Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of the Ordinary Time1 - Memorial of the Holy Angel

 

Reading 1: Neh 2:1-8


In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes,
when the wine was in my charge,
I took some and offered it to the king.
As I had never before been sad in his presence,
the king asked me, "Why do you look sad?
If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart."
Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king:
"May the king live forever!
How could I not look sad
when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins,
and its gates have been eaten out by fire?"
The king asked me, "What is it, then, that you wish?"
I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king:
"If it please the king,
and if your servant is deserving of your favor,
send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors' graves,
to rebuild it."
Then the king, and the queen seated beside him,
asked me how long my journey would take
and when I would return.
I set a date that was acceptable to him,
and the king agreed that I might go.

I asked the king further: "If it please the king,
let letters be given to me for the governors
of West-of-Euphrates,
that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah;
also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park,
that he may give me wood for timbering the gates
of the temple-citadel and for the city wall
and the house that I shall occupy."
The king granted my requests,
for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.

Gospel: Lk 9:57-62

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
"I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him,
"Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said, "Follow me."
But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
Jesus answered him, "No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."


Written by: Rev. Anthony Dinh M. Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: We must put God’s work above all other works.

            The selfishness and self-enjoyment make people to forget their duties to God and others. They can lead people far away from God and treat others unjustly. To help people to expel these two vices, they need to learn to find out what is the purpose of life and how to reach this purpose.

            Today readings teach people how to expel the selfishness and self-enjoyment to do God’s work and the works that benefit others. In the first reading, even though Nehemiah had everything in the Exile, he still felt sad when he thought about the Holy City’s wall where his ancestors were buried, lies in ruins. He asked the king for permission to go back to his country to rebuild his ancestors’ tomb and the city’s wall. In the Gospel, Jesus gave us three necessary attitudes of his disciples. First, they need to live a simple life in order to have time and means to do God’s work. Second, they cannot worry too much for his family’s members. God has power to help family’s members of his disciples. Last, once they decided to follow him, they should not regret and look back; if they did, they will gradually gather what they gave up, and fall into temptations.

II. ANALYSES:

1/ Reading I: How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried, lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?

1.1/ Nehemiah’s will is to rebuild the Holy City’s wall: He is the Jews in Exile and the one in charge of wine in the Artasersex’s court. His duty is to taste all food and drink before the king eats or drinks to guarantee freshness and safety for the king. Even though he had everything he needs but he still feels sad when he thought about the Holy City, where his ancestors spent much time and effort to build up, and now lies in ruins.

            When the king Artasersex recognized his sorrow, the king asked him: “Why do you look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.” Though he was seized with great fear, he answered the king: "May the king live forever! How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?" The king asked him, "What is it, then, that you wish?" He prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king: "If it please the king, and if your servant is deserving of your favor, send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, to rebuild it." The king agreed to let him go, and he promised to be back after a certain time.

1.2/ God is the one who helped Nehemiah to get everything he needed: After getting the permission to go back, Nehemiah prayed to God, and then he returned to the king and asked further: "If it please the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of West-of-Euphrates, that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah; also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park, that he may give me wood for timbering the gates of the temple-citadel and for the city wall and the house that I shall occupy." The king who was under God’s spirit agreed with everything Nehemiah asked. Then, Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the Jerusalem in a very short time.

2/ Gospel: "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."

            Today Gospel gives us three examples to show the urgence of giving up everything to follow Jesus to proclaim the Good News. To follow Christ, the disciple must have these attitudes:

           

2.1/ To live a simple life to have time for God: As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." Jesus, though he was very rich (all things belong to him), but he chose a simple life to set an example for his disciples. Why is a simple life needed for Jesus’ disciples?

            + When one spent too much time to work for money, he will have no time to work for God.

            + When one has too much, he will hesitate to follow Jesus. The conversation between Jesus and the rich young man in Luke’s Gospel is an example.

            + When a disciple had too many things, he will hesitate to be on the road to proclaim the Good News. Whoever has least, will travel furthest. He is ready to go anywhere to proclaim the Good News.

2.2/ To follow God is the first priority: Jesus said to another, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go first and bury my father." But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God."

            + There seems a paradox in Jesus’ answer: “How can the dead bury their dead?” The dead can be understood as “human beings” because they all have to die. Jesus meant when he calls someone, he must have courage to follow him at once. If he waits for his father to be buried before he follows him, this shows he loves his father more than God. Whoever did such thing is not worthy to follow him.

            + Did Jesus teach one to be ungrateful to his parents? No! But he wants people must put the proclamation of the Good News first. God has power to take care his disciple’s father.

            + One must takes the opportunity when it comes. According to experience, if one keeps hesitated, he will not have courage to follow Jesus.

2.3/ Once followed God, don’t turn back: And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home." Jesus answered him, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."

            + This is a real experience for farmers: When one uses oxen or buffaloes to plow, he must look straight forward; if he looks back, the furrows will not be straight.

            + In the Book of Genesis, Lot’s wife, because of regretting her properties, diobeyed the angel’s command and looked back, she immediately became a columnn of salt.

            + The disciple who gave up everything to follow Christ, should not regret of anything. If he did, he will gradually gather all things he gave up, and the result is more grave than the time he gave up.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                     

            - We must put God’s work above our individual works, as we always pray in the Our Father: Hallow be your name, your kingdom comes, your will be done on earth as also in heaven.

            - The most important work is to contribute in the proclamation of the Good News, so that everybody might believe in Christ and inherit the eternal life.

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