Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 (Hos 8:4-7, 11-13)

Thus says the LORD:
They made kings in Israel, but not by my authority;
they established princes, but without my approval.
With their silver and gold they made
idols for themselves, to their own destruction.
Cast away your calf, O Samaria!
my wrath is kindled against them;
How long will they be unable to attain
innocence in Israel?
The work of an artisan,
no god at all,
Destined for the flames?
such is the calf of Samaria!

When they sow the wind,
they shall reap the whirlwind;
The stalk of grain that forms no ear
can yield no flour;
Even if it could,
strangers would swallow it.

When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin,
his altars became occasions of sin.
Though I write for him my many ordinances,
they are considered as a stranger's.
Though they offer sacrifice,
immolate flesh and eat it,
the LORD is not pleased with them.
He shall still remember their guilt
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.

Gospel (Mt 9:32-38)

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus,
and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.
The crowds were amazed and said,
"Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
But the Pharisees said,
"He drives out demons by the prince of demons."

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest."


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: We need to have the good leaders who revere God and care for people.

             

            The first and most important standard for choosing leaders is that they revere God. The leaders who revered God are always blessed and protected by Him; therefore, people under their care are also blessed and protected. When we read the Old Testament history, two brilliant leaders are our forefather Abraham and king David. Abraham always obeyed and did God’s will even though he didn’t understand the reason. King David, though he sinned out of weakness, but humbly recognized his sins and repented.

            Today readings give the results of leaders who didn’t revere God. In the first reading, the prophet Hosea condemned the Israel’s leaders who didn’t revere God and chased after foreign gods. The results happened are they led people according to their way, the nation was destroyed and the people were on exile. In the Gospel, when Jesus used God’s power to expel a dumb demon, a miracle which people confessed that never happened in Israel, but the Pharisees accused Jesus, “he drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus had compassion on people because they were like sheep without shepherds. He advised them to pray with God so that He shall send holy shepherds to gather harvests for God.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The results people must endure from leaders who didn’t revere God.

1.1/ Political and religious separation: King Solomon, even though was given the title “the most wise” among human beings, didn’t revere God at his old age. He listened to his Gentile wives and built altars for them to worship their gods, and the king himself also did that. Solomon’s sins led to the nation’s division, beginning with Jeroboam’s reign (1 Kgs 11:30-39).

            Though the division was God’s punishment, God promised to Jeroboam that He shall bless him if he is loyal in worshipping Him and keeping His teaching; but he didn’t do so. He should consult God about the worship and the selection of his successor, but he didn’t do them. That was the reason why Hosea condemned Israel.

            (1) Choosing the successors without God’s permission: “They made kings, but not by my authority; they established princes, but without my approval.”

            (2) Worshipping the wrong god: Jeroboam gave permission to mold two golden calves and commanded people to worship them so that they shall no longer have to go down to Jerusalem and be influenced by the Judah’s king. He said to people the thing which was totally false: “This is the god that liberated your ancestors from Egypt!” People must follow the king’s command because they were afraid of his punishment. When people got use to that, they didn’t question their belief any more. The prophet Hosea obeyed God to point out the truth, “Cast away your calf, O Samaria! My wrath is kindled against them; How long will they be unable to attain innocence in Israel? The work of an artisan no god at all, destined for the flames-- such is the calf of Samaria!”

1.2/ The relation between worship God and keeping of the law: Hosea didn’t condemned Israel for building up many altars, but to use them for a wrong purpose, that is, to worship idols, “When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin, his altars became occasions of sin.”

            Another main sin of Israel was to forfeit the Law. They thought that they could offer sacrifices instead of keeping the Law. Hosea’s teaching about the relationship between the worship and the keeping of the law is very important for Israel’s history of religion: Not observing of the Law shall lead to wrong worship. The prophet said, “Though I write for him my many ordinances, they are considered as a stranger's. Though they offer sacrifice, immolate flesh and eat it, the Lord is not pleased with them. He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins.”

            Disobelience led to punishment: “He shall still remember their guilt and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt.” To return to Egypt isn’t meant to come there again; but means the Israelites shall be slaves one more time.

2/ Gospel: “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

2.1/ Jesus went everywhere to preach and to heal: In three years of Jesus’ public ministry, he wandered around all regions of Palestines to preach and to heal all kinds of sickness for people. In spite of that, he met many oppositions from Pharisees, scribes and Roman government. Today passage is a typical example.

            (1) Two people’s reactions when Jesus expelled a dumb demon:

            - The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." The crowd is sincere, whatever they see they voive their opinion. They weren’t influenced by prejudices and beneficial calculation.

            - But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons." They condemned Jesus of having relation with the devil so that they didn’t have to believe and to keep his teaching. Moreover, they didn’t want people to follow Jesus, because they were afraid of loosing their power, authority and material gains.

            (2) Jesus’ reaction: He gave no concern for their criticism, but minded his own business. He went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. Three things we should learn from him in this passage:

            + Teaching: To help people to differentiate between truth and falsehood in the world.

            + Preaching the Gospel: To proclaim for people God’s love and to show them how to live in order to reach their salvation.

            + Healing all spiritual and physical sickness: He had pity to all people’s pain and sorrow. He wanted to take away all of their sufferings.

2.2/ Jesus concerned for humankind lacking of good leaders: Not only concerning for his contemporary, he was also for future generations. He told them to pray for good leaders to care for their offsprings: "At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - When we choose our leaders, let choose those who revere God as Abraham or David. Though they had no experience, God did all things through them.

            - We pray to God so that He shall send good leaders who revere Him and care for people. The good leaders also know how to teach people to revere God and to keep His law. 

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