Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

The Most Sacred Heart of JesusB

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Readings: Hos 11:1, 3-4, 8c-9; Eph 3:8-12, 14-19; Jn 19:31-37.

 

1/ First Reading: NAB Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; 4 I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. 8 How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim? My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. 9 I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

 

2/ Second Reading: NAB Ephesians 3:8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him. 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

3/ Gospel: NAB John 19:31 Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." 37 And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced."



I. THEME: The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ

            We hate betrayers, especially from those who we dearly love, sacrifice and care for them, such as: husband or wife, children, closed friends. But if we reflect on our relationship with Christ, we are also the betrayers or the ingratitude because we didn’t proportionally return what he has done for us, such as: dying for us; giving us the right as God’s adopted children, nourishing us daily through the sacrament of the Eucharist, teaching us God’s truth through Scripture, forgiving our sins and reconciling us with God through the sacrament of Penance, and protecting us from all dangers of life.

            The readings of the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus remind us of God and Jesus’ love so that we know how to respond to God’s love. In the first reading, the prophet Hosea compared the love between God and the Israelites as the father’s love for his son; but they betrayed Him as the most serious sinners of the Old Testament. In the second reading, St. Paul reminded the Ephesians of God’s love and His plan of salvation. According to this mysterical plan, God first chose the Israelites as His people to love and to educate them; but when Christ came, God’s love and His salvation are opened up to all nations on earth. In the Gospel, St. John recorded an important event which happened in the last moment of Christ’s death on the cross: A soldier, instead of breaking his legs as Roman custom,thrusted his lance into Jesus’ side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. Water is used to wash people’s sins in the sacrament of Baptism so that they are worthy to be God’s children. Blood is used to nourish people through the sacrament of the Eucharist to provide the divine life for them.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: God’s love for the Israelites

           

1.1/ A love between a father and his son: The prophet Hosea used many images to describe God’s love for Israel. In today passage, he compared God as a father and Israel as a son, “When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms;I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child.”

            When people cried to God because they were maltreated by the Egyptians, God saved them from their slavery out of His love for them. Through Moses, He led them out of Egypt to the desert, gave them the Ten Commandments, educated and trained them before He gave them the Promise Land, full of milk and honey. Hosea called this period as the Israel’s childhood, when Israel wasn’t a nation yet, they were just a group of people who dwelt in Egypt from the time when Jacob’s clan migrated there to reunite with Joseph, one of his son. They officially began as the nation of Israel when God gave them the Promise Land.

            Ephraim and Manasseh were Joseph’s sons, and blessed by Jacob as the twelve tribes of Israel. Ephraim was a big tribe, lied on the north and belonged to the Northern kingdom when Israel was divided into two. Many authors used the name Ephraim to substitute for the Norththern or Israel kingdom and the name Judah to call the Southern kingdom (cf. Isa 7:2; Jer 31:9; Eze 37:16, 19).

           

1.2/ The Israelites’ betrayal: Although God is always faithful as a father, He accompanied, cared for and protected them both during the wandering time in the desert and after they entered the Promise Land; Israel sinned against God by violating the Ten Commandments, turning their back to God and followed foreign gods of local people. According to Sinaic covenant, God could let them be as preys for their enemies or destroy them by sending scorching fire from heaven, as He destroyed five sinful cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar (cf. Gen 14:2, 8); but God’s love prevented Him from doing as such things Israel.

            As a loving Father, God was torn between giving up or delivering them to their enemies or keep loving them, no matter how many times they sinned against Him. Hosea described God’s immense love for Israel as follows: “How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? How could I treat you as Admah, or make you like Zeboiim? My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; for I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.”

 

2/ Reading II: God’s love is opened up to all people.

           

2.1/ God’s plan of salvation

            (1) God gave Paul His grace to understand and to preach His plan of salvation: Paul recognized that God gave him two priviledges: to understand God’s plan of salvation and to preach this plan to the Gentiles. He wrote: “To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things,so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.”

            (2) God’s plan of salvation was achieved by Christ: According to this plan, God first chose the Israel, then all the nations on earth. God wants to save all people from the beginning; but His desire was only achieved by Christ. Paul continued to reveal: “The plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things ... This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.”

            (3) Christ established the Church to preach this plan for all generation: For this plan is continually revealed to all generations, Jesus formed the Church and commanded her to fulfill this duty to the end of the earth. St. Paul wrote: ''So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.”

           

2.2/ God’s love and Christ’s love exceed human understanding.

            (1) Love is from God: Like St. John, Paul firmly believed that God is the origin of love; He loves people as the father loves their children and His Father’s love is “the source of all fathers’ love on earth.”

            (2) God expresses His love for people: St. Paul mentioned only two wonderful things which God has done for people as we mentioned on the solemnity feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

            + By sending His Holy Spirit into our soul: to enlighten, to confirm and to strengthen the faithful’s spiritual life.

            + By giving us Christ, His Only Begotten Son: St. Paul prayed for the faithful to understand what Christ has done for them: “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

 

3/ Gospel: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced."

           

3.1/ The important event of Christ’s love according to John’s Gospel.

            (1) The difference between Roman and Jewish custom: The Romans crucify the criminals and let their corpses on the crosses until they disappear. To make sure the criminals can’t be escaped, they break their legs. The Jews bury the corpses in tombs. The passage reported: “Since it was Preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down.”

            (2) Jesus’ side is opened up so people can see his loving heart: The author continued to report: ''So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs,but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.”

            (3) The meaning of water and blood: The Church Fathers commented about this event in different perspectives. Some of their main explanations are as follows:

            + Water is the symbol of the sacrament of Baptism, and blood is the symbol of the Eucharist.

            + Water is the symbol of the purification of sins and blood is the symbol of life.

            + Water is the symbol of life and blood is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

            + As Eve was created from Adam’s side, the Church was also born from Christ’s side.

           

3.2/ To witness for God’s love: St. John gave us the reason why he recorded this event: ''An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe.”For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled:

            (1) Christ is the unblemish Lamb: "Not a bone of it will be broken." In John’s Gospel, John Baptist declared Christ is the Lamb of God who came to wipe out people’s sins right from the beginning of Jesus’ mission. According to Jewish tradition, the lamb which is used in Passover feast must be an unblemish lamb and not one of its bone can be broken (Exo 12:46, Num 9:12).

                    (2) The prophecy about the Sacred Heart’s devotion: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced.'' This event fulfilled the prophet Zechariah’s prophecy (Zech 12:10); and the author of the Book of Revelation declared that it shall be happened on the Last Day (Rev 1:7). Many authors explained this event as the prophecy for the Sacred Heart’s devotion, as many faithfuls are doing in our generation.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

 

            - God’s love can’t be separated from Christ’s love for us. When we feel Christ’s love, we also recognize God’s love for us through him.

            - In the beginning of God’s plan of salvation, He wanted to save all people out of His love for them; but this plan was achieved when Christ officially gives salvation to all people.

            - God always loves and is faithful in His love; but we are unfaithful and the betrayers. Celebrating the solemnity of the Sacred Heart today, let review all things which God has done for us through Christ, repent from our sins and using our love to compensate for all of people’s sins.

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