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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 16:50

December 30, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 2:36-40 -
         There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father‘s home, she had been seven years with her husband; and since then, she had been continually about the temple, serving God, as a widow, night and day, in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There, the child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.

The call to holiness is not only for old people but for everybody, young and old alike. Children are called to be holy just as their parents are.
Prophetess Anna serves as the model for old people to live holy lives. She had been continually about the temple, serving God, as a widow, night and day, in fasting and prayer. The child Jesus also serves as the model for children to follow. Like Jesus, children should also grow not only in stature and strength but in wisdom and in grace of God.
St. John, in the first reading, warns us about a big obstacle to holiness. He warns us not to love the word, or what is in it. For everything in the world-the craving of the flesh, the greed of eyes and people boasting of their superiority-all this belongs to the world, not the Father. For him, to be holy means to do the will of the Father and remain in Him.
Let us be holy by doing the will of God and by remaining in Him through prayers and through service.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:49

December 29, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 2:22-35
         When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every first born male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
There lived in Jerusalem, at this time, a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel; and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So, he was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law.
Simeon took the child in his arms, and blessed God, saying,
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see.
Here is the light you will reveal to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.“
His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, “Know this: your son is a sign; a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.“

The purpose of presentation is to fulfill what is commanded by the Lord: “Every first born male shall be consecrated to God.“ The idea is to recognize the couple‘s giftedness. God has given them a gift of a son and it is but fitting that the “son-gift“ should be presented to God in thanksgiving and be offered back to be consecrated to God.
Jesus is God‘s gift not only to Mary and Joseph but to humanity. As a gift he was presented by his parents in thanksgiving and for consecration. His presentation prefigures what is to take place during the last supper and on the cross. The Jesus who was offered during the presentation is the same Jesus who was offered on the cross for our salvation. He is the same Jesus who is the offeror and the one being offered every time the Eucharist is celebrated. For this, Jesus is truly a gift to humanity!
Our life is God‘s gift to us, to our family and to the community. Like Jesus, we were also presented and consecrated to God in baptism. As Jesus lived up his consecration until the end of his earthly life, we must also show in our daily life our baptismal consecration by being gifts to God and to another.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:48

December 28, 2017

A GospelGospel: Mt 2:13-18  -
        After the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon be looking for the child in order to kill him.“
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled: I called my son out of Egypt.
When Herod found out that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old or under. This was done, according to what he had learned from the wise men about the time when the star appeared.
In this way, what the prophet Jeremiah had said was fulfilled: A cry is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeps for her children. She refuses to be comforted, for they are no more.

Lauren Hansen of The Week featured stories of 9 heroic teens and their incredible acts of bravery. The stories speak that children, even at their very young age, are capable of heroic deeds. This truth is not something new. More than 2,000 years ago, the Holy Innocents had already proven this.
St. Quodvultdeus explained this when he said: “They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.“ By their death they have proclaimed they could not preach with their infant voice. They gave witness not by words but their life‘s blood.
The Holy Innocents offered praise to Christ by the death they suffered for him. Let us learn from them. May our lives also bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:47

December 27, 2017

A GospelGospel: Jn 20:1a & 2-8
        Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away.
She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don‘t know where they have laid him.“
Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around his head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed.

Among the many descriptions and titles of St. John (he is also called the Apostle, the Evangelist, the Theologian, the Divine, the Son of Zebedee, and the brother of James), what stands most is the description he gave to himself: “the disciple whom Jesus loved.“ He is the Beloved Disciple and this is what matters most to him.
We may have obtained many titles because of our accomplishments and achievements, but if we don‘t have the love of Christ in us, we are nothing. We may have gained everything in this world-riches, fame and influence-but if we don‘t have personal relationship with Christ, that‘s nothing.
St Paul articulated this more emphatically: “If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love I am a noisy gang, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.“
How about you? What is more important to you?

