Daily Scripture Analysis

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Fifteenth Sunday - Year B - Ordinary Time

Readings: Am 7:12-15; Eph 1:3-14 or 1:3-10; Mk 6:7-13

Reading 1: (Am 7:12-15)

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
"Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple."
Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel."

Reading 2: (Eph 1:3-14)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.

Gospel: (Mk 6:7-13)

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick--
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them."
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: God gives us everything through Christ.

            The narrow-minded think all they are possessing come from their effort and talent; but if they study and think deeply, they shall recognize that all are God’s grace. When people recognized that they shall thank God, and do all they can to preach about God’s love so that all people shall believe and love God.

            Today readings help us to recognize that God has done everything for us through Christ. In the first reading, when was prevented to carry out the prophetic mission by the priest Amaziah. Amos corrected him that he wasn’t chosen to be a prophet; but God chose and sent him out to speak what God wants to speak. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Ephesians gave us a list of all major God’s grace which God bestows on people through Christ. We must understand these graces so that we can preach to people about God’s love for them. In the Gospel, Jesus selected twelve apostles to train, to empower special powers and to send them out to preach the Gospel and to heal all kinds of sickness.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God chose Amos and sent him out to speak for Him.

1.1/ The priest Amaziah’s reaction: Amos was born at Tekoa, a village belongs to Judah, Southern kingdom; but God chose and sent him up to carry out his prophetic mission in Israel, Northern kingdom. He lived in a very difficult period of the history of Israel (721 BC) because the king and his people turned their back to God and worshipped foreign gods. In addition to that, the Israel leaders conspired to commit crimes against the poor and their cries reached God. Amos wasn’t afraid any royal or leaders’ power, he courageously accused them of their sins and foretold that the kingdom shall be destroyed and people be on exile if they didn’t repent and return to God. This is the reason why the priest Amaziah hated him and chased him out in today passage: “Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple.”

1.2/ The prophet Amos’ reaction: Amos answered Amaziah: "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” Two important things which Amos mentioned in this passage:

            (1) He was chosen to be a prophet when he is working as a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores; he wasn’t volunteered to be a prophet.

            (2) He didn’t use his name to earn material benefits as Amaziah’s accusation because he was working for his living.

2/ Reading II: God gives us all graces through Christ.

2.1/ To recognize God’s graces: In the first part of today passage, St. Paul wanted the Ephesians to recognize all graces which God bestows on them through Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.”

            This is a passage which contained many revelations. We need to meditate sentence by sentence to clearly understand what God has done to people through Christ.

            (1) He let us exist in the world: The author wrote, “He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world.” St. John said it more clearly: “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be” (Jn 1:3).

            (2) He let us know him: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” God gives us opportunities to encounter Christ, physically in the mystery of the Incarnation and spiritually in the preaching of the Gospel. He also sent the Holy Spirit in human mind to enlighten them to understand Christ’s teaching and to urge them to believe in Christ. St. Paul ascertained that “And no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12:3b).

            (3) He helps us to become God’s children: The author wrote, “In love He destined us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will.” St. John wrote, “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name” (Jn 1:12).

            (4) He helps us to recognize God’s grace and praise Him: The author wrote, “For the praise of the glory of His grace that He granted us in the beloved.”

            (5) He helps us to become holy and pure: The author wrote, “to be holy and without blemish before him.” With Christ’s washing away our sins and the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, people can be holy and blemish before God.

            (6) He washes us clean from our sins: The author wrote, “In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.” Without Christ, there is no way for our sins to be forgiven and be reconciled to God.

            (7) He helps us to understand God’s wisdom: The author wrote, “In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery.” Jesus came to reveal to us God’s wisdom by explain to us all of His mysteries.

            (8) He reveals to us God’s plan of salvation which is achieved through him: The author wrote, "In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth."

2.2/ The prophetic vocation is for preaching of the Good News: After recognizing God’s love through what He has done for us through Christ, the faithful has a duty to preach this love for all people. St. Paul recognized that the vocation to preach the Good News wasn’t bestowed only to him, but opened up to all the faithful.

