Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr

 

Reading 1 (2 Cor 9:6-10): 

 

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you,
so that in all things, always having all you need,
you may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:
He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.
The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will supply and multiply your seed
and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Gospel (Jn 12:24-26):

 

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me."


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: To give must be the principle of our life.

            Many people think that happiness depends on richness; and to become rich they must store up in a way that money coming in must be more than money spending out. In order to have more money, they look for a way to buy things with a cheap price and to sell them out with a much higher price. Jesus taught us a different lesson; he said that if anyone wants to be happy, he must serve others and generously give away; for eample, “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow” (Mt 5:42).

            Deacon Lawrence was the treasurer of the Church at Rome and thought as the one who keeps all Church’s possession. When the Roman emperor Valerian investigated and commanded him to handle all Church’s possession, he asked for three days to do the inventory. On the third day, he led to the Roman emperor a big crowd of the poor and said to him: This is the Church’s possession; if you want, I handle them to you.

            Today readings want to show this principle of life. In the first reading, St. Paul advised the Corinthian faithful to be generous and to joyfully help the Mother Church in Jerusalem because God shall abundantly give back to them. When they generously give away, they are building for them a lasting treasure for the next life. In the Gospel, Jesus wanted to teach an unchangeable principle of life, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God loves a cheerful giver.

1.1/ The principle of life: St. Paul reminded the Corinthian faithful the universal principle: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” He wanted to say that the more a person gives out, the more he will get back. This principle can be applied to many areas of life; for examples, when a student dedicates more time and effort to study, he shall learn more and gather many good results for his study. Similarly in the caring of the sheep, if a pastor or parents dedicate more time and effort to educate and to care for the sheep, their sheep shall be good and healthy and their family and parish shall also be good; but if a pastor or parents don’t spend time and effort to educate and to care for the sheep, how could their sheep, family and parish be good?

            Moreover, the gift isn’t valued as the way to give. Since God fathoms all human thoughts, St. Paul advised the faithful must practice the way they give out, “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

            (1) Giving out free-of charge: When giving out, we shouldn’t calculate to see if we shall get anything back. God and others certainly shall not let us suffer damage; but even this motivation shouldn’t be a cause for us to give. The following reasons should be the motivations for us to give. First, we received so many things from God and others, especially from those we can’t return their favors, such as: God and the deceased; therefore, we must help others as God’s children and the future generation. Secondly, all things in this world belong to God, we are only the stewards. The duty of the stewards is to distribute them on time, not to splendidly spend or to dig a hole to hide them. Lastly, to give is the way to build up our community. If all people eagerly give, peace shall reign on earth and God’s kingdom shall come, even in this world.

        (2) Joyfully giving, not reluctantly: Many people give because they feel that they are under pressure to give; for example: when a person of high authority asks for help, they must reluctantly give because they are afraid that they shall be labeled as “tight.” The ones who cheerfully give are the people, after recognizing that there is a need and they have ability to contribute, joyfully contribute in helping others.

            (3) Giving out without regret: The generous don’t regret when they give out; they can sacrifice so others could live. The tight and calculate regret what they give out. If they don’t practice charity, they shall let their selfishness dominate their life and shall not give out the next time.

1.2/ God is the One who bestows all blessings: St. Paul put out some main reasons to help people to generously give:

            (1) God is good: God gives people not only enough to live but also abundantly to do good for others.

            (2) God loves those who have mercy on others: All people are God’s children; therefore, to do to others is to do for God. The compassion and helping others make people to become like God more than other acts.

            (3) God wants people to contribute to His providence: St. Paul explained as follows: “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” God can directly give His blessing to all; but if He does so, people shall have no merit before Him. Therefore, He gives them through us to see whether we know how to use them to develop virtues and to build up a lasting life for us. We shouldn’t forget that God’s standard to judge us base on what we have done to others (x/c Mt 25).

2/ Gospel: Whoever loves his life loses it.

2.1/ The natural principle: Jesus reminded his disciples this principle as follows: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” Not a living being escapes this principle. If any living being refuses to go through this principle, it shall not be multiplied but also decayed and lonely died.

2.2/ God’s principle in human life: The above principle isn’t only true for natural beings but also true for human beings, as Jesus taught his disciples, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

            This principle must open the selfish’s eyes, those who follow individualism and only care for themselves. First, they must know that God fathoms their thoughts and sees all of their acts. They can’t enjoy all God’s blessings and deny to share them with others. Even though they can live like that in this life, they still have to face God’s judgment and others on the Last Day. Secondly, others aren’t naive; the selfish can overuse them a few times, not all the times. The selfish expel themselves from the family and the communal life. If the selfish should carefully think, they will find out that if all people are selfish like them, how could they find things so that they can enjoy?

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must ascertain that God has authority over all aspects of human life. He gives us not only enough food to eat but also abudantly to share them with others.

            - We are only the stewards of God’s blessings. He teaches us to generously give, why do we want to keep them back?

            - When we give to other, we do God’s will, are loved by God and others and building up our eternal life; why do we need to selfishly keep back and to be responsible before God? 

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