Daily Scripture Analysis

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Thirty-second Sunday – Year B – Ordinary Time

serving

Readings: 1 Kgs 17:10-16; Heb 9:24-28; Mk 12:38-44.

 

1/ First Reading (1 Kgs 17:10-16): In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
"Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink."

She left to get it, and he called out after her, "Please bring along a bit of bread."

She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die."

Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.

For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,

'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry,

until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"

She left and did as Elijah had said.

She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

2/ Second Reading (Heb 9:24-28): Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. 
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. 
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him. 

3/ Gospel (Mk 12:38-44): In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

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I. THEME: God demands us to sacrifice our whole life to serve Him and others.

 

            Today, many people are afraid to sacrifice because it affects their body, will and leisure time; but if all people are afraid and live selfishly, how can this world be maintained, not mentioning how to improve individual and social life! The true love demands one to sacrifice all he has, not giving only his surplus. People can only evaluate a person’s sacrifice by outside material; but God evaluates him by his inside intention, that are his faith and love for God and others. The most perfect sacrifice a person can offer is his own life, as Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).

            Today readings emphasize heroic sacrifices of lofty souls, even they must sacrifice their own life. In the first reading, the author reported the faith and sacrifice of a Gentile widow at Zareptha. She courageously sacrificed her last handful flour and few drops of oil to make a last cake for prophet Elijah, her, and her son, though she knew that after eating this last cake, she and her son could be died due to hungry. The wonderful effect of her faith in the prophet’s word is she and her son have flour and oil to live until the day which God makes rain falling on the earth. In the second reading, due to Jesus’ precious sacrifice in which He poured out His blood on the cross, people are purified from their sins and live eternally. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples to have the divine eyes to evaluate rightly human acts. The worldly people are easily deceived by showy and outside acts; but Jesus’ disciples must see deeply and evaluate according to inside intentions though the outside acts seem to be normal and base acts.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ First Reading: Charity requires one must sacrifice even confronting the death.

           

            1.1/ God’s wonderful providence for prophet Elijah: To clearly understand today’s passage, one needs to read the whole chapter 17 of the First Book of Kings. God let the drought to happen during which there is no rain nor dew falling down in Israel for three years, because the king and the Israelites forfeited God and worshiped idols and acted according to their own ways. Only Elijah was commanded by God to move to a valley so that he can drink water from a fall and have food from ravens. When the fall was dried up, God told him to come to Zareptha, a Gentile town, to be fed by a widow.

            He stood up and went to Zareptha. When he came to the city’s gate, he saw a widow who are collecting dried branches. He called her and said: “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.” She left to get it. He called her again and said: “Please bring along a bit of bread." She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die."

            1.2/ The widow’s faith in prophet Elijah’s words: Nothing is more terrible than hungry. Many people still remember the dreadful famine which happened in Vietnam from October 1944 to late 1945. There are about from seven hundred thousand to two million deaths from this famine. No one wants to give because they must take care of their family. This widow was put in a very difficult situation because the prophet’s request affects her and her son’s life.

            (1) The prophet Elijah’s reaction: Elijah, clearly knowing of God’s power and of her terrible situation, still said to her: “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"

            (2) The Zareptha widow’s reaction: Her reaction is a heroic act because her deep faith in the prophet because she did not know God’s plan as prophet Isaiah. She left and did as Elijah said though she knew that both she and her son could be died of hunger after that.

            God always tests and rewards those who believe in Him and help others. The author reported the happy ending: “She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.” Moreover, God also revived her son though Elijah’s breath after he was already dead.

2/ Second Reading: Christ sacrificially poured out His blood to redeem people.

            2.1/ Christ’s unique sacrifice: The author of the Letter to the Hebrews compares Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary with the High Priest’s sacrifice every year in the Holy of the Holies in the Day of Atonement, and recognizes the following differences:

            (1) The places are different: He writes: “Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.” The most holy place which Jesus enters is no longer the Jerusalem Temple; but the heavens which is the sacred place of God.

            (2) Christ’s sacrifice happened only once on Mount Calvary, but its effect is eternal. The author writes: “Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.” The animals’ blood can only take away the lesser sins and must be repeated many times; but the Son of God’s blood has power to take away all the sins even though it is poured out once.

            2.2/ Christ voluntarily dies to bring salvation for all people: When deciding to do any work, Christ and all prudent people consider its effects. These are the effects of Christ’s sacrifice:

            (1) God’s wills are fulfilled which are salvation for all people. God does not want people to die; but to live happily and eternally with Him in heaven.

