Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Tuesday of the 28 OT2

 

ReadingsGal 4:31-5:6; Lk 11:37-41.

1/ First Reading: NAB Galatians 4:31 Therefore, brothers, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman. 5:1 For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. 2 It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I declare to every man who has himself circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire law. 4 You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 11:37 After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. 38 The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. 39 The Lord said to him, "Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. 40 You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? 41 But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.


 

I. THEME: Live according to faith or to the law?

 

            Following what we discussed yesterday about the conflict between St. Paul and the Jews about the old and the new covenant, both today readings illustrate this conflict by two concrete examples. In the first reading, it is about the circumcision; in the Gospel, it is about the law of washing hands before eating.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Should one live according to faith or to the law?

           

1.1/ The law can’t justify people: St. Paul stated the basic doctrine of the Catholic Church: “Brothers, we are children not of the slave woman but of the freeborn woman. For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

            He gave an example, the circumcision: According to the initial ceremony to receive one into the Judaism, the convert must do three following things: to be circumcised, to offer offering and to be baptized. Some Christian Jews also demanded the Gentile converts to be circumcised as them. St. Paul forcefully rejected this demand because it renders Christ ineffective. He said, “It is I, Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.”

            He used a syllogism to explain for them that why the circumcision isn’t necessary:

            - Thesis: Whoever receives circumcision, that one must keep all the laws. If not, he must receive punishment for his sin;

            - Anti-thesis: No one can keep all the law;

            - Conclusion: All must receive punishment.

           

1.2/ Only faith in Christ can justify people: The punishment for sin is death. How can people avoid death? It is certainly that not by the law, but by believing in God’s mercy through the fact that He gives His son, Jesus Christ, to die in place of people. It is by the faith in Jesus Christ that people are justified and not dead. St. Paul declared: “You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.”

            St. Paul’s opponents challenged him: “Is that meant God’s law are useless to Christians?” In the Letter to Romans, St. Paul explained more clearly about the role of the law. We can only be briefly here: The important point we need to pay attention is the goal and the main mean to reach the goal. According to Paul, the goal which everybody aims to is to be justified before God to avoid death, and the mean to reach this goal is to believe Christ as the son of God who died to redeem people.

            The law, though has no value for salvation, helps people to recognize what they should and shouldn’t do. The Law can only help people to meet minimum requirements, not to advance further in other areas such as: sacrifice and charity. In order to advance further in a perfect way, people need to have a strong faith in God. This faith is expressed through a life of witness in preaching and in charitable works.

            And Paul concluded: “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

2/ Gospel: Pay more attention to the purity of mind.

            “The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.” As St. Paul opponents argued about the importance of circumcision, Jesus’ opponent was startled because Jesus didn’t wash his hands before having meal. To the Jews, the washing of hands isn’t only about hygiene, but also about keeping of the law. He was amazed because such an important figure as Jesus, didn’t keep a basic law.

2.1/ The Pharisees pay attention to outside behaviors: To wash hands before eating is in the Jewish law. Jesus did not oppose the washing of hands before eating; but he wanted to stress more to the inside purity than outside ceremonies. The Pharisees might think no one can see through what is happening inside them; but only what is outside, and evaluate them accordingly.

Therefore, they pay attention to praying in publich places to heap praises from people; they fast with a sad face to let people know they are repenting; they make noise when they give alms to let people know they care for the poor.

            Jesus opposed these attitudes and taught his disciples to act in opposition: when praying, go to your room and close the doors; when fasting, put perfume on your head; when giving alms, don’t let your right knows what your left does. He opposed the evaluation based only on what is outside because it can be hypocrite and deceive others. It can also be dangerous to the one who performs because when he is so familiar with these hypocrite acts, he can no longer recognize what is true; he wears a mask and thinks it is his true face.

2.2/ Jesus invited people to pay attention to human mind: A sincere heart is valuable before God for He can see through what people cannot see. St. Luke reminded those who wanted to deceive Him by their outside acts: “You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” If one has the impurity of heart, he will express by his words and deeds. This is the one who sincerely loves God and others.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We can’t be justified by ourselves through carefully keeping of the law, but only by God’s mercy through our faith in His only son. This Beloved Son died in place of us.

            - God’s law in the Old Testament still has its basic value. However, Jesus’ commandment fulfilled God’s law in the Old Testament. If we love God, we must keep all of His commandments.

            - All the laws can be included in two most basic and important laws-- that are: “Love God and love others.” The purity of mind is more important than outside sanitation.

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