Daily Scripture Analysis

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Reading 1: (Jer 31:31-34)

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Reading 2: (Heb 5:7-9)

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel: (Jn 12:20-33)

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee,
and asked him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went and told Andrew;
then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Jesus answered them,
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour?'
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."
Then a voice came from heaven,
"I have glorified it and will glorify it again."
The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;
but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
Jesus answered and said,
"This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.
Now is the time of judgment on this world;
now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself."
He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: Obedience and suffering are two factors that bring salvation to human beings.

            We are living in the world which have many people who scorn obedience and flee suffering. They scorn obedience because they think it makes them weak and limits their freedom. They flee from suffering and deny to sacrifice for others because they want to have an easy life and time for themselves. But God teaches us an opposite way: to obey and to embrace suffering. There are two reasons why we should follow God’s teaching: Firstly, as a child who has no wisdom yet to reason, he has to obey his parents in order to avoid bad results to happen. Similarly to our relationship with God, since we don’t understand all mysteries of life, obedience to God is naturally good thing to do to avoid all bad results to happen. Secondly, if our parents and previous generation fleed suffering and selfishly lived for themselves, we shall not exist and have all things as we are having now.

            Today readings show us many benefits from obedience and suffering. In the first reading, the Israelites destroyed the covenant which God made with them on Mt. Sinai because they didn’t obey God’s law. God can leave them to death in their sins; but out of love for them, He shall make a new covenant with them. This new covenant is more easy to remember and to do because it involves less laws and is carved in people’s heart. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews ascertained that since Christ obeyed His Father and willingly suffered, he brought salvation to all who obey him to do the same. In the Gospel, Jesus also showed the benefit of obedience and suffering through the image of a grain of wheat: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The difference between the Old and the New Covenant

1.1/ The Old Covenant is ineffective: The covenant is the agreements of both parties about their rights and responsibilities. If one party doesn’t fulfill their duty, the covenant is rendered ineffective and nullified. In the covenant which God made with the Israelites on Mt. Sinai, He promised to bless and to protect them if they promised to keep the law He gave to them through Moses. But people destroyed this covenant by constantly violated the law. The prophet Jeremiah foresaw the day when God shall establish a new covenant with people when he pronounce this oracle from God: “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.No longer will they have a need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the Lord. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”

1.2/ The difference between the Old and the New Covenant: There is a small difference between the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts: The Septuagint concisely described the New Covenant is written “in their mind;” while the MT generally described “kêreb” which means “inside.” The main difference between the two covenants is: In the New Covenant, God’s law is written in the mind of the faithful while in the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandment is written on stony tablets, which is outside of human’s mind. If the law is written in human mind, all shall know God and have no need of teaching each other. St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae, helped us to understand this reading. The Israelites must learn to know the law before they can practice them; even after knowing the law, they still had no power from inside to keep the law. The faithful of the New Covenant don’t need to learn to know the New Law because it was already written in their mind. The majority of Catholic scholars think the New Law implied here is Jesus’ law of love or charity; that are, to love God and people. God has the power to do both: to directly control human intellect and to bestow on them the theological virtue of charity. Once the faithful have charity, they have inside power to fulfill all laws. St. Thomas insisted that charity not only keeps human hands from sinning but also controls human mind from illegal desires to harm others.

2/ Reading II: Christ’s obedience and suffering bring salvation to people.

2.1/ Christ obeyed his Father in all things: All three Synoptic Gospels reported Jesus’ agony in the Gethsemane garden when he cried out to the Father: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou will” (Mt 26:39, Mk 14:36, Lk 22:42). The author of the Letter to the Hebrews also reported Christ’s fighting and obedience in different words: “In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”

            Christ’s agony in the garden showed us that even Jesus in his human nature must fight to put aside his human will so that he can obey and do his Father’s will. The two things that helped Jesus to overcome his will were his love for the Father and his faith in God’s plan of salvation.

            If to give up one’s own will is difficult, to embrace suffering is even more challenging. The author showed us the relation between obedience and suffering: “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” To give up our will is already a suffering, to accept more suffering is added up. But a life of such obedience and suffering helps us to completely trust in God.

2.2/ Those who imitate Jesus’ life shall achieve salvation: If Christ followed his human will, he couldn’t bring salvation for humankind. To inherit salvation, people need to obey Christ. If they deny that Christ was sent from God to redeem people, they shall not inherit salvation.

