Tuesday of the Twelfth week of the Ordinary Time1
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Twelfth week of the Ordinary Time1

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Tuesday of the 12 OT1

 

Readings: Gen 13:5-18; Mt 7:6, 12-14.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 13:5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelt in the land. 8 Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, while Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. 14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you." 18 So Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the LORD.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. 7 Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”


I. THEME: Choose the difficult and narrow way to go.

            The majority of people shall choose the easy and shortest road to go; the way requires the least effort and the easiest work but gives more money to do. The reality shows if people want to be successful, they must do the opposite way. Some examples shall illustrate this point. For examples, before winning a medal at the Olympic, an athlete must spend lots of time for training and sacrifice his eating and drinking; a soldier must also do that because he believes if he sweats more in the drill-ground, there shall be less chance for him to pour out blood in the battlefield; a student must study hard if he wants to be graduated and finds a good job, etc.

            Today readings give us an example of Abram’s choosing the hard way and Jesus’ invaluable teaching. In the first reading, to protect their familial relationship, Abram suggested to Lot, his nephew, to separate; and he let Lot have the privilege to choose first. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen.”

1.1/ Protecting the relationship is the first priority: Richness can change people’s relationship. When people are poor, they easily live together; but when they become rich, they change their lifestyle and compete with others to get advance. When two friends are in poverty, they exchanged vow to be friends forever by drinking blood of each other; when one or both became rich, their friendship starts to change. A Vietnamese adage said, “Richness makes people to change their wife, and nobility their friends.”

            Similarly for Abram and Lot, when they are poor they loved and protected each other; when their properties gradually increase, there existed contention from their servants as today passage reported, “Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together,and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle.”

1.2/ Abram’s wise solution: Recognized the danger of the strife, Abram knew it is the time for them to live separately to protect their relationship, so Abram said to Lot: “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are kinsmen.”

            Abram didn’t use the power of his higher position; he generously let his nephew have privilege to choose first, “Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” People contend with others because everyone wants the better part; but the one who reveres God doesn’t need to contend because he believes God shall always bless him. Abram believes if God is at his side, there is nothing to be feared of.

            (1) Lot’s selection: “Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other.” Lot is wise in choosing the region has water because it is proper for raising flocks and herds. They need grass, and there is no grass without water! Abram stayed back at the Canaan, the region is full of milk and honey.

            (2) God promises to give the Promise Land and to bless Abram’s descendants: After Lot went away, God said to Abram, “Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted.Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”

2/ Gospel: The narrow gate and the constricted road lead to life.

2.1/ People must understand the values before they pay respect for God’s words and sacraments: To illustrate the great values of God’s words and sacraments, Jesus gave two images for his disciples to think about: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.” There are many ways to interpret this verse in the history.

            (1) The Jewish people used this verse to insult the Gentiles. They think that only they are worthy of holy things, the Gentiles were compared with dogs and swines.

            (2) The early Church used this verse to protect the sacrament of the Eucharist. The verse, “holy things are reserved for holy people” is used to prevent people who have not the same faith to receive the Eucharist.

            (3) The early Church also used this verse to protect God’s words and the Catholic faith because there are always heresies which threaten the Catholic faith or want the Church to adapt with present fashions. In brief, the faithful need to study to understand before they know how to value God’s words and sacraments.

2.2/ Two examples of practicing God’s words:

            (1) The golden rule can’t be compared with God’s word: The golden rule teaches: “What we don’t want other do to us, we must not do to other.” This rule is only negative because it prevents a sin to happen; but it doesn’t help us to develop our relationship with others. Jesus helped his disciples to advance further by teaching them, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” This rule is positive because it helps to develop relationships.

            (2) People like the widen door: Jesus taught his disciples the way to be successful: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction; and those who enter through it are many.How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” An example shall help us to understand his meaning: A student who like to watch television all times and to attend parties on the weekend, shall not be successful in doing exams like a student who spent most of his time in studying and preparing for them.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

 

            - To live according as God’s children isn’t easy since He demands us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and above all things. At the same time, we must love others as ourselves.

            - To become Jesus’ disciple isn’t easy as many people think. He requires us to give up our will and carry our daily cross to follow him.

            - To respond to the vocation of God’s children and Christ’s disciples, we must sacrifice to live according to the commandments; but we shall control our life and attain the ultimate goal.

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