            (1) The prophetic vocation of Paul: He said, "In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ." When Paul understood what God has done to him through Christ, he spent all of his life to praise God. He also recognized that even his prophetic mission also began with Christ. He sent him to preach the Gospel, to help people to believe in Christ so that they also receive God’s graces through Christ.

            (2) The prophetic vocation of all the faithful: The author continued, "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.”

            All the faithful, after they were baptized and inherited Christ’s inheritance, also have a duty to preach the Good News so that all people shall recognize Christ and believe in him.

3/ Gospel: He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two.

3.1/ Jesus sent his apostles out to preach the Gospel: “He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick-- no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.” There are two distinguished ideas in this passage:

            (1) Jesus is the one who called, educated, bestowed the authority and sent the apostles to preach the Gospel, they aren’t the ones who volunteered to follow him. When the apostle preach, they preach the Gospel which they heard from Christ, not what belong to them. The power to heal and the wisdom come from God, not from them.

            (2) Preaching the Gospel is their main duty, not any other duty. To fulfill this duty, they must live a simple life; the less they rely on material things the better is their preaching. Jesus knew that when an apostle begins to rely too much on material things, he shall neglect his duty of preaching the Gospel.

3.2/ The vocation of preaching the Gospel: Two important things which Jesus’ disciples need to know:

            (1) The audience could welcome or reject the preachers of the Good News: Jesus forewarned his disciples to prepare for this when he said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

            God gives people freedom to recognize and to believe in the truth; He doesn’t force them to believe against their will. Similarly to Jesus’ disciples, they can’t force their audience to believe against their will. What they can do is to present the truth and all the benefits for those who shall live according to it; then they hope and pray that the audience shall believe so. If they reject the truth, the disciples shouldn’t feel sad because there are many reasons why people reject the truth, as it happened with Jesus’ audience.

            (2) The purpose of the preaching is to call people for repentance: When a disciple preaches the Gospel, he must help his audience to recognize God’s love for them and to repent from many times they turned their back to this love. It isn’t the time to entertain their audience by jokes and skits, nor to talk about politic or sport or their own expertise.

            The power to expel demons and to heal which Christ empowered them to do is for the purpose that the audience shall believe in their preaching. If understand so, these powers are only the means; they should never be substituted for the preaching of the Gospel.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - All what we are possessing come from God’s love for us; we should never be proud of ourselves and despise others. We should thank God, live a good life and bring Good News to all people.

            - Preaching of the Good News is our first duty which Christ gives to us, his disciples. When we preach the Gospel, we proclaim what he taught us and help people to believe and to love him. 

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Saturday - Fourteenth week - OT1

 

Readings: Gen 49:29-33, 50:15-24; Mt 10:24-33.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 49:29 Then he charged them, and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah -- 32 the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites." 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him." 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died, 17 `Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, "Behold, we are your servants." 19 But Joseph said to them, "Fear not, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he reassured them and comforted them. 22 So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph's knees. 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household? 26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.


I. THEME: The truth shall prevail.

 

            The world is the battlefield between the truth and the falsity, the good and the evil, God and the devil, children of light and of darkness. The world uses tricks and oppression to cause sufferings for the children of light—making them fearful and having no courage to live for the truth. God demands His children not to be fearful, to accept sufferings and to be witnesses for the truth. He shall give them strength to overcome sufferings and to be victorious.

            Today readings concentrate on these fights and Jesus’ invaluable teachings for his disciples. In the first reading, since the patriarch Jacob faithfully lived according to God’s teaching, He protected him until his last moment on earth. Imitating his father, Joseph also did what both God and his father teach him; he forgave his brothers and provided them with what they need for their life. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples three important things to preach the Gospel and to witness for him, they are: to be ready to accept suffering, not to be afraid of anything and to absolutely believe in God’s providence.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: “Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin.”

