Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time (2)
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time (2)

Thursday of the 25 OT2

 

Readings: Eccl 1:2-11; Lk 9:7-9.

1/ First Reading: NAB Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! 3 What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? 4 One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays. 5 The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it presses on to the place where it rises. 6 Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north, the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds. 7 All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going. 8 All speech is labored; there is nothing man can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear filled with hearing. 9 What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. 10 Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!" has already existed in the ages that preceded us. 11 There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 9:7 Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, "John has been raised from the dead"; 8 others were saying, "Elijah has appeared"; still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen." 9 But Herod said, "John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see him.


 

I. THEME: Confusion

            There are many confusions in life; for examples: between real and fake gold, between truth and falsity or between good and bad people. Many times, we wrongly judge them and must pay a dear price for it. To rightly judge them, we need to have knowledge, understanding, all related facts and right reason.

            Today readings center around some confusions about life and people. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Ecclesiates tried to find out the meaning or the newness of life, but he couldn’t find out in this life. All things happened in his life are repeated things of what happened before, and he discourageously concluded, “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” In the Gospel, many people were confused about Jesus’ identity. Some said, "John (Baptist) has been raised from the dead;"  others were saying, "Elijah has appeared;" still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen." But Herod said, "John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?"

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Confusion about life: What is the true meaning of life?

1.1/ Qohelet’s conclusion about life: After searching for the meaning of life in all areas which people regard as important, Qohelet was discourage and concluded: “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” The noun “vanity” in Hebrews is “hébel,” which means “vapor or breath.” It comes out from a man, is upon the air and diffuses in it without anybody noticing. The LXX version has the noun “mataiótês” which means “imagination or fancy,” having no real value. The life of each people seems to be like it; he exists in this world for a certain time, tries to produce for himself something; then he passes away without leaving anything behind. People of the generation after him don’t remember him or even don’t question if he existed in this world or not.

1.2/ Qohelet carefully observed everything in the world: His conclusion isn’t from the one who is so tired of his life; but from the one who carefully searched for the meaning of his life through his experience of life and by his observation of nature’s movements in the world. Some of his observances can be examined as follows:

            (1) People work hard to store up for themselves a treasure; but when they die, they can’t bring anything with him. They must leave everything in the world for the next generation to use, for someone they don’t even know them. All generations pass, but all natural resources remain in the world.

            (2) All natural phenomena are repeated but seem new to men: “The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it presses on to the place where it rises. Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north, the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds. All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going.”

            (3) There is nothing new under the sun because all thing are repeated as Qohelet noticed: “All speech is labored; there is nothing man can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear filled with hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!" has already existed in the ages that preceded us.”

            When offered all these observances, Qohelet wanted us to reflect and to find out the answer for the most important question, “What is the meaning of life?” or to put in another way, “What is the ultimate goal of our life?” Our meaning of life doesn’t depend on material things because we can’t bring them with us to the next life. It isn’t depend on discoveries since whatever one thinks it is new, it was already happened because history is repeated. People can’t change what are already set in nature. It also doesn’t depend on leaving one’s name for next generation to remember because all what one did, no matter how good it is, shall be forgotten. If our life doesn’t have an ultimate goal as revealed by Jesus, it is, indeed, meaningless.

2/ Gospel: Herode the tetrarch confused about Jesus.

            Herode Antipas is one of king Herode the Great’s three sons with Malthrace. He was inherited two regions by his father, Galilee and Perea. In the New Testament, he is called the one who put John Baptist in prison and beheaded him (Mat 14:3-12 // Mk 6:17-29; Ant 18.5.2). He also questioned Jesus in his Passion at Jerusalem (Lk 23:6-12). Two other Herode the Great’ sons are Philip and Herode Archelaus. Philip was tetrarch the region which is on the east of Jordan, from Caesarea to Bethabara. Archelaus was tetrarch of Samaria and Judea.

           

2.1/ People confused about Jesus’ identity: Jesus spent most of his time for his mission around the Galilean region, so Herode Antipas must hear about Jesus’ teaching and power. He heard about people’s stipulation of Jesus’ identity. Some were saying, he is "John has been raised from the dead" because his temperament is also eager and straightforward as John. Others were saying, he is "Elijah has appeared" because he worked wonderful miracles even more than Elijah. Still others said he is "One of the ancient prophets has arisen" because of his forceful teaching and revelation. In a word, all people thought that Jesus is a special person, but no one thought he is Emmanuel, God from heaven to live among people.

           

2.2/ Herode Antipas also confused about Jesus’ identity: He was perplexed by the public opinions about Jesus; he said, "John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?" If Jesus is John who has been raised from the dead, Herode has a reason to be afraid of his revenge. And he kept trying to see him.

            In Jesus’ Passion, when Pilate knew that Jesus is a Galilean, he sent Jesus to Herode Antipas who presented in Jerusalem at that time, as Luke’s Gospel reported: “Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate” (Lk 23:8-11).

            Even Herode Antipas had an opportunity to meet Jesus in Jerusalem, he still didn’t recognize Jesus’ true identity because he saw and acted according to the flesh, especially when he saw Jesus was treated as a murder. He was different with Peter who was enlightened by God to recognize Jesus’ true identity.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - To recognize the truth and to avoid confusion, we should not judge according to outside appearance; but must do a throrough research, especially to the question about the ultimate goal of our life.

            - We need to do a research and to draw a conclusion for ourselves, not to rely on people to provide us with their conclusion.

            - All things in this world are vanity; the only lasting one is God Himself. There is only one truth about our life which is already revealed by Christ which is to live a happy with God for ever.

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