number of laborers is needed to make the reaping faster and easier. There would be a delay if the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few. This is also true with the missionary work of the Church. There are still a lot of people who haven‘t heard and known Christ, but only few people have the courage to dedicate their life for missionary work.
Our Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples and sent them ”two by two” because going out in pairs could serve as an avenue to manifest mutual support; to bear witness to the truth of their testimony; and to concretize the message of the gospel of peace.
As baptized Christians, we are called to be missionaries. If not by going to distant places, we can be missionaries in our own ways and in our own places by supporting the mission initiatives of the Church, by praying for all the missionaries, and by being witnesses of the gospel through our words and actions. Each of us could serve as instruments of both ”bringing Christ to others” and ”bringing others to Christ” in our own way. This would be easier if we perform our mission with another person or with the community itself.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:46

October 17, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 11:37-41 -
           As Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to have a meal with him. So he went and sat at table. The Pharisee then wondered why Jesus did not first wash his hands before dinner. But the Lord said to him, ”So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves you are full of greed and evil. Fools! He who made the outside, also made the inside. But according to you, by the mere giving of alms everything is made clean.

The ”outside and inside of the cup and the dish,” as stated in the gospel, represent the exterior and interior aspects of man. Today, it is evident that there are people who, like Pharisees, are concerned much of their outward appearance but disregard their inner disposition. We should realize that doing something good is not enough, one must do it from the heart. A person could enjoy the esteem of other people by performing acts of charity even if he is not internally disposed; but if such acts are done with right motivation, it is not merely praiseworthy in the eyes of man but also in the eyes of God.
Since for Luke almsgiving constitutes an essential part of the Christian ethical life, he challenges us, especially those who have, to share with those who have not. This connotes doing acts of charity to those in need with pure intent. We are reminded that what makes us clean is not just established ritual practices but crossing boundaries to help those in need. For He who made the outside, also made the inside, and He judges both.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:44

October 16, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 11:29-32 -
           As the crowd increased, Jesus spoke the following words: ”People of the present time are troubled people. They ask for a sign, but no sign will be given to them except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be a sign for this generation. The Queen of the South will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and here, there is greater than Solomon. The people of Nineveh will rise up on Judgment Day with the people of these times and accuse them, for Jonah‘s preaching made them turn from their sins, and here, there is greater than Jonah.

Every day we are surrounded by signs. There are signs that could guide us (traffic signs), warn us (siren) or invite us to make preparations (heavy rain that lead to flashflood).
In the gospel, there are two evident signs: Jonah‘s preaching and Jesus‘ presence. Both signs could guide people towards God, warn them to repent or invite them to remain with God. Jesus speaks about the sign of Jonah, i.e., his preaching of God‘s word that leads to the mass conversion of Ninevites. Though he portrays how powerful Jonah‘s preaching was, but he speaks further about a greater sign, not a mere preaching but the presence of the ”Word-made-flesh” himself. Just as ”Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh,” the Son of Man is ”a sign for this generation.”
Today, we encounter Christ himself in the Liturgy, in the sacraments, in the proclamation of the Word of God, in the tradition of the Church, and in the Magisterium. If we pay attention to the external signs that surround us daily, we must all the more be aware of the signs of Christ‘s presence among us–signs that could guide us to the path of holiness, warn us of the severe effects of sins, and invite us to prepare always for Christ‘s second coming.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:43

October 15, 2017

A GospelGospel: Mt 22:1-14 -
           Jesus continued speaking to them in parables: ”This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A king gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the banquet, but the guests refused to come.
Again, he sent other servants, instructing them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now, everything is ready. Come to the wedding! But they paid no attention and went away, some to their farms, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.
The king was furious. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.‘
The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests.
The king came in to see the wedding guests, and he noticed a man not wearing a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding clothes?‘
But the man remained silent. So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.‘
For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Read: Isaiah talks about the fine banquet God prepares on the mountain. Jesus elaborates on the gratuitous banquet with the imagery of a wedding reception. From his own experience, Paul assures that God provides everything that we ever need.
Reflect: The invitation to the banquet of the Kingdom is freely offered to all. Everyone is invited. However, not everyone accepts it. And those who accept must play by the rules of the Kingdom. That is why the one without the wedding garment is thrown out. Sometimes we have an erroneous understanding of God‘s mercy–that He forgives everything and therefore, anything goes. It doesn‘t.
Pray: Let us pray for all people in the world to accept the invitation to the Kingdom.
Act: Invite a fallen away Catholic to join you at the Eucharist today.

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