Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Nineteenth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC

Sunday of the 19 OTC

Readings: Wis 18:6-9; Heb 11:1-2, 8-12 (19); Lk 12:32-48.

1/ Reading I: RSV Wisdom 18:6 That night was made known beforehand to our fathers, so that they might rejoice in sure knowledge of the oaths in which they trusted. 7 The deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of their enemies were expected by thy people. 8 For by the same means by which thou didst punish our enemies thou didst call us to thyself and glorify us. 9 For in secret the holy children of good men offered sacrifices, and with one accord agreed to the divine law, that the saints would share alike the same things, both blessings and dangers; and already they were singing the praises of the fathers.

 

2/ Reading II: RSV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old received divine approval. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

 

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 12:32 "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour." 41 Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, `My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.



I. THEME: Believe and faithfully keep God’s word. 

            Some of us believe in this sentence without thinking, “People must see in order to believe, believing without seeing is supertitious.” There are many wrong things in this sentence: First, when a person says he believes, he must believe in a thing that he doesn’t see. If he saw it, he no longer believes. For example, no one says, “I believe that I found the money I lost;” but only says, “I found the money I lost.” Secondly, when one says believing without seeing is supertitious, it is absurd because there are something people believe even they don’t see. For examples: No one sees breadth, but if one sees a person who is living, he must believe that one has breadth; or no one sees current in an outlet, but no one dares to touch it.

            Today readings show that faith in God isn’t superstitious; but it is the faith which is guaranteed by God’s promise and His works. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Wisdom repeated God’s promise of giving the Promise Land with the patriarchs. He began to fulfill in that night, when He brought them out of the slavish land of Egypt, let them wander forty years in the desserts before settling them in the Promise Land, full of milk and honey. In the second reading, after giving an exact definition of faith, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews illustrated by the historical events that what God promised and what He has done are always correspondent. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his disciples to always believe and to prepare for the day which he shall come the second time; the day they shall receive the reward which God had promised for the wise and faithful servants.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “That night was made known beforehand to our fathers.”

            The Passover night is a great event which not a single Israelite doesn’t know it, because they must celebrate that event every year. Each time they celebrate this event, they remind each other of God’s love and power for them so that they might know how to live their life to please God. Each time the Israelites forgot the Lord and His law, God commands leaders and prophets to remind them this event so they know how to repent and to believe in Him.

1.1/ The Jewish Passover: The Lord foretold Moses and Aaron what shall happen on that night and what they need to do. The angels of God shall enter all the Egyptians’ houses to kill all the Egyptians’ firstborns, human and animal; but shall pass over the Israelites’ houses which have blood of animal on the doorpost. Moses secretly told the Israelites to put blood on the doorposts when they killed their Passover lambs.

           

1.2/ What happened on that night: Everything happened as the Lord said to Moses. When the Egyptian king saw all the firstborns of the Egyptians were killed, he and all of his people commanded Moses and the Israelites must immediately leave their country. After the Israelites left the country, Pharaoh changed his mind and ordered his mighty armies to take the Israelites back; but all his armies, all chariots and charioteers, were sunken in the Red Sea while the Israelites safely crossed it with their bare feet.

            When the Israelites witnessed all things that happened on that night, they recognized God’s power and love for them; they sang the victorious song to thank God for saving them. From that time on, they still keep their tradition to solemnly celebrate the Passover yearly, by killing the Passover lamb and eating it with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs. This event wanted to remind the Israelites that whatever God promised, He shall do it; even His promise exceeds human ability.

2/ Reading II: Our forefathers believed the One who promises is the Faithful One.

2.1/ The best definition of faith: The author of the Letter to the Hebrews defined, “Faith is the assurance (hypostasis) of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We can divide this definition in two parts for analyzing.

            (1) Faith is the assurance (hypostasis) of things hoped for: The noun “hypostasis” is used here same as when we say Christ has the same substance with God the Father. Faith and hope are together, what is the substance of faith is also the same for hope. Faith is the convincing of the intellect which makes people to believe that God shall do what He promises. This believing is strong to the point that it helps people to have joy and peace.

            (2) The conviction of things not seen: Faith shows the intellect realities which can’t be understood by human reason. Faith is a sure agreement of the soul about divine revelations and what relate to them. However, faith and reason aren’t contradictory, if a person recognizes human reason has its limitation. What people don’t understand isn’t meant that it doesn’t exist, but human reason is so weak to understand it. For example, explaining metaphysic for a peasant or calculus for an intermediate student.

