Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time (2)

Friday of the 27 OT2

 

Readings: Gal 3:7-14; Lk 11:15-26.

1/ First Reading: NAB Galatians 3:7 Realize then that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, "Through you shall all the nations be blessed." 9 Consequently, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith. 10 For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law." 11 And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear, for "the one who is righteous by faith will live." 12 But the law does not depend on faith; rather, "the one who does these things will live by them." 13 Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree," 14 that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 11:15 Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons." 16 Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. 18 And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. 19 If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that (I) drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 24 "When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, 'I shall return to my home from which I came.' 25 But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first."

 


I. THEME: Searching for the truth             

            The question, “How can people be justified before God?” is the center of St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. His opponents believed people can be justified by carefully observing all the law. St. Paul repudiated this belief and demonstrated that people can only be justified by their faith in Christ. An understanding of his demonstration is very important for protecting the truth, reaching our salvation and reconciling with other religions in ecumenism.

            There are only God and those He gave power to can expel unclean spirits. Jesus used God’s power to expel an unclean spirit from the mute, but some people said “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Jesus showed them that their accusation was nonsense and out of their jealousy.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: People are justified by faith.

           

1.1/ Abraham became righteous by his obedience in God. This is the strongest case which Paul used to demonstrate his argument because both Paul and the Jews believe in Abraham and the best way to understand a principle is to see how it is applied to Abraham’s case, a well-known man. He is the person whom God gives a great promise: all nations on earth shall be blessed through him (Gen 12:3). He is also chosen to be the God’s closed friend. How could he be pleased to God? The Jews said: by carefully observing God’s law. St. Paul repudiated it because at Abraham’s time there is no law. The Law was given through Moses who lived 430 years after him (Gal 3:17). St. Paul said that Abraham pleased God by completely believing in all what God said to him.

            Who are Abraham’s descendants? The Jews believe that they are the true descendants of Abraham through circumcision and they are proud of it because it makes them different with the Gentiles. St. Paul didn’t believe so, he declared, “Realize then that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, "Through you shall all the nations be blessed." Consequently, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith.” Therefore, the Galatian faithful are Abraham’s true descendants because they proclaimed their faith in Christ, not by carefully observing of the law.

           

1.2/ Moreover, the law puts people under a curse: St. Paul’s next argument shall lead his opponents to a wall’s corner and have no escape. He said: Supposing what you said were right, you can be justified before God by carefully observing of the law, what are the consequences you must get? First of all, you must keep all the law; if not, you must endure its consequences. Next, you must keep all the law, and no one can straightforwardly say that he kept all laws. Therefore, you are under a curse because “it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law"” (Deut 27:26).

            The Book of Habakkuk also taught against you, “The just man, because of his faith, shall live” (Hab 2:4). So, no one can be justified by the law; there is only one way to be righteous and lived is through faith. Of course, God’s promise is unchange, whoever carefully observes the law shall live; but none of us can follow that road because we all sinned.

1.3/ Christ saved us from the law’s curse: Since everyone violated the law, they must die; but who can save human beings from death? This is exactly the cause for Christ’s Incarnation and death; he did it to redeem people’s sins.

            (1) Christ redeemed people from the law’s curse by becoming the cursed himself because “it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree"” (Deut 21:23). He did it by being hung on the cross.

            (2) The Gentiles can also be inherited Abraham’s blessing: Paul concluded, “The blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

 

2/ Gospel: “If it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

2.1/ Human jealousy: When people saw Jesus has driven the unclean spirit out of a man, the majority of people were startling; but some of them said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” This is an accusation from jealous people. When they could not do what other did, they try to find any reason, even unreasonable one, to minimize or to deny the other’s good work. Knowing their jealousy, Jesus pointed out their wrong accusation by the two demonstrations.

            (1) To divide is to be destroyed: In order to survive, people need to stick with each other; if they divide between themselves, they will be destroyed. Jesus asked them: “if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” Satan must protect his members, because if Satan opposes his members, how can his kingdom be remained. Therefore, their accusation of Jesus’ depending of Beelzebul’s power to expel a devil is contradictory and wrong.

            (2) Many Jews can expel demons: The Jewish people, from the Solomon’s time, believe they can expel demons by burning plants, flowers, or animal organs. Smoke from these burning will expel demons out of possessed people. One of the examples was found in the Book of Tobit, when the archangel Raphael told Tobia to burn the fish’s heart and liver to drive out the demon out of Sarah on their wedding night (Tob 8:2-3). Jesus challenged them: “If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

2.2/ Jesus has power on devils: To show that he has power over devils, Jesus gave an example which everyone can understand: “When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils.” The dumb devil can be compared as a strong and fully armed man. He had a power stronger than the young man because he could control him; but when Jesus used God’s power to expel the dumb devil, the young man recovered. This showed that Jesus has power over unclean spirits.

            Next, Jesus told his audience the need to always have God in their souls: “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, "I shall return to my home from which I came." But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”

            God and devils cannot live together, wherever God lives, there is no devils, and wherever devils live, there is no God. If a Christian always has Christ with him and lives according to Christ’s teachings, unclean spirits have no opportunity to enter his life; but if he doesn’t practice virtues and lives in sins, his life shall be deteoriated by unclean spirits.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - None of us can become righteous before God by carefully keeping of the commandments because we can’t keep all the commandments.

            - We can only be justified by believing in Christ. He died for us so that by his blood, we are reconciled with God and received all needed blessings both for this life and the next.

            - We must be humble to recognize God’s power achieved in us and others. Don’t let pride and jealousy darken our mind so that we may despise or deny God’s wonderful works.

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