            (2) Christ is not died forever; but resurrected after three days and He shall be the king for all people.

            (3) People’s sins are forgiven, and they are reconciled with God. They shall not be died forever; but they shall also be resurrected and reach the ultimate goal which is a happy and eternal life with the Trinity.

            Because of these effects, Christ was ready to be incarnated, went through His passion, death, and resurrection. He knows He shall bring good results for His Father, Himself, and all people. Moreover, He knows His sufferings are only temporal; but their results shall last forever as the author writes: “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.”

            This must be the lesson for us to follow: Many people complain that if they keep sacrificing, they shall be suffered or died! Christ teaches us that if we have to sacrifice to the point of accepting death to benefit God and others, we also must accept because death is not the end. God shall give us back our life and reward us what we sacrificed for people. Countless saints poured out their blood or sacrificed their whole life for God and others because they understood Christ’s philosophy of life. If a person fears he has to die for other and lives selfishly, he still has to face death, and he shall be judged by God according to what he didn’t do for others. We only have one life to demonstrate our faith and love for God and others, let live a way that benefits God, ourselves, and others.

3/ Gospel: “She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”             

            3.1/ Do not judge people according to their outside actions: Vietnamese has an adage: “the dress does not make one to become a monk.” It means: to be called a real monk, one must live according to the laws of a monk; not only wearing a monk’s dress. In today passage, Jesus displays bad habits of those who used their religious dresses to earn their profits: “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

            Those people can deceive naïve minds; but can’t deceive God who knows all secret things in their minds. They shall be strictly judge because they misuse of religion for their selfish gain.

            3.2/ Judge people according to their inside intention and situation: Christ teaches his disciples not only they should not judge according to worldly standards; but also how to look deep into people’s soul through people’s contribution in the Temple.

            (1) Judging according to worldly standard: Many people were deceived and praised those who contributed much money into the money-box and concluded that they are generous with God; but Christ warns His disciples not to easily conclude as such because that might only be the rich’s superfluous.

            (2) Judging according to God’s standard: Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. He saw a poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

            God does not judge according to the amount of money since He gives each different talents and amount; but He shall judge according to human effort. This is the reason why the Levi’s laws do not specify how much one Israelite must contribute to the treasury of the Temple; but only says it is 10% of one’s income. For example, if one’s monthly income is ten thousand dollars, he must contribute one thousand to the Temple. If one’s monthly income is one dollar, his contribution shall be ten cents. The woman who mentioned by Jesus, put in two cents; but hear what Jesus praises her: “but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had.” The big difference which Jesus pointed out here is between “their superfluous” and “her whole livelihood.” She put in all what she has though it seems not much according to human standard.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE: 

            - Charity demands us to sacrifice to the end although we must sacrifice our own body. We can do this because we believe that death is not the end; but God will give back our life to us and reward what we have done for others.

            - The perfect example for us to imitate is Christ. He sacrificed by incarnating, preaching, healing, and be nailing to the cross to redeem us. We should imitate Him in everything we do in this life.

            - When we must evaluate people, we should not evaluate them according to worldly standards; but must look deep in their inside intention to recognize precious values of their works. 

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Saturday - Thirty-first Week - OT1 

Readings: Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27; Lk 16:9-15.

 

Reading 1: (Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27):

Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.

I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer,
and our brother Quartus greet you.

Now to him who can strengthen you,
according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel (Lk 16:9-15):

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon."

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
"You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God."


 

I. THEME: How to use people and money to expand God’s kingdom.

            Many Christians are wrong when they think the proclaiming of the Good News is the duty of priests and religious people; not of all Christians. They forgot that the prophetic duty belongs to all Christians when they reveived Baptism. Moreover, even Christ could proclaim the Good News by himself, He chose twelve apostles to do it with him. Besides these twelve, he also chose seventy-two disciples and many women followed him. God wants all people to contribute -- some by their efforts, some by their money – in the proclamation so that all will merit His rewards in the next life.

            Today readings center around the duty of all Christians in the proclamation of the Good News. In the first reading, St. Paul gave a long list of Christians who worked with him in this mission. They will share with whatever Paul harvested in his mission because they contributed in whether by their efforts or time or money. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his audience to properly use money, even “unrighteous mammon” to buy friends so that when they run out of money, their friends will welcome them into the eternal habitations. Those who liked money as the Pharisees are fools because they will loose everything they possessed at last.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Paul listed out those who contributed in his proclamation of the Good News.

