Daily Scripture Analysis

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The Most Holy Trinity Sunday - Year B - Easter

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Reading 1 (Dt. 4:32-34, 39-40)

Moses said to the people:
"Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of?
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
This is why you must now know,
and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God
in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments that I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever."

Reading 2 (Rom 8:14-17)

Brothers and sisters:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, "Abba, Father!"
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel (Mt 28:16-20)

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
"All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."


 

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

 

I. THEME: Three persons of the Trinity work together to take care of human beings.

            King David, the author of Psalm 8, after meditated about God’s love and human worthlessness, cried out: “When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place-- What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor” (Psa 8:4-6). Not only one but all three persons of the Most Holy Trinity work together to take care of human beings. This reminds people that they have a invaluable position before God so that they must live in a way that is worthy of God’s love.

            Today readings illustrate the Most Holy Trinity’s love for human beings. In the first reading, Moses reminded the Israelites two privileges which they enjoyed: God chose them as His people and gave them the Ten Commandments. In the second reading, St. Paul reminded the faithful their privilege of God’s children through their faith in Christ; they shall inherit His inheritance which is the eternal life. In the Gospel, Jesus commanded his disciples before his ascension, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Lord is the only God, there is no other.

            We need to understand God’s love for the Israelites before we can understand His love for all people.

1.1/ God’s love for the Israelites: The Jews are very proud because they were chosen by God as His own people from all nations on earth. They are also proud of their Ten Commandment because there is no nation on earth whom their gods appeared and gave the law for them. Today passage generally reminded God’s love for the Israelites through some particular events.

            (1) God revealed Himself for the Israelites: After crossed the Red Sea, Moses led the Israelites to the desert to be purified by God. Before they can enter the Promise Land, God wanted to give people the Ten Commandment. In order for the Israelites to recognize His power and might, He made the Sinai mountain burned like fire and He spoke to Moses from the fire. Witnessed this terrible sign, the Israelites were frightened because their eyes and ears couldn’t stand God’s power. They asked Moses that let God talk to him alone, then he shall convey to them what God wants. The Jewish tradition believed that none can survive after he saw God or His messengers, as Moses reminded the Israelites: “Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?” The Israelites enjoyed such privilege.

            (2) God chose the Israelites as His own people: Moses continued to ask them, “Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the LORD, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?”

            The Exodus out of Egypt is the memorial event because God showed His love and power for the Israelites by liberated them from their slavery of the Egyptians.

1.2/ The Israelites’ duties: The relationship between God and the Israelites is the covenant, ratified by both sides. God promises to love, to protect and to give His blessings for them; in exchange, the Israelites must fulfill the two following obligations:

            (1) They must worship God alone: Moses said, “This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.” To worship idols or not to worship above all things violates this covenant.

            (2) They must keep His commandments: Moses solemnly commanded the Israelites: “You must keep His statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.” Not keeping the law, no matter how small it is, violates this covenant.

            From Israel, God’s love is extended to all other nations when Christ came. From his time, the privileges to be God’s children and to have eternal life belong to all people.

2/ Reading II: Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

2.1/ The Holy Spitit’s role: The Father is the one who sends the Holy Spirit. When He sends the Holy Spirit to anyone, that one becomes God’s children, as St. Paul declared: "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."

            There are different spirits in the world, but only one Holy Spirit. The spirit which people possessed before they receive the Holy Spirit is the spirit of slavery and of fear. When people receive the Holy Spirit, they become God’s children, and the Holy Spirit urges them to cry out to God: "Abba! Father!"

            St. Paul confirmed: "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." When we confess our faith in Christ, we become God’s adopted children (Rm 3:28, Jn 1:12). We have another witness who is the Holy Spirit, because no one can profess Christ is God without the Holy Spirit’s guidance (1 Cor 12:3). Our faith in God is the Trinitarian work.

2.2/ The Christians inherit God’s inheritance.

            (1) The privilege to be God’s children: As said above, people become God’s children by professing their faith in Christ, not by any other reasons (Jn 1:13).

            (2) The privilege to co-inherit with Christ: St. Paul reasoned: "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." This is the great blessing which God grants to people. This means that all things God has, people have; all things Christ has, people have; all things the Holy Spirit knows, people can know. Of course, to inherit God’s inheritance, people must unite with the Trinity and be faithful with their obligations as God’s children.