1.1/ God always protect His faithful servants: After uniting with Joseph and living happily with their children for a while, Jacob knows it is time for him to say farewell to them to be with his ancestors. He called all of them to his bed and commanded them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place.There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah--the field and the cave that is in it were purchased from the Hittites."When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

            Recalling what God promised to Jacob before he went down to Egypt: He shall protect him and Joseph's hand shall close his eyes when he died. This is now fulfilled. In the vision of the ladder, God promised to him, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you” (Gen 28:15). Jacob’s desire before his last breath is also achieved: His children brought his body and buried in their ancestral cave in Hebron. This cave is still there today.

1.2/ Joseph’s brothers still believe that it is impossible for Joseph to forgive them.

            (1) His brothers’ reaction: “When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him."So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died,`Say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, "Behold, we are your servants."”

            (2) Joseph’s reaction: He wanted them to recognize God’s providence, so he said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God?As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he reassured them and comforted them.”

            God is faithful; He shall not forsake those who faithfully believe in Him. When Joseph is going to die, he said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” This shall be achieved when Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and Joshua leads them into the Promise Land.

2/ Gospel: “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”

2.1/ Three necessary attitudes of Christ’s disciples: To be Jesus’ loyal disciple, a person needs to have the three following attitudes:

            (1) He must be ready to accept sufferings: Jesus said to his disciples, “If they persecute me, they shall also persecute you.” Christ’s disciples shall certainly be persecuted because the world persecuted Jesus and killed him. Jesus wanted his disciples to clearly remember this point as he said, “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.It is enough for the disciple that he becomes like his teacher, for the slave that he becomes like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!”

            While doing his preaching or carrying out his apostolic work, the disciple shall meet those who criticize, oppose, threaten or seize him. The simple reason why they do these because the disciple says things they don’t want to hear. For examples, the disciple says that married people must be loyal in their vocation while some of his audience were divorced or separated; he says children must sacrifice and care for old parents while some of his audience sent their parents to the nursing homes; he says that children are gifts from God while some of his audience don’t want to have more children.

            (2) He can’t be afraid of men: If the disciple is afraid of discontent, criticism or opposition, he shall not preach the truth that he is called to preach; in opposition, he shall say the things which shall please his audience even though these things aren’t God’s teachings. This is the reason why Jesus forewarned his disciples, “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.”

            When witnessing for the truth, a disciple might pay a dearly cost, he might be sacrificed his life for the truth as in the case of the martyrs; but God shall give back his life with glory and his soul shall live for ever.

            (3) He must believe in God’s providence: To teach this lesson, Jesus gave them two examples. First, the sparrows. He said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.” Secondly, human hair. He said, “Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” A human head has countless hairs and many of them fall down daily. If a meaningless hair is concerned by God, how is about the fate of God’s disciple!

            In God’s providence, suffering is the instrument God uses to test the disciple’s faith and love for Him. If a disciple fears and avoids suffering, he doesn’t show his faith and love for God.

2.2/ The rewards for those who are loyal to witness for the truth: Jesus declared to his disciples, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” St. Paul said that If we share in Christ’s suffering, we shall also share in his glory. A disciple who is afraid to acclaim Christ’s name or to preach his teaching, he isn’t Christ’s true disciple. In the Last Day, Christ also denies him before his Father.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE

                   

            - Suffering is instruments which God uses to test people’s faith. We should not be afraid and run away from them to the point that we don’t dare to proclaim God’s name and to witness for the truth.

            - We should absolutely believe in God’s loving providence so that we always courageously live as God’s children, be ready to forgive and to help others.

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Friday - Fourteenth week - OT1

 

Readings: Gen 46:1-7, 28-30; Mt 10:16-23.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 46:1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here am I." 3 Then he said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes." 5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 5 They also took their cattle and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt. 28 He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to appear before him in Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive."

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.


I. THEME: We must persevere to the end in order to be saved.

 

            People are afraid of suffering and like to see results immediately while God wants people to suffer and to wait. Experience also teaches people that if they want to be successful, they must be persevered to overcome all trials; if they aren’t, they shall leave their goal unfinished and never see their desired results.

