Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Twenty-fourth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC

Sunday of the 24 OTC

 

Readings: Exo 32:7-11, 13-14; 1 Tim 1:12-17; Lk 15:1-10 (or 1-32).

1/ Reading I: RSV Exodus 32:7 And the Lord said to Moses, "Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; 8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" 9 And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; 10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation." 11 But Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by Thine own self, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.

2/ Reading II: RSV 1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service, 13 though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; 16 but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 15:1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 So he told them this parable: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.' 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."



I. THEME: God has mercy for all people. 

 

            Mercy is one of God’s attributes. God’s mercy is expressed through His love and forgiveness for human beings. God’s mercy has no time limit or boundary—as long as people repent and return, He is ready to receive them back and to recover the rights for them. In the process of reconciliation, God always takes the first step by using the mediators and giving opportunities for sinners to return. God’s mercy is the reason, not only for sinners to come back, but also preparing them to have mercy for those who need it.

            Today readings highlight God’s mercy for sinners. In the first reading, when God had an intention to completely destroy the Israelites because they made for them a golden calf and worship it instead of Him, Moses wholeheartedly interceded for the Israelites due to the two reasons: to protect His holy name and to keep God’s promise with their forefathers. God heard Moses’ intercession and didn’t destroy the Israelites then. In the second reading, Paul remembered God’s mercy for him when he was on the way to Damascus to persecute those who believed in Christ. Paul knows that God wants him to experience His mercy, so that, on his turn, he could express God’s mercy for others. In the Gospel, Jesus cited three parables (two for a shorter reading) to express God’s mercy for sinners.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Moses interceded with God for the Israelites.

           

1.1/ Your people had corrupted themselves: The historical background for today passage is the Israelites’ trial and purification during their forty years of wandering in the desserts before they could enter the Promise Land. When Moses was conversing a long time with God on Mount Sinai to prepare the Ten Commandments for the Israelites, they thought he shall never be back, so they came to Aaron and this man asked them to give him all their golden jewels; and he made for them a golden calf to worship.

            God saw all their evil deeds, so He said to Moses, "Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'"

            How sad it is when God and Moses were caring for the Israelites all things, spiritual and material, the Israelites easily changed their hearts and quickly felt into temptation! They had just witnessed God’s power and love in their exodus from Egypt, they now changed heart and blindly worship a senseless animal, the work of their hand; and regarded it as their savior who led them out of Egypt! If God acts according to His justice, no one can find fault in Him because the Israelites’ great and horrible sin. Many of us may also agree with God and tell Him, “You can completely destroy that ingratitude and betrayed people!”

            To help Moses from despair, God said to him again, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.”

1.2/ Moses tried to intercede for the Israelites: Moses learned the merciful lesson from God, since he himself asked God to take away from him the Israelites’ burden when they complained they had no meat, as the author of the Book of Numbers reported, “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. 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? 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."”

            In the process of educating people, both God, the leaders and people must be patient, because it is easy to destroy and to rebuild; but it is very difficult to remodel, to change what is bad. Human beings aren’t things so one can throw away and buy new things; they need to be patiently corrected and guided to become better. Educating a person to be good is a process which requires a life-long to achieve.

            Moses used two reasons to ask God not to destroy people: First, to protect God’s name because he was afraid that the Egyptians might say God brings the Israelites in the desserts to destroy them. Secondly, to keep God’s promise with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--God promised to give them descendants and the Promise Land. Finally, God heard Moses’ intercession and didn’t destroy them as He wants.

2/ Reading II: God showed His compassion for Paul when he was still a sinner.

2.1/ Paul recognized God’s mercy for him: The historical background of today passage is Paul’s falling from his horse, became blind and was healed on his way to Damascus. Paul clearly recognized God forgives, selects and bestows His grace on him when he was still a sinner, because he was on the way to Damascus to seize all Christ’s faithful, to take them back and to put them into prison in Jerusalem.

            Paul listed two main reasons of his persecution: First, it is his pride. Paul thought, at that time, people can be saved by carefully keeping the law, not by believing in Jesus who died. Secondly, it is his ignorance, not knowing the truth, as he confessed, “I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” This is the reason which a majority of people face when they sin.

            Both these reasons can be avoided if people know to humble and to learn the truth. God equips Paul and all people necessary graces so that they might always be united with Him. The necessary thing is the faithful must recognize their need and come to God to receive all necessary graces. If they don’t, they shall fall into temptation though the medicine is ready; the medicine can’t heal those who don’t know or refuse to drink it.     

           

2.2/ Paul announced God’s mercy for all people: After received God’s mercy, Paul knows he has two things to do:

            (1) To confess God’s mercy for him: Paul clearly knows that all people need to hear Christ’s Gospel to be saved. Paul forcefully declared, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners.”

            (2) To have mercy for others: God wanted Paul to experience both the wickedness of sins and God’s immense love, so that in his turn, he might have strength to forgive others’ sins and show his mercy for them. The same thing happened to Peter when Jesus foretold what shall happen to him (Cf. Lk 22:31-32).

 

3/ Gospel: Christ came to bring sinners back for God.

           

3.1/ The Pharisees criticized Jesus sitting in the same table with sinners.

            The mission of Jesus, the son of God, is to bring people back to God. If he weren’t come, no one can be reconciled and come to God. Therefore, the fact that Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them” is the necessary task because it is his mission. The tax-collectors and the sinners came to him to listen to his preaching because they recognized their sins and hope in His mercy.

            The scribes and the Pharisees murmured against Jesus because of their pride. They didn’t recognize their sins because they self-labeled them as the righteous. They believed they can attain salvation without God’s mercy.

           

3.2/ There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

            To illustrate God’s mercy for people, Jesus cited continuously three parables:

            (1) The parable of the lost sheep: All the details which St. Luke described are important to understand God’s mercy.

            - There is no mentioning the reason of the lost sheep: The shepherd doesn’t need the reason; his task is to find it.

            - The shepherd’s mercy: He went out to look for the lost sheep; not to wait for it to come back.

            - When the shepherd found it, he happily carried it on his shoulder. He didn’t beat or shame it; but wanted to show his love by carrying it on his shoulder.

            - He called his friends and neighbors to celebrate: The reason for celebration is he found his lost sheep. A sheep, no matter how bad is it, is valuable to him.

            - Jesus’ conclusion, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

            (2) The parable of the lost coin: Same details for the parable of the lost coin are:

            - The author didn’t pay attention to the reason why the coin is lost.

            - The woman used all possible ways to find it: to light up a lamp, to sweep her house, and to look in all corners. God also does similar things when He looks for a sinner.

            - Celebration? Many people joke she must spend her other nine coins to organize a celebration for her guests. The author’s purpose isn’t at the money; but at the joy of finding the lost coin, as Jesus also concluded, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost. Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - All of us received God’s mercy through His love, forgiveness and protection. We must show mercy to those who need it.

            - All of us need to remember what God has done for us in our life so that we never condemn others’ sins, but to wholeheartedly forgive them.

            - All of us can fall into temptation anytime; therefore we need God’s presence in our life through prayers and sacraments.

            - We should repeat this sentence to praise God, “Blessed be God for He is merciful, Praise and exalt Him above all forever.”

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