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Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 (2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36)

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah
with this message:
"Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah:
'Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you
by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over
to the king of Assyria.
You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done
to all other countries: they doomed them!
Will you, then, be saved?'"

Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it;
then he went up to the temple of the LORD,
and spreading it out before him,
he prayed in the LORD's presence:
"O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim!
You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made the heavens and the earth.
Incline your ear, O LORD, and listen!
Open your eyes, O LORD, and see!
Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God.
Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations
and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire;
they destroyed them because they were not gods,
but the work of human hands, wood and stone.
Therefore, O LORD, our God, save us from the power of this man,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know
that you alone, O LORD, are God."

Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah:
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria:
I have listened!
This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him:

"'She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
the virgin daughter Zion!
Behind you she wags her head,
daughter Jerusalem.

"'For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.'

"Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria:
'He shall not reach this city, nor shoot an arrow at it,
nor come before it with a shield,
nor cast up siege-works against it.
He shall return by the same way he came,
without entering the city, says the LORD.
I will shield and save this city for my own sake,
and for the sake of my servant David.'"

That night the angel of the LORD went forth and struck down
one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp.
So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp,
and went back home to Nineveh.

Gospel (Mt 7:6, 12-14):

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few."


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

 

I. THEME: Choose the difficult and narrow road to go.

             

            The majority of people shall choose the shortest way to go; the easiest way to do; the easiest work but brings lots of money! Reality shows us that the successful people must choose the reverse. Few examples shall make clear this: The athletes must train hard and sacrifice before they can get the gold medal. The soldiers must do the same because they believe that “if they sweat in the training field, they shall pour out less blood in the battle field.”  

            Today readings give us Jesus’ precious teaching and Hezekiah’s exemplar of choosing the difficult road. In the first reading, even after witnessed the lost of the Northern Kingdom and the powerful military of the Assyrian empire, Hezekiah, the king of Judah, was still not afraid. The king prayed to God and put his complete trust in God. The result was that God sent the prophet Isaiah to announce the good new to him: the Assyrians shall not take over Judah. In the Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Hezekiah’s faith was tested.

1.1/ Hezekiah believed and prayed to God.

            (1) King Sennacherib’s threatened words: After the Northern Kingdom was captured and people were on exile, Sennacherib, the Assyrian king sent his messengers to Hezekiah with these words: “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: 'Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria. You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all other countries: they doomed them! Will you, then, be saved?”

            (2) Hezekiah firmly trusted in God: The time of testing is the time to expressing one’s faith, “Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the temple of the Lord, and spreading it out before him, he prayed in the Lord's presence: "O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned upon the cherubim! You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.””

            The king made a distinction between the true God and the gods which were made by human hands: “You have made the heavens and the earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Hear the words of Sennacherib which he sent to taunt the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire; they destroyed them because they were not gods, but the work of human hands, wood and stone. Therefore, O Lord, our God, save us from the power of this man, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.”

1.2/ God liberated Judah from king Assyria’s power.

            + When king Hezekiah finished his prayer, then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! This is the word the Lord has spoken concerning him: "'She despises you, laughs you to scorn, the virgin daughter Zion! Behind you she wags her head, daughter Jerusalem; for out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant, and from Mount Zion, survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.'"

            + The result of Sennacherib’s invasion: “That night the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all the corpses of the dead. So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, and went back home to Nineveh.”

2/ Gospel: The narrow gate and the constricted road lead to life.

2.1/ People must understand the values before they pay respect for God’s words and sacraments: To illustrate the great values of God’s words and sacraments, Jesus gave two images for his disciples to think about: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” There are many ways to interpret this verse in the history.

            (1) The Jewish people used this verse to discard the Gentiles. They think that only they are worthy of holy things, the Gentiles were compared with dogs and swines.

            (2) The early Church used this verse to protect the sacrament of the Eucharist. The verse, “holy things are reserved for holy people” is used to prevent people who have not the same faith to receive the Eucharist.

            (3) The early Church also used this verse to protect God’s words and the Catholic faith because there are always heresies which threaten the Catholic faith or want the Church to adapt with present fashions. In brief, the faithful need to study to understand before they know how to value God’s words and sacraments.

2.2/ Two examples of practicing God’s words:

            (1) The golden rule can’t be compared with God’s word: The golden rule teaches: “What we don’t want other do to us, we must not do to other.” This rule is only negative because it prevents a sin to happen; but it doesn’t help us to develop our relationship with others. Jesus helped his disciples to advance further by teaching them, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” This rule is positive because it helps to develop relationships.

            (2) People like the widen door: Jesus taught his disciples the way to be successful: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” An example shall help us to understand his meaning: A student who like to watch television all times and to attend parties on the weekend, shall not be successful in doing exams like a student who spent most of his time in studying and preparing for them.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - When we face suffering or the strong power, it is the time for us to show how strong is our faith in God. God shall not abandon those who firmly trust in Him.

            - We shall only know how to love God and things that belong to Him when we spend our time to study because “no knowing no loving.”

            - The way of sufferings is the way which God chose for Christ and people to go through. We should courageously choose that way because it shall lead us to glory.

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