            Today readings teach us to patiently wait until we reach the desired result. In the first reading, Jacob and Joseph must endure many sufferings before they could unite and live happily, In the Gospel, Jesus warned his disciples before he sent them out to preach the Good News, “You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again.”

 

1.1/ Jacob was on the way to meet Joseph, his lost son: If we look back at the lives of Jacob and Joseph, we shall understand God’s providence and the meaning of the sufferings which both of them went through.

            (1) Jacob’s life: He fought with Esau in his mother’s womb to be born first, but unsuccessfully. In God’s providence, Rebekah, his mother, had a clever plan to take away Esau’s first-born right and Isaac’s blessing for him. The two brothers constantly fought with each other from that time on. When Isaac sent Jacob to live with Laban, a fellow-country man, Jacob was used by Laban in his marriage and dividing of properties. Therefore, Jacob must leave Laban and returned to his fatherland. When returned home, Jacob again faced the jealousy and division in his family. His sons hated Joseph, his younger son, and deceived him so he believed that Joseph was devoured by a beast. When a severe famine happened, he must send his sons to go to Egypt to buy food for the family. He lost Simon, another son, in Egyptian prison. When he sent them to Egypt the second time, he must let Benjamin, his youngest son, to go with his other sons, without knowing whether he shall be back with him or not.

            But in all circumstances, Jacob still believes in God’s providence. God’s hands are always with him and He protects him all the days of his life. Today passage reported a vision in which he met God at Beer Sheba. God said to him in a night vision, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation.I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.”

            (2) Joseph’s life: Like his father, Joseph also endured suffering from his childhood. He was hated by his brothers because of his father’s love and his interpretation of dreams and visions which God grants to him. He was sold by his brothers to the Egyptian merchants for twenty pieces of silver, and these people sold him to an Egyptian officer. His life took another suffering when he was confined in prison because he refused to commit intercourse with the officer’s wife. She was angry and falsely accused Joseph of forcing her, and her husband threw Joseph into prison. At last, due to his talent of interpretation of dreams and visions, he was brought to the royal palace to interpret King Pharaoh’ dreams and he was assigned as the Prime Minister, the second man after the king.

            Like his father, Joseph always believes in God’s providence and tries to live a righteous life. Though he was falsely accused by his brothers and the Egyptian officer’s wife, he didn’t hate them or try to get even with them. In opposition, he was ready to forgive them and to bring benefits for his family.

 

1.2/ The encounter of the father and the son: The heaven has eyes. God always follows and blesses Jacob and Joseph, who always revere God and love others. They must be separated a long time and must endure lots of misunderstanding, sorrow, suffering and shame. At last, Jacob had a chance to see his beloved son whom he thought that he was no longer live in this world. His son isn’t only well but also is the Prime Minister in King Pharaoh’s royal palace, and has power to give material gains for his family.

            The encounter between the father and the son was reported as follows, “He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to appear before him in Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.Then Joseph made ready his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen; and he presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive."”

           

2/ Gospel: “Whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

2.1/ Sufferings are always waiting for Christ’s disciples.

            (1) Jesus didn’t hide anything from his disciples; he told them that they must face sufferings when he declared to them, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” When sheep enter in the midst of wolves, they must face death. The only way the disciples can overcome this danger is to believe in God’s wisdom and strength.

            (2) The disciples must face different kinds of people.

            - With ecclesiastical power: "But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues." The Church doesn’t always accept and protect the truth.

            - With political power: "You will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans." This is easy to understand because Christ’s disciples live and witness for heavenly standards which often opposite with worldly standards.

            - With familial power: "Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death." The truth is always hurted, those in the family doesn’t always recognize, rightly evaluate, and accept the truth.

2.2/ God always accompanies with the disciples: Facing the devil’s and worldly powers, the disciples need to have God’s help. Some helps are listed in today passage.

            (1) He gives the disciple widom to answer back: Jesus said to his disciples, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say.For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

            (2) He gives the disciples strength to overcome sufferings: Jesus advised his apostles, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Sufferings can’t be lacked in our life. God uses sufferings as the mean so that we can use them to show our faith and love for Him.

