Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

 

Reading 1 (2 Chr 24:17-25):

After the death of Jehoiada,
the princes of Judah came and paid homage to King Joash,
and the king then listened to them.
They forsook the temple of the LORD, the God of their fathers,
and began to serve the sacred poles and the idols;
and because of this crime of theirs,
wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem.
Although prophets were sent to them to convert them to the LORD,
the people would not listen to their warnings.
Then the Spirit of God possessed Zechariah,
son of Jehoiada the priest.
He took his stand above the people and said to them:
"God says, 'Why are you transgressing the LORD's commands,
so that you cannot prosper?
Because you have abandoned the LORD, he has abandoned you.'?
But they conspired against him,
and at the king's order they stoned him to death
in the court of the LORD's temple.
Thus King Joash was unmindful of the devotion shown him
by Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, and slew his son.
And as Zechariah was dying, he said, "May the LORD see and avenge."

At the turn of the year a force of Arameans came up against Joash.
They invaded Judah and Jerusalem,
did away with all the princes of the people,
and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus.
Though the Aramean force came with few men,
the LORD surrendered a very large force into their power,
because Judah had abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers.
So punishment was meted out to Joash.
After the Arameans had departed from him,
leaving him in grievous suffering,
his servants conspired against him
because of the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest.
He was buried in the City of David,
but not in the tombs of the kings.

Gospel (Mt 6:24-34)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil."


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

 

I. THEME: No one can serve two masters.

            God commands people to keep the most important commandment: “We must worship and love God above all things.” Many Christians still think that they can compromise between worshipping God and the mammon. They make many excuses for not participation on the Sunday Mass, such as: May God forgive because I must find money to raise my children! If I don’t work, the owner shall lay me off! If I don’t open my store, I shall loose my customers!

            Today readings give some main reasons why a Christian can’t serve two masters. In the first reading, king Joash, after a successful and prosperous period of governing, began to go off the right way. He listened to some princes of Judah to worship Baal and killed prophets whom God sent to him. The results were that God let his kingdom fall into the Syrians’ hand and Joash died on the sickbed. In the Gospel, Jesus clearly declared to his audience that they can’t serve two masters.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Joash made wrong decisions and he must endure the bad results.

1.1/ King Joash followed his father’s way: The author of the Second Book of Chronicles reported: “After the death of Jehoiada, the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and the king then listened to them. They forsook the temple of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and began to serve the sacred poles and the idols; and because of this crime of theirs, wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem.”

            God gave king Joash an opportunity to return by sending His prophets to him. The prophets warned him but he didn’t listen to their words. The author reported, “Then the spirit of God possessed Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest. He took his stand above the people and said to them: "God says, 'Why are you transgressing the Lord’s commands, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have abandoned the Lord, he has abandoned you.'" But they conspired against him, and at the king's order they stoned him to death in the court of the Lord’s temple.”

            King Joash returned favor by killing. He no longer remembered what Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father has done by helping him to regain his throne, so he killed Zechariah. Before his death, Zechariah cried out to God, “May the Lord see and avenge.”

1.2/ King Joash must suffer the corresponding results: Due to his disobedience and killing of God’s prophet, God handled Israel in the Syrians’ hands. According to the author’s report: “Though the Aramean force came with few men, the Lord surrendered a very large force into their power, because Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers.”

            “So punishment was meted out to Joash. After the Arameans had departed from him, leaving him in grievous suffering, his servants conspired against him because of the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. They killed him on his sickbed. He was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”

2/ Gospel: “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

2.1/ It is impossible to serve two masters: Jesus said to his disciples, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

            The noun “mamonas” comes from the Aramaic verb which means “to rely on.” The noun “mamon” is the property which one put in a safe box or entrusted other to keep it for him. After a period of time, “mamon” lost its original meaning and had a new meaning which is: “thing which people rely or put their trust on.” When “Mamon” is capitalized, it means a god. We can see the changing of the word from the property which people need to have as a mean for their life, to the belief of people in that property and consider it as a god.

            Indeed, all properties in this world belong to God. He gives them for people to use. Human beings aren’t the owners, but only stewards. They must answer to God these two important questions:

            (1) The way to earn money: There are many different ways to earn money, but we can simply classify them into two main ways: legal and illegal. The legal way is when we earn money with our labor and effort. The illegal way is when we earn money by lying, usurping or cheating.

            (2) The way to spend money: As said above, we are only stewards of God’s properties and the stewards’ duty is to spend or to distribute. There are many ways of spending money:

            - Some don’t use it at all, they only keep money for security reason. They want to count it to have a feeling that they are rich.

            - Some squander it in gambling, drinking and fleshy enjoying.

            - Some use it to benefit others, such as: to raise and to educate themselves and their children, make a contribution in projects which improve human life, etc.

            In short, human beings are God’s property. They have a duty to worship God alone, and must use God’s given properties only as a mean for their life.

2.2/ Don’t worry! People need to put their complete trust in God’s providence. Jesus gave us seven reasons for not to worry:

            (1) The One who gives life, also gives necessary things to protect life: “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

            (2) Our worries insult God: “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?”

            (3) Our worries add nothing to our life: “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

            (4) Our worries threaten our faith: “Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith.”

            (5) There are more important things to do in our life: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”

            (6) The worries about material things belong to the Gentiles: “All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

            (7) People can know only the present, not the future: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

             - Our most important duty is to worship God above all things. We can’t worship any other god. However, God still gives us our freedom to choose; but we must be responsible for our decision.

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