1.1/ The Christians helped Paul to fulfill his mission: Looking into Paul’s list, we can recognize the followings:

            (1) Prisca and Aquila were called by Paul “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Aquila is a Jew who was born in Pontus, came to Rome for work; but must leave Rome to Corinth due to the anti-Jews movement (cf. Acts 18:14). Prisca, also called Priscilla, was Aquila’s wife; both worked as the tent makers as Paul. At Corinth, Paul came to live with them and they helped Paul in proclaiming of the Good News. Not only Paul but also many Gentiles’ churches appreciated what they did to them. While many people think their houses are exclusively for their family, this couple always opened up their house to welcome Christians to hear the Good News and celebrate liturgy. Many communities were established and nourished from their house. In order to do this, they must have a firm faith in God and an immense love for others.

            (2) Paul did not discriminate women as some thought: There are at least six women are mentioned in the list. Besides Priscilla, there was Maria, “who has worked hard among you;” and Junias who was Paul’s kinswoman and fellow prisoner; three other women are not in today passage. To care for a preacher’s need, such as preparing a meal, cleaning his room, or buying what he needs... are things which any woman can do. St. Paul was certainly helped by these women.

            (3) Even the help to copy letters and to send them out to many destinations was also mentioned in today passage: “I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.”

            In addition, both the rich and the poor were mentioned in the list. Everyone can contribute in depending on the gifts which God gave to them.

1.2/ The last words: Paul abbreviated all the main points which he expounded in the Letter; that were: (1) The Gospel is necessary for all so they can stand firm in their life. (2) The center of the Gospel is Jesus Christ; people must believe in him in order to be saved. (3) The mystery of salvation was begun with the Israel, but opened up to all people when Jesus came. This mystery was announced by many prophets of old.

2/ Gospel: Learn how to properly use money.

2.1/ Using money: Not many people know how to use their money properly, some wasted them, some are controlled by them. The one who knows to use them properly, will not waste money on unnecessary things; but use money to benefit himself and others, such as:

            (1) Using money to develop his talents which are necessary for his life as registering classes, buying books or equipments. He can also provide a scholarship for those who need them or contribute money to researching organizations which will benefit humankind.

            (2) Using money to help the poor: Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew teaches: God considers what we did to the poor as we did to Him. Jesus also said in today Luke’s passage: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.”

2.2/ Let show fidelity to God by our properly using of money: Life is a battlefield to learn and to experience; it is also an opportunity for God to evaluate people through:

            - fidelity in small things: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”

            - fidelity in using the “unrighteous mammon”: “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?”

            - fidelity in using others’ properties: One was hurt when he lost his own thing or child more than what belonged to others: “If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?”

2.3/ A servant cannot serve two masters: Not like in today society, a slave or a servant of Jesus’ time could only serve one master. Even now one can serve two master, the degree of loyalty cannot be equal: “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  

            The same thing happens in serving God: “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many of us have a counter view with Jesus for they think they can serve both God and mammon. Jesus gave us an example of the Pharisees: “who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him.” There are some because they liked money so much that they have no time for God, even to attend Mass one hour in the whole week.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Proclaiming of the Good News is the duty of all Christians. If we don’t have ability and time to proclaim, we must make a contribution in training preachers and create opportunities for them to fulfill their duty.

            - Everything in this world belongs to God and He gives to us for using; we are not the owners, but only stewards. We must know how to properly use them to benefit ourselves and others in this life and the life to come.Save

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Friday - Thirty-first week - OT1

 Readings: Rom 15:14-21; Lk 16:1-8.

1/ Reading I: RSV Romans 15:14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.

15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ,

20 thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man's foundation,

21 but as it is written, "They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him."

2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 16:1 He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.

2 And he called him and said to him, `What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.'

3 And the steward said to himself, `What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me?

I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.

4 I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.'

5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?'

6 He said, `A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'

7 Then he said to another, `And how much do you owe?' He said, `A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, `Take your bill, and write eighty.'

8 The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.



I. THEME: How to Win Friends and Influence People

            Dale Carnegie became popular with his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. This art is needed for people in all areas: religion, politic, education, businesss. Many who had good and useful ideas for people, but did not know how to explain and to convince people, the result is people did not believe in them, sometimes they also caused conflict, separation and discord. Many who had nothing good, sometimes with bad intention; but they know how to convince and to win over people, the result is people listened and do what they wanted. Of course, the ideal situation which we desire is both good and useful for people and the art of convincing, so that people can recognize and follow that ideas. 

