Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary TimeB

Sunday of the 25 OTB

Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37.

 

1/ First Reading: NAB Wisdom 2:12 Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, Reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. 17 Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. 18 For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. 19 With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him."

 

2/ Second Reading: NAB James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. 4:1 Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? 2 You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. 3 You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

 

3/ Gospel: NAB Mark 9:30 They left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. 31 He was teaching his disciples and telling them, "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise." 32 But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him. 33 They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" 34 But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 35 Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." 36 Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, 37 "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me."



I. THEME: We must live according to the divine wisdom.

            There are many people who want to know without studying, to be praised without doing anything, to be loved and compassionate but never loving and understanding others, to be great without accomplishing anything. These people, when they don’t get what they want, find all possible ways to destroy others to satisfy their anger. Instead of using their mind to search and to build up, they use force and power to destroy and to kill.

            Today readings teach these people that they must change their life and to live according to God’s wisdom. In the first reading, instead changing their life in accordance with God’s way, the wicked wanted to test God by persecuting the righteous. In the second reading, St. James taught his faithful that if they want to have a true peace, they must deny the way of life according to worldly ambition and to live according to God’s wisdom. In the Gospel, while Jesus was preparing to sacrifice and to die for people through his Passion, his disciples competed and contented to see who among them is the greatest in heaven. Jesus called a child. Put him into their midst and told them: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: To test God by persecuting the righteous.

           

1.1/ The wicked persecuted the righteous: There are some fools who only believe in their wisdom and strength, and refuse to learn from others’ wisdom or to welcome others’ constructive criticism.

            (1) To see if the truth exists: Instead of spending their time and effort to learn the truth, the wicked stubbornly use their violence to destroy the truth by persecuting the righteous. They said, “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.”

            (2) To test the righteous’ endurance: Instead of finding reasons why the righteous can be meek and patient, they choose to use violence to surpress him, “With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.”

           

1.2/ The wicked tested even God: Since they don’t believe in God, the wicked want the righteous must also be like them.

            (1) To find out what is the meaning of life: Instead of studying through God’s revelation in Scripture and reflecting of their life experience to find out the meaning of life, they choose to kill the righteous to prove that there is no next life. They said, “Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him.” To them, death is the end of everything.

            (2) To find out if God exists: They think, "If the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him." If God doesn’t interfere, they shall conclude: There is no God!

            Standing before Christ’s cross, many high priests, scribes and Pharisees made fun at Jesus: “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'” (Mt 27:43).

 

2/ Reading II: Let get rid of the lifestyle according to worldly ambition.

           

2.1/ God’s wisdom versus worldly wisdom: The word for wisdom, “sophía,” is a confused word in Greek; it can be used for both divine and human wisdom, good and bad.

            (1) God’s wisdom: St. James used a long sentence to define the divine wisdom: “The wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.”

            First of all, God’s wisdom demands people to be pure, have no wicked intention to harm others. Next, the one who possesses it must pay attention to build up peace, not to use wicked plan to cause division and contention. He must not stubbornly keep his own opinion, but must open his mind to welcome others’ better and more useful opinion. He must not easily condemn others, but always have compassion and find ways to build up for all people. Lastly, he must act justly with all people, and always sincerely live with God and others. In a word, divine wisdom includes both faith and practice what God teaches.

            (2) Worldly wisdom: This kind of wisdom shall find all possible ways to have power, position, fame and material gains. Since those who follow this wisdom always want to excel above all people, they shall not be hesitated to use all tricks to gain what they desire. St. James summarized all results of this way as follows: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.”

           

2.2/ How to recognize what is the true wisdom: St. James invited the faithful to look at the corresponding result.

            (1) The result of the true wisdom is peace: “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”The righteousness is the one who lives rightly his relationships with God and others, so he has peace in their mind and lives peacefully with all people.

            (2) The result of the worldly wisdom is war: St. James pointed out: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask.You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

 

3/ Gospel: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

           

3.1/ Jesus foretold his Passion: This is the second time that Jesus foretold his coming Passion: “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death he will rise."They did not understand Jesus’ saying, but they were afraid to question him.” There are two reasons behind their quiet attitude:

            (1) They didn’t have courage to face the truth: The first time when Jesus foretold it, Peter took him aside and said, “May God not let that happen to you!” If they accept the truth, they must change their way; but they weren’t ready to accept the way of suffering.

            (2) They were afraid to confront sufferings: As other Jews, they are expecting a powerful Messiah who shall come in power to destroy their enemies and to recover the supreme power for the Jews.

           

3.2/ Competition for position and power: They came to Capernaum, and, when they were inside the house, he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they remained silent, because they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. There are some reasons for their silence:

            (1) They knew that Jesus fathomed their evil desire: Jesus’ Passion is coming. As his disciples, they weren’t concerned to console him, but only paid attention to position and power. Not only that but they also desired the greatest position. This shall be more concrete in Jesus’ third foretelling of his Passion in which James and John ask Jesus to let them seat one on the right and other on the left in his kingdom, and the other ten apostles were indignant with the two brothers due to this petition (Mk 10:35-41).

            (2) They wanted to be the greatest but didn’t want to serve or to suffer: People have a tendency to be greatest without doing anything, to have high position and power without fighting. If they want to share his glory, they must also share his suffering. But they only want to have glory and left Jesus alone on the cross. We don’t want to blame the disciples, but we realize this contradictory also inside each of us. We must change this tendency which roots so deep in our mind. The disciples, after recognized their sins and Jesus’ immense love, completely changed their life and were ready to suffer, even unto death, to witness for Christ.

           

3.3/ To serve is the way to become greatest.

            (1) The duty to serve: People like to have power and to be served by others. Jesus inversed this tendency when he taught his disciples, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” If people reflect Jesus’ word and their experience, they shall see the truth of his word. No one likes those who only give order and demand to be served, but love those who sacrifice and serve others. Moreover, the faithful received a duty to serve others when they were baptized, together with prophetic and priestly duties.

            (2) To serve the marginalized: Then Jesus took a child and placed it in their midst, he put his arms around him and said to them,"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me."

            Jesus knew that people have a tendency to care for the rich and the powerful because they hope that they shall receive their help in need. Therefore, Jesus taught his disciples not to do that, but serve those who have nothing to give back as children, they have nothing to give back but need everything from the adult. The matured must help the children because they received helps from God, parents, and previous generation. Moreover, Jesus also taught that when someone welcome children, they welcome God Himself, and He shall return favor to them.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

 

            - We must try to learn and to change our life in according with God’s way; not foolishly find a way to test Him by persecuting or killing those who are living His way.

            - We must humbly confess that the way of life according to worldly wisdom only leads to jealousy, contention and war. Only the way according to God’s wisdom brings peace, order and building up for the humankind.

            - We have a duty, not only to serve all people, but especially those who are vulnerable, marginalized and those who have nothing to give back. 

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