Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 (Hos 14:2-10):

Thus says the LORD:
Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, 'Our god,'
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion."
I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
"I am like a verdant cypress tree"--
because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.

Gospel (Mt 10:16-23):

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.
But beware of men,
for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another.
Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel
before the Son of Man comes."


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: We should look for God’s wisdom and strength.

            God’s wisdom and strength is often opposite to the worldly wisdom and strength. When people face the worldly wisdom and strength, they tend to omit God’s wisdom and strength and follow those of the world. The reason is because they don’t understand God’s wisdom and strength while the worldly wisdom and strength are always beside them. Reading the history of the Old Testament shall help us to understand God’s wisdom and strength, whenever the Israelites chose to live according to them, they were liberated from worldly powers and lived a happy life; whenever they chose to do the reverse, they were suffered and on exile.

            Today readings want us to recognize the super values of God’s wisdom and strength. In the first reading, the prophet Hosea wanted the Israelites to understand that when they relied on their wisdom and strength or their enemy’s power, they became preys for their enemy and slaves for worldly power. In order to avoid these, they must repent and recognize God’s wisdom and strength. In the Gospel, Jesus knew that he sent his disciples to the world as sheep among wolves. He reminded them the important thing is that they must be shrewd like serpents and simple like doves; that is, to rely on God’s wisdom and strength; if not, they shall become attractive preys for wolves.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: You have collapsed through your guilt.

1.1/ The Israelites must repent and return to God: Facing the enemy’s powerful armies, the Israel’s king and leaders had a tendency to give up fighting and to ask for their protection, instead of to listen to God’s word through prophet’s teaching. The prophet’s message was always as follows: Don’t trust in people or gods who have no power to save anybody; but trust only in God who has power to liberate them. As prophet Hosea advised them in today passage: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the Lord.” Hosea accused them of three main sins:

            (1) They didn’t keep God’s law and still offered sacrifices: Without keeping of God’s law, all sacrifices are useless.

            (2) They relied on their strength of armies and even of their enemy, and they didn’t rely on God’s power and strength.

            (3) They built altars and temples to worship idols made by artisans. They forgot about God who created and cared for them.

            In order to have God’s mercy, they must repent and return to God as the prophet Hosea advised them, “Say to him, "Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls. Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; we shall say no more, 'Our god,' to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion."”

1.2/ God shall forgive and bless the Israel: Not like worldly behavior, they shall destroy all betrayers; God’s love shall overcome all Israel’s ingratitude and infidelity. The prophet confirmed this message: “I will heal their defection, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them.”

            Israel shall become powerful and beautiful by God, not by Baal. The prophet used the image, taken from the Song of Songs to describe the Israel good future when they live in God’s love and protection, “I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; they shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. "I am like a verdant cypress tree"-- Because of me you bear fruit!”

            The last verse (v. 10) is considered as the conclusion of the prophet Hosea’s message: “Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.”

2/ Gospel: Whoever endures to the end will be saved.

2.1/ Sufferings are always waiting for Christ’s disciples.

            (1) Jesus didn’t hide anything from his disciples; he told them that they must face sufferings when he declared to them, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” When sheep enter in the midst of wolves, they must face death. The only way the disciples can overcome this danger is to believe in God’s wisdom and strength.

            (2) The disciples must face different kinds of people.

            + With ecclesiastical power: "But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues." The Church doesn’t always accept and protect the truth.

            + With political power: "You will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans." This is easy to understand because Christ’s disciples live and witness for heavenly standards which often opposite with worldly standards.

            + With familial power: "Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death." The truth is always hurted, those in the family doesn’t always recognize, rightly evaluate, and accept the truth.

2.2/ God always accompanies with the disciples: Facing the devil’s and worldly powers, the disciples need to have God’s help. Some helps are listed in today passage.

            (1) He gives the disciple widom to answer back: Jesus said to his disciples, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

            (2) He gives the disciples strength to overcome sufferings: Jesus advised his apostles, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must study to recognize the wisdom of God’s word and firmly believe in God’s power. He won’t repudiate those who hope in Him.

            - Living according to God’s teaching shall help us to have the true peace in our mind. Though we might endure temporal suffering, but we shall find lasting happiness. 

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