3/ Gospel: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

3.1/ No suffering, no glory: Today passage was introduced by some Greeks’ desire to meet Jesus. The character of the Greek is to seek wisdom, they wander around to look for wisdom and they shall travel anywhere they can learn more wisdom. They certainly heard about Jesus’ wisdom and they came to learn from him. They weren’t hopeless because Jesus taught them the three wisdom which they shall not find in anyone.

            (1) One must die to live: People desire to live and shun death; but according to God’s natural law, they must first die before they can fully live and bring more lives. Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” If a person is afraid to die, he shall never know how to live; but if a person isn’t afraid of death, he shall live and fully live. They shall fear no worldly powers.

            (2) To sacrifice is to receive: The Vietnamese have this proverb, “A stone is thrown away, a steel ball must be returned.” This proverb means that if others sacrificed for us, we must also return their favor to satisfy justice. Moreover, Jesus also taught his disciples to initialize their sacrifice for people without expecting their return so that the heavenly Father shall abundantly return blessing to us. The selfish people only know how to build up for themselves; they shall gradually be put aside by others. Most of all, they shall not receive salvation as Jesus said: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”

            (3) One must serve in order to get respect: People like to be served and respected by others. Jesus taught them how to do that: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” People can’t have both; if they want to be respected, they must willingly serve others. The ones who sacrifice and serve all, they shall be loved by God and others.

3.2/ Jesus’ fighting to give up his human will.

            (1) To do God’s will in order to reach glory: John didn’t report Jesus’ agony in the Ghetsemane garden; but what he reported in today passage can substitute for that event. Jesus was put between the two sides, either to follow his human will to ask God to save him from the terrible passion which is going to happen or to accept God’s will to embrace the passion for God’s glory. He said to his disciples: “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.Father, glorify your name.” Jesus gave up his will to do his Father’s will.

            Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again."The Father was always ready to be a witness for His Son before people as we saw in Jesus’ important events, such as: his Baptism, Transfiguration and Passion. The crowd heard it but was confused. Some said it was thunder; but others said, "An angel has spoken to him."Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.” When his Passion occurs, they shall know it is from God’s will, not by power and authority of the world.

            (2) Christ suffered so that people can be saved: Beside of his obedience for God’s glory, Jesus wanted to suffer so that people can be saved. Due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God, all humankind live under Satan’s power and are slaves for sins and death. Due to Jesus’ embracing of his passion, he redeems people from sins, liberates people from Satan’s power, and brings people back to God, as Jesus declared: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."When Jesus died on the cross, it was the time that God destroyed the devil’s power and death to liberate people.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - When there is a confliction between ours and God’s will, we must forfeit our will to do God’s will because the latter is always wiser and certainly leads to good results.

            - As the Father and the Son sacrificed to bring salvation to us, we must also love and suffer so that people shall know about God and His kingdom shall quickly come.

            - Disobedience and selfish are two quickest ways to lead people to death. 

Saturday of the 4th Lent

Readings: Jer 11:18-20; Jn 7:40-53.

 

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1/ First Reading: NAB Jeremiah 11:18 I knew it because the LORD informed me; at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings. 19 Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: "Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more." 20 But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!

2/ Gospel: NAB John 7:40 Some in the crowd who heard these words said, "This is truly the Prophet." 41 Others said, "This is the Messiah." But others said, "The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he? 42 Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?" 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. 44 Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. 45 So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?" 46 The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this one." 47 So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." 50 Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, 51 "Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?" 52 They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee." 53 Then each went to his own house.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.

I. THEME: One must carefully think before condemning the righteous.

           

            In life, when one or a group of people wants to condemn someone, they shall find all possible reasons so that they can condemn that person. They can cause contradiction between individuals or groups, or look for false witnesses, or wrongly interpret the law; but they don’t disclose the real reason of their condemnation.

            Today readings give us two examples of the wrong accusation of the righteous. In the first reading, God let the prophet Jeremiah see the wicked plan of those who were planning to seize and to kill him, because they didn’t want to listen to Jeremiah’s accusation that they violated God’s law. In the Gospel, the high priests and the Pharisees executed their plan to kill Jesus because they were afraid that people shall leave them to follow Jesus. On the one side, they sent the temple’s soldiers to seize Jesus, on the other side, they found the way to divide people and to draw people to themselves.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The plan to kill the prophet Jeremiah

           

1.1/ The wicked’s plan: To be God’s prophet is to say what the Lord wants him to say. The prophet Jeremiah accused many of the Judahites’ sins and the punishments which are going to fall upon them. They didn’t want to listen but also to devise a plan to destroy Jeremiah. They said to each other: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.” Their purposes were not to listen to Jeremiah’s accusation and destroy the proof so that they can continue on their wicked ways.

