Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time (2)

Wednesday of the 23 OT2

 

Readings: I Cor 7:25-31; Lk 6:20-26.

1/ First Reading: NAB 1 Corinthians 7:25 Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. 28 If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that. 29 I tell you, brothers, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, 30 those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, 31 those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 6:20 And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. 21 Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. 26 Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

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I. THEME: Let look for the everlasting values.

            The faithful believe “to live is temporal, to die is to return to their origin.” This world is only a temporal place to live; only when a person dies, he is truly return to his lasting home. If we consider this world is only a temporal place, we should not store up material things for ourselves because we can’t bring anything with us when we die. In opposition, we must use all our effort to prepare necessary things for our next happly life with God in heaven.

            Today readings want to emphasize the contrast between this and the next life and what people need to prepare for next life while they are living this life. In the first reading, St. Paul taught the faithful about their different vocations, to be single or married in the sight of the next life. In the Gospel, Jesus blessed those whom the world insulted and cursed those whom the world praised them.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Let pay attention to the lasting values for the world is passing away.

            The first thing we need to emphasize is that St. Paul’s advises must be understood in the background of the sentence “for the world is passing away.” When he wrote this Letter, he believed the Last Day is prominent; therefore, the faithful must discard all things that prevent their preparation for the next life. Later, when he knew the Last Day shall not come soon, St. Paul had a different viewpoint about the familial vocation through what he wrote to the Ephesians. No matter what happens, what he wrote still have its value which is: Don’t pay too much attention to material things and enjoyments of this world, but to spend time and effort to prepare for the next life.

            Many people criticized that St. Paul had a higher regard for the single than the married vocation because what he wrote here. To be fair to him, he only wrote according to his experience, as he said from the beginning of the passage: These are only his advises, not the dogma which everyone must believe. Right after today passage, he gave a reason why the single vocation should be better than the married vocation; “I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction” (1 Cor 7:32-35).

            St. Paul didn’t advise all married people to give up their family to live the single vocation: “So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation. Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife. If you marry, however, you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that.” He only reminded them a truth which is if they married, they will be divided and don’t have much time to do God’s works.

2/ Gospel: Paying too much attention to the worldly things shall make people to forget the heavenly things.

            If one compares Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (5:2-12) with Lucas’ Sermon of the Plain (6:20-26), there are two main differences between them as follows:

            - Matthew used the third person for general application while Lucas used the second person to directly apply for Jesus’ disciples and audiences.

            - Matthew structured Jesus’ sermon in “eight beatitudes” while Lucas in “four beatitudes” and “four maledictions.” Lucas’ four beatitudes are displayed in Matthew’s eight beatitudes. Lucas might want to highlight the contrast between the heavenly and the earthly standards.

            What Jesus said in Lucas’ four beatitudes bring hope for those who are poor, hungry and thirsty, suffered and persecuted because of the Son of Man; while as severe warning for those who are rich, satiated, joyjul and praised. Jesus took the values which the world worships and reversed them: four worldly beatitudes become four maledictions, and four worldly maledictions become four beatitudes.

            Why are the heavenly standards completely opposed the worldly standards? The simple reason is what St. Paul gave in the first reading, “for the world is passing away” to come to a lasting nation in heaven. A detailed analysis in Jesus’ four beatitudes helps us to understand them better:

            (1) Poor: Richess prevents people to enter the kingdom of heaven as Jesus warned people: “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” (Mt 19:24). Richess makes people to be content with enjoyments of the present life and forgets about the next life. They use all their time and effort to earn money, and after having money, they are worried about enjoyment. They have no time for God. The poor (anawim) understand that they only need to eat to live, they don’t store up things for themselves. They believe that if God nourishes birds of the air and animals of the field, he shall not let his children to die because of famine. They spend their time and effort to prepare for the next life.

            (2) Hungry: Lucas only had the verb “hungry;” while Matthew had the added predicament “rightousness.” God certainly doesn’t advertise famine or he is happy when he sees people to die of famine; but what Jesus wanted to talk about here is the spiritual hungry. The world relies on their own effort while the poor relies on God. He shall fill their spiritual hungry.

            (3) Suffering: if there is no suffering, there shall be no glory; if people want to share Jesus’ glory, they must share his suffering too. Moreover, suffering also helps people to discipline themselves to overcome temptations and obstacles in their life. Those who like happiness and avoid suffering shall not be succesful, even in this world.

            (4) Being persecuted because of the Son of Man: The prophets and the preachers who were persecuted and killed because they said what the world don’t want to hear, but what God wanted them to speak. Whoever glorifies God before people, Jesus also glorifies him before his Father.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - As the faithful, we must live according to the heavenly standard, not according to the worldly standard. We can’t catch fish with both hands, that means: we live according to both standards, as Jesus certified, “you can’t serve both God and mammons” (Mt 6:24).

            - Even in the familial life, we can’t use all our time and effort for family and forget about our duty to God, Who we shall live with to eternity. Those who live in the single vocation, they shall have more time for God and others.

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