Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be noticed in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by people. I assure you, they have their reward.If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.When you pray, do not be like those who want to be noticed. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have their reward. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will re ward you.When you fast, do not put on a miserable face, as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father, who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.

Reflections
“Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people.”Jesus wants his disciples to puri­fy their motives when they do good things. Doing them without proper motivation is not meritorious.Nowadays we have penchant for showing off the little things we do because of the cheap social media. There we can advertise ourselves without cost. Other people take pictures of us and post them easily in the parish or personal social media account or in the newsletter, without our permission.It has become hard to distin­guish between giving plain information and satisfying our narcissistic tendencies. Here we have to discern where we are really coming from when we get involved in charitable activities.We have to admit that many good things are happening in our parishes without being trumpeted. The parishioners feed the indigent children without taking pictures. Some take photos with their mo­bile phones but keep them for personal use. Others are engaged in medical and dental mission in the far ­flung areas focused on their work, without bringing video cams and camera.Those who work quietly do meritorious jobs in the Lord’s eyes.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
You have heard, that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: love your enemies; and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good; and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Reflections
“As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”Jesus makes another exhorta­tion which is hard to swallow. It is loving one’s enemies. We can imagine that his listeners were re­ acting as he was saying this thing, like “turning the other cheek.”But Jesus does not stop issuing such statement. He con­tinues to motivate them. He e­ minds them of the magnanimity of the Father who is not selective in extending his blessings. He uses the imagery of the sun and the rain that benefit all.Jesus also reasons out that lo­ving one’s enemy brings them to a higher level of existence. Limiting love to only those who love us is living like the tax collectors and other sinners. His disciples must exhibit an outstanding behavior. They must outdo the pagans who are nice only to their friends.At the end, Jesus gives them the ultimate reason for doing something more than usual: to be perfect like the Father.Perfection is not about preci­sion, flawlessness or getting a one hundred percent score, but the ability to extend one’s heart even to those who are not pleasant in one’s sight. It is going beyond our own pride and established beliefs to be able reach out to others.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: Matthew 5:38-42
You have heard, that it was said: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you this: do not oppose evil with evil; if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer the other. If someone sues you in court for your shirt, give him your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give when asked, and do not turn your back on anyone who wants to borrow from you.


Reflections
“Do not turn your back on anyone.”Many people are not comfor­table with Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Beatitudes that there should be no vengeance. That saying “an eye for eye,”“a tooth for a tooth,” should be replaced with a non-­violent stance “turning the other cheek.”Jesus challenges his followers to develop the ability to absorb hardships and physical injuries to stop the spiral of violence. He will later prove that this is do­ able when he endures the insults, blows, scourges and crucifixion on Mt. Calvary. It has salvific effect. If his followers are vindic­tive, how will they be different from their countrymen and the pagans? How will they gain follo­ wers of Christ? How will they com­municate to people that there is a better or humane way to cope with harsh situations? How will they form communities of love, understanding and forgiveness if they live the culture of vengeance and getting even.Vindictive people cannot de­velop long­ term friendships. They are avoided by people who do not want to start a war or engage in a meaningless conflict. Vindictive people are actually not protecting their dignity and freedom which they claim, but actually releasing their perceived power over others.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019

Gospel: John 16:12-15
I still have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into the whole truth.For he will not speak of his own authority, but will speak what he hears, and he will tell you about the things which are to come. He will take what is mine and make it known to you; in doing this, he will glorify me. All that the Father has is mine; for this reason, I told you that the Spirit will take what is mine, and make it known to you.


Lectio Divina
READ: For Catholics and other religious persuasions, the belief in the Holy Trinity is non-­negotiable. The word “Trinity” is a simple theologi­cal term which captures the mystery of God. We all believe in one God, but in God, we also believe there are three divine persons, namely, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are all divine and united as one community.
REFLECT: The belief in the Holy Trinity gives us the model for forming ecclesial commu­nities, religious congregations and the Church as a whole. We recognize the existence of the Trinity every time we make the sign of the cross, recite the Glory, Apostle’s Creed and many other prayers.
PRAY: Lord, Triune God, help me to live your mystery. I can best be a Christian if I believe in you. My Catholic faith falls apart once I deny your exis­tence. The Bible too becomes meaningless, if I do not appre­ciate your mystery.
ACT: Show that you really believe in the Holy Trinity by properly making the sign of the cross and reciting the prayers taught by the Church. Show also your belief by being in communion with the parish where you belong. You cannot live your faith alone.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019