           

1.2/ God’s power: But the wicked didn’t know the power of the Lord who sent the prophet. God not only let Jeremiah know about their plan but also uses Babylonian king as the stick to punish them and to take them on exile.

            Prophet Jeremiah firmly believed in God’s power, through his prayer to God: “But, you, O Lord of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”

            People must carefully think before they accuse people whom are sent by God, because the innocence’s blood shall call for vengeance, and God shall give them His justice.

2/ Gospel: The plan to kill Christ

           

2.1/ The high priests and the scribes planned to kill Christ: The main reason for killing Jesus is for the material profit. They were afraid that if people follow Christ, they shall loose all material benefits which they were enjoying, as St. John reported in another place: “The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him."” (Jn 12:18-19).

           

2.2/ Others’ reactions about Christ:

            (1) People’s reaction: They didn’t know much about Scripture so the high priests and the scribes used their ignorance of Scripture to cause confusion and division among the people.

            - When they saw that some people wanted to believe in Christ as the prophet, they used Scripture and said: “The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he?”

            - When they heard others who said, “This is the Messiah!” They answered: "Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"The truth is that Bethlehem was the birthplace of Christ (Mic 5:2); but the Old Testament said nothing about the place to grow up of the Messiah. They used these words to deny Jesus as the Messiah. They accomplished their goal because John reported: “So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.”

            (2) The temple soldiers’ reaction: So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?"The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this one."

            This is probably the most truthful reaction because the temple soldiers didn’t know much about the law and the Scripture; moreover, they were also belonging of the high priest and the Pharisees’ power. They probably heard Jesus’ speech the first time so they didn’t have any prejudice about him.

            (3) Nicodemus’ reaction: He was a Pharisee who went to see Jesus at night to converse with him. He knew how to apply of the law, challenging them, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” He knew the law demands justice for all people (Exo 23:1, Deut 1:16); therefore, all have a right to defend oneself. The Sandherin which was considered the Jewish supreme court, can’t condemn anyone without a clear proof. The scribes didn’t follow the law when they condemned Jesus in his Passion. But Nicodemus had no courage to witness for Jesus when he saw their full of anger.

            (4) The Pharisees’ reaction: The Pharisees were not only angry at Jesus but also at everyone who didn’t take their side to accuse him. They were angry at:

            - The temple soldiers: They blamed them: ""Have you also been deceived?Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?” They were so proud of themselves as the special class that people must imitate them.

            - People: The Pharisees despised them: “But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." The Law of Rabbis had six prohibitions to contact with “the crowd”: Not to witness for them; not to believe in their witness; not to disclose any secret to them; not let them to be foster fathers of orphans; not to let them to be the treasures of charity funds; and not to accompany them on the journey.” Since they thought that the crowd didn’t know of the law, they can interprete the law in any way to achieve their purpose!

            - Nicodemus: They responded him: "You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - There is a close connection between the fifth and the eight commandments: We used to pay attention to kill people by weapons, but rarely to kill others by slander, backbiting and false witnessing.

            - God knew everything in human mind so we should never join the wicked to accuse the righteous or the innocence because we must pay the price of their blood.

            - We must have courage to speak, to live and to witness for the truth. The truth is hurt, sometimes we have to pay a dearly price, but only the truth shall set us free.

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Reading 1: (2 Sam 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16)

 

The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David,
'When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his kingdom firm.
It is he who shall build a house for my name.
And I will make his royal throne firm forever.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'

Reading 2: (Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22)

 

Brothers and sisters:
It was not through the law
that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants
that he would inherit the world,
but through the righteousness that comes from faith.
For this reason, it depends on faith,
so that it may be a gift,
and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants,
not to those who only adhere to the law
but to those who follow the faith of Abraham,
who is the father of all of us, as it is written,
I have made you father of many nations.
He is our father in the sight of God,
in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead
and calls into being what does not exist.
He believed, hoping against hope,
that he would become the father of many nations,
according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.

Gospel: (Mt 1:16, 18-21, 24a)

 

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: St. Joseph became righteous by putting his faith in God.