            Moreover, faith is one of the three theological virtues. We call them “theological virtues” because their objects are God or what belongs to God. People can only understand material objects in their human world. People themselves don’t have capacity to believe in God, so they need to be assisted by God through revelation and grace before they can believe in God.

2.2/ Two examples of the faith of our forefathers: God doesn’t let people struggle with their faith, but gives people the intellect to understand the history of those who put their faith in Him. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews illustrated for the audience many examples of faith of the patriarchs in the past; today passage only mentions two well-known people.

            (1) Abraham’s faith: According to the Hebraic and Arabic tradition, the patriarch Abraham is the one who lived according to his reason. A Hebraic tradition has this story about him. Abraham couldn’t worship the sun, the moon and the stars because all of them rise up and set down according to the law of the One who creates them. The Arabic tradition had this story: Terah is Abraham’s father. He worshipped not only one but twelve gods, each god for a month. He also had a factory to produce statues of his gods. One day, there was a woman who brought offering to worship gods. Abraham took a stick and broke all statues except a big one, and he put the stick in his hand. When his father came home and asked him, “Who broke all the statues?” He pointed to the remaining one and said, “It is him who was so greedy about the offering so he killed all others” When his father told him it is absurd, he told his father not to produce and to sell his gods anymore. Abraham has a firm faith in God to the point that whatever God says, he does it at once.

            (2) Sarah’s faith: Having a child when both Abraham and Sarah were over ninety years old is impossible for human beings. Sarah laughed when she heard the Lord promised to Abraham, “I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son" (Gen 18:10); because she thought that she didn’t have any feeling about the intercourse, how could she conceive? The Lord corrected her, “There is nothing impossible to God.”

            Everything happened as God promised. The next spring when the Lord returned, Abraham and Sarah had a son. Abraham was one hundred years old when Sarah bore him a son. They named him Isaac which means a smile. Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would suckle children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age" (Gen 21:6-7).

 

3/ Gospel: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

            The promise of giving the kingdom of heaven for the disciples is repeated many times by Jesus; therefore, the faithful can’t live as though it isn’t existed. They must live this world with their eyes always oriented to the next life. They can’t hoard up material things but to use them for charitable works so they can build for themselves “a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.” Jesus listed out the two conditions to be accepted as the citizens of the heavenly kingdom.

3.1/ Must be awake and wait for the Last Day.

            How can we be awake and wait for that day all the times? Jesus answered: Let live as though it can come at every moment. An example helps us to understand this kind of preparation is the motto “Be prepared” and the way of Boy Scouts training. The scouts are trained on all aspects, such as: how to avoid dangers, to save life, to cook, to swim, to tie knots. The purpose of training is for them to have all these knowledge and abilities so that when they must face dangers, they know how to overcome them.

            Similarly in our spiritual life, the faithful must be trained and developed all virtues which Scripture has taught us, such as: three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity; four moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance; many more other virtues annexed to them. They especially need to always be free from sins; when they felt into a serious sin, they must come to the confession to get rid of it.

            Today passage also reminds us that the Last Day isn’t necessary be the Last Day of the universe; it can also be our last day in this world because our last day isn’t different with the last day of our life.

3.2/ Must loyally serve God and others while we wait for that Day.

            Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?” 

            In God’s providence, all people are playing the role of leaders; the only difference is to lead many or a few people. Parents lead their children; pastors lead their parishioners; bishops lead his diocese and the pope leads all the faithful of the world. Leading according to God’s way is to sacrifice and to serve; not using one’s power to be served or to maltreat those under one’s power. We need to remember that all powers come from God and all the leaders must be responsible before God and answering to Him the way we are used our power.

            Lastly, Jesus talked about rewards and punishments. Whoever fulfills their duty shall be rewarded, and those who don’t fulfill their duty shall be punished. Those who know shall be judged more heavily than the ones who don’t know. Who were given more shall be required more than the ones who were given less.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Nothing is impossible to God; we should never limit God in our thinking and our way of solving problems.

            - We must firmly believe that whatever God promises, He shall fulfill. If God promises He shall give the heavenly kingdom for those who believe and do according to His way, He shall do it. Our important tasks are always awake and serve our brothers and sisters.

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