Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 (Lam 2:2, 10-14, 18-19)

The Lord has consumed without pity
all the dwellings of Jacob;
He has torn down in his anger
the fortresses of daughter Judah;
He has brought to the ground in dishonor
her king and her princes.

On the ground in silence sit
the old men of daughter Zion;
They strew dust on their heads
and gird themselves with sackcloth;
The maidens of Jerusalem
bow their heads to the ground.

Worn out from weeping are my eyes,
within me all is in ferment;
My gall is poured out on the ground
because of the downfall of the daughter of my people,
As child and infant faint away
in the open spaces of the town.

In vain they ask their mothers,
"Where is the grain?"
As they faint away like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
And breathe their last
in their mothers' arms.

To what can I liken or compare you,
O daughter Jerusalem?
What example can I show you for your comfort,
virgin daughter Zion?
For great as the sea is your downfall;
who can heal you?

Your prophets had for you
false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
false and misleading portents.

Cry out to the Lord;
moan, O daughter Zion!
Let your tears flow like a torrent
day and night;
Let there be no respite for you,
no repose for your eyes.

Rise up, shrill in the night,
at the beginning of every watch;
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your little ones
Who faint from hunger
at the corner of every street.

Gospel (Mt 8:5-17)

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven,
but the children of the Kingdom
will be driven out into the outer darkness,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
And Jesus said to the centurion,
"You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you."
And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter,
and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her,
and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many
who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick,
to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.


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

 

I. THEME: Let always believe and hope in God.

             

            Suffering, hungry and death happen mostly by human disobedience. They disobey God and don’t act according to God’s teaching. When living in suffering, people can have two attitudes: either they recognize their sins against God and repent or lost their patience, blame on God and others.

            Today readings provide people with hope and faith in God when they face sufferings. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Lamentation, after lamented about sufferings which the Israelites must suffer, he recognized that those sufferings are the result of their sins against God. He advised them to lament for their sins day and night and to believe and to hope in God’s mercy which shall liberate them. In the Gospel, Jesus had mercy on all those who came to him; he healed all people even the Gentile centurion’s servant.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The lamented song about Judah’s destruction on 587 BC.

1.1/ Don’t believe in the king’s power or his military forces: The author of the Book of Lamentation wanted to let everyone know that the Lord is the main reason, the Babylonian king is only the supplement cause in the destruction of Judah. The Lord Himself destroyed without mercy all dwelling places of Jacob; He has torn down in His anger the fortresses of daughter Judah; He has brought to the ground in dishonor her king and her princes.

            The king and the leaders’ sins affected the shame of the whole people. They must repent of all their sins as the author described: “On the ground in silence sit the old men of daughter Zion; they strew dust on their heads and gird themselves with sackcloth.” It is because of their sins, all innocent people must suffer as the author painfully described: “The maidens of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground. Worn out from weeping are my eyes, within me all is in ferment; My gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of my people, as child and infant faint away in the open spaces of the town. They ask their mothers, "Where is the cereal?"-- in vain, as they faint away like the wounded in the streets of the city, and breathe their last in their mothers' arms.”

            Jacob, Judah, Sion, Jerusalem are different names to indicate the same thing: the Judah kingdom. The author also pointed out that the king and all of his leaders listened to false prophets: “Your prophets had for you false and specious visions; they did not lay bare your guilt, to avert your fate; they beheld for you in vision false and misleading portents.”

           

1.2/ Only God can liberate Israel: During their sufferings in exile, the Israelites must lament of their sins day and night: “Cry out to the Lord; moan, O daughter Zion! Let your tears flow like a torrent day and night; Let there be no respite for you, no repose for your eyes.” The author believed that only a truly repentance and a strong hope in God, the Israelites could be liberated by God from the exile, and their children could have food to eat. He advised them what to do: “Rise up, shrill in the night, at the beginning of every watch; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to him for the lives of your little ones.”

2/ Gospel: "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”

           

2.1/ The faith of the Capernaum’s centurion

            (1) The way he expresses his faith showed:

            - He has compassion: The one whom he asked Jesus to heal isn’t his blood relative, but only a servant. According to Roman tradition, a servant is only considered as a thing: to trade and to use. We aren’t surprise when Jesus responded to his compassion because He is the Mercy One.

            - He was very tactful and humble: The Roman centurion learned that the Jewish tradition doesn’t permit a Jew to be in the same roof with a Gentile; therefore, to prevent bad reputation for Jesus, the centurion said to Jesus: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” His saying is used by the Church for preparation of the faithful’s souls before receiving the Eucharist.

            - He was a strong believer: When he heard Jesus’ answer: “I myself shall come to heal him,” he believed in Jesus’ power without a doubt. Moreover, with an officer’s experience, he believed that Jesus could heal his servant without presence.

            (2) Jesus’ reaction: Witnessing the expression of faith of the Gentile officer, Jesus was surprise and told the crowd who followed him: “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” The truth is hurt, but it must open the faithful’s eyes: those who have no religion sometimes express their faith more profound than the faithful!

            - He warned the believers who lacked of faith: “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” The children of the house have a right to inherit their ancestral heritage; but if they are inhuman and ungrateful, their parents shall give the heritage to those who are grateful and know how to use it better. The right to inherit God’s heritage is only for those who believe and are faithful to God.

            - The centurion’s faith healed his servant: Then Jesus said to the centurion: “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you." And at that very hour his servant was healed.

2.2/ He carried all of our sickness: St. Matthews continued to report two more Jesus’ miracles and illustrate Isaiah’ words in the Fourth Song of God’s Suffering Servant: “He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

            (1) The exemplar of Peter’s mother-in-law: Jesus healed her because she was Peter’s mother-in-law, his beloved disciple. When healed by Jesus, she didn’t think that she needed more time to rest; but hurried up to serve Jesus and his disciples. This must be an exemplar for us to follow. When we receive something free-of-charge, we must also freely give. Those who only keep receiving, shall not advance further in life.

            (2) Jesus healed all sick people: Matthews continued to report, “When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick.” This demonstrates that God isn’t the cause of suffering. The sufferings happen because people caused that or are the effect of weather. However, God can let sufferings happen for better purposes which we mentioned many times.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                     

            - When facing sufferings, we shouldn’t loose our hope in God, but let examine our conscience to recognize if we sins against Him and others.

            - God shall never forsake those who repented and hope in His compassion.

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