            People are always divided between the two things: on the one side, the absolute faith in God’s wisdom and power; on the other side, human reasoning. When there is a conflict, which way should people follow? Many people think that they only do what they can understand; beyond that, it is superstitious or illusionary. These people forgot that their intellects are very limited; there are truths that exist no matter if they can understand or not, as the prophet Isaiah stated what God said to human beings: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Isa 55:8-9). The Scripture proved many times that if people obey and do God’s will, they shall prosper and achieve results which are exceeding their expectation; but if they disobey God’s will and do their will, they shall be miserable and endure many unwanted results.

            Today readings illustrate three exemplars of faith, Abraham, David and St. Joseph, who did God’s wills though they didn’t understand them. In the first reading, David wanted to build a temple for God to dwell but God didn’t want him to do that. After Naaman revealed God’s will, David obeyed God and stopped his plan. In the second reading, God promised to give Abraham a great descendants. Abraham believed in God’s promise even though he had only two sons, Isaac by Sarah and Ismael by Haggar. This promise is fulfilled in Christ because all who believe in Christ are Abraham’s descendants. In the Gospel, St. Joseph obeyed God’s messenger and welcomed Mary into his house, even though he didn’t understand what “Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit” meant.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me.

             

1.1/ King David wanted to build a house for God: After David had settle down his kingdom, he told the prophet Nathan that he wanted to build a temple in his city for God to dwell instead of the Tabernacle. That night, the Lord spoke to Nathan and said:"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in?And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.’”

            The key word here is “bayit = a house.” It can be understood either as “a place to dwell” or “a household, family” (cf. Gen 7:1, Jos 7:4). God revealed to David that it is not him to build for God a house; but it is Him who shall build a household for David. The Messiah shall come from this household; he shall govern all people,  and his kingdom shall last for ever.

1.2/ It is King Solomon who shall build a house for God: The one who shall build for God a house is Solomon, David’s son with Bathsheba. God said about him as follows: “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever.I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. And if he does wrong, I will correct him with the rod of men and with human chastisements. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”

            God’s promise was constantly threatened by disobedience of David’s descendants; there was time when people thought that God’s promise came to an end, as in the exile because there was no king nor kingdom. But God was still loyal to His promise until the day that the Messiah came from David’s lineage, and he shall reign for ever.

2/ Reading II: Abraham and his descendants would inherit the world through the righteousness that comes from faith.

2.1/ God’s promise is hard to believe: When God promised to Abraham that He shall give him a numerous descendants as stars in the sky and as sand on the seashore, Abraham didn’t have a child even though he was too old (Gen 15).

2.2/ Abraham’s faith is strong: But Abraham completely trusted in God, Abraham believed God shall accomplish what He promised. That is the reason why Abraham was become righteous, as St. Paul wrote: “It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith.”

             St. Paul wanted to argue against the Israelite’s wrong understanding that they can be justified by perfectly keeping of the law. His arguments are based on what happened to Abraham:

            (1) God’s promise was given to Abraham as a gift: Abraham didn’t do anything to be worthy of God’s promise except to believe in God, as St. Paul said: “For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us.” Moreover, the law, which was given by God through Moses, came to exist much later. In Abraham’s time, there was no Ten Commandment for people to observe!

            (2) Abraham’s descendands become numerous not by blood, but by faith in Christ: It isn’t by blood that Abraham’s descendants become numerous; but by faith of people in Christ that his descendants now become as stars in heaven and as sand on the seashore. About more than half of the worldly population are Abraham’s descendants; they are Jews, Muslims and all christians. St. Paul wrote about this as follows: “He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist.He believed, hoping against hope, that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "Thus shall your descendants be."”

            (3) People are justified by faith, not by keeping of the law: St. Paul continued to say: “That is why "it was credited to him as righteousness."” One prominent thing in Abraham’s life is his faith in God. He didn’t see God’s promise was fulfilled during his lifetime. Moreover, he was also tested by God, as in the event which God wanted him to offer his son Isaac as an oblation on Moriah mountain. In all cases, Abraham kept his faith in God; that is the reason why he was credited as the righteous. Similarly, people are justified by their faith in God, not by keeping of the law; because none can perfectly keep the law.

3/ Gospel: St. Joseph did exactly as God’s messenger commanded him.