            - If we are always faithful to God and to live a good life in the midst of sufferings, we shall surely be protected and blessed by God.

            - If we understand the meaning of suffering as such, we shall not feel sorry for ourselves, nor blame God, nor hate those caused us to suffer; but know how to use sufferings to sanctify ourselves, to firmly believe in God, and to faithfully love and to serve others.

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Thursday - Fourteenth week - OT1

 

Readings: Gen 44:18-21, 23-29, 45:1-5; Mt 10:7-15.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 44:18 Then Judah went up to him and said, "O my lord, let your servant, I pray you, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, `Have you a father, or a brother?' 20 And we said to my lord, `We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children; and his father loves him.' 21 Then you said to your servants, `Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes upon him.' 23 Then you said to your servants, `Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.' 24 When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, `Go again, buy us a little food,' 26 we said, `We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down; for we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.' 27 Then your servant my father said to us, `You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 one left me, and I said, surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.'45:1 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, "Make everyone go out from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph; is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4 So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, I pray you." And they came near. And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. 9 Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, salute it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.


I. THEME: We must do God’s will in all events of our life.

 

            In God’s wise providence, there is nothing that accidentally happens; all things which happen for an individual, a family or a community are for a reason. A proper attitude which people must have is to find out and to do God’s will to benefit themselves and others, not to complain, to question or to blame on God and others because of their ill fate.

            Today readings point out for us to see God’s will in all small and big events of people’s life. In the first reading, after had time to reflect on his own life and things that happened and were happening for his family, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and said, “For God sent me before you to preserve life.” In other words, God prepared Joseph’s life in advance to save his family later, even he must endure his brothers’ jealousy and cruelty. In the Gospel, it is for people’s salvation that Jesus called his disciples to train, to give power and to send them out to preach the Gospel for all nations.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: It is to preserve life that God sent me before you.

           

1.1/ The old father’s love for his children: Since Joseph wanted to meet Benjamin, his brother, so he kept Simeon back in Egypt in their last coming there. He commanded them that they must bring Benjamin to see him before he shall release them all to their land; if not, they should never see him again.

            When the brothers said these things to Jacob, he sincerely said to them, “You know that my wife bore me two sons;one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since.If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring down my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol.” Jacob believed his son Joseph was devoured by a beast as his sons said to him.

1.2/ Joseph revealed himself to his brothers: When heard what his brothers said about their father, Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, "Make everyone go out from me." When no one stayed with him, then Joseph made himself known to his brothers.And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.

            (1) His brothers’ reaction: They were dismayed at his revealing. They felt ashamed because of what they had done for him. They couldn’t say a word because they were so shameful.

            (2) Joseph’s reaction: So Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, I pray you." And they came near. And he said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

            As a human being, Joseph can revenge by keeping his brothers as his slaves; but he didn’t do that. He forgave them because he believed all things, which happened in his life and family, are in God’s providence. God sent him to Egypt to prepare a way and to protect life for himself, his family and many nations. Many authors liken Jesus to Joseph because he must also endure all sufferings to bring salvation for all people.


2/ Gospel: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

2.1/ The disciples’ duties: Jesus selected his apostles and trained them for a purpose. He knew that He is going to leave this world to be back to his Father, he trained them so that they can replace him to continue the mission of preaching Gospel to all people. The purpose of the preaching Gospel is for people to recognize God’s love for them. God wants people to believe in Christ to attain happiness with Him in heaven.

            (1) What they need to do: Their first duty was clearly spelled out by Jesus’ command: “As you go, make this proclamation: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” In order for people to believe in the apostles’ preaching, Jesus empowered them to heal all kinds of diseases, spiritually and physically: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.” The purpose of healings is for people to recognize God’s power and to believe in Him, not to show-off or to have financial gains. Jesus also commaned them, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

            (2) What they shouldn’t do: Since Jesus knew that the material temptation can make his disciples to forget their duty to preach the Good News, so he commanded them:

            - Don’t look for gold or money: A loyal disciple of Christ is never permitted to search for these things. The day they look for these things, their preaching shall loose its effect and they are no longer Christ’s true disciples.

