Fourth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeA
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Fourth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeA

Fourth Sunday in  Ordinary TimeA

 

Readings: Sop 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a.

1/ Reading I: RSV Zephaniah 2:3 “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the LORD. 3:12 For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD, 13 those who are left in Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall pasture and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."

2/ Reading II: RSV 1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; 27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."

3/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”



I. THEME: Happiness is to be humble and to rely on God.

 

            Today readings are concentrated on the basic and most important lesson of our life; that is, to recognize we are only zero before God so that we must completely put our trust and hope in God. This is the difficult lesson for people both in the past and today because people are always proud of themselves; they think all good things they have are the results of their effort. They forgot that if God didn’t help, they can never achieve such results. Those who think as such stole God’s help.

            The proud are those who deceive themselves, God and others because they claim what don’t have or belong to them. The humble, in opposition, recognize all what they have are from God. They believe if God doesn’t help, they can’t be succesful, even in a small work.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: Let look for righteousness and humility.

1.1/ People must look for God: The prophet Zephaniah lived during the time of the Babylonian Exile. He witnessed the king, many officers and people were proud because of their successes. They forgot God and chased after foreign gods and were satisfied with their lowly passions. He forewarned people, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the Lord.”

            The Hebrew words he used for “humble” and “humility” here are “anwê” and “anawah;” they aren’t meant “poor” materially, but spiritually as we said above. The righteousness live by their faith in God (Hab 2:4); not in their strength or ability. The humble recognize their right relation with God and others, and know how to behave accordingly.

           

1.2/ People must pass through suffering in order to recognize God’s power: Since people refused to listen to the prophets, they lost their country and were on exile. However, God kept sending his prophets, Zephaniah is one of them, to provide hope for people during the exile. They always talked about the “remnant.” The remnant isn’t about those who weree survived after the war and the exile; but the “anawim,” those who completely believe in God. Zephaniah wrote, “I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall pasture and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.”

2/ Reading II: “No human being might boast in the presence of God.”

           

2.1/ The need to carefully examine one’s life: The Corinthians were well known about their pride because they were rich and famous. St. Paul would like them to think about the reason why God chose them to be His people: “Cconsider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”

            He also reminded them that God’s ways to choose and to make successful are very different with the worldly ways, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” Paul wants to tell the Corinthian faithful that all good things are from God and no one can boast about his individual accomplishments.

           

2.2/ Jesus Christ does everything for people: St. Paul wants to tell us that what we need to boast is Christ and we must thank God about this priceless gift. He explains, “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."”

3/ Gospel: Let learn to recognize God’s way to perfection.

            There are many scholars who commented about this Gospel; but no one has a clear and deep commentaries as St. Augustin and St. Thomas Aquinas. According to these two saints, there are only seven, not eight beatitudes; because the so called “eighth beatitude” is only the explannation of the fourth beatitude. Moreover, according to Jewish tradition, the number seven is considered the most perfect number. They compared the Seven Beatitudes with the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts and found out that the latter are in opposite order with the former. They also set a virtue corresponding with each beatitude. Lastly, they compared the Seven Beatitudes with the seven petitions in the Our Father; they found out that these seven petitions are also corresponding with the Seven Beatitudes. In short, they recognized the beautiful correponding between the Our Father, the Seven Beatitudes and the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts. I shall be brief in this homily, but shall develop more when I have an opportunity.

(1) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”: Poverty isn’t meant about material things, but in spirit; it is meant to trust in God, the “anawim.” The poor recognize they are nothing before God; whatever they have are completely out of God’s mercy, not of their effort. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the exemplar for this first beatitude. Although is given the title “Mother of God” by Gabriel, Mary humbly acclaimed, “For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48).

In opposition with the poor in spirit is the sin of pride—taking what belong to God as one’s own. The proud steal what belong to God, their parents and others. People need to acquire the virtue of humility which is “poor in spirit” to trust in God, instead of in themselves. The Book of Wisdom considers this is the most important virtue in the process of educating people. Parents need to teach their children this most important virtue because if their children revere God, they shall also honor and obey their parents. When their children don’t revere even God, they shall have little regards for their parents. If the proud have no regards for God, they shall violate all kinds of sin.

The first petition of the Our Father, “Hallowed be Thy name,” is corresponding with the first beatitude and the Holy Spirit’s gift “fear of the Lord”. All things belong to God; therefore, people need to glorify God. Glorifying God and helping people to recognize God’s Holy Name must be our first duty.

(2) "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”: Meekness is the necessary virtue for the intercourse between people. The meek shall not maltreat and be unjust with others; but always respect and give to others what belong to them. Those possess this virtue must revere and love God; and because of that, they also love others. The reward which they shall have is the inheritance which God promises to give them in heaven.

The second petition, “Thy kingdom comes,” is corresponding with the Holy Spirit’s gift of piety and the second beatitude. When all people “love God and others,” God’s kingdom indeed comes right on this life, and certainly, it is also the Last Day which God and all people wish for it.

(3) "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”:Those who have more knowledge are easily recognize their sins against God and others. When people recognize their sins, they shall begin the process of reconciliation. Those who don’t want to learn shall not recognize their sins; as a result, they shall not repent in order to be reconciled and forgiven.

The third petition, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10), is corresponding with the third beatitude and the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge. Those who always repent easily recognize God’s will and have courage to do it, not to satisfy their own will and lowly desires.

(4) "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”:The righteous are those who put their complete trust in Christ; but faithfully living this faith in all moments of life isn’t easy. They need to obey what Christ teaches and to have the virtue of courage to witness for him. What people usually call “the eighth beatitude” is included in this fourth beatitude because those who are persecuted and ready to be martyrs are those who must have a firm faith in Christ.

The fourth petition, “Give us this day our daily bread” is corresponding with the Holy Spirit’s gift of courage and the fourth beatitude. People’s tendency is to store up things for them to enjoy. Those who only ask to have their daily food need a strong faith and courage to overcome their lowly desires for material things.

(5) "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”: Those who have compassion know how to open up themselves to welcome and to understand others, not to close their mind and to condemn others. The merciful shall receive God’s compassion.

The fifth petition, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” is clearly corresponding with the fifth beatitude and the Holy Spirit’s gift of couseling. Those who don’t forgive shall never receive God’s forgiveness.

(6) "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”:Those who keep their mind pure shall understand God more, and at the end, God shall give them the reward “to see God as He is.”

The sixth petition, “And lead us not into temptation” is corresponding with the sixth beatitude and the Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding. In order to overcome temptations, people need to understand all causes of sins and their consequences which they must receive.

(7) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”: Peace is built on the two foundations which are truth and charity, not just the absence of war. Peace which isn’t based on truth and only on compassion isn’t a true peace; it shall not last long and wait for war to explode.

Wisdom is the first gift of the Holy Spirit which helps people to recognize what belong to God to acquire, at the same time, to recognize what are evil and temporal to avoid. The seventh petition, “Deliver us from evil,” demands people to have the divine wisdom to recognize what belong to God and to this world.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE

            - We must learn this basic and important lesson in order for us to thank God because all of His blessings He unceasingly pours upon us.

            - We should never deceive ourselves by claiming what don’t belong to us.

            - The Beatitudes and the “Our Father” are the ways and the excellent prayer which God gives to us. We should meditate them deeper to recognize their importance in our life.

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: