Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday in the twenty-first week of the Ordinary Time1

Friday of the 21 OT1

 

Readings: I Thes 4:1-8; Mt 25:1-13.

1/ First Reading: RSV 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity; 4 that each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God; 6 that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we solemnly forewarned you. 7 For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' 12 But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”


I. THEME: The way to reach the kingdom of heaven

            Many religions and people advertise that people only need to believe in Christ to have salvation, not to do anything he preaches because everything people do, shall not affect their salvation. It isn’t a surprise that these religions attract many people because they want to have both the present and the eternal life, to satisfy both their flesh and soul.

            Today readings want to point out the falsities of this way of life. In the first reading, St. Paul advised the faithful to absolutely avoid the lecherous lifestyle, not from his own wisdom, but from God’s will, who wants people to be pure and holy. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciple to be awake and prepared for his second coming by the parable of the ten virgins. If they don’t wisely prepare, they could be eliminated even they were selected to welcome the bridegroom.

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: We must live in a way to please God.

 

1.1/ God wants us to be holy: St. Paul advised the Thessalonians, “brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more.” The Thessalonian faithful are the Greeks; though were baptized and taught, they were always tempted to return to their formal life. The immoral and lecherous life is one of main temptations which they must confront.

            (1) To avoid lechery: St. Paul wanted the Thessalonian faithful to know that it isn’t about his own wisdom that he teaches them but it is God’s wisdom. He said, “For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from lechery.” To achieve this goal, each faithful needs to live in the familial vocation, “Each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor,not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God.”

            (2) The punishment for those who violate God’s law: Every law has its own punishment; St. Paul warned them, “Let no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we solemnly forewarned you.For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness.”

            There is a big challenge for the Christian preachers at Paul’s time, to bring Christian values into the Hellenistic culture, because there are many conflicts between them, and the sexual conflict is one of them.

            - Many Hellenistic philosophers taught, “The body is a prison that confines the human soul.” And only the soul is important, the body has no value. Therefore, they are free to live a lecherous life; there is no sin for doing that.

            - In opposition with the above viewpoint, the Catholic teaches human body is the temple of God (1 Co 3:16-17) and shall be resurrected on the Last Day (Jn 6:39-40; 1 Co 15:42); therefore, the faithful must keep their body pure and holy. Moreover, experience also teaches, “A sound mind is in a healthy body;” a tired and sinful body can’t help the soul to reach the ultimate goal which God wants people to achieve.

 

1.2/ This is God’s teaching: The Hellenistic teaching comes from human beings; the Catholic teaching originates from God. So, St. Paul forewarned the Thessalonian faithful, “Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

 

2/ Gospel: Wisdom and foolishness

 

2.1/ Who are wise? Jesus tells people a parable to teach them that they must be always ready and prepared for the kingdom of heaven, “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.”

            The Jewish wedding often occurs at night time due to their “chuppah” custom. Therefore, lamps can’t be lacking. The bridegroom shall let the bride’s family know the day he and his family shall come, but not the time. When he is near to her house, he shall send one ahead to let the bride’s side get ready to welcome him and his family.

            (1) Knowing to plan ahead is the standard to differentiate between wise and foolish maidens. Jesus continues, “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.” A lamp is only useful with oil; if there is no oil, it becomes useless because it gives no light. The wise are those who plan ahead—knowing what can happen and correspondingly prepare for it. The foolish maidens might think the bridegroom shall come on time; they think the amount of oil in their lamp is enough; they don’t want to bring extra oil to avoid any burden for them. They also might think that they can buy when their oil run out; but they forget that no store shall open at night time. They also might think that they could borrow some from others; but they forget that nobody wants to let them borrow because others don’t know whether it is enough for both of them.

            (2) Tiredness and sleepiness cause people not to be awake and cautious: Night is the time people aren’t awake and cautious; crimes used to happen at night; therefore, what can do during the day, don’t wait until night.

            (3) There are things and the times people can’t borrow: Jesus continues, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps.And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.”

            - Faith can’t be borrowed: Each person must train every day to have a firm faith in God so they might use it when they need; for examples, in sufferings or temptations. If one waits until then to look for a strong faith, then it is too late!

            - Love can’t be borrowed: The relationship between God and people needs time to develop. We can’t wait until we are closed to death to look for God’s love, but we must spend time with Him daily. The heaven has no place for those who have no relationship with God; and we also can’t borrow love from anybody to love God.

            - The holy life needs a long time to achieve: It can’t be happen at once; but we need time to practice daily. The believers become holy, not only by expelling bad habits but also by accumulating virtues.

 

2.2/ The result of being foolish: The parable is continued, “Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

            The lesson we need to learn is clear: We must always be ready since we don’t know the time or the day. The whole of our life is the preparation to return to God; if we don’t prepare, we shall be left out. The purpose of the ten maidens is to welcome the bridegroom and to attend the wedding feast; five of them were left out because their lamps run out of oil. Similarly, our goal is to enter the kingdom of heaven to live a happy life with God forever; if we don’t reach this goal, we waste our whole life!

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We must prepare for our last day in all places and at all time, little by little every day. Don’t wait until the last minute; if we do, we shall be sorry!

            - Don’t waste our time on unnecessary things, such as: chatting, watching TV all days, playing games, etc. Spend time to learn Scripture and do what God teaches us.

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