Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Reading 1 (1 Cor 15:35-37; 42-49)

Brothers and sisters:
Someone may say, "How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come back?"
You fool!
What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be
but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind.
So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.
So, too, it is written,
"The first man, Adam, became a living being,"
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

Gospel (Lk 8:4-15)

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
"A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold."
After saying this, he called out,
"Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear."

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
"Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

"This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance."


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: The seed and the resurrection

             

            When looking at a seed, many of us can’t guess what seed of the tree is it; when it begins to have leaves, we can guess it easier; when it begins to bloom and to bear fruit, it is so clear that we don’t have to guess. Similarly, when looking at a foetus in a mother’s womb through a machine, we can’t guess who does the child look alike; when the child is born, we can see the child looks like someone in the family; but we can’t guess what the child’s life shall be until he become a mature man.

            Today readings talk about the different seeds. In the first reading, St. Paul compared human death as a seed sowing on the earth, how can people know what it shall turn out when it is resurrected in God’s glorious heaven? In the Gospel, Jesus compared God’s word as seeds sowing by a farmer. They can turn out differently depending on the land which they fall in. They could be eaten by birds of the air, or grown up a little and died, or grown up and never bore fruits, or bore many fruits depending on the fertile land.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: What shall human body be after resurrection?

            Though St. Paul and other apostles saw the resurrected Christ, they could generally describe what does he look alike; but couldn’t describe in details because they didn’t live in that body. In today passage, St. Paul used his faith, idea and human language to describe the things which are very hard to describe. His answer had three main things as followed:

1.1/ As a seed sowing on the earth, it must die before it can grow. The body when it grows up is very different with the seed when it is sown. Though their bodies are different, the substance is the same so it can be differentiated with other seeds. Similarly, a human body must die before it can be resurrected. The resurrected body is very different with the natural body, but the substance is the same so that one could recognize that it is the same person and can be differentiated with others.

1.2/ The resurrected body is different with the natural body in four points:

            (1) The natural body shall be destroyed but the resurrected boby shall never be destroyed.

            (2) The natural body is lowly while the resurrected body is glorious. St. Paul might want to say that all human senses and passion of the natural body make people vulnerable for sins. The glorious body shall not be vulnerable for sins.

            (3) The natural body is weak while the resurrected body is powerful. St. Paul might think about the physical strength here. As long as people live in their human boby, they are susceptible by all kind of sickness and the environmental conditions. The resurrected body shall not be susceptible by sickness or influenced by the environmental conditions.

            (4) The natural body has the human spirit while the resurrected body has the divine or Holy Spirit. St. Paul might want to emphasize on the lasting of the divine Spirit because the natural body can have the divine spirit in this life, but one can’t always live according to it because he is influenced by passion; once he is no longer has passion, he shall completely live according to the Holy Spirit.

1.3/ Human being is the combination of both human and divine spirit: St. Paul used two events: the creation event when God created Adam, the first human person, and the Incarnation event of Jesus, to reason about the resurrected body as follows: “The first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.”

2/ Gospel: God’s word is compared as a seed sowing on the earth.

            Jesus used a parable to teach people what duty they must have when hearing the words of God. He said, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”

            His disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, "Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that 'they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.’” This answer is difficult to understand. Is it mean that the mysteries of the kingdom of God can only be understood by some chosen people? A just God shall never do that, and the purpose of this parable emphasizes the duty which each one must have when hearing God’s word. It is not necessary that whoever have eyes, they shall see. There are many things which happen before their eyes and they still don’t see them. The reason might be that they don’t want to see or to pay attention to them. It is not necessary that whoever have ears, they shall understand. How many parishioners understand their pastor’s sermon weekly? They don’t understand because they don’t pay attention or use their mind to follow what their pastor explains.

            And Jesus explained the parable for his disciples as follows: The seed is God’s word.

            (1) “Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved.” They are those whom we have just mentioned, they listen but don’t understand.

            (2) “Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial.” They forget that they must put God’s word into practice so that their faith shall be firmed and can confront with all obstacles of their life.

            (3) “The seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit.” They stubbornly do the thing which Jesus forwarned: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

            (4) “The seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Though we don’t completely know what shall happen for the dead, but we know one certain thing that the dead shall be resurrected. Once resurrected, we shall no longer have to die, we shall be strong and powerful, oriented to good, always live by the Holy Spirit’s guidance and not to be affected by lowly passion.

            - In order for God’s word to benefit us, we must prepare our mind before hearing God’s word, meditate it day and night, and put it into practice so that our faith can be firm everyday. A strong faith shall help us to courageously overcome all obstacles in life and to be ready to witness for God by our words and deeds. 

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