            (3) Those who share his sufferings shall also share his glory: In order to co-inherit with Christ, people must share in his sufferings, not only in his glory. The sufferings which Christ is enduring now is in his body, the Church which are all the faithful because all are members of the one body. This concept opens up many new ways so that we can share in Christ’s suffering:

            - To soothe others’ sufferings is to soothe Christ’s suffering.  

            - To help others to love God and not to sin are to lessen Christ’s suffering.

            - To suffer ourselves to lead others to God is to soften Christ’s suffering.

3/ Gospel: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”

            Jesus commanded his disciples: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

3.1/ The call for missionaries: Jesus’ disciples must continue his mission which is to make all people to become the Trinitarian disciples. Jesus emphasized the two duties:

            (1) To baptize them: The condition for one to be baptized is that he believes in Christ. In order for him to believe in Christ, there must be preachers of the Good News. Therefore, the most important duty of Christ’s disciples is to preach the Good News before people can believe and be baptized to become God’s new children.

            (2) To teach them God’s commandments: To certify their faith, the faithful must keep all the commandments. Therefore, the second duty of Christ’s disciples is to teach people God’s commandments so that they can keep them. When the believers keep the commandments, they remain in the Trinitarian love (Jn 15:10; cf. 14:21).

3.2/ Christ’s promise to his disciples: All three persons of the Most Holy Trinity shall always be with them.

            (1) Jesus was given all powers in heaven and on earth by his Father: Christ has authority over all events that happen on earth. If we eagerly preach the Good News, we shouldn’t be afraid of any power of the devil, the world or people. This conviction shall help us to be confident in preaching the Good News.

            (2) Jesus is always with his disciples until the end: Jesus isn’t absent after he ascended to heaven, he presents with his disciples in different way, not in a human figure. The disciples have Jesus to help and to protect them from outside because he is sitting on the Father’s right side to intercede for them. When Jesus asked favors for his disciples, the Father shall never deny him (Jn 16:23-26). The disciples also have the Holy Spirit who works inside them, to help them to fathom what Jesus has said and to guide them to understand all the truth. If the disciples ascertain the presence of the Most Holy Trinity in their life, they shall not be afraid of anything that happen in their life and they shall be faithful to witness for Christ.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We have an invaluable dignity before God; therefore, we must always live our life in a way that is worthy of God’s love.

            - If we share in Christ’s suffering, we shall also share in his glory. In opposition, if we refuse to share in his suffering, we shall not be shared in his glory.

            - The call to evangelize must always instigate us who are Christ’s disciple so that we must put our time and effort for evangelization.

            - We must always be conscious of the Trinitarian presence in our life. This conscience shall help us to fulfill our faithful’s duties. 

Saturday - Eighth week - OT1

 

Readings: Sir 51:12c-20; Mk 11:27-33.

1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 51:12 Therefore I will give thanks to thee and praise thee, and I will bless the name of the Lord. 13 While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. 14 Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her to the last. 15 From blossom to ripening grape my heart delighted in her; my foot entered upon the straight path; from my youth I followed her steps. 16 I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction. 17 I made progress therein; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory. 18 For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good; and I shall never be put to shame. 19 My soul grappled with wisdom, and in my conduct I was strict; I spread out my hands to the heavens, and lamented my ignorance of her. 20 I directed my soul to her, and through purification I found her. I gained understanding with her from the first, therefore I will not be forsaken.

2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 11:27 They came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and began saying to Him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do these things?" 29 And Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question, and you answer me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 "Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer me." 31 They began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'then why did you not believe him?' 32 "But shall we say, 'From men '?"-- they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet. 33 Answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things."


I. THEME: To live according to wisdom is to live the truth.

            Wisdom is one of the Holy Spirit’s seven gifts which he gives to the faithful when they receive the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation. Like all the virtues, wisdom is liken to a seed with its full of potentialities; people must practice to develop it. If people don’t practice, they can lose it. The virtue of wisdom helps people to recognize God’s truth before they can practice them.          

