Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday in the eighteenth week of the Ordinary Time1

Monday of the 18 OT1  

Readings: Num 11:4-15; Mt 14:13-21.

1/ First Reading: RSV Numbers 11:4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving; and the people of Israel also wept again, and said, "O that we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." 7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it. 10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, every man at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased. 11 Moses said to the LORD, "Why hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? And why have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou dost lay the burden of all this people upon me? 12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I bring them forth, that thou shouldst say to me, `Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries the sucking child, to the land which thou didst swear to give their fathers?' 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, `Give us meat, that we may eat.' 14 I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If thou wilt deal thus with me, kill me at once, if I find favor in thy sight, that I may not see my wretchedness."

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." 16 Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." 17 They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." 18 And he said, "Bring them here to me." 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.


I. THEME: The easy solution isn’t the best solution.

            People have a tendency to solve everything easily and quickly: to keep what is easy and like to do and to eliminate what is difficult and hate to do. However, human life isn’t such simple; there is a time when people must choose a more difficult solution which requires more sacrifices to achieve what they desire; for example, studying, training their body, doing business or practicing virtues.

            Today readings want to illustrate this tendency of human beings. In the first reading, the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt to enjoy their favotite food instead of having to eat the manna which they were so used to in the dessert. Moses was also so tired to lead the Israelites and he wanted God to take away the heavy burden, the Israelites, from him. In the Gospel, after spent the whole day with people, the apostles came and said to Jesus, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves."Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me.”

1.1/ People wanted to return to their slavish life in Egypt: The most basic need of human life is eating and drinking because they are needed to protect life; but they aren’t all human needs, people also need to satisfy other important needs, such as: intellectual and spiritual. The Israelites during their forty years of wandering in the desserts were fallen into temptations of food and drink; they forgot all about other needs, they said, “O that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

            Let us look at the Israelites’ temptations in the desserts so that we can learn about all the temptations of our life to avoid them: First, when they were maltreated as slaves by the Egyptians, they cried out to God to liberate them from the Egyptians. God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt. When they had liberty, they demand water and bread. God gave them water and manna. After satisfied with water and manna, they demand meat. God gave them quails. When had quails, they cried and demanded things as described in today passage, “fish, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” It isn’t ended with these. When they were satisfied their longings, they demanded Aaron to make for them a golden calf to worship. Every time they were in need, they threatened Moses that they want to return to Egypt and to live a slavish life for them!

            God continues to patiently love them, to satisfy their needs, to educate them with His teachings and to bring them into the Promise Land as He promised to their forefathers and leaders.

1.2/ Moses asked God to take away his heavy burden: Leadership isn’t easy, especially with so many people living under very difficult situation. Moses heard about all the Israelites’ complaints and threats while God’s anger burned like hot charcoals; he doesn’t know how to solve the problem, so he came to God and said to Him, “Why hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? And why have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou dost lay the burden of all this people upon me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I bring them forth, that thou should say to me, `Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries the sucking child, to the land which thou didst swear to give their fathers?' Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, `Give us meat, that we may eat.' I am not able to carry all this people alone, the burden is too heavy for me.If thou wilt deal thus with me, kill me at once, if I find favor in thy sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”

            Moses’ reaction is understandable because he is still a human being. Though he tried the best as he can, he still couldn’t satisfy all the Israelites’ needs. When a leader tried the best and his followers are still displease, ingratitude and threatened, who can endure and continue to lead them. Though said these words, Moses still loved them and later when God wanted to wipe the Israelites out, Moses patiently interceded with God to forgive them.

            When a person loves God, he must also love his brothers and sisters and can’t let them to be wiped out. God doesn’t want any of His children to be destroyed forever. Therefore, to become God’s leader, Moses must also be patient to teach and to love the Israelites as God did for them.

           

2/ Gospel: “They need not go away; you give them something to eat."


2.1/ The apostles’ reactions: The miracle “Feeding of the Five Thousand” is one of the rare miracles which were reported by all four evangelists. We should read all four accounts to find out the reasons why the apostles asked Jesus to dismiss people so they could find something to eat in the near-by villages.

            (1) The fear of spending their own money: Philip said to Jesus, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (Jn 6:7).

            (2) The fear of sharing what they had: Andrew said to Jesus, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” (Jn 6:9).

            (3) The fear of going out and buying food for people: The apostles might think that Jesus and they only have the spiritual responsibilities for people, such as: teaching and healing; the material needs people must take care of themselves. How could Jesus and they care all the people’s needs?

2.2/ Jesus’ determined and merciful reaction: Jesus had compassion for people; he isn’t satisfied with providing the spiritual needs. When he heard the apostles’ request to disperse people so that they could buy their own food in the near-by villages, he challenged them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

            As the Good Shepherd, Jesus said a good example for all shepherds to do following things for the sheep:

            (1)They should care for both spiritual and material needs of people.

            (2) They must teach, heal and correct them.

            (3) They worry not only their present but also for their future. Jesus did this by doing the following:

            - He trains the disciples to continue his preaching of the Good News and spreading of God’s love.

            - He establishes the sacrament of the Eucharist to remain and to nourish people: Most of the scholars saw Jesus’ establishment of the sacrament of Eucharist in today passage’ formula, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Love demands patience to educate and sacrifice to bring life. If God also uses the easy and quickly solution, we shall not have opportunities to protect our life.

            - If our parents also choose easy, quickly and convenient solution, we shall not be existed and have a life like we have now. Lest be selfish so with one hand we gather what is good and with other hand we throw out what is burdensome and we don’t like it. If we received for free, we should also freely give. 

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