3.1/ St. Joseph’s faith was tested: His engagement with Mary was under God’s providence; but St. Joseph couldn’t accept Mary’s pregnant when the two didn’t live with each other yet.

            (1) Legal situation: Jewish tradition about marriage is similar as Oriental tradition. There are three stages in marriage: Firstly, it is the promise of marriage which is done by the parents of both sides when they are still young. This period isn’t binding if one of them decides not to follow their parents’ promise. Secondly, it is the period of engagement which used to last about one year. According to Jewish law, the couple is officially married though doesn’t live with each other. If they want to divorce, they must go through the procedure of legal matter. St. Joseph and the Blessed Mary were in this period. Lastly, it is the marriage when the couple live with each other as husband and wife.

            (2) St. Joseph’s solution: St. Joseph certainly knew that Mary’s pregnant wasn’t from him. As the righteous one, he couldn’t accept Mary’s pregnant. St. Joseph had two ways to solve the problem: either he accuses Mary of infidelity and she shall be stoned to death or secretely leaves her. Out of compassion he had for Mary, St. Joseph didn’t want Mary to be stoned to death, he intentionally planned to secretely leave her.

3.2/ God’s will: According to St. Matthew, “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

            To understand St. Joseph’s decision after he got the revelation of God’s will, we need to find out the role of the Holy Spirit according to the Scripture. The Holy Spirit has at least the following four roles:

(1) He is the one who brings God’s truth to human beings (cf. Exo 31:3; Num 11:25; 27:18; Deut 34:9; 1 Sam 10:10; 2 Sam 23:2; Job 32:8; Psa 32:2);

(2) He helps people to know the truth (cf. Gen 41:38; Num 24:2; Psa 32:2; Joel 2:28; Lk 12:12; Jn 14:17; 15:26);

(3) He, together with God, created the world (cf. Gen 6:3; Jdg 14:6; 1 Sam 11:6; Job 27:3; 33:4; Psa 33:6; 104:30);

(4) He re-creates or renews the creation (cf. Gen 1:2; Jdg 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 15:9; 1 Sam 10:6; Psa 51:10; 143:10; Job 33:4; Eze 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-4).

            Being educated in this tradition, St. Joseph accepted Mary’s pregnant though he knew for certain it wasn’t by him. He didn’t ask God’s messenger to explain the fact “Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit;” but he believed that the Holy Spirit is the cause of it. In his family life, St. Joseph always let the Holy Spirit to guide him through all critical moments of his family. The Scripture reported three times in his life beside today event. Firstly, he accepted to engage with Mary to become the Messiah’s foster father. Secondly, he brought Mary and the Child to flee to Egypt at night, without asking what he is going to work for a living there. Lastly, he brought his family back to Israel, and established his house in Nazareth, without complaining that he had to relocate one more time.  

            In brief, St. Joseph didn’t leave a single word for us, but he let us an exemplar of the one who always listens and quickly does God’s will. He completely trusted in God’s power and humbly did what God commanded because he knew that his human reason can’t fathom God’s providence.

     

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We are justified by our faith in God and Christ, not by anything that we have done.

            - Trials and sufferings in life are occasions for us to show our faith in God. We should always live according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

            - God is always faithful to His promises; therefore, we need to put our complete trust in Him.

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Reading 1: (Wis 2:1a, 12-22)

 

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him."
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls' reward.

Gospel: (Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30)

 

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
"Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
"You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P. 

 

I. THEME: People shall live according to what they believe in.

             

            Knowledge is very important in reasoning and making decision because people shall live according to what they believe in. If people know the truth, there is a good chance that they shall do the right thing; in opposition, if people don’t know the truth or wrongly know, they can’t do the right thing. Therefore, people need to learn and to be educated so that they can make a difference between the truth and the falsity.

            Today readings rotate around the wrong understanding of God and the Messiah. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Wisdom displayed the absurdity and the wicked action of those who didn’t believe in God and the next life. They wanted to persecute and to maltreat the righteous to see if the righteous’ faith can overcome their wicked persecution! In the Gospel, the Jews looked for the opportunity to seize and to kill Jesus because they didn’t understand his true identity and the way of salvation.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The wrong understanding about God and life

1.1/ The atheist’s wrong understanding led to their wicked actions.