            Today readings concentrate on the virtue of wisdom—how to possess and to practice it. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach gives a deep understanding of the virtue of wisdom: it is the process of the whole life; people must pray to have it; people must practice what they learn, to keep God’s commandments, and especially to have a pure mind in order to possess the virtue of wisdom. In the Gospel, the high priests, the scribes and the elders gathered together and questioned Jesus why he chased all merchants from the temple. Instead of answering their question, Jesus posed for them a question to see if they are sincere in searching for the truth; but when he recognized they persisted in their falsity, he refused to let them know the truth, the reason why he purified the temple.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: When I keep myself pure, I find wisdom.

1.1/ The truth about wisdom: First of all, wisdom comes from God, not from human beings; therefore, to possess wisdom, people must sincerely pray so that God might bestow His wisdom on them. The author mentions his experience as follows, “While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her to the last.”

            Wisdom isn’t given to people at one time, but it is a progress of one’s life; therefore, people must learn wisdom everyday. The author said, “From blossom to ripening grape my heart delighted in her; my foot entered upon the straight path; from my youth I followed her steps.I made progress therein; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory.”

1.2/ How to acquire wisdom: The author gives his audience important advises to acquire wisdom:

            (1) Listening more than talking: “I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction.” This is easy to understand since when hearing, people gather in others’ knowledge; when talking, people give out their knowledge. If a person gives out more than he receives in, how can they acquire others’ wisdom?

            (2) To live according what wisdom teaches: “For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good; and I shall never be put to shame.” To have benefits from wisdom, one must not only know wisdom but also practice it; if one only knows it, he can’t have its benefits. When practicing it, people must overcome shame, criticism and persecution from those who don’t know wisdom.

            (3) To keep the law: “My soul grappled with wisdom, and in my conduct I was strict; I spread out my hands to the heavens, and lamented my ignorance of her.” This is obvious because the law comes from God who is the origin of all wisdom. Since people don’t know all, so God Himself gave them the Ten Commandments through Moses, to help people to live in a way that shall bring happiness for them.

            (4) To keep oneself pure: “I directed my soul to her, and through purification I found her. I gained understanding with her from the first, therefore I will not be forsaken.” Jesus also teaches, “Blessed are those who are pure of heart for they shall see God” (the six Beatitude). St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas also teach: the virtue of chastity is necessary in the journey of learning wisdom and looking for God. Those who are impure can’t contemplate God, the most wise and holy One.

2/ Gospel: The mental fighting between Jesus and the Jewish leaders

            The background of the mental fighting is Jesus’ purification of the Jerusalem temple which was reported yesterday. The high priests, scribes and elders questioned Jesus, not out of their concern for God’s temple, but to have a cause to condemn him.

2.1/ The question was asked by the high priests, scribes and elders: They asked Jesus: "By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus knew well that if he answers by God’s power, they shall condemn him of blasphemy; but if he answers by human power, they shall condemn him of destroying the temple. Whatever he answers, they shall have a reason to seize him. Instead of directly answering them, Jesus put out a question as the condition which they must provide before he gives his answer. Jesus asked them, “Was John's baptism of heavenly or of human origin?” If they carefully paid attention to Jesus’ question, they shall know it is the answer for them!

2.2/ Two reactions:

            (1) Of the high priests, scribes and elders: Mark reported, “They discussed this among themselves and said, "If we say, 'Of heavenly origin,' he will say, 'Then why did you not believe him?'But shall we say, 'Of human origin'?"-- They feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet.So they said to Jesus in reply, "We do not know.""

            (2) Of Jesus: Since they didn’t satisfy Jesus’ condition, so he said to them, "Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things."

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Wisdom originates from God; He only gives it to those who sincerely pray and patiently study. Therefore, we must pray to the Holy Spirit when we begin to learn the divine wisdom.

            - To learn wisdom is the progress of our whole life, not only by hearing it in a few minutes in the weekend’s homily or attending some basic class. We must learn wisdom in all events of our life.

            - To possess wisdom, we learn not only to know it, but also to find opportunities to practice it to gain its benefits. If we know and don’t practice it, we shall gradually lose it.

Friday - Eighth week - OT1

 

Readings: Sir 44:1, 9-13; Mk 11:11-26.

