Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: (2Tm 4:1-8)

Beloved:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who will judge the living and the dead,
and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word;
be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
and will be diverted to myths.
But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well;
I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

Gospel: (Lk 2:41-51)

In the course of his teaching Jesus said,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext,
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: Let firmly believe in God’s providence.

             

            Last weekend, after finishing the Mass, I invited an altar boy about 12 or 13 year olds to become a priest. He answered without any hesitation, “No!” I asked him for a reason, he said, “Because I want to make lots of money.” I continued to challenge him, “Do you want to go to heaven?” He hesitated a little and said, “Yes!” I continued, “When you go up to see God, He shall not ask you, “How much money do you have?” He only asks you “What has you done to benefit me?” Go home! And think about it.”

            Wanting to have lots of money to enjoy life is the main reason that prevents people to enter God’s kingdom. The case of the rich young man who came and asked Jesus about how he can enter heaven is a typical example. Today readings want to advise people to firmly believe in God’s providence so that they can be loyal in preaching of the Good News for the salvation of souls. In the first reading, St. Paul advised Timothy that he must be loyal to preach the Good News whether it is convenient or inconvenient; not for material but for imperishable gains. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his audience to be cautious of the scribes who used religion to acquire material gains. He praised a widow who contributed to the temple from her poverty. Her contribution demonstrated that she completely believed in God’s loving providence.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient.

1.1/ The difficulties in preaching of the Good News.

            (1) The reasons why people must be loyal in preaching: St. Paul gave Timothy two reasons why he must be loyal to preach the Gospel. First, Christ shall judge the living and the dead, no one and none of human acts can escape his judgment. Secondly, he shall appear to reign; then he shall pay wages for everyone according to their works. Therefore, he charged Timothy: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.”

            Many people think that they must be adapted to the changes of their society because if they don’t change, they shall be hated and unpopular with people. Because of this, many preachers changed their preaching, they only speak what people like to hear and avoid what people hate or against the sins which the audience committed in their life. The prophet Jeremiah heavily condemned these false prophets. They shall be responsible for their audience’s destruction.

            (2) The tendency to change of people: St. Paul forewarned his disciple about the changes of the audience: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (RSV 2 Tim 4:3-4). I quoted the RSV because it is translated better and closed to Greek. This isn’t strange, because according to human psychology, people don’t want others to criticize their sins but they like those who praise what they accomplished or those who make them to laugh and to relax. A truthful preacher must not please the audience’s liking, as St. Paul advised Timothy: “But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”

1.2/ Make an effort to acquire an imperishable reward: An important question is posed for all preachers of the Good News, “Who do they want to please? God or man?” Do they want to please God to receive an imperishable reward or to please men to receive perishable compensation? St. Paul gave Timothy his good example: “For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”

2/ Gospel: This poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.

2.1/ Not preaching the Good News for material gains: The faithful pay a special respect for priests and religious people because they sacrificed their life for the preaching of the Good News for the salvation of souls. The habit which they cover their body shows their sacrifice and giving up of all things. Unfortunately, there are some priests and religious people used their habit to deceive others and to destroy people’s faith. This is the reason which Jesus forewarned his audiences in today passage: “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.”

            Jesus’ words warned his audiences, but also a warning for priests and religious people: “They will receive a very severe condemnation." The faith of many people were shaken because of their abuses; but the faithful must understand that they believe in God and Christ, not their followers. If priests and the religious truly reflect of Christ’s light, come and co-operate with them to widen God’s kingdom. If some of them aren’t, pray God for them so that they can worthily live their vocation. As a human being, everybody can fall and needs to be forgiven; but they can’t use their habit to deceive people and to draw them far away from God.

2.2/ Those who give more shall receive more: Many times in the Gospel, Jesus emphasized on believing in God’s providence. If God cares for lilies in the field and birds of the air which live today and disappear tomorrow, how much more are His children whom Jesus poured out his blood to redeem them! But many faithful don’t believe in God’s providence. They think that they must hoard up money and material possession to protect their future without a concern for needy people around them.

            What Jesus praised the widow is her faith in God’s providence: "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood." She was not only poor but also a widow, but she didn’t worry about her future because she believed that God shall not let a child who believed in Him to be died of hungry.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - God let us live in the world for a certain time is for us to demonstrate our faith in Him before He withdraws us from the world to live a happy life with Him for ever.

            - Our ultimate goal of life is to do all possible ways for ourselves and others to inherit eternal life, not for acquiring material gains.

            - We should never use religion to acquire material gains; but let God who is the Good Father abundantly rewards us.

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