            (1) The atheist’s wrong understanding: They thought: "Brief and troublesome is our lifetime; neither is there any remedy for man's dying, nor is anyone known to have come back from the nether world.” According to Jewish tradition, their belief in the next life was vague; the majority of them believed that the rewards which God bestows on those who kept His law, are a long life, many children and happiness in this world. The belief in resurrection and the eternal life appeared late at the time of the prophet Daniel and Maccabean brothers (3rd to 2nd BC). The Book of Wisdom was also written at this time. To the atheists, they believe that death is the end, and their is no eternal life. They don’t believe in God, who can set the righteous free and punish sinners and the wicked.

            (2) Their wicked actions: They live according to what they believe. Since they don’t believe in the next life, all of their effort are for the present life. They hate the righteous, not because the righteous harm them; but the righteous’ lifestyle trouble their conscience. They said: “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.” They didn’t recognize that it is due to their conscience’s awareness that they could recognize their sins and return to the right path. Since they stayed in darkness for too long, they lost the power to come to light.

            The wicked wanted not only to follow their lifestyle but also to apply this lifestyle on everyone. They felt irritated and unrest when they saw someone who lived a different lifestyle, they said of the righteous: “He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord.To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,because his life is not like other men's, and different are his ways.He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls bless the destiny of the just, and boasts that God is his Father.”

            This is the attitude of many atheists today. They misuse of the right “freedom of speech” to make people to live like them; for examples: not to pray or to have silence before class, to teach sex education and to distribute condoms for students, to make the faithful to assist abortion or to sell pills for abortion, etc.

1.2/ Human beings need to have correct knowledge about God: To avoid wrong understanding and wicked action between human beings, all need to learn about God, who creates and controls all things in the universe. The first thing people need to know is God’s existence through His creation and providence. Next, people need to find out who is He and His will when He creates all things, especially His will for man in this life and the next life.

            People also need to learn their relationship with God. The prophet Isaiah declared there is a great difference between God and human beings: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:8-9). Therefore, to see if there is God by maltreating the righteous is absurd. God has a plan for human beings to follow, and He shall not change His plan due to human challenging of Him.

            Moreover, even the wicked persecution of the atheists used to test the righteous might also be in God’s plan; it is necessary for the righteous to show their faith in Him. The atheist wanted not only to see God’s existence but also to change the righteous’ faith, as they said: “With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

2/ Gospel: The wrong understanding of the Messiah led to the Jews’ wicked action.

2.1/ The wrong understanding of the Messiah: The first wrong understanding of the Jews was that they paid too much attention to his human origin and forgot his divine origin. The second wrong one was that they confused Christ’s birthplace and his grow-up place which shall be reported on tomorrow passage. What people said in today passage showed that they didn’t know the Scripture: “We know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” The prophet Micah foretold the Messiah’s birthplace: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Mic 5:2).

2.2/ The need to know the Messiah’s true identity: Jesus said to the Jews: "You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."

            Yesterday we already mentioned five witnesses for Christ; through these five witnesses, people should believe in Christ because they already had more than two witnesses which is required by the law. The next few days, Jesus continued to reveal God’s plan of salvation through his Passion, Death and Resurrection.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                     

            - The knowledge of God, Christ and their wills for human beings are necessary for us to reach the ultimate goal which God destines for us. If we don’t know His will and way, we shall follow our own plan.

            - All these knowledge have been revealed to us in Scripture. We need to spend time to learn before we can follow God’s plan of salvation according to His way.

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Reading 1: (Exo 32:7-14)

 

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
The LORD said to Moses,
"I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
'With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth'?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Gospel: (Jn 5:31-47) 

 

Jesus said to the Jews:
"If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John's.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

"I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?"


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P. 

 

I. THEME: The spiritual leader loves people to the end.

             

            Spiritual leaders are easily discouraged when they face ingratitude, disobedience and betrayal of their followers; but God requires them to be patient and loyal to the end.

            Today readings illustrate the leaders who sacrificed their life for people. In the Book of Exodus, God wanted to test Moses, so He told Moses to let Him destroy all the Israelites because they made and worshipped the golden calf; and then He shall give him a greater nation. Moses interceded with God to forgive people. In the Gospel, Jesus could let the Jews die in their hardness of heart; but he chose to be patient and to persuade them to believe in him by pointing out for them all witnesses who testified for him, such as: John Baptist, the Father’s voice from heaven, his works and Scripture.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Moses interceded for people before God.