 

1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 44:1 Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers in their generations. 9 And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them. 10 But these were men of mercy, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten; 11 their prosperity will remain with their descendants, and their inheritance to their children's children. 12 Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake. 13 Their posterity will continue for ever, and their glory will not be blotted out.

 

2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and cameinto the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. 12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to seeif perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples were listening. 15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. 17 And he began to teach and say to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations '? But you have made it a robbers' den." 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and beganseeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening came, they would go out of the city. 20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, "Rabbi, look, the fig tree which you cursed has withered." 22 And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. 23 "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be grantedhim. 24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be grantedyou. 25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions."



I. THEME: Let us live in a way that we might bear good fruits for God.

 

            God creates everything in the universe for a purpose; nothing can be called as “existed by accident” or “having no purpose.” For examples, God creates grass to be eaten by cows; when cows are grown up, they become meat for people to eat or to be used for ploughing; when people are matured, they become useful for others by working or by preaching Gospel to lead people to God. Whatever or whoever doesn’t bear fruits or become useless, shall be casted outside by God to have space for others to bear fruits for Him.   

            Today readings help people to understand their vocation and purpose in life. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach compared between the two posterities. On the one side is the posterity of an unknown person who left nothing for humankind; he passed away as though he never lives in this world and his posterity also lives a nonsense life as him. On the other side is the posterity of a righteous person; he knew how to live a life according to God’s predestination for him, his posterity also imitate him to live a good and righteous life like him, and so his posterity shall last forever. In the Gospel, Jesus was hungry and looked for some fruits from a fig tree to eat, but he found nothing. So, he cursed it and went to the temple to purify it. When they passed by the fig tree which Jesus cursed again, the fig tree withered from the roots up.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: “Their posterity will continue forever, and their glory will not be blotted out.”

 

1.1/ The posterity of an unknown person: Each of us inherited many blessings and helps from God, our nation, ancestor, parents and people who lived before us. Our duty, after inherited all blessings and helps, is to live in a worthy way that corresponds to these gratitudes. Since we have no opportunity to directly pay our gratitudes to God and those who passed away, we must indirectly do good for the future generation which includes our brothers and sisters, children and descendants.

            If we live irresponsibly, only receiving gratitudes without paying back to God and those who passed away, the young and future generation shall condemn us. Our children and descendants might turn out to be like us because they get nothing good from us. The author of Sirach describes the irresponsible person and his posterity as follows: “There are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them.”

 

1.2/ The posterity of a well-known person: But if we live well and responsibly, our good deeds shall never be forgotten. These deeds benefit not only us, but also leave an inheritance for our children and descendants. Wherever the leading wave goes, the following waves shall follow. If we firmly keep God’s commandments and teach our children to do so, our posterity also firmly keep them and are loyal to God. Therefore, our descendants shall remain forever and our glory shall never be faded.

 

2/ Gospel: Whatever God said shall be achieved.

           

2.1/ The meaning of two reports: “The cursed fig tree” is reported only by Matthews and Mark and is one of the passages which are difficult to explain. The reason for it is because most scholars paid attention to a detail mentioned by Mark, “for it was not the time for figs.” They question, “Why did Jesus look for figs and cursed it when it isn’t the season for figs?”

            In the Gospel, Mark sometimes used the technique which is called “Intercalation or sandwiching.” The purpose of the author when using this technique is to highlight the meaning which both events aim at. For examples, in order to show that Jesus preached with authority, not like the scribes, Mark reported the miracle which Jesus expelled a demon between two passages of Jesus’ preaching (1:21-28). The miracle which Jesus healed the hemorrhage woman was put between the miracle which Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter (5:21-43) to stress that Jesus had power to heal the sick and to raise the death. Lastly, the report of John Baptist’s death was put between the event which Jesus sent out the Twelve to preach and they came back to him and report the results (6:7-30) to stress that sufferings shall be happened to the preachers of the truth.

            And in today passage, the event in which Jesus purified the temple was put between two passages of the cursed fig tree. So, the important task is to find out what is the common theme of two events.

            - In the event of the cursed fig tree, Jesus said, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” This was achieved the next day when Jesus and his disciples passes the tree again. What God says shall be achieved, He didn’t concern if it is in or out of the season.

