Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday of the 28 OT2

 

Readings: Gal 5:18-25; Lk 11:42-46.

1/ First Reading: NAB Galatians 5:18 But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 11:42 “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk." 45 Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." 46 And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.


 

I. THEME: One can live either according to the Holy Spirit or according to his fleshy desire.

             

            St. Paul’s opponents accused him that since he wanted to attract more people to follow him, he preached an easy Gospel which is based on faith in Jesus only, not on keeping of the law. St Paul answered them that isn’t the case. There is only one Gospel which based on the faith in Christ and only this faith can liberate people from sins and lead them to salvation; the law has no power to do that. However, it isn’t meant that the ones who put their faith in Christ don’t have to keep any kind of law; they must live according to the law of the Holy Spirit.

            Today readings concentrate on the law which the believers must keep and the law which they must discard. In the first reading, St. Paul differentiated two ways of living, either according to the Holy Spirit or according to the law. Those who put their faith in Christ, live according to the Holy Spirit’s law while those who put their faith in the Jewish law, live according to their fleshy desire because this law has no power to guide them according to God’s way. In the Gospel, Jesus called the Pharisees and the scribes to pay attention to divine law and the observance of the law, not too much on tedious laws, hypocritical keeping the law, and keeping the law for vainglory and material gains.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

            To avoid confusion, there are something we must make clear: First, when Paul talked about the law, he means the Jewish law which include both the Ten Commandments and the precepts which their leaders added on through time. Some asked that did St. Paul tell the Christians that since Christ liberated them from the law, from now on they don’t have to keep the Jewish law any more? We must rely on St. Thomas to answer this question. St. Thomas said we must keep the Ten Commandments because they are the divine and natural laws and they are unchangeable but we don’t have to keep all the precepts that Jewish leaders added them on because they are human laws and for the Jews only (circumcision, purification, etc.). Human laws can be changed with time. Secondly, the Ten Commandments along with the old covenant are imperfect comparing with Jesus’ commandments and the new covenant which are perfect. When one keeps Jesus’ law, he fulfills all the Old Law. Lastly, Jesus’ New Law can be abreviated in the two commandments, “love God and others.” When one loves somebody, he wants the best for his lover. This also renders the Old Law ineffective because it is more perfect.

            In today passage, St. Paul gave the Galatians a list of sins which the believers must avoid and a list of virtues which they must acquire. This should silent all the critics who misunderstood Paul and thought he preached an easy Gospel which is lawless. According to Paul, there are two ways of life: If one chooses to be justified by the law, he shall live according to his fleshy desire. If one chooses to be justified by his faith in Christ, he shall let the Holy Spirit guide him according to God’s grace and Christ’s law. Concretely, Paul gave out the two lists:

1.1/ According to the flesh: Some signs of those who live according to this way. Paul clearly declared that whose who live according to this way shall not be inherited of God’s salvation:

            - Imorality, impurity, licentiousness: to satisfy their fleshy desires;

            - Idolatry and sorcery: to believe in the devil’s instead of God’s power;

            - Hatredness, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury: these acts are completely against charity;

            - Act of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy: these acts destroy unity in a family or community;

            - Drinking bouts, orgies and the like: these acts show people don’t know how to control their passions and live like animals.

           

1.2/ According to the Holy Spirit: St. Paul listed nine signs of those who live according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We need to differentiate between the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which God gives to a believer and the Holy Spirit’s twelve fruits which one shows that he is living according to the Holy Spirit. These can be called virtues which one can possess through practice.

            (1) Charity: This is one of the three theological virtues which God gives to a believer, but he must practice to increase it and to bear fruits. This is the most important virtue;

            (2) Joy: This is the feeling of the one who possesses what he desires or hopes for;

            (3) Peace: This is the feeling of the one who puts his trust in God and believes that God shall not let him be hopeless;

            (4) Generosity: This virtue is a part of charity. The one who has this virtue shall not take evil for evil, but good and always forgive;

            (5) Kindness: This virtue is also a part of charity. The one who possesses this virtue is always kind with people;

            (6) Goodness: This virtue is also a part of charity. The one who has this virtue wants to do good for others;

            (7) Gentleness: This is the characteristics of the one who isn’t rude to others, but is always meek and treats others with dignity;

            (8) Faithfulness: This virtue is needed for one to be loyal to God and others in case of difficulty;

            (9) Self-control: This can also be called temperance, and is one of the four cardinal virtues. This virtue helps one to control his eating, drinking, and pleasure of touch.

            The Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 1832, added three more virtues to the Holy Spirit’s fruits:

            (10) Patience: This virtue is a part of the virtue of hope. The one who has this virtue shall not change when he must face difficulty or hardship;

            (11) Modesty: This virtue controls the use of material things in one’s life so that he shall not pay too much attention to them than he needs to. It is also regard one’s decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.;

            (12) Chastity: is a part of the moral virtue of temperance. It pays a special attention to the control of the pleasure of touch in one’s sexual life.

            St. Paul affirmed, “Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.” The law can only prevent people not to sin, but it can’t help people to live according to these higher values.

 

2/ Gospel: Judge yourself before judging others.

2.1/ “You pay no attention to justice and to love for God”: As spiritual leaders, the Pharisees supposed to know the way and to set good examples for people to follow; but they did not do that. Jesus invited them to examine three things:

            (1) To distinguish between necessary and suplementary thing: “Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.” They forgot to live out two of the most commandments which are to love God and others. They paid too much attention to outside ceremonies (Mk 7:6) and forgot to treat others with justice; for example, they hid what they collected from others for their own expense.

            (2) To avoid vainglory: “Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.”

            (3) To avoid hypocrisy: “Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

2.2/ You imposed on people burdens hard to carry: One of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."

            The scribes are those who know the law. They should find opportunities to teach people to understand and to keep the law; instead, they use the law for their material gains. They are also ones who make law for others to keep; but they themselves belong to exception law and don’t have to keep common law.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We can’t proclaim out faith in Christ and do whatever we want to; but we must to deny our fleshy desire and to live according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

            - Twelve signs that help us to know if we are living according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance are charity, joy, peace, generosity, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, temperance, modesty, patience and chastity.

            - We shouldn’t live according to our fleshy desire as the Pharisees and the scribes. They have no regards for God and others, like vainglory and hypocrisy, and use the law to unjustly treat and to deceive others.

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