1.1/ The Israelites betrayed God: Worshipping idols seriously violated the first commandment. Instead of giving thanks to God who used His power to set them free from their slavery to the Egyptians, they gave thanks to the golden calf which they made by hands, worshipped it, and said: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" (Exo 32:4).  

            We hate the ingratitude and all the more those who steal our efforts or works; but many times on ous life we are not only ingratitude to God for His blessing and protection but also wrongly attribute them to other gods, people or our own effort.

            The prophet Isaiah correctly said about the ingratitude: “The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master's crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not understand” (Isa 1:3). In other words, the ingratitude is worse than an ox or an ass. This was the reason why God said to Moses: “Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.”

1.2/ Moses interceded for the Israelites: Even though Moses wasn’t agree of the Israelites’ sin, but he asked God to forgive them because two reasons:

            (1) Because of God’s great name: If God wiped them out, the Egyptians could mock God: “With evil intent he brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains and exterminate them from the face of the earth.”

            (2) Because of God’s promise with their ancestors: “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'”

            God relented and didn’t wipe them out as He warned. To lead people, especially in a difficult situation as the Israelites wandered forty years in the desert, is a difficult task. Moses wasn’t always patient with the Israelites. He himself came and complained to God, “Why hast thou dealt ill with thy servant? And why have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou dost lay the burden of all these people upon me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I bring them forth, that thou shouldst say to me, `Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries the sucking child, to the land which thou didst swear to give their fathers?'” (Num 11:11-12).

 

2/ Gospel: Jesus patiently persuaded the Jews.

            In three years of preaching, Jesus often argued with the scribes and the Pharisees. People usually gives others maximum three times to recognize the truth; after that they shall not bother to explain and ignore the stubborn. Jesus was very patient with people to explain for them to believe that he is the Messiah whom they are expecting. Jesus knew that if he testifies for himself, they shall not believe it; therefore, he must follow the requirement of the law, that is: there must be two witnesses for the truth. Jesus gave them more than two witnesses for him.

            (1) John Baptist: He witnessed for Jesus many times. He pointed to Jesus and said: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me'” (Jn 1:29-31). In today passage, Jesus said: “There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved.”

            (2) Jesus’ miraculous works: The Jews witnessed or heard about many miracles Jesus did; and they had just witnessed a miracle of Jesus’ healing of the paralytic for 38 years. These miracles required the performer to have God’s power or to come from God. Jesus explained to them: “But I have testimony greater than John's. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”

            (3) The Father’s voice from heaven and from people’s mind: The Father twice witnessed for His Son by sending His voice from heaven in Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt 3:17; 17:5). Moreover, the Father is still acting in the minds of the Jews and all the faithful to help them to recognize the truth, if they listen to His voice. Jesus gave them a reason why they didn’t recognize the Father’s voice in their mind: “The Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.”

            (4) The Scripture: Jesus gave them the Scripture’s witness: “You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.”

            (5) Jesus’ good intention: Lastly, if a person wishes and tries the best for others to achieve good things and he doesn’t expect any praise or favor from others, he really loves people. Jesus persuaded them to believe in him to have the eternal life because he really loves and cares for them. If they have no good intention, they shall glorify each other and ignore God’s glory, they can’t believe in him.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - The spiritual leaders, priests and parents, must patiently suffer in leading people to God. They must patiently learn and explain for those whom they are responsible for.

            - Their rewards aren’t praises, honor or material gains, but God Himself and the joy of leading people to Him.

            - People aren’t gratitude due to many reasons: sufferings, having no basic knowledge and facing many temptations. The spiritual leaders are fortunate because God gave them knowledge and power to overcome all hardships. In turn, they must also suffer and forgive people as the Father, the Son, Moses and other spiritual leaders did for them.

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Reading 1: (Isa 49:8-15)

 

Thus says the LORD:
In a time of favor I answer you,
on the day of salvation I help you;
and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
To restore the land
and allot the desolate heritages,
Saying to the prisoners: Come out!
To those in darkness: Show yourselves!
Along the ways they shall find pasture,
on every bare height shall their pastures be.
They shall not hunger or thirst,
nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them;
For he who pities them leads them
and guides them beside springs of water.
I will cut a road through all my mountains,
and make my highways level.
See, some shall come from afar,
others from the north and the west,
and some from the land of Syene.
Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth,
break forth into song, you mountains.
For the LORD comforts his people
and shows mercy to his afflicted.

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

Gospel: (Jn 5:17-30)

 

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P. 