            - In the event of the purification of the temple, Jesus said, “Is it not written: 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples'? But you have made it a den of thieves.” The Jerusalem temple was completely destroyed in 70 AD; and from that time, people worships God not in Jerusalem, but in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:21-24).

            So, the common theme which Mark wanted to highlight is that everything which God created must bear good fruits; it not, God shall destroy or cut off so that others can take its place.

           

2.2/ Religion isn’t confined in ceremonies: The most important thing of religion is the faithful’s firm faith in God. Jesus stressed this point with his disciples: “Have faith in God.Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.”

            Moreover, the love for God must be expressed through the love for others. Jesus taught his disciples, “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

 

            - God predestines for each of us an ultimate goal and hands to each one a mission. We should try our best to fulfill God’s given mission and to attain His predestined goal.

            - If we don’t bear fruits for God and others, He shall cut us off and casts outside so others shall take our place and bear fruit for Him.

            - God gives some children to those who live in the familial vocation or many faithful to those who live in the priestly vocation. We should fulfill our duty by educating them according to the divine way and leading them to Him.

Thursday - Eighth week - OT1

 

Readings: Sir 42:15-25; Mk 10:46-52.

1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 42: 15 I will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I have seen. By the words of the Lord His works are done. 16 The sun looks down on everything with its light, and the work of the Lord is full of his glory. 17 The Lord has not enabled his holy ones to recount all his marvelous works, which the Lord the Almighty has established that the universe may stand firm in his glory. 18 He searches out the abyss, and the hearts of men, and considers their crafty devices. For the Most High knows all that may be known, and he looks into the signs of the age. 19 He declares what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the tracks of hidden things. 20 No thought escapes him, and not one word is hidden from him. 21 He has ordained the splendors of his wisdom, and he is from everlasting and to everlasting. Nothing can be added or taken away, and he needs no one to be his counselor. 22 How greatly to be desired are all his works, and how sparkling they are to see! 23 All these things live and remain forever for every need, and are all obedient. 24 All things are twofold, one opposite the other, and he has made nothing incomplete. 25 One confirms the good things of the other, and who can have enough of beholding his glory?

2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar namedBartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you." 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!" 52 And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and beganfollowing Him on the road.


I. THEME: The value of our eyes

            In the five senses of a human being, eye is the most important sense because they provide for the human intellect visual images to reason. Eyes are used to see and to read. People can use their eyes to see God’s wonderful creation or to read what others wrote about Him. The pair of eyes are always in parallel with human reason. People can reason to know about God’s existence through seeing and reading.

            Today readings concentrate on the importance of human eyes. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach used his eyes to carefully look at God’s wonderful creation and his mind to contemplate God’s providence before he recounts what God has done for the future generations to know. In the Gospel, the blind man from Jericho, Bartimaeus, certainly felt the pain of being blinded; when he knew that Jesus shall pass over, he decides to shout out without restraint so Jesus could hear his voice and heal him. Jesus did hear his voice and restored his sight.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: I shall recount what I has seen.

            The author of Sirach wants to tell future generations two wonderful things from God:

1.1/ God’s wonderful creation: Many authors of Scripture condemned people when they have their eyes and still deny God’s existence, such as the authors of Psalms, Isaiah and Job. St. Paul also condemned this kind of people as follows: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:18-22). The author of Sirach expresses a similar faith, “I will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I have seen. By the words of the Lord His works are done.”

1.2/ God’s skillful providence: God wonderfully created the universe, his providence for all creation is even more wonderful. The author listed out some of his observations as following:

            (1) God knows all things that happen in the universe, even the thought which is deeply hidden in human mind as the author writes, “He searches out the abyss, and the hearts of men, and considers their crafty devices. For the Most High knows all that may be known, and he looks into the signs of the age... No thought escapes him, and not one word is hidden from him.”

            (2) God knows not only presence but also fathoms past and future: “He declares what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the tracks of hidden things.” To Him, all past and future are in presence.

            (3) God wisely controls everything: In His procidence, He doesn’t need to change anything, nor anyone to be His counsellors. He controls everything that happen in the universe: both what people can see and understand and also what people can’t understand. Everything obeys His control. The author gave us two examples about God’s wise providence: First, He creates all living things in pair to protect their procreation, to compensate each other and to provide joy for each other. Secondly, it is the harmony of all things in the universe, “One confirms the good things of the other, and who can have enough of beholding His glory?”

