Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday in the eighteenth week of the Ordinary Time1

Friday of the 18 OT1

 

Readings: Deut 4:32-40; Mt 16:24-28.

1/ First Reading: RSV Deuteronomy 4:32 "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. 33 Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him. 36 Out of heaven he let you hear his voice that he might discipline you; and on earth he let you see his great fire, and you heard his words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because he loved your fathers and chose their descendants after them, and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as at this day; 39 know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God gives you forever."

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."


I. THEME: Let use our memory to learn about God and His teaching.

 

            Memory is very important in remembering and learning. Human beings can’t advance without memory because most of present knowledge and modern invents are built on basic knowledge and invents of previous generation. A person becomes prudent and matured because he knows how to learn from experiences of people and his own experience.

            Today readings remind people to remember more often what God has done and taught them. In the first reading, Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy reminded the Israelites to remember the whole event of the Exodus. God loves and chooses them as His own people. He used His mighty power to liberate them from being slavery to the Egyptians and to lead them into the Promise Land so that they can live a happy and safe life under His protection. He wants them to trust and to love Him. In the Gospel, Jesus reminded his disciples of the wise way of life according to God’s law so that they shouldn’t live according to human selfish way of life. He taught them not to find all possible ways to protect their life, but to be ready to die for their own will and to live according to God’s will.  

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “You shall keep his statutes and his commandments.”

1.1/ Let remember what God has done for you: To understand the reason why they must always obey God, Moses wanted the Israelites to remember the whole event of the Exodus, or at least the four main events.

            (1) The crossing of the Red Sea: Moses said to them, “Ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of.” There is not a historical event of the world which reported the sea being divided in two like the two walls so that the Israelites could cross the Red Sea with their bare feet.

            (2) God’s theophany and His giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai: Moses asked the Israelites, “Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?” The Jewish tradition believes that there is no one who saw and heard God without being dead; except the cases of Moses and the Israelites during their Exodus and wandering in the desserts.

            (3) The seven terrible plagues God poured down on the Egyptians: Moses asked them, “Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?”

            (4) Giving them the Promise Land: “And because he loved your fathers and chose their descendants after them, and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power,driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as at this day.”

 

1.2/ The Israelites must return God’s love for them: When the Israelites remember the Exodus event, they must recognize God’s love for them, such as: choosing them as His own people, using His mighty power to set them free from the Egyptians, let them hear of His voice, giving them the Ten Commandments and protecting them from countless dangers on their journey. After they recognize God’s love, Moses wanted the Israelites to do two following things to thank God and to accumulate benefits for them.

            (1) They can’t worship anyone except God: Moses commanded them, “Therefore this day, and lay it to your heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”

            (2) They must keep all what God teaches them: "Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God gives you forever."

2/ Gospel: “He will repay every man for what he has done.”

 

2.1/ Christ’s way of life: Jesus said to his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

            When we study these words, we recognize Christ’s way of life opposes with the worldly way of life; especially the way of life of many people today. Many people put the rights of the individual and material things above all; for examples: individualism and materialism; these people are only worry about themselves and anything that brings life to them.

            But experience shows these people can’t survive and advance. The wise, the successful, and the loved ones are those who live according to God’s way. Jesus also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). That is the main reason why we must sacrifice and die in order to be lived.

            Moreover, the faithful look for not only the benefits in the present world, but their eyes also look for the eternal inheritance which is the eternal life. That is the reason why Jesus also teaches, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” Some truth about the material things which shall help us to know their true value:

            - People can’t bring anything with them when they die.

            - Material things can prolong one’s life, even a short time.

            - People must answer God about material things that they unjustly possess. At that time, it is too late for people to repent.

 

2.2/ God remembers all things that people did: Jesus said, “For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.” People came from God and shall return to Him to be judged; therefore, people’s life isn’t a straight line so that all events happened in their life shall completely pass; but people must return to God and shall be responsible for these events before God.

            Next is Jesus’ difficult promise, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” If we understand this sentence according to the literal meaning, it can’t be happened because all contemporary people with Jesus died. Mark’s account is more reasonable, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power" (Mk 9:1). This can be explained as follows: After Jesus went up to heaven; his disciples went out to preach the Gospel and saw countless people believing in Christ. This shows God’s power is at work right from this world, and God’s kingdom shall come in the future.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                    

            - Memory is necessary for us to have a firm faith in God. We should have a habit of remembering what God has done for us and our family, at least once a month.

            - We should always find God’s will and generously give out. God and others shall never let us suffer; they shall exceed what we do for them.

            - We should never hoard up material things unjustly because we shall be responsible for these unjust acts before God. Remember that our soul is much more value than material possession.

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