Fifteenth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Fifteenth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC

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Sunday of the 15 OTC

 

Readings: Deut 30:10-14; Col 1:15-20; Lk 10:25-37.

 

1/ Reading I: RSV Deuteronomy 30:10 If you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, `Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, `Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”

 

2/ Reading II: RSV Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

 

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."



I. THEME: What must we do to inherit the eternal life? 

 

            The Catholic religion teaches people not only the ultimate goal of their life, but also clearly how to attain that goal. This teaching existed from the Old Testament’s time, but people didn’t grasp the main teaching; they paid attention only to supplementary things. When Jesus came, he clearly pointed out what people need to do as in today Gospel.

            Today readings concentrate on what people need to do to inherit the eternal life. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Deuteronomy taught the Israelites “to hear and to keep God’s commandments and decrees which were recorded in the Law and to return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and mind.” In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Colossians advised the faithful to believe in God’s Holy Son, Jesus, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” In the Gospel, Jesus agreed with the scribe, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself;” in order to inherit the eternal life. He also gave him a concrete example to show how to truly love people.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: Listen to God’s voice and keep His commandments.

           

1.1/ The Book of Law contains what people need to do.

            Many scholars think these words of Deuteronomy could be a scribe’s homily during the exile. He reminded people of the conditions which they need to do in order to be protected and blessed by God. These conditions are to keep God’s commandments and decrees written in the Law and to sincerely return to the Lord, their only God.

            God never commands people to do impossible things. These are things which people can do and not exceed their power. The most important condition is to put their faith in God. They must firmly believe that what God promises He shall do it.

1.2/ People can recognize, understand and do what God teaches them.

            The Israelites are very proud of their Law. They believe that there is no other god in this world who has power and loves people to the point that to appear and to give people the Law as their God. Moreover, their God is the One Who creates and controls the world; therefore, to know His wisdom through the Law is to know the way of life and to avoid the way of death. Psalm 119 is an example of this kind of faith.

            In today passage, the author repeated the event which God Himself came and gave them the Law; he said, “It is not in heaven, that you should say, `Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, `Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”

            The author wanted to say that when they read the Law and meditated them every day; they need only one thing which is to practice them daily in order to be protected and blessed by God.

2/ Reading II: By his blood poured out on the cross, he brought peace for people.

 

2.1/ God creates everything through the Word.

            Many scholars consider Colossians 1:9-14 as an old hymn; was sung in gathering or worshiping in the early communities to praise Christ, God’s Word. Some of them also believe the purpose of the hymn is to oppose the Gnosticism which is very popular at that time in Greek. A comparison between what the Church teaches and what the Gnosticism believes shows a reason for this belief.

            (1) Christ is God’s son, the Word (Logos), the image (eikon) of the invisible God to the point that one could say to see Christ is to see God (Jn 14:9). The Gnosticism believes though Christ is higher than creatures, he is still not God because he has in himself human material; only God is completely immaterial.

            (2) Christ is the first-born and was born before all creation: He is the Word, God’s wisdom. In the Genesis’ account of creation, God creates by only saying, “Let them be!” and all creation are. “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (Jn 1:3). The Gnosticism doesn’t believe God created the world; it is created by an evil god who opposed God. This god wanted to destroy God’s works.

            (3) God controls everything through Christ because he is God’s wisdom, “And in him all things hold together.” The Gnosticism believes the world remains by itself.

2.2/ God saves and reconciles through the Word.

            (1) Christ saves people: He saves by pouring out his blood to purify people’s sins, to save people from the death, and to enable them to have the eternal fife with God by his glorious resurrection. The Gnosticism believes that people are liberated from slavery for material and united with God by a special and secret knowledge which only they can provide for people.

            (2) Christ reconciles people with God and others: He reconciles people by accepting his death on the cross. By this reconciliation, people have peace. The Gnosticism doesn’t believe in sins and reconciliation, because they believe God never changes and people are always bad because they are confined in a body.

            Why did God let Christ come into the world? The author of the Letter to the Hebrews gives us a reason: In the past, though God revealed many times and under many forms through the prophets, but people didn’t receive everything yet. We can see clearly this point through the scribes and the Pharisees when they argued against Jesus. Christ is God’s perfect revelation. He put on a human body to communicate for people what he sees in God. Moreover, he must have a body to endure all punishments of sins for people so they are reconciled with God and received salvation which is the eternal life. Therefore, in order to attain the eternal life, Christ requires his audience to believe in him. This is also God’s will (cf. Jn 6:39-40).

 

3/ Gospel: To love God above all things and to love others as ourselves is the requirement to enter God’s kingdom.

3.1/ What must I do to have the eternal life?

            This is the very important and practical question of our life. The one who asked is a scribe. Although he knew the answer but still asked to test Jesus. Instead of giving him the answer, Jesus asked him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And Jesus said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."

            The scribe’s answer is the combination of the two passages which already had in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.

3.2/ Who is my neighbor?

            It is not because the Jews don’t know what the Law teaches; but because they don’t put into practice what the Law commands; especially to those whom they refuse to recognize as their neighbors. This is the reason why Jesus told the scribe a practical story.

            Though Jericho is only about twenty miles from Jerusalem, but the different altitudes between them is about 3,600 ft. In the old time, this is a very dangerous road because of its narrowness and there were many caves, the hidden places for robbers. Not many people want to travel alone on this road. The one who was beat up might be a Jew because he traveled down from Jerusalem. As we said before, this road might be the easiest way to go up to Galilee. Jesus listed out three kinds of people and their reactions when they saw the injurious person.

            (1) The priest: He is a Jew. The reason why he avoided the injurious person might be because he feared to be unclean in seven days (cf. Num. 19:11). If he touches the dead, he shall not be able to serve in the temple. He put the service in the temple before human compassion, so he passed by on other side.

            (2) The Levite: He is also a Jew. The duty of the Levites is to serve in the temple where the Ark is. Like the above priest, he might also fear of being unclean so though he saw the injurious person, he also passed by on other side.

            (3) The Samaritan: The Jews consider the Samaritans as their enemies and want to do nothing with them. When the Samaritan in the story saw the injurious people, he didn’t pay attention to whether he is a Jew or a Samaritan; he had compassion for him, a human love between people. Jesus said, he “went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'”

3.3/ Jesus’ question for the scribe: “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The scribe said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

            Through the story, Jesus wanted to emphasize at least three points: First, a neighbor can be anyone who has a need, not only the one in our family, nor one of our friends, nor the one who lives near our house, nor having the same nationality with us. Secondly, he stressed on deeds, not only knowledge. Lastly, when helping others, we need to do as needed and to go extra mileage, not merely for the sake of appearances.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                 

 

            - To love God above all things and to love others as ourselves are two principal requirements to enter God’s kingdom. We must practice these two things, not just believing.

            - Christ is the image of the invisible God. He put on a human body to express God’s love and to teach people. To believe and to love him are to believe and to love God.

            - Love has no limit and must be uncalculated. We must love God and others as God loved us.