Saturday in the fourteenth week of the Ordinary Time1
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday in the fourteenth week of the Ordinary Time1

Saturday of the 14 OT1

 

Readings: Gen 49:29-33, 50:15-24; Mt 10:24-33.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 49:29 Then he charged them, and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah -- 32 the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites." 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him." 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died, 17 `Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, "Behold, we are your servants." 19 But Joseph said to them, "Fear not, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he reassured them and comforted them. 22 So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph's knees. 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household? 26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.


I. THEME: The truth shall prevail.

 

            The world is the battlefield between the truth and the falsity, the good and the evil, God and the devil, children of light and of darkness. The world uses tricks and oppression to cause sufferings for the children of light—making them fearful and having no courage to live for the truth. God demands His children not to be fearful, to accept sufferings and to be witnesses for the truth. He shall give them strength to overcome sufferings and to be victorious.

            Today readings concentrate on these fights and Jesus’ invaluable teachings for his disciples. In the first reading, since the patriarch Jacob faithfully lived according to God’s teaching, He protected him until his last moment on earth. Imitating his father, Joseph also did what both God and his father teach him; he forgave his brothers and provided them with what they need for their life. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples three important things to preach the Gospel and to witness for him, they are: to be ready to accept suffering, not to be afraid of anything and to absolutely believe in God’s providence.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: “Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin.”

1.1/ God always protect His faithful servants: After uniting with Joseph and living happily with their children for a while, Jacob knows it is time for him to say farewell to them to be with his ancestors. He called all of them to his bed and commanded them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place.There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah--the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites."When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

            Recalling what God promised to Jacob before he went down to Egypt: He shall protect him and Joseph's hand shall close his eyes when he died. This is now fulfilled. In the vision of the ladder, God promised to him, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you” (Gen 28:15). Jacob’s desire before his last breath is also achieved: His children brought his body and buried in their ancestral cave in Hebron. This cave is still there today.

1.2/ Joseph’s brothers still believe that it is impossible for Joseph to forgive them.

            (1) His brothers’ reaction: “When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him."So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died,`Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, "Behold, we are your servants."”

            (2) Joseph’s reaction: He wanted them to recognize God’s providence, so he said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God?As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he reassured them and comforted them.”

            God is faithful; He shall not forsake those who faithfully believe in Him. When Joseph is going to die, he said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” This shall be achieved when Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and Joshua leads them into the Promise Land.

2/ Gospel: “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”

2.1/ Three necessary attitudes of Christ’s disciples: To be Jesus’ loyal disciple, a person needs to have the three following attitudes:

            (1) He must be ready to accept sufferings: Jesus said to his disciples, “If they persecute me, they shall also persecute you.” Christ’s disciples shall certainly be persecuted because the world persecuted Jesus and killed him. Jesus wanted his disciples to clearly remember this point as he said, “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.It is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher, for the slave that he becomes like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!”

            While doing his preaching or carrying out his apostolic work, the disciple shall meet those who criticize, oppose, threaten or seize him. The simple reason why they do these because the disciple says things they don’t want to hear. For examples, the disciple says that married people must be loyal in their vocation while some of his audience were divorced or separated; he says children must sacrifice and care for old parents while some of his audience sent their parents to the nursing homes; he says that children are gifts from God while some of his audience don’t want to have more children.

            (2) He can’t be afraid of men: If the disciple is afraid of discontent, criticism or opposition, he shall not preach the truth that he is called to preach; in opposition, he shall say the things which shall please his audience even though these things aren’t God’s teachings. This is the reason why Jesus forewarned his disciples, “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”

            When witnessing for the truth, a disciple might pay a dearly cost, he might be sacrificed his life for the truth as in the case of the martyrs; but God shall give back his life with glory and his soul shall live for ever.

            (3) He must believe in God’s providence: To teach this lesson, Jesus gave them two examples. First, the sparrows. He said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.” Secondly, human hair. He said, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” A human head has countless hairs and many of them fall down daily. If a meaningless hair is concerned by God, how is about the fate of God’s disciple!

            In God’s providence, suffering is the instrument God uses to test the disciple’s faith and love for Him. If a disciple fears and avoids suffering, he doesn’t show his faith and love for God.

2.2/ The rewards for those who are loyal to witness for the truth: Jesus declared to his disciples, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” St. Paul said that If we share in Christ’s suffering, we shall also share in his glory. A disciple who is afraid to acclaim Christ’s name or to preach his teaching, he isn’t Christ’s true disciple. In the Last Day, Christ also denies him before his Father.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE

                   

            - Suffering is instruments which God uses to test people’s faith. We should not be afraid and run away from them to the point that we don’t dare to proclaim God’s name and to witness for the truth.

            - We should absolutely believe in God’s loving providence so that we always courageously live as God’s children, be ready to forgive and to help others.

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