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:46

December 26, 2017

A GospelGospel: Mt 10:17-22 -
         Be on your guard with people, for they will hand you over to their courts, and they will flog you in their synagogues. You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings because of me, so that you may witness to them and the pagans.
But when you are arrested, do not worry about what you are to say, or how you are to say it; when the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father, speaking through you.
Brother will hand over his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.

We have just celebrated yesterday with joy Christmas. Yesterday‘s celeb­ration commemorated the birth of the Son of God into the world. No doubt the beauty of Christmas still floats peacefully in the air. But now, we suddenly shifted to a dramatic and sad death of St. Stephen. Why this sudden shift? What‘s the purpose of presen­ting two contrasting events: birth and death; gladness and sadness.
The contrasting events remind us of the two realities of life: birth and death, of dying and rising, of happiness and sadness that we all experience. They remind us that while on earth we experience the cycle of dying and rising. In fact, it is a series of death and birth experiences, of dying and new life. They tell us that in this world not everything is happiness; neither is it pure sadness. It is a mixture of happiness and sadness.
What is important in all these contrasting realities is the presence of Christ. Obviously, Christmas is Christ made man to be present in us while the martyrdom of St. Stephen is his entrance into everlasting presence of God. Whether in moments of joy and sadness, of birth and death, if Jesus is there, any moment becomes a “kairos,“ a salvific event. May every moment of our life, joyful or sad, be filled with Christ‘s presence so that it becomes a moment of grace for us.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:45

December 25, 2017

A GospelGospel: Jn 1:1-18 -
         In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; he was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, and without him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in him; life, which for human beings, was also light, light that shines in darkness, light that darkness could not overcome.
A man came, sent by God; his name was John.
He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light;
for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone.
He was in the world, and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him.
He came to his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but to all who received him, he empowers to become children of God, for they believe in his name.
These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man: they are born of God.
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father: fullness of truth and loving-kindness.
John bore witness to him openly, saying, “This is the one who comes after me, but he is already ahead of me, for he was before me.“
From his fullness we have all received, favor upon favor.
For God had given us the law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made him known: the one, who is in and with the Father.

Part of our Christmas decoration is the nativity scene or the Belen based on Luke‘s narrative, the gospel this midnight mass. The gospel narrated: “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her first born son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.“ To explain why there was no place for the baby Jesus in the inn, people imagined the innkeeper‘s refusal of Joseph and Mary who was heavy with child. This recalls God‘s complaint about his people Israel as narrated in the Book of Isaiah: “an ox knows it‘s owner, and an ass, it‘s master‘s manger; but Israel does not know, my people has not understood.“ And this is also what we find in the gospel of St. John that we have just heard:
“He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.“ In a way, the gospel of John shows us that the greatest Gift God has given, his son Jesus, was not received by many. From the beginning, such has been the response to the Son of God: “There was no room for them in the inn; and there was no room in the hearts of the people for Jesus.“
This reality of “no vacancy“ or “no admittance“ for Jesus in the hearts of people is not a thing of the past. It is still happening even as we celebrate Christmas today. Still many people overlook the main point of Christmas-celebrating the birth of Christ; that it is a special time in the church that invites us to welcome Jesus anew into our hearts. It is to welcome anew the One who has already been given to us, the one who “has made His dwelling among us“.
“There was no room for them in the inn. “There was only a space on a manger for Jesus. Indeed, all that is needed is a simple and small but open and receptive space on which Jesus can truly pitch his tent and stay. Let us then make room for Jesus in our lives. Amen.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:44

December 24, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 1:26-38 -
         In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God, to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin‘s name was Mary.
The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you!“ Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.
But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son; and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever; and his reign shall have no end.“
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?“ And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative, Elizabeth, is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.“
Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.“ And the angel left her.