            Today readings gave us two contrasted examples of this art. In the first reading, after skillful explanation of the doctrine: “men were justified not by their good works, but by their faith in Jesus Christ,” St. Paul must convince the Romans to believe that doctrine by reminding them of the four things: First, they are eagerly to know the truth; secondly, God’s grace for people when searching the truth; thirdly, Paul received many good results in his mission; and lastly, his good intention for them. In the Gospel, Jesus praised the shrewd steward because he knew how to win over people, even he used others’ resource. The steward’s intention is to get help from his owner’s debtors after he was fired.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

1.1/ Paul sincerely helped his audience to recognize the truth: Many people believe the Letter to the Romans is the most difficult letter for Paul to write because of the following reasons: First, Romans was not the community established by Paul. Secondly, the discussed theme easily caused separation. Lastly, the audience had higher knowledge and knew the law. Today passage is the conclusion of the Letter, Paul must convince people to understand his good intention. Paul wanted them to know that he argued with them, not to show his deep knowledge about God or to insult them; but because of the following reasons:

            (1) The ones who sincerely search for the truth will understand: "I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another."

            (2) The understanding of the doctrine is by God’s grace, not by human wisdom: "But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by Godto be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.''

            (3) He argued fot the common good of the Church: According to God’s plan of salvation, the history has entered a new period, in which the Gentiles has been assimilated to God’s family. He advised people they must be clear in order to act according to God’s will.

1.2/ Paul’s intention is to serve God’s kingdom, not for his profits: St. Paul’s argument might be difficult to convince his audience, but people can see all his works. Paul wanted to show them that he did all things for God’s kingdom; not for any individual profits.

            (1) Paul established many communities for the sake of expanding God’s kingdom: He said: “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed,by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

            (2) Paul had no intention to influence Roman community or any communities established by others. He said: “I have fully preached the gospel of Christ,thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man's foundation,but as it is written, "They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him."”

2/ Gospel: Know how to use worldly things.

            Before analyzing this parable, we need to know that: when using parables, the author only wants to pay attention to one main point, and not to satisfy all related points because it is impossible to do so. The main point Jesus wanted to highlight in this parable is the steward’s way of solving the problem when he was laid off.

2.1/ The unfaithful steward: From the beginning, the audience already knew the steward was not good because he wasted his owner’s goods, and that was the reason why he was laid off. A good steward must be both wise and faithful to the owner. This steward was very shrewd but not faithful. The owner said to him: “What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.”

2.2/ The shrewd steward: He knew how to use his owner’s goods as the mean to prepare for his future. He debated with himself: “What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.”

            With 50 measures of oil he discounted for the first debtor and 200 measures of wheat he discounted for the second one, he hoped they will give back to him some when he is in need. He also might think if they refuse to give, he will accuse them with the owner and they must return all back to him.

2.3/ The owner praised the steward’s way of solving his problem: First, we need to note that the owner did not praise him for his unfaithfulness. The thing the owner praised him was his shrewd way of solving his problem. He knew how to win friends and to influence people. He properly valued people more than material things because he knew as long as he had friends, he will have money to live. When he no longer had any friends, he will be in trouble.

            Many people did not act properly when they valued material things above people, the result is they lost both people and material things. For example, when an employer found a talent and good employee, he must pay him accordingly in order to keep him. If he didn’t do so, that employee will work for other company, and the employer will suffer because he cannot find such an employee. Many husbands lost their wives because they did not fairly value what their wives did for the family: caring for children, cooking, doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning...

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                 

            - The art of how to win friends and influence people is necessary for the proclaiming of the Good News and for having peace in family and community. We need to wisely and truthfully practice it.

            - We must use God’s grace and gifts to benefit ourselves and others in this life and the life to come.

          - We should never forget the three steps values and properly practice them as the following order: first, God; secondly, people; lastly, material things. If we turn these values upside down, we will have to pay dearly.Save

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Thursday - Thirty-first Week - OT1

Readings: Rom 14:7-12; Lk 15:1-10. 

 

Reading 1 (Rom 14:7-12): Brothers and sisters:
None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written:

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.
So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Gospel: (Lk 15:1-10)

 

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So Jesus addressed this parable to them.
"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
"Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep."
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.