            - Don’t bring so many things with them: Many say this teaching isn’t practical because if preachers keep moving from place to place, and don’t bring with him necessary things, when they need them, where can they find? The main thing which Jesus wanted to teach us here is that a preacher must live a simple life. If he has so many things, how can be ready to move on to far away regions to preach the Good News? Moreover, Christ also wanted for his disciples to completely trust in God’s providence, because “the laborer deserves his keep.” God shall never let preachers of the Gospel die on their journey.

2.2/ Find the worthy’s house to dwell: In God’s providence, He continually urges the rich to have generosity so that they shall take care preachers’ material needs. This is why Jesus taught his disciples: “Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.”

            (1) The rewards for those who welcome Jesus’ disciples: Jesus continued to teach them, “As you enter a house, wish it peace.If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.”

            (2) The punishments for those who reject Jesus’ disciples: “Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words-- go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - When an event happens in our life, we should meditate and find out what God wants us to do, and then quickly do according to His will.

            - All God’s teachings have its own reasons because God never does useless thing. If we don’t recognize them, let pray so that the Holy Spirit helps us to recognize His will.

            - God let us exist in the world for a purpose. We should recognize that purpose and quickly fulfill it before we return to Him.

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Wednesday - Fourteenth week - OT1

 

Readings: Gen 41:55-57, 42:5-7, 17-24; Mt 10:1-7

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 41:55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do." 56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. 5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; he it was who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. "Where do you come from?" he said. They said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food." 17 And he put them all together in prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined in your prison, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die." And they did so. 21 Then they said to one another, "In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us." 22 And Reuben answered them, "Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood." 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24 Then he turned away from them and wept; and he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'


I. THEME: Recognizing God’s wonderful providence

 

            The event of April 30, 1975 changed the lives of many individuals, families, communities, Vietnam as well as many nations which received Vietnamese refugees. When this event had just happened, many considered it as a shameful and terrible event because it caused countless pains for the Vietnamese; but after forty years of that event, we recognize many good things that came from it. Firstly, the Vietnamese in everywhere sent millions dollars to support their relatives in Vietnam; without this support, Vietnam might be in deep trouble. Secondly, many Vietnamese refugees have opportunities to contact with and to receive the quintessence of the world’s best civilizations; without this event, they are still around the bamboo trees and the buffaloes of their villages. Thirdly, many Vietnamese priests and religious brothers and sisters now evangelize and do apostolic works for nations who did the same thing for them before to lessen the Church’s shortage of vocations. Looking back at the April 30, 1975 event, we must confess that there is God’s hand working through this event.

            Today readings help us to recognize God’s wonderful providence in the history of humankind. In the first reading, out of jealousy, Joseph’s brothers sold him for the Egyptian merchants and lied to their father that Joseph was devoured by a beast. His father and brothers thought they shall never have a chance to meet him again; but God arranges a way for them to meet each other. When a famine happened in their region, they must come to Egypt to buy food and they met Joseph there. In the Gospel, no one would think that a group of men which Jesus formed, rural, illiterate, weak and fearful, could go everywhere to preach the Gospel and become the foundation for a religion which has members about half of the world’s population!  

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do."

1.1/ God prepared for Joseph and his family: To understand today passage, we need to return to the event which Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Egyptian merchants at Dothan. Joseph is one of the patriarch Jacob’s twelve sons, and the brother of Benjamin, the youngest and from the same mother. Since Jacob had Joseph in his old ages, he loved him more than other sons. God gave Joseph the talent to decode dreams and visions. His brothers hated him for this talent and wanted to kill him. The opportunity came when Jacob sent him to bring food for his brothers who were taking their flock at Dothan. In the beginning, they wanted to kill him; but by the interference of Reuben, the oldest brother; they agreed to throw him down a dry cistern and let him die of hungry. They changed their minds when they were eating and saw the Egyptian caravans passed by. Judah suggested selling Joseph to these merchants and they agreed to sell him with twenty pieces of silver. These merchants brought him to Egypt. Joseph went through lots of up and down from that time; but by his talent of interpreting dreams, Joseph was brought to the Egyptian palace to explain King Pharaoh’s dreams. When he was successful in interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, he was instituted as the Prime Minister, the second man after the king (c/f Gen 37-50).

1.2/ The encounter between Joseph and his sons: God let a severe famine happening in all the regions. All people were hungry. “The people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do."So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.” The famine wasn’t only in Egypt but was also severe over all the earth.People in everywhere came to buy wheat from Joseph; thus the sons of Israel were also among the others who came to buy.

            (1) Joseph’s reaction: When “Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.Joseph saw his brothers, and knew them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. "Where do you come from?" he said. They said, "From the land of Canaan, to buy food."And he put them all together in prison for three days.On the third day Joseph said to them, "Do this and you will live, for I fear God:if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined in your prison, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households,and bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die." And they did so.”

            (2) His brothers’ reactions: They didn’t recognize Joseph in his royal dress; but they were regretted because they caused damage for him. They said to each other, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us and we would not listen; therefore is this distress come upon us.”

            They knew if they borrow, then they must pay. The oldest brother Reuben reminded them the past story, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the lad? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.”

            They didn’t know that Joseph understood what they were saying. Joseph turned away from them and wept; and then he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. He sold them grains and released them to their homeland.

           

2/ Gospel: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

2.1/ Jesus gave his blessings to the apostles so they could distribute them to others: In God’s providence, Jesus didn’t work by himself, but he selected twelve apostles to train, to bestow his power, and to give them the mission of preaching the gospel to every people. Imitating Jesus, the Church, through many generations, still continues Jesus’ mission. On the one hand, she continually preaches the Gospel to all nations; on the other hand, she continues to form the preachers and to send them out so that they continue to preach the gospel for future generation. When we look back to the history of the Church, we undoubtely believe Christ’s presence in the Church.

2.2/ The list of Jesus’ twelve apostles: Matthew reported the names of the twelve as follows: “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus;Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.”

            - Looking at the list, the first thing we notice is that these people are plain, there isn’t anything special about them according to the worldly standard, not counting their sins and weaknesses. This shows that what they shall accomplish, completely depend on God’s strength and power. He help the plain people to accomplish wonderful works.

            - People used to choose those who have the same interest or temperament. Jesus chose his apostles who had different temperaments to the point of conflict. Peter who was quick to talk to live with John, a thinker. Simon, a zealot who opposed all foreign power to live with Matthew, a tax-collector, who worked for Roman emperor. Thomas, a doubter, who denied to believe all other apostles’ witness that Jesus has risen. Jesus could help them to discard individual differences to live together and to accomplish the given mission.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - God is the One who controls all things which happen in this world, not any other god. We must absolutely believe in His power.

            - We shouldn’t quickly blame on God and others when an event happens; but be quiet to find out God’s will and do it to benefit ourselves, our family and community.

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Tuesday - Fourteenth week - OT1

 

Readings: Gen 32:23-33; Mt 9:32-38.

1/ First Reading: RSV Genesis 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob's thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." 27 And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28 Then he said, "Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked him, "Tell me, I pray, your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved." 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh on the sinew of the hip.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 9:32 As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel." 34 But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons." 35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


 

I. THEME: God is patient in saving people.

            Some Greeks, though they believe in the One who creates and controls the world, but they don’t believe He concerns for human life. The reason for this belief is that God never changes. They reason if God concerns or grants people’s prayers, He is changed by people. In opposition, we believe that God always concerns for all people’s needs. He has such a power that though He grants people’s prayers, He is still not changed in His providence.

            Today readings show God concerns for human life; and He is always patient to teach and to heal people. In the first reading, the author of Genesis reported the event which God appeared and wrestled with the patriarch Jacob all night long. This event wants to show that God is patient in saving people, and people must always cling to Him. In the Gospel, Jesus spent all his time to teach, to preach the Good News and to heal all wounds of human body and soul. He loves them because they were scattered around as sheep without a shepherd. He teaches his disciples to often pray so that God may send many good shepherds to people.

