Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Reading 1 (Isa 1:10-17)

Hear the word of the LORD,
princes of Sodom!
Listen to the instruction of our God,
people of Gomorrah!
What care I for the number of your sacrifices?
says the LORD.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs and goats
I find no pleasure.

When you come in to visit me,
who asks these things of you?
Trample my courts no more!
Bring no more worthless offerings;
your incense is loathsome to me.
New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies,
octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear.
Your new moons and festivals I detest;
they weigh me down, I tire of the load.
When you spread out your hands,
I close my eyes to you;
Though you pray the more,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood!
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.

Gospel (Mt 10:34-11:1)

Jesus said to his Apostles:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth.
I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet's reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is righteous
will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because he is a disciple?
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."

When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples,
he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: Live as we are present before God.

            A truth about God which people need to know is that He is present everywhere; therefore, there isn’t any human action which can be hidden from God. This is also the faith of the Vietnamese when they say, “The high heaven has eye.” Since God has eye, He sees everything, even the secret things in human mind, and He shall reward or punish people according to their deeds. In reality, people often forget this important fact. They think that they can hide from God so they deal with Him as they deal with others.

            Today readings remind people that they should always live as they are present before God. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminded the Israelites of God’s reaction when He witnessed they offered their sacrifices to Him. Those who have clean hands and pure heart shall be received and blessed; those who have hands smeared with blood and impure heart only caused displeasure for Him. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his disciples to always live according to the truth, even though they might be hated, persecuted and destroyed. They should do to others as they do to Him because He shall worthily reward all such deeds.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God sees inside values more than outside ceremonies.

1.1/ God is disgusted with deceptive acts: People used to cover their sins and bad intentions by solicitous and eager welcome. They can only do this to human beings because they can’t see what they hid inside; but they can’t deceive God because He can see through their mind and heart.

            The prophet Isaiah accused the Israel’s leaders when they offered their sacrifices to God, He is disgusted with their holocaust offerings even though they offered fat animals. They deceived themselves because they thought that God didn’t know the crimes they committed. They might think that God is like them, when they offered Him good sacrifices, everything shall be fine. They thought that when they came to the temple to worship and to offer sacrifices, they did good deeds to God. The prophet declared God’s tiredness and displeasure when He kept seeing people to deceive Him, “What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the Lord. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; in the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure. When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and Sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load.”

            They forgot that all things in this world belong to God. If they offer Him sacrifices, they take what belong to Him and give back to Him. If they come to worship, it is for their own benefit, nothing is for God. To this kind of people, their sacrifices shall not be accepted, their prayers shall not be heard, their sins shall not be forgiven and they committed another sin which is to deceive God. He clearly declared to them: “When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood!”

1.2/ God loves those who have good heart and mind: In order for God receives sacrifices and hears prayers, people need to sincerely live their relationships with God and others. Before they come to the temple, they must sincerely repent all sins they has committed and must be reconciled with others.

            To practice justice is the basic condition for their relationship with God. The prophet Isaiah advised them. “Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea and defend the widow.”

            In every generation, there always exist those who unjustly treat others because of their greed. They use their power to oppress those who are alone and helpless, especially the widow and the orphan. They pardon the wicked because they received their money or wanted to be promoted by them.

2/ Gospel: God’s requirements aren’t always in agree with human interests.

2.1/ War and peace: The noun “mákairan” in Greek has two meamings: sword and war. The meaning “sword” isn’t proper here. The meaning “war” is better and oppose with “peace.” The question is asked by many that why Jesus, known as “the prince of peace” according to the prophet Isaiah, brings war?

            The answer is that God’s thought and way are different with human thought and way. The world doesn’t accept the truth. If a person always speaks and lives the truth, he shall cause division at home because not all members of his household want to speak and to live the truth. For examples, parents prevent their children to marry a Gentile because they are afraid that their children shall neglect to practice their faith. Parents don’t want their child to become a priest because they want to have a descendant. The wife doesn’t want her husband to force their child to go to a church because she wants him to go to a temple, etc. In these situations, should a person be courage to stand for the truth which he believe, or be silent so that his family can be at peace?

2.2/ God’s standards: Conflicts happen not only in thought but also in way of living of a disciple. Jesus demanded his disciples to live according to the heavenly standards while people only want to live according to the worldly standards. Few examples shall illustrate this conflict according to today passage:

            - Jesus demands his disciples to put God over their parents, wife and children, brothers and sisters while these people want to be put first.

            - Jesus demands his disciples to give up everything to follow him because “whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it;” while the social fashion advertises the way of life that put the individual above all.

            - Jesus teaches the faithful to welcome special people, such as: the prophet and the righteous so that they shall share the same reward which they receive, while these people aren’t always received by worldly people.

            - Jesus teaches his disciples to help the poor because when they do anything for them, they do for God Himself; while worldly people only help those who bring profits for them.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - People pay attention to outside behavior but God pays attention only to inside virtues. We should always live as we are present before God.

            - Live according to the truth helps us to always live in God’s presence. We should live according to the truth even though we might be hated, persecuted and destroyed. Jesus’ disciples can’t live a life other than that.

            - This is our challenge: Are we willing to accept suffering to speak and to live according to the truth? 

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