Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Reading 1 (2 Kgs 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18)

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land
and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel
the king of Assyria took Samaria,
and deported the children of Israel to Assyria,
setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan,
and the cities of the Medes.

This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD,
their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt,
from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
and because they venerated other gods.
They followed the rites of the nations
whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel and the kings of Israel whom they set up.

And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah
by every prophet and seer,
"Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes,
in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers
and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,"
they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers,
who had not believed in the LORD, their God.
They rejected his statutes,
the covenant which he had made with their fathers,
and the warnings which he had given them, till,
in his great anger against Israel,
the LORD put them away out of his sight.
Only the tribe of Judah was left.

Gospel (Mt 7:1-15)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,'
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."


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

I. THEME: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”

            People like to judge others because it is an occasion to exalt themselves and to debase others. Not only judging others, many also doubt God’s power and judge His providence. They question or complain the sufferings which God make them or others to suffer. When people don’t often examine themselves, they think they are good and easy to judge others; but when they often examine their conscience, they shall see that they are full of weakness and not dare to judge others. People are easy to judge others because they think that no one bothers to check their judgment; but if they know that God fathoms everything, even the secrets in their head, they shall be more careful in judging others.

            Today readings highlight the reasons why people should often examine their conscience and stop judging others. In the first reading, the author of the Second Book of Kings clearly gave reasons why Israel was lost and people were on exile: because they turned their back to God and worshipped foreign gods and they didn’t observe God’s laws which God gave their forefathers. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his disciples to stop judging, but to first examine themselves. They should remove the wooden beam from their eye first; then they will see clearly to remove the splinter from their brother's eye.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Why did God let the Assyrians conquer the Israelites?

1.1/ Israel was lost and on exile in Assyria: The author reported: “The king of Assyria arrested and imprisoned Hoshea; he then occupied the whole land and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and deported the Israelites to Assyria, settling them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.”

            Many of the Israelites questioned why God let His people fall into the hands of the Gentile Assyrians. They reasoned that they knew they sinned against God, but the Gentiles sinned even more than them! The reason why God must punish them wasn’t because He hated them, but in order for them to have an opportunity to examine their conscience and to recognize their sins. During the exile, God continually sent His prophets to console and to advise people to keep up their hope. He shall liberate people, even only a remnant, and bring them back to their country.

1.2/ The cause of losing and being on exile: During the exile, people had time to examine their conscience and recognized their sins. Some of the sins are listed out in today passage:

            (1) They turned their back to God and venerated other gods.

            (2) They followed the rites of the nations whom the Lord had cleared out of the way of the Israelites and the kings of Israel whom they set up.

            (3) They didn’t listen to prophets and seers’ warnings, but also despited, persecuted and imprisoned them.

            (4) They rejected His statutes, the covenant which He had made with their fathers, and the warnings which He had given them.

            The vanity they pursued, they themselves became. They followed the surrounding nations whom the Lord had commanded them not to imitate until in His great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left.

2/ Gospel: The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.

2.1/ Don’t judge: Jesus commanded his disciples, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” There are at least three reasons that prevent people to judge others:

            (1) People don’t know all the related circumstances and facts: People are easy to wrongly judge because they only observe from outside; in order to rightly judge, they must put themselves in other’s circumstance. For example, a hungry man must steal food to protect his life; it is the right thing to do, not all stealings are bad. In the “Kieu” story of the author Nguyen-Du, the main character “Kieu” must sell her body to redeem her father; it is the right thing to do, not all prostitutions are condemned.

            (2) People are greatly affected by prejudices, such as: languages, nations, skin colors, social classes, relations, rights, etc. Once people had prejudice, it is difficult for them to fairly judge others. The Greeks used to judge in a dark room to avoid prejudice; but both parties can still hear others’ voices and recognize others’ identity.

            (3) People aren’t free of sins to judge: In the story of “the adulterous woman” in the Fourth Gospel, Jesus challenged those who condemned the adulterous women, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more” (Jn 8:7-11).

            There are cases which people must judge others, such as: superiors, judges, parents, etc. In these cases, Jesus demanded people to generously judge, to have all the facts and to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, because if they don’t, they shall have to endure the consequence: “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”

2.2/ Let examine ourselves first: One way that helps people not to judge others is to often examine of themselves. When people examine themselves, they find out that they are also full of sins and weaknesses which might be bigger than others’. When people do that, they shall be compassionate and not judge others. If people don’t often do that, they are easy to judge others because they think they have no sin. Jesus gave an example to warn this kind of people: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - When we face sufferings, war or catastrophes, we should examine ourselves to understand why God let those things happen. We should not be so prideful and arrogant to condemn God’s providence.

            - We shouldn’t judge others because it isn’t our duty. In case we must judge, we should follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, have all the related facts, put ourselves in the victim’s circumstance and generously judge.

            - What measure we use to measure for other, God shall use that measure to measure back to us.

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