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Jacob wrestled with God.

 

1.1/ The hostility between Esau and Jacob: To understand today passage, we need to know the hostility between the twin, Esau and Jacob. Though Esau was born first; but Rebekah, their mother, set up a clever plan so Jacob took away Esau’s first-born right and Isaac’s blessing for him. Esau was anger because of this plan and was finding a way to revenge. Esau together with his four hundreds men were on the way to look for Jacob; and Jacob was hiding from Esau. Jacob was very afraid for his fate and family. He prayed to God, “Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and slay us all, the mothers with the children.”

            (1) The all night wrestling between Jacob and the stranger: The author of Genesis reported, “The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day” (Gen 32:22-24).

            The wrestle between a human being and a god often happens in the mythological stories. In such stories, a god used to be the one who owns the river, and often be present at night, and be forced to reveal his origin or the secret things for people. All these three elements are in today passage. This shows the author of Genesis could be affected by these stories with a purpose to convey God’s will for people.

            (2) The wrestle’s result: The author continued to report, “When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob's thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me."And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob."Then he said, "Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."Then Jacob asked him, "Tell me, I pray, your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him.”

            The stranger refused to reveal his name for Jacob, but the fact that he blessed Jacob partly revealed his identity. Jacob could guess it through his naming of that place “Peniel” which means “God’s face.” Moreover, the explanation after that also shows Jacob knew the stranger is God, “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”

 

1.2/ The wrestle’s results:

            (1) God changed Jacob’s name and blessed him: God changed Jacob’s name to Israel which means, “You have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” The verb “to strive” in Hebrew is “sarah” and used here at past tense “yisra” with the suffix “el” to be “yisra-el.” The relation between God and Israel is compared as a wrestle, and Israel shall be victorious though they aren’t worthy. To change one’s name is to give him a mission. God gave Jacob a mission to be the patriarch of God’s people. These people bear his name, Israel, and always are blessed by God.

            (2) Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint: Though Jacob was victorious, he must pay the price for the wrestle, not completely healthy: “he limped because of his thigh.” The Jewish tradition of not eating the sinew probably is an old tradition; because they no longer observe this habit.

2/ Gospel: “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

2.1/ Jesus went everywhere to preach and to heal: In three years of Jesus’ public ministry, he wandered around all regions of Palestines to preach and to heal all kinds of sickness for people. In spite of that, he met many oppositions from Pharisees, scribes and Roman government. Today passage is a typical example.

            (1) Two people’s reactions when Jesus expelled a dumb demon:

            - The crowds were amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."The crowd was sincere, whatever they see they voive their opinion. They weren’t influenced by prejudices and beneficial calculation.

            - But the Pharisees said, "He drives out demons by the prince of demons." They condemned Jesus of having relation with the devil so that they didn’t have to believe and to keep his teaching. Moreover, they didn’t want people to follow Jesus, because they were afraid of loosing their power, authority and material gains.

            (2) Jesus’ reaction: He gave no concern for their criticism, but minded his own business. He went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. Three things we should learn from him in this passage:

            - Teaching: To help people to differentiate between truth and falsehood in the world.

            - Preaching the Gospel: To proclaim God’s love for people and to show them how to live in order to reach their salvation.

            - Healing all spiritual and physical sickness: He had pity for all people’s pain and sorrow. He wanted to take away all of their sufferings.

2.2/ Jesus concerned for people’s lacking of good leaders: Not only concerning for his contemporary, he concerns also for future generations. He told them to pray for good leaders to care for their offsprings: "At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - God always concerns for the life of each of us. He finds all possible ways to care for, to educate and to heal all wounds of our body and soul.

            - We must be patient with God in trials and sufferings. Once we were healed, we must co-operate with God in caring, educating and healing others.

            - “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” In the year of the priests, we should find all possible ways to increase the priestly and the religious vocations so that the Church might have many good laborers for God.