Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday of the 23 OT2

 

Readings: I Cor 8:1-7, 11-13; Lk 6:27-38.

1/ First Reading: NAB 1 Corinthians 8:1 Now in regard to meat sacrificed to idols: we realize that "all of us have knowledge"; knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. 2 If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But if one loves God, one is known by him. 4 So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols: we know that "there is no idol in the world," and that "there is no God but one." 5 Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth (there are, to be sure, many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist. 7 But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled. 11 Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 6:27 "But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. 35 But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful. 37 "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. 38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

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I. THEME: Love enemies and those who have weak faith.

            Many people think that it is enough if we know and do right; but St. Paul, in the first reading, thought that it is still not enough for building up one’s community. He taught that when people do right things, they must also pay attention to those who have weak faith. If our work, even right, but causes misunderstanding and a scandal for other to fall, it is better for us not to do it; for example, eating the meat that had been offered for idols.

            People are easy to love those who love them, to return favor to those who do favor to them; but Jesus demanded his disciples to advance further by to love their enemies and to do favor for those who persecuted them.

            Today readings give us reason why we should do like that.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Not only do the right thing but also to have a concern for those who are weak.

            The Greeks worship many gods, and to ask for something they offer their offerings to gods. After they offered their offering, they burn a small part for their gods; a part for the priests who serve in the temple; a part they keep to celebrate with their family and friends. The priest can sell their part if they don’t want to consume. The question was put by the Corinthians to Paul is that should they eat or buy meat which was offered for gods?

            Some in their community think that they should eat because according to the Church’s teaching, “"There is no idol in the world," and that "there is no God but one." Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth, yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.”

            St. Paul also agreed that the faithful should eat meat which is prepared or buy meat which is sold in market without any question. However, if there is the presence of one who belongs to their community and his faith is weak, they should not eat or buy it. The reason for it is not everyone who can have a same understanding. There are those who are so used with their worship of idols; they believed that when they eat such food, they become parts of their idols, and their weak faith become defiled.

            Building up a community is based not only on knowledge, but also on charity; because “knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him.” According to Paul, each of the faithful is a member of a body which is the Church, with Christ as the Head. Therefore, all of us have a duty to protect all members to be healthy. Applying this in eating meat which was offered to idols, St. Paul explained: “Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin.”

2/ Gospel: Love your enemies and do good to those who persecuted you.

            An analysis about words shall help us to better understand Jesus’ requirements in this passage. In Greek, there are three verbs used for love:

            (1) To express romantic love between a male and a female, they use the verb “eran.”

            (2) To express familial love between members of a family or between friends, they use the verb “filein.”

            (3) To express love between the faithful who believe in Christ as used in today passage, the evangelists use the verb “agapan.” This verb is only used in the context of the Christianity.

            People can’t love their enemies in the first meaning, because they can’t love them by romantic love. They can’t love them in the second meaning because it is against the nature. But they can love their enemies in the third meaning, with God’s love. This love depends not only on the heart but also more on the will. With the love that comes from God, the faithful can do impossible things as Jesus demanded in today passage: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.”

            When we had just heard about Jesus’ teaching, we think they are very similar to the wisdom or doctrine of other religions; for example, the Confucius’ teaching which many people regard them as the Golden Rule or Reciprocal Rule which stated “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” (Analects XV.24, tr. David Hinton). But if we carefully analyze them, we will see they are very different and better than all doctrines from beginning to now. Jesus’ teaching is positive, “Do to others what you want them to do for you” while Golden Rule is only negative, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” The positive rule is difficult than the negative rule; the faithful must be permeated by God’s love before they can do what Jesus demanded.

            Why does Jesus demand his disciples to do such a difficult task?” Jesus gave a reason which is to become like God, “If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for He himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.” To be God’s children must be different than others’ children. If the faithful only love those who love them and return favor to those who do favor to them, they aren’t different with sinners.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Our life isn’t simple to the point that we solve all problems with our mind, but many times we must solve problems by love. Knowledge can lead to pride and despise those who don’t know, but love always helps to build up one’s community. We need to concern for all members of our community when we solve problems related to them.

            - Love our enemies and do good to them are Jesus’ commands, not an option. This can only be done when we are already permeated by God’s love before we can love people as we are loved by God.

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