Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 (Eph 4:7-16):

Brothers and sisters:
Grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended
into the lower regions of the earth?
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
until we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood
to the extent of the full stature of Christ,
so that we may no longer be infants,
tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching
arising from human trickery,
from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
Rather, living the truth in love,
we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,
from whom the whole Body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
with the proper functioning of each part,
brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

Gospel (Lk 13:1-9):

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them–
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”


Written by: Fr. Tien M. Dinh, OP.

I. THEME: We need to understand our role in God’s plan of salvation to bear fruit for Him.

               Looking at what happened, each person has a different viewpoint. Some think it is good; others say it is bad; still others think it is neither good or bad. Good or bad depends on people’s level of understanding; therefore, people need to clearly understanding the thing before thay can give a good evaluation of it.

            Today readings give some examples to illustrate that we must clearly understanding the thing before we can have our proper evaluation and avoid hostile attitude with others. In the first reading, St. Paul revealed God’s plan of salvation for the faithful and their role in this plan, so that they know how to use God’s grace to fulfill their role and to build up Christ’s body. In the Gospel, Jesus rebuked the wrong understanding of some of his audience about the relationship between sin and punishment and he advised them instead of busying themselves with criticism and condemnation, they should look deeply into their conscience to repent and to bear fruit for themselves and others.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Our role in God’s plan of salvation

1.1/ God gave us grace to fulfill our vocation: St. Paul declared, “But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.” To illustrate this, St. Paul used Psalm 68:18 with one important change in the second expression: “He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men;” while the psalm states: RSV“Thou didst ascend the high mount, leading captives in thy train, and receiving gifts among men.”

            W. Barclay in his Commentary on the Ephesians, gave a reason for the change: In the Old Testament, the victorious king has a right to demand gifts from people. In the New Testament, Christ, after his glorious victory, gives gifts to people. This is the basic difference between the two covenants. In the Old Testament, the just God emphasized on receiving gifts from people; while in the New Testament, the loving God outpours His grace on people. This is truly the Good News.”

            Where are the gifts which Christ gives to people? St. Paul gave a list of different vocations:

            (1) Some are the apostles: Besides the Twelve, Jesus also chose many disciples and other “apostles” to be sent out as Paul and Barnabas.

            (2) Others are the prophets: The prophets are those who speak for God. Although the prophetic vocation, in a strict sense, terminated with John Baptist; but in a wider sense, all those who proclaim the Gospel are also prophets.

            (3) Some are the evangelists: The four evangelists we have are: Matthew, Mark, Lucas and John. We can also open up to St. Paul, St. James and other authors of the New Testament.

            (4) Others are pastors and teachers: These are positions of the Church’s leaders such as: the pope, bishops, priests and teachers. They are also opened up to all parents.

1.2/ These different vocations are for one purpose: Although God gives each one a different vocation, but all vocations aim one purpose which is “for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.” Standing before God’s plan of salvation, people can choose between the two ways:

            (1) Living according to falseness and division: St. Paul prayed that the faithful don’t choose this way because: “We may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.” For example, out of the desire for power or fame, one wants to do what other is doing.

            (2) Living according to the truth and charity: St. Paul prayed for his faithful, “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love.”

2/ Gospel: Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

2.1/ People must frequently examine their conscience in order to repent: What is the relationship between suffering and sin? There are two positions: The position of God and the world. According to the latter, suffering is the result of sin “whoever did evil will be punished by God, the more heavy of the sin the more severe of the punishment.” According to the former, suffering might not be a result of sin. For example, there are some who would like to suffer to give life to others as in the case of Jesus, or to give glory to God as in the case of Job or the man born blind in John 9. Jesus illustrated by two examples:

            (1) The Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Jesus asked his audience: "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus. I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” The Jewish tradition believed those were killed because they opposed Pilate when he collected the Temple tax to build the water system for people who lived at Jerusalem.

            (2) Those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: Jesus also asked them: “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

            The important thing Jesus wanted to point out is that instead of arguing to find out a relationship between suffering and sin, they should look deep into themselves to recognize their sins and to repent.

2.2/ People must bear fruit for God: Jesus gave them a parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

            (1) If the fig tree continues to bear no fruit, it will be cut off to plant another tree to bear fruits for people. Same thing will happen to people, if they don’t bear fruits as God wants, He will take them away and give their places to others so that they will bear fruits for Him.

            (2) God gives all people many opportunities to bear fruits; but if they don’t take advantage of opportunities, He will give them no more opportunities. Of course, God will be patient to wait for people to yield profit; but He cannot wait forever. He will give those opportunities to those who will bear good fruits.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We need to clearly understand God’s plan of salvation and our role in this plan so that we should not be jealous with others or demand to do what others do; but to fulfill our duty and together with everybody, bring God’s plan to fulfillment.

            - We should avoid the nosy attitude and the condemnation of others, but examine own own conscience to see if we bear fruit corresponding with God’s grace. 

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