Tuesday in the thirty-third week of the Ordinary Time1
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday in the thirty-third week of the Ordinary Time1

Tuesday of the 33 OT1

 

Readings: II Mac 6:18-31; Lk 19:1-10.

1/ First Reading: RSV 2 Maccabees 6:18 Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. 19 But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, 20 as men ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life. 21 Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside, because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king, 22 so that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. 23 But making a high resolve, worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age and the gray hairs which he had reached with distinction and his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly, telling them to send him to Hades. 24 "Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life," he said, "lest many of the young should suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion, 25 and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. 26 For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty. 27 Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age 28 and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws." When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. 29 And those who a little before had acted toward him with good will now changed to ill will, because the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. 30 When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said: "It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him." 31 So in this way he died, leaving in his death an example of nobility and a memorial of courage, not only to the young but to the great body of his nation.

2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today." 6 So he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it they all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."



I. THEME: For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 

            Many people think in order to become rich, they need to hoard in much and to give out as little as possible, as one of best wishes at the beginning of the New Year: “I wish you to have money coming in as water flowing from a mountain and coming out as water dripping from a faucet.” Meanwhile, the secrets to become rich of Jesus and his saints are: to give out is to receive; to lose oneself is to save it; to forgive is to be forgiven; and to die is to live for ever. The ones who trust in God, though they are not rich, they are never hungry. When they have something in extra, they are willing to share with those in need; they believe God always takes care of them according to His providence. They are not bother to hoard material things because they know they can’t bring along with them anything when they depart of this life; instead, they accumulate spiritual gains as God teaches them to do so. The effects they have are peace, happiness, and especially they feel God’s love and the love of others.

            Today readings highlight those who were sacrificed themselves to set good examples and to look for those who were lost. In the first reading, the author of II Maccabees esteemed the courageous example of the scribe Eleazar. He determined not to pretend to eat pork according to the king’s command, though his friends has told him the meat they prepared for is not pork. Though he knew that he would be dead if he disobeyed the king’s command, he was ready to embrace death to be a witness for God and to set a good example for future generation. In the Gospel, Jesus called Zacchaeus who was standing up on a tree and told him he wanted to stay in his house, though he knew people will criticize him for being a friend with a public sinner as Zachaeus. In return of Jesus’ love, Zacchaeus also accepted to lose most of his possession for the poor and to live according to Jesus’ invitation.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Can one feign to eat pork that was offered to idols?

1.1/ Should one pretend to eat pork to save his life? King Antiochus knew the traditional Jews would not eat pork, the impure animal. So, to test one to see if he obeys the king’s command, he commanded him to eat pork which has been sacrificed to idols. There was a certain Jew named Eleazar, he was one of the important scribes, though “advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh.But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh; as men ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life.”

            “Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside, because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal which had been commanded by the king,so that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them.”

1.2/ Eleazar’s resolution: Though he knew with certainty that it was not the pork which was prohibited by the law, he refused to eat it due to the two main reasons.

            (1) To set a noble example and to avoid bad example for future generation: He explained: “Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life... Lest many of the young should suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year has gone over to an alien religion,and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they should be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age.For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old ageand leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.”

            (2) A man can’t hide anything from God, even a passing thought in his head: God knew all secret in human mind. He judges according to inside intention and not only to outside appearance. Eleazar understood this when he declared: “For even if for the present I should avoid the punishment of men, yet whether I live or die I shall not escape the hands of the Almighty.” When he was about to the point of dead, he prayed: “It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.”

2/ Gospel: Zachaeus, a rich tax-collector, returned to God.

            At Jericho, there is now a giant sycamore, encircled by chains, for all pilgrims to visit. People called this is the sycamore tree which Zacchaeus climbed up to see Jesus.

2.1/ The encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus: He was described as the head of all tax-collectors and a rich man. He sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of stature.So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way.” Jesus recognized him among many faces in the crowd. When he came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today."

2.2/ Three different reactions from this encounter:

            (1) The crowd: They all murmured, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” To the Jews, tax-collectors and prostitutes are considered the public sinners. Whoever contact or make friend with them is also considered as a sinner.

            (2) Zacchaeus: When he has heard that Jesus wanted to stay in his house, he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully. When he heard people’s murmuring and clearly realized he was a sinner, he said to Jesus: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

            This is an instant but sincere declaration coming from Zacchaeus’ heart. Jesus probably is the first Jew who doesn’t care about his sins and past. To the Zealots, he could lose his life because he joined the foreign force to exploit his people. He might hear people talked about Jesus and was curious to see him by climbing up the sycamore tree. He must be surprise very much when he heard Jesus correctly called out his name out of many people and treated him as a well-known friend. When Zacchaeus accepted Jesus’ invitation to return to God, he must be courage to forfeit his sinful life to begin a new life according to the standard of the gospel. When he made his promise, he could lose all things which he was possessing but this lost can’t compare with the joy of Jesus’ forgiveness and visitation.

            (3) Jesus: He said to him: " Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." Though Jesus knew about all murmuring from people, he didn’t pay attention to them; the only thing he concerned is Zacchaeus because he wanted to bring him back to God. This is also the reason he came to the world.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We must be willing to sacrifice before we can find lost things or accomplish what we desired. If we are selfish, we will lose all things we are possessed.

            - The one who was deeply in sins like Zacchaeus is easy to repent than the one who is half cold and half hot, not too good and too bad. Our danger are not sins, but the self-righteous attitude and having no need of God’s mercy.

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