Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday in the twentieth week of the Ordinary Time1

Tuesday of the 20 OT1

Readings: Judg 6:11-24a; Mt 19:23-30.

 

1/ First Reading: RSV Judges 6:11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor." 13 And Gideon said to him, "Pray, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this befallen us? And where are all his wonderful deeds which our fathers recounted to us, saying, `Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian." 14 And the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" 15 And he said to him, "Pray, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." 16 And the LORD said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man." 17 And he said to him, "If now I have found favor with thee, then show me a sign that it is thou who speakest with me. 18 Do not depart from here, I pray thee, until I come to thee, and bring out my present, and set it before thee." And he said, "I will stay till you return." 19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them." And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and there sprang up fire from the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD; and Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face." 23 But the LORD said to him, "Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die." 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 19:23 And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 27 Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?" 28 Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.


I. THEME: God chooses the humble and the poor.

            God’s standard of choosing is completely different with human standard. While people choose the talent, the healthy and the rich; God chooses the illiterate, the weak and the poor. Moreover, Christ revealed for us God’s standard of judging on the Last Day, “Many first ones shall be last, and many last ones shall be first.”

            Today readings show God’s way of selection. In the first reading, God chose Gideon to be the judge of the Israelites, the youngest one in his family; he also belongs to the smallest tribe of the Israelites, Manasseh, to liberate them from the Midianites’ hands. In the Gospel, Jesus chose the twelve apostles; most of them were poor, weak and illiterate, to train them to become the preachers of the Gospel. This selection shows all the apostles’ success and glory are by God’s power and strength, not by their human efforts.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God chose Gideon to be the judge to save people from the Midianites’ hand.

  

1.1/ God’s selection: When the Israelites turned their back to God and worshipped the foreign gods, they were no longer protected by God. He let them to be slaves for the Midianites, their enemies. But when they cried out to Him, He has compassion for them and wants to choose a judge, to lead and to liberate them from their slavery to enemies.

            Today passage reported the conversation between God’s messenger and Gideon as follows, “Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites.And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor."And Gideon said to him, "Pray, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this befallen us? And where are all his wonderful deeds which our fathers recounted to us, saying, `Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian."”

            Gideon has a reason to doubt because he only heard the previous generations talked about what God did for the Israelites; but he never sees God’s power; instead, what he sees is the Israelites’ slavery for the Midianites.

            The Lord continues to say, ““Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?" And he said to him, "Pray, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." And the Lord said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.””

  

1.2/ Gideon asked the Lord for a sign to surely know that it is God’s selection: Gideon asked the Lord, “If now I have found favor with thee, then show me a sign that it is thou who speak with me.Do not depart from here, I pray thee, until I come to thee, and bring out my present, and set it before thee." And he said, "I will stay till you return."

                  So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them.And the angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them." And he did so.”

            Then, “the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and there sprang up fire from the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face." But the Lord said to him, "Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die." Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it.”

                      

2/ Gospel: : The richness pauses an obstacle for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

            After the young man walked away, then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." We try to find out the reasons why the richness prevents people to enter the heaven.

2.1/ The richness makes people to live far away from God: Like the first reading, the richness makes people to completely believe in themselves to the point that they think they are gods. To these people, they think that their money can buy everything and control anyone they want. They don’t pay attention to justice; they use money to bribe government and to do whatever they want.

            Next, ichness makes people to forget the purpose of life. Jesus warned his disciples, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Lk 12:34). Once they think that they are happy with their life in this world, they won’t bother to worry about the next life. Instead of responding to Jesus’ invitation which is to sell everything to buy the kingdom of heaven, they are content with what they have in this world. When people already have everything, it is very difficult for them to leave everything to follow God. We can see this fact through the decrease of the priesthood and the religious vocation in Europe and North America. In a word, once people become rich, it is very hard for them to leave them.

2.2/ The poverty helps people to put their hope in God: Some of the rich say that they become rich to have the money to help the poor. We don’t deny that there are some of them who used their richness to help others; but the majority of them follows the normal way which is human greed has no limit, the richer they are the more greedy they become. The reality shows that donation mostly comes from the average people, not from the rich. Moreover, because they want to become rich quickly, many use the time which they should use for God and their family to work for money.

            “Then Peter said to him in reply, "We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

            If people share Jesus’ suffering, they shall also share his glory in the eternal life. Jesus’ disciples correctly chose the right order of the basic principle which we mentioned yesterday. They put God first when they left everything to follow Jesus, and because of him, they preached the Good News and helped others.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We need to be familiar with and to live according to God’s standards instead of living according to worldly standard.

            - To enter the kingdom of heaven isn’t by human effort and power, but by God’s love and grace. Therefore, we need to be humble to receive and to live according to God’s teaching.

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