Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time


 

Reading 1 (2 Kgs 11:1-4, 9-18, 20)

When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah,
saw that her son was dead,
she began to kill off the whole royal family.
But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah,
took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse,
from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain.
She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die.
For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD,
while Athaliah ruled the land.

But in the seventh year,
Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians
and of the guards.
He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD,
exacted from them a sworn commitment,
and then showed them the king's son.

The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded.
Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath
and those going off duty that week,
came to Jehoiada the priest.
He gave the captains King David's spears and shields,
which were in the temple of the LORD.
And the guards, with drawn weapons,
lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure,
surrounding the altar and the temple on the king's behalf.
Then Jehoiada led out the king's son
and put the crown and the insignia upon him.
They proclaimed him king and anointed him,
clapping their hands and shouting, "Long live the king!"

Athaliah heard the noise made by the people,
and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD.
When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom,
and the captains and trumpeters near him,
with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets,
she tore her garments and cried out, "Treason, treason!"
Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains
in command of the force:
"Bring her outside through the ranks.
If anyone follows her," he added, "let him die by the sword."
He had given orders that she
should not be slain in the temple of the LORD.
She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace,
where she was put to death.

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party
and the king and the people as the other,
by which they would be the LORD's people;
and another covenant, between the king and the people.
Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal
and demolished it.
They shattered its altars and images completely,
and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars.
Jehoiada appointed a detachment for the temple of the LORD.
All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet,
now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword
at the royal palace.

Gospel (Mt 6:19-23)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

"The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."


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

 

I. THEME: “If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light.”

            When God asked king Solomon that whatever he wishes for, He shall grant it to him. Solomon didn’t ask for riches, power, fame or health; he asked God for wisdom so he can differentiate truth from falsities. God was pleased and granted him the request. Solomon became the most wise one so that none before and after him shall be wise like him. Since Solomon had wisdom, he possessed all other things.  

            Today readings highlight the importance of wisdom in human life. In the first reading, due to lacking of wisdom, the Gentile queen, Athaliah killed all of her grand children so that she could reign over Judah after her husband passed away. However, her wicked plan couldn’t overcome God’s plan because He protected Joash, one of her grand children to continue David’s lineage. The queen was killed by people and her body was thrown outside of the temple. In the Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples to use their wisdom to differentiate between the perishable and the everlasting, between the passing and the lasting treasure, and between light and darkness.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Because of lacking wisdom, queen Athaliah died as an unknown.

1.1/ Hatredness brought death: Athaliah is the daughter of king Ahab and queen Jezebel, married with Jehoram, Jehosaphat’s son (2 Kgs 8:18). Like mother like daughter, she is a wicked person and worshipped Baal. When Ahaziah, her son, and Jehoram, her husband were assassinated by Jehu, Athaliah gave an order to kill all royal grand children so that she could reign over people.

            But Jehosheba, Joram’s daughter and  and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly took Joash, Ahaziah’s son, from all the princes to be killed and hid him in a bedroom together with his wet-nurse. So, he was hidden from Athaliah’s eyes and not killed. Joash remained with Jehosheba in God’s house for six years, during Athaliah’s reign. Joash is Athaliah’s grandchild by blood and Jehosheba’s grandchild by relation.

            Jewish history didn’t consider Athaliah’s reign is legal. If Athaliah were successful in her wicked plan, David’s lineage shall come to an end; but God controls everything and Athaliah paid a bloody price, people killed her in the royal palace and threw her body out after six years of her reign.

1.2/ People destroyed Baal and his temples: “In the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the Lord, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king's son. The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the Sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest.” Jehoiada’s purpose was for people to believe in Joash, the prince, so that he could have a strong support to become a king.

            “All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. After appointing a detachment for the temple of the Lord, Jehoiada with the captains, the Carians, the guards, and all the people of the land, led the king down from the temple of the Lord through the guards' gate to the palace, where Joash took his seat on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace.”

2/ Gospel: For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

2.1/ Store up for yourself the heavenly treasure: Human beings have a tendency to store up things for their future; but they must be wise to store what is imperishable and in a safe place that no one can touch them. Jesus invited his disciples to compare between earthly with heavenly treasure.

            (1) The earthly treasure: Many people think money is the most convenient and light thing to keep; some carefully covered their money and buried it underground. When they need them, they dug them out but their money became rotten and valueless. Others think they must always have something to eat the rest of their life, so they built big barns to store food, such as: rice, wheat, or potatoes. Few years later, their barns are destroyed by mice, their rice and wheat are full of moths. Others learned from these experiences and conclude: nothing is more precious than gold and silver, they aren’t depreciated and destroyed by moths; so they stored up gold and hid them. But they couldn’t hide them from everyone, thieves and robbers came and stole their valuable possession.

            (2) The heavenly treasure: What can people do and store them up in heavenly treasure? First, they are good deeds which are abbreviated in the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy.

            - Seven corporal works of mercy are: To feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to harbour the harbourless; to visit the sick; to ransom the captive; and to bury the dead.

            - Seven spiritual works of mercy are: To instruct the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to admonish sinners; to bear wrongs patiently; to forgive offences willingly; to comfort the afflicted; and to pray for the living and the dead.

            Next are our understanding of God and our love for Him. These two things can’t be separated because we can’t love the unknown. The knowledge about God shall help us to increase our love. Lastly, God creates us in His image and likeness, and He invited us to be perfect like Him. The progress to be perfect requires us not only to give up our sins but also to practice necessary virtues.

2.2/ If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light: Jesus taught his disciples: "The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

            A sound eye helps one to see; a diseased eye prevents people to see the thing as it is. The blind greatly suffers because the whole world to him is dark. Wherever he goes, he needs someone to guide him; if not, he shall fall because of obstacles in front of him.

             As a sound eye is needed for one’s body, wisdom is also needed for one’s mind. Not many people pay attention to the blindness of their mind and soul; but its effect on them is even greater than the blindness on their body. The blind can be saved if they have a firm faith in Christ, as Bartimaeus, the blind of Jericho, or the man born blind in chapter 9 of the Fourth Gospel.

            To understand Jesus’ meaning, let meditate the story in which Jesus healed the man born blind. The Pharisees and some Jews thought that they have sound eyes and minds; but didn’t recognize Jesus as their Savior. Since they had taken pride in themselves, they didn’t receive salvation as the man born blind. If we have sound eyes but don’t recognize the truth and get lost in temptation and worldly allurement, our sound eyes don’t benefit us!

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must learn to recognize worldly falsities and darkness of life.

            - Where our treasure is, there also will our heart be. Let store up for ourselves lasting values in heavenly treasure. 

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