Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday in the twenty-sixth week of the Ordinary Time1

Thursday of the 26 OT1

 

Readings: Neh 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Lk 10:1-12

1/ First Reading: RSV Nehemiah 8:1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden pulpit which they had made for the purpose. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; and when he opened it all the people stood. 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God; and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. 8 And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, "Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved." 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. 2 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!' 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; 9 heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 `Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' 12 I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.


I. THEME: The important role of God’s word in evangelization

           

            October is the month of evangelization, starting with the feast of St. Thérèse of the Infant Jesus who is the patron of all evangelizers, though she never actually preached the Gospel to people. The Church gives her this title because she eagerly loves and cares for the souls of those who don’t know Christ yet. She strongly desired to be like St. Paul so that she might go everywhere to preach the Gospel and to establish communities; but because her health and ability didn’t permit her to do so, she asked God to accept her love for the evangelizers and those who don’t know God. She even asked God to save a soul for every needle which she put on garments.

            Today readings show the important role of God’s word in teaching people and in converting their heart to God. In the first reading, the governor Nehemiah and the scribe Ezra immediately thought about teaching the law in Scripture for the Israelites, after they completed the building of the temple and the wall surrounding it. They gathered all the Israelites, those who are old enough to understand God’s word, to learn the law from early of the morning until noon. People recognized and lamented their sins because they betrayed God’s love for them. In the Gospel, Jesus sent out not only the Twelve but also the seventy disciples so they could prepare for Jesus’ coming to meet people.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Ezra the scribe read the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.

1.1/ The importance of God’s law: As wise leaders, Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest knew what are important and necessary for the Israelites. People can’t rightly live if they don’t rightly know. In order for people to rightly know, they must learn about God’s law from the Scripture. The Israelites lost their habit of learning the law, at least from the time of exile; now, in the day of the Dedication of the Temple, they must practice this habit again. In today passage, the author wrote, “And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses which the Lord had given to Israel.”

            The author described this important event as follows, “Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.”

1.2/ The Levites explained the Law for people: After hearing Ezra solemnly proclaimed God’s word and praised the Lord as the great God, all Israelites raised their hand and responded "Amen! Amen!" and bowed their face to the ground to worship God.

            God’s word isn’t easy to understand. To help people to understand God’s word, the Levites continuously explained the law for people. The passage clearly said, “The Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places.And they read from the book, from the law of God, clearly; and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

            (1) People regretted and wept because they recognized that they sinned against God: The purpose of preaching is to help those who hear to recognize two things: First, God’s immense love for people. He always concerns about their life, especially in their suffering as in the exile. Secondly, to help people to recognize their sins against God and others; their sins are the reason of the exile and all sufferings which people went through. Repentance must be the result of the preaching of the Gospel; without people’s repentance, a preacher doesn’t achieve his goal.

            (2) People are happy and ready to share their food in the Dedication of the Temple day: Repentance lead people to make compensation for their sins. The Israelites’ two main sins are turning their back to God and unjustly treating others. After recognized their sins and reconciled with God, the Israelites must reconcile with others by sharing their food to the hungry. Ezra advised people, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

2/ Gospel: God’s kingdom is at hand.

           

2.1/ To help God’s kingdom to come: God’s eternal will is for people to believe in Christ to attain salvation. This will can’t be fulfilled by Christ himself but needs the contribution of all people. Jesus sent not only the Twelve but also the seventy disciples, two-by-two ahead of him to enter all cities and places where he will come. Their duty, also as John Baptist’s duty, is to prepare people’s soul so that they might be ready to welcome Christ.

            Before sending them out, Jesus advised them the following important things, “Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road.” The main purpose of Jesus’ sending out is to preach the Gospel. The disciples must eliminate all things that prevent this mission such as: the temptations to find material gains, to eat good food, to look for fame and power, etc.

2.2/ The reactions of those who hear the Gospel: The preacher is also the one who brings peace for people. Jesus advised his disciples, “Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.”

            (1) Those who receive the preachers: In God’s providence, both preachers and hearers have relations with each other. The preachers bring God’s word and peace for people; in return, people care for the preachers’ health by providing food and material needs. All have a task in preaching the Gospel. Due to this reason, Jesus commands his disciples, “Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’''

            (2) Those who deny the preachers: Jesus warned those who refuse to welcome his disciples, “But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, `Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near. 'I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” Denying the preachers of the Gospel is a serious sin and people shall receive a more grave result than the Sodomites who, according to the Book of Genesis, were burned by fire and brimstone from heaven.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We live this present life, not to acquire material gains, but to save our souls and the souls of others through learning and preaching of the Gospel.

            - God gives material things for all people to use; we shouldn’t store up for ourselves but must be ready to share what we have for those in need.

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