Tuesday in the fifteenth week of the Ordinary Time1
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday in the fifteenth week of the Ordinary Time1

Tuesday of the 15 OT1

 

Readings: Exo 2:1-15; Mt 11:20-24.

1/ First Reading: RSV Exodus 2:1 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 3 And when she could hide him no longer she took for him a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and pitch; and she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds at the river's brink. 4 And his sister stood at a distance, to know what would be done to him. 5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, and her maidens walked beside the river; she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to fetch it. 6 When she opened it she saw the child; and lo, the babe was crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?" 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child's mother. 9 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; and she named him Moses, for she said, "Because I drew him out of the water." 11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrew were struggling together; and he said to the man that did the wrong, "Why do you strike your fellow?" 14 He answered, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid, and thought, "Surely the thing is known." 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 11:20 Then he began to upbraid the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."


I. THEME: The more one has opportunities the more heavy he shall be judged.

            Many people need only one opportunity; they seriously take it, try the best as they can, and are successful in their life. Some people who are given many opportunities, but don’t take them seriously; in opposition, they play around and do nothing at all; it is no wonder why they fail in all they do. Similarly in the area of faith, there are many Gentiles who only heard about Jesus; but their expression of faith startled Jesus; for examples: Jairus, the Roman centurion, the leper, etc. There were also the fellow-country people with Jesus who knew him very well; but didn’t believe in him. Jesus was also surprised by their stubborness.

            Today readings give us such opposite examples. In the first reading, God gives Moses an opportunity to be saved by the compassion of the Egyptian princess. When he grew up, he can’t stand before the maltreatment between human beings, Moses killed an Egyptian and adviced two Hebrews not to fight with each other. In the Gospel, Jesus reproached Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum with loud voice because though they were often witnessed his miracles and preaching, they were still stubborn and didn’t believe in him; while many Gentiles’ cities such as Tyre and Sidon, though Jesus rarely came to them, but he was surprised by their expression of faith.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: Moses’ life

1.1/ Moses was saved by the Egyptian princess: Due to Pharaoh’s decree, no Jewish newborn male can be survived. But today passage reported an exceptional case, “Now a man from the house of Levi went and took to wife a daughter of Levi.The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.And when she could hide him no longer she took for him a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with bitumen and pitch; and she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds at the river's brink.And his sister stood at a distance, to know what would be done to him.”

            By God’s providence, the Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion for Moses though she knew he is a Jew. Moses’ sister stood closely to the basket and when she saw the Egyptian princess had compassion for the child, she wisely asked her, "Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?"Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child's mother.And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. So, Moses’ mother could officially care for him and get paid. When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son; she named him Moses, for she said, "Because I drew him out of the water."

1.2/ Moses’ heroic acts: As the princess’ son, Moses can choose an easy and peaceful lifestyle as an Egyptian prince; but he chose an heroic and difficult life according to God’s law. Today passage gives us two examples:

            (1) Moses couldn’t stand unjust treatment: “One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”

            (2) Moses couldn’t stand discord: “When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together; and he said to the man that did the wrong, "Why do you strike your fellow?"He answered, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid, and thought, "Surely the thing is known."When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh, and stayed in the land of Midian.”

           

2/ Gospel: : “If the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”

2.1/ Jesus compared Chorazin and Bethsaida with Tyre and Sidon: “Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.”

            (1) Chorazin and Bethsaida: Chorazin was identified by the archeologists with the modern Kerazeh, about 2.5 miles from Capernaum to the North. Bethsaida is a village of Galilee regions, locates to the west of the lake Tiberias, in the "strip land of Gennesaret." Bethsaida is the native place of Peter, Andrew and Philip; and the place that Jesus frequently comes and goes. Two miracles which Jesus did and reported in details are the miracles which Jesus healed the blind at Bethsaida (Mk 8:22) and the miracle “the multiplication of the loaves” to feed the five thousand people at Bethsaida (Lk 9:10-17). Besides, Lucas also reported that Jesus taught and healed many people at this place.

            (2) Tyre and Sidon: are two big commercial harbors of the Phoenecians (Lebanon today), lie on the coast of Mediterranean sea. Tyre locates about 23 miles to the north of Arco, and is about 20 miles from Sidon to the South. Jesus rarely went out the Palestinian territory. The evangelists reported only one time which Jesus came to Tyre and Sidon when a Canaanite woman begged him to heal her daughter from a demon. Jesus seriously tested her faith by saying to her, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mt 15:26) before he healed her daughter.

2.2/ Jesus compared Capernaum with Sodom: Jesus said, “And as for you, Capernaum: 'Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.' For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.”

            (1) Capernaum: can be said as “Jesus city” because he frequently came to teach and to work miracles here. St. John reported Jesus’ first miracle when he changed water into wine at a wedding at Cana (Jn 2:12) and the healing of an officer’s servant (Jn 4:46). St. Matthew reported Jesus healed the Roman centurion’s servant (Mt 8:5). St. Mark reported Jesus healed a paralytic which was strolled down by ropes from the roof of a house (Mk 2:1). St. Luke reported Jesus expelled a demon (Lk 9:33). Mark reported Jesus preached in the Capernaum synagogue (Mk 1:21) and John clearly recorded Jesus’ preaching of the Eucharist after he fed five thousand people and people’s reactions (Jn 6).

            (2) Sodom: We knew about this city in the Book of Genesis when God commanded fire from heaven to burn out this city because of their terrible sins they committed against him, especially the sexual immorality as the name of the city is called (Gen 18:16-33, 19:1-29). This city is lied opposite with Zoar, toward the south-west of the Dead Sea.

            During Jesus’ three years of public ministry, he spent most of his time to preach around the Galilee regions, rarely went out from Galilee and Jerusalem. Therefore, all Gentile cities, such as Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, etc. almost had no opportunity to hear his preaching or to witness his miracles. When bringing out the comparison between the cities, Jesus wanted to emphasize an important point: whoever have more opportunities to repent, shall be judged more heavily. Bethsaida and Capernaum shall certainly be judged more heavily than Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We must know how to use God’s given time, talent and goods to benefit ourselves, our family and others.

            - If God gives us many things and opportunities, He has a right to expect more from us. We shall be judge more heavy than others with less things and few opportunities.