 

I. THEME: God loves and cares for His people.

             

            Many authors of Scripture compared God’s love for people with other kinds of love; but none could wholly express God’s love. For examples, Hosea compared God’s love as intimate as the love between husband and wife; but the Israelites betrayed God’s love. Isaiah compared God’s love as mother’s love for her children; but a mother can forshake her children and her children can reject her love for them. St. John used the image of the vine and the branches to express the importance of unity; but couldn’t express other aspects such as education and love.

            Today readings center on God’s love. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah wanted to tell the Israelites who were miserably living on the exile that God still loved and cared for them. He already had a plan to liberate them from the exile and to bring them back to their nation to rebuild everything. God shall be their shepherd to guide and to care for them. In the Gospel, God, out of His immense love for humankind, sent His Only Son to love, to care for and to heal people.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God constantly cares for His people.

1.1/ The vision about the day in which God sets people free: Today passage belongs to the Deutero-Isaiah; this Book was written during the Exile. Even though the Israelites were miserably lived on the Exile, God already had a plan to liberate people and to lead them back to their native land, as the prophet announced: “In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you, To restore the land and allot the desolate heritages.Saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves!”

            Isaiah used the image of the Good Shepherd to express God’s loving care for His people: “Along the ways they shall find pasture, on every bare height shall their pastures be.They shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them. For he who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water.” This is the image of the Messiah whom God will send to His people to care for them. We can find the fulfillment of this passage in the Gospel of John, when Jesus announced he is the Good Shepherd, he comes so that his flock can live, and fully live (cf. Jn 10:10-11).

1.2/ God never forget His people.

            (1) God still watched over His people during the Exile: When the Israelites lived a suffering life during the Exile, they thought that God forgot them, as many cried out: "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me."

            In reality, God still watched over and cared for His people’s life. One thing which showed this care was that God unceasingly sent His prophets to console, to encourage and to give them a hope that the Exile is only temporary. If they recognized their sins and repented, God shall set them free from the Exile. People hoped for that day to come; God looks for that day more than His people. That day shall be joyful as the prophet said, “Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains. For the Lord comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted.”

            (2) God’s love is deeper than mother’s love: There is no love which is deeper than mother’s love; but there are still mothers who wickedly kill the child in her womb. God guarantees the everlasting of His love for the Israelites: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even she should forget, I will never forget you.”

2/ Gospel: God gave His Only Son to people.

2.1/ God controls everything on the Sabbath: The Jews accused Jesus that he violated the Sabbath law when he commanded the paralytic for thirty-eight years to carry his mat on the Sabbath. Jesus answered them: "My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."

            God doesn’t completely rest on the Sabbath; this fact is so obvious to all Israel’s scholars. Philo, an Israel’s philosopher, said: “God never cease to work; as the character of fire is to burn, the character of snow is to freeze, God’s character is to work.” Another wrote, “The sun still shines, rivers flow; all progresses of producing and dying are still happening on the Sabbath as on other days; and those are God’s works.” The truth is that God stopped to create on the Sabbath; but other works such as: to judge, to love, to have compassion, to control the universe, etc, must unceasingly continue. What Jesus wanted to say to the Jews was: Even on the Sabbath God still loves and heals. He must do the same because he was sent to love and to heal. For this reason, the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

2.2/ God bestowed on Jesus the two powers:

            (1) Power to give life: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.”This power was manifested through miracles in which Jesus raised the dead. In John’s Gospel, chapter 11, Jesus raised Lazarus after three days in the tomb to show that he has the power to give life.

            The life which Jesus has isn’t about the physical life, but also the divine life which he was received from the Father, as he said: “For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself.” People could take away his physical life; but can never take his divine life away. It is the divine life which he can raised the dead and resurrected himself after three days in the tomb.

            (2) Power to judge: “Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to his Son,so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” 

            The Father and the Son don’t actually judge people, but people judge themselves when they must face Jesus (Jn 3:18). If they don’t believe Jesus as sending to them by the Father, they already judged themselves; but if they believe in him, they shall not be judged, as Jesus declared, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We should believe in this absolute truth: None loves us like God. God’s love was deeply expressed through giving His Only Son so that he could express God’s love in action: to teach, to heal and to die for us.

            - God not only loves but also has power to do all things. He desires and has power to bestow all good things for human beings. With such a lovely and powerful God, we should completely entrust our life in His hands.