 

2/ Gospel: “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!”

2.1/ The unforsaken faith of Bartimaeus: Markan report let us know his three virtues:

            (1) He clearly knows what he needs: To be blinded is to live in darkness; the world is all black to him; wherever he goes, he must be helped by others. There is nothing that is painful than to be blinded. Due to blindness, he can’t earn a living for himself, he must beg others to support his life and be despised by many.

            The physical blindness leads to intellectual and spiritual blindness; the latter are more painful because one must constantly live in falsity. The spiritual blindness can only be taken away by God’s truth; only God can take away the spiritual blindness by His spiritual light. Jesus revealed this for people by saying: “I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth and the light.” There is nothing more painful than the one who doesn’t know the truth in his life, especially the truth about the ultimate goal of his life. Bartimaeus knows that his eyes need to be opened and seen; therefore when Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said without hesitance, “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!”

            (2) He knows who can heal him: Bartimaeus is blind, not deaf; he heard what people talked about Jesus. Through hearing, he knows only Jesus can heal him from blindness. When the opportunity to meet Jesus comes, he determines not to be passed over.

            (3) He overcame all obstacles: When Jesus passes over, Bartimaeus calls him twice, the second time is louder than the first, even though he is rebuked by the crowd. When he heard that Jesus calls him, he throws out his coat, leaves behind all of his belongings, stands up and runs toward Jesus without fearing of falling to the ground.

            The ones who are spiritual blind must act the same as Bartimaeus. They shouldn’t skip an opportunity to learn about God because they never know that when the opportunity passes, they shall have no second chance to learn about God.

            (4) He is the one who recognizes God’s blessing and praises God: After being healed, he didn’t walk out as the other nine lepers. He joyfully followed Jesus. He might want to talk about God’s love for him for everyone to know.

2.2/ Jesus’ compassion: God never denies those who firmly believes in Him. Jesus let the blind to regain his light because he sees his thirst for light and his faith. Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!"And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and beganfollowing Him on the road.

            God certainly doesn’t let those who want to learn about Him to be despaired. He let everyone have many opportunities to learn about Him and Christ, through the sending of preachers to preach the Good News and the sending of the Holy Spirit to work inside human mind and heart. Whoever sincerely looks for Him, that person shall meet God.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

            - Our eyes are the window to our soul. We should use them to recognize God’s wonderful works and to believe in Him.

            - Physical blindness is painful, spiritual blindness is the most painful. We shouldn’t see God’s creation and providence indifferently; but carefully meditate them to recognize God’s love for us and to return with our sincere love.

Wednesday - Eighth week - OT1

 

Readings: Sir 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17; Mk 10:32-45

1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 36:1 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, the God of all, and look upon us, 4 As in us thou hast been sanctified before them, so in them be thou magnified before us; 5 and let them know thee, as we have known that there is not God but thee, O Lord. 10 Crush the heads of the rulers of the enemy, who say, "There is no one but ourselves." 11 Gather all the tribes of Jacob, and give them their inheritance, as at the beginning. 12 Have mercy, O Lord, upon the people called by thy name, upon Israel, whom thou hast likened to a first-born son. 13 Have pity on the city of thy sanctuary, Jerusalem, the place of thy rest. 14 Fill Zion with the celebration of thy wondrous deeds, and thy temple with thy glory. 15 Bear witness to those whom thou didst create in the beginning, and fulfill the prophecies spoken in thy name. 16 Reward those who wait for thee, and let thy prophets be found trustworthy. 17 Hearken, O Lord, to the prayer of thy servants, according to the blessing of Aaron for thy people, and all who are on the earth will know that thou art the Lord, the God of the ages.

2/ Gospel: RSV Mark 10:32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise." 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" 37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." 38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


I. THEME: God’s immense versus human calculated love

            We can’t compare God’s immense and unlimited love with human selfish and calculated love. God loves and does everything for human beings in gratis because people can add nothing to God, even a smallest thing. In reverse, people receive so many graces from God through creation, redemption and sanctification. People need to learn so that they might feel God’s love for them and never demand anything from God.