Read: In his nobility of heart, David desires to build a house for Yahweh, but Yahweh in turn promises a dwelling for the entire people. At the Annunciation, Mary humbly accepts God‘s desire to house within her. Paul praises the mysterious plan of God, hidden for ages, but revealed now.
Reflect: Mary‘s response is the perfect merging of the active and the passive–the personal agency and the willingness to be worked on. Mary actively submits herself–out of her own free will–as the handmaid of the Lord. But her willingness is a desire to be willed by God: “let it be done to me according to your word.“ This is the perfect virginity of the soul–a soul that is completely open to God, and where God can pitch His tent. It is no wonder Mary is addressed the one “full of grace.“ She indeed is.
Pray: Ask Mother Mary to be your spiritual guide and mother in following God‘s will.
Act: Pray the joyful mystery of Annunciation in the Marian Rosary.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:43

December 23, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 1:57-66 -
        When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.“ They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!“ and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;“ and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?“ For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

Luke often ends a story in his gospel with a question. St. Luke, far from just narrating the events that he remembered about Jesus, wrote his gospel to evoke faith in his audience. He wanted that his stories would trigger their minds and make them aware of God‘s presence in their lives, move their hearts and to profess faith in God. In fact, his methodology is to lead his listeners to prayer.
Going back to the gospel narrative, when Luke poses the questions “What will this child be,“ he wants his listeners to realize that God was present in what they saw; that God is present and working in the life of St. John. The unusual circumstances surrounding his birth made it clear that the hand of the Lord was upon him.
This brings us to the main point of today‘s gospel. To question then is not something that we should avoid or refrain from doing. Questioning is something to be encouraged because it is the beginning of one‘s awareness of things around him, of self discovery and of things outside him. But more than that, questioning our faith, that is, questioning God, is in fact a form of prayer.
Cardinal Tagle, in a recent interview clarified this when he said, there is nothing wrong about questioning God, there is nothing bad about questioning him why this happened to us? Why my son died, why him? Because when done with love, it can be a form of prayer. Let us learn from what the people in today‘s gospel did after they asked the question “what will this child be?“-“They keep everything in their hearts. “May we also keep the message of Christmas in our heart..

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:42

December 22, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 1:46-56
         And Mary said,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit exults in God, my savior!
He has looked upon his servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is his Name!
From age to age, his mercy extends to those who live in his presence.
He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden.
He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.
He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy,
even as he promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.“
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

The Magnificat which is a song thanksgiving teaches us three things:
1. First, it shows us what sort of a woman Mary is. Mary is a blessed and grateful woman. Filled with the Holy Spirit and pregnant with Jesus, she offers thanks to God. She is so blessed that she cannot but be grateful to God.
2. Second, it reminds us that everything is God‘s gift, that everything is God‘s grace. Mary recognizes the greatness of God in her Magnificat. Her conception of Jesus is but a gift from God not only to her but to humanity. Everything is God‘s grace that the only thing that she needs is to cooperate with the grace of God.
3. Third, because everything is God‘s gift we need to give thanks to God. And our thanksgiving should be seen most especially in our sharing of what we received from God to others. God was the first giver and sharer. We need to imitate Him.
Indeed, we all have been blessed and gifted by God in one way or another. Perhaps, we were not given the same gifts, but just the same we are gifted and blessed. We are blessed first and foremost with the gift of God‘s presence in us, with the gift of family, of friends, and of everything that we need in life. But have we ever thanked God for all these blessings? Lest we forget, a person who is grateful is not only happy and contented but he also proclaims the greatness of God and allows Him to enter and dwell in his life. If God dwells in our hearts, the devil has no place to dwell in us.

Thursday, 12 January 2017 16:41

December 21, 2017

A GospelGospel: Lk 1:39-45 -
       Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary‘s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord‘s word would come true!“

Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. But in reality, it was also the visit of Jesus, who was still in the womb of his mother, to Elizabeth and his cousin John, who like him was still in the womb of Elizabeth. Mary was used as instrument for Jesus to visit them.
According to St. Augustine, the mystery of incarnation is God‘s visitation to his people. But God‘s visitation to his people did not end in Jesus‘ ascension to the Father.
God continues to visit this people through us whenever we bring God‘s presence to others.

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