            Today readings help us to recognize and to feel God’s love by comparing God’s immense with human selfish love. In the first reading, although God showed countless of His faithful and forgiving love for the Israelites, they still have a tendency to ask Him to repeat that love, so that they and other nations might recognize and believe in Him. In the Gospel, when Jesus continues his last journey to Jerusalem to endure his coming Passion, Death and Resurrection, the two apostles, James and John had courage to ask for both of them to seat one on the right and the other on the left of Jesus in his kingdom. This petition made other ten felt so indignant because all of them also wanted that. Jesus must gather them and teach them what the true leadership should be.

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “All who are on the earth will know that thou art the Lord, the God of the ages.”

1.1/ People must recognize God’s compassionate love: In the history of the Old Testament, God’s love for the Israelites was expressed through countless miracles that made all nations surrounded them to fear everytime they hear of His name. The event of Exodus from Egypt and the leading of the Israelites to the Promise Land are examples of God’s immense love. Through these events, the Israelites should have no doubt of God’s love and power.

            The event of the Israelites’ exils to Babylon and Assyria and their coming back to re-establish their nation and to rebuild the Jerusalem temple are the other examples of God’s loyal and forgiving love. When looking back to these events, the Israelites must recognize God’s loyal love for them though they are no worthy of His love. They ask Him, “Hearken, O Lord, to the prayer of thy servants, according to the blessing of Aaron for thy people, and all who are on the earth will know that thou art the Lord, the God of the ages.”

1.2/ Let ask God’s love to be overflowed on all people: The Israelites remembered God’s love for their forefathers. They regretted David’s glorious reign when all the twelve tribes were unified and their boundary was expanded furthest. They remembered the glory of the Jerusalem Temple and God’s presence in their midst. They ask God to repeat all these things so that they might feel and witness God’s love for them again.

            Though it is right for them to ask these for future generations and other nations, they can’t continue to ask for God’s love forever without the returning of love on their part. They should know that when God signs His covemant, He completely and voluntarily does it out of His love for them; the Israelites couldn’t do anything for God. In opposition, they themselves violated the covenant so that God signs another new and perfect covenant with them. This covenant is signed by Christ’s blood, but many of them refused to believe in the new covenant.

            The Israelites and us have no right to ask anything more from God. In reverse, all must open their eyes to recognize what God did, is doing and shall do for us to feel deeply God’s immense love for all. Lastly, we must respond to God’s love by loyally keeping God’s commandments and by preaching God’s love to all people so that they might also recognize His love for them and believe in Him.
 
2/ Gospel: “Whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

            This is the third time Mark reported that Jesus foretold what shall happen to him in Jerusalem: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentileswho will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.” After the first time of Jesus’ prediction, Peter advised him to forfeit his plan to go up to Jerusalem. After the second time of Jesus’ prediction, the apostles argued to see who shall be the most important person among them when Jesus reigns.

2.1/ The worldly way: Like most of human beings, Jesus’ apostles were influenced by the worldly way which can be outlined as follows:

            (1) Thirsting for power and fame: After Jesus’ third time prediction, two of Zebedee’s sons, John and James went up to Jesus and said, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left." They desired power because they wanted to be famous and served. However, they were ready to share in Jesus’ Passion, not only his glory.

            (2) Causing jealousy and contention: When people desire something and don’t get it, they are jealous of those who have it. Mark reported this reaction from the apostles: “When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.” The became indignant because all of them wanted the same thing. If James and John possess the two most important seats, where shall they seat? They also gave up everything to follow Jesus!

            (3) Leading to failure and division: Jesus foresees what shall happen if his apostles keep fighting for power and position. They shall be divided and not remember to preach the Good News, his mission shall come to an end and salvation shall not be reached to all people.

2.2/ The way of Christ’s disciples: Jesus summoned them and taught them three important lessons:

            (1) Not to follow the worldly way: “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.But it shall not be so among you.”

            (2) Serve others: “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.”

            (3) Imitate Christ: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We need to learn Scripture to know what God has done for us before we can feel His love for us.

            - Our duty is to return His love for us, not to continually ask God to keep showing His love for us, nor to ask Him to do something before we respond to His love.