"Or what woman having ten coins and losing one
would not light a lamp and sweep the house,
searching carefully until she finds it?
And when she does find it,
she calls together her friends and neighbors
and says to them,
"Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost."
In just the same way, I tell you,
there will be rejoicing among the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."


 

I. THEME: No one is an isle.

            Many people think they could independently live and rely on nobody. If they carefully think, they will see they can never do that. They cannot live without others and it is impossible for them to live without God. In God’s providence and His plan of salvation, everybody have a duty to help others and to work for the salvation of all.

            Today readings orient people’s heart to help and to build up, instead of to judge, to criticize and to condemn each other. In the first reading, St. Paul called people’s attention to their role and mission in God’s plan of salvation, because “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” In the Gospel, some scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus when he let tax collectors and sinners to listen to him and ate with them. Jesus clearly declared his intention: He came to call sinners and the heavenly hosts will joyfully celebrate because one of sinners repented.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Each of us shall give account of himself to God.

1.1/ If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord: The reason why St. Paul could say this verse was his concept of Christ’s Mystical Body. Each Christian, when was baptized, became a member of one Body which is the Church, with Christ is the head. If a member cannot be separated from a living body, a Christian cannot be separated from Christ’s Body. He can say that he doesn’t want to be in that Body; but it is not due to his intention that he is not belonged to it. If he realized his presence in Christ’ Body, he will try to build up His Body by improving himself and other members so that the whole Body will be healthy.

Since Christ had died and risen, he would no longer die again; so is a Christian. Though he will die in body, his body will be gloriously resurrected on the Last Day. Therefore, St. Paul could say these verses to the Romans: “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”  

1.2/ We should not judge others, but ourselves: If all are members of one Body, a member cannot esteem himself as the most important member so that he can criticize and judge other members. All members rely on each others to live together and to make the Body healthy and strong. Therefore, it is useless for a Christian to criticize and to judge others; it is better if he would use the time of criticizing others for judging himself, to find out what he can do to enlarge God’s kingdom and to make other members better. Moreover, the one who has a duty to judge is Christ, not our duty; he will judge and return to everyone according to the works they did on the Last Judgment Day.

2/ Gospel: There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

2.1/ The scribes and the Pharisees judged others instead of themselves: One of the main conflicts between Jesus and some of the scribes and the Pharisees is their hypocricy. They always looked for opportunities to put down Jesus, either of not washing hands before meals, or healing in the Sabbath, or in today’s passage, eating and drinking with sinners. The scribes and the Pharisees judged:

            (1) Others: They believed tax collectors and prostitutes are public sinners who will never be allowed to mix with the righteous and to be in God’s kingdom.

            (2) Jesus: They murmured: “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” To them, when Jesus had contacted these people, he made himself unclean. They had a reason to think as such because there is a Vietnamese proverb for teaching children: “near ink will be dark near light will be enlighten.” This concept, however, is true only for children or weak people; it is not true for Jesus and those who have a duty to educate others. Their mission is to change sinners and to strengthen the weak.

            In other passages, Jesus blamed them for their hypocrisy: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Mt 23:27). They should clean themselves before they can judge others. In today report, Jesus would like to orient them to God’s mercy and compassion for sinners.

2.2/ Jesus gave his audience three parables about God’s mercy, two are included today.

            (1) One lost sheep: The sheep which was lost is its fault because it did not follow the shepherd. The owner did not pay attention to its fault, but to search for it. He searched because it belonged to him, even he still had 99 other sheep. When he found it, he did not condemned nor scourged, but joyfully embraced it on his shoulder and organized a banquet. Same thing happened to Jesus, he came to look for lost sheep and to bring them into one herd, so that there would be one herd and one shepherd. Sinners are also God’s children, their souls are valuable to Him because He created them, and His Son’s blood has been poured out to redeem them.

            (2) One lost coin: The coin was lost due to the woman’s mishap. Many people felt to sins because of unlucky situations in life or of their weakness. The woman lighted up a lamb to search for it because it belonged to her, even she still had other nine coins. When she found it, she also celebrated with a banquet! Some people said: “She probably spent all nine coins to prepare for a banquet!” A parable paid attention only to one main point, other possible points might occur but it is not the author’s attention. Both parables were ended up with Jesus’ conclusion: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                     

            - We must frequently examine our conscience to recognize that we all are sinners before God. This will help us to avoid judging, criticizing and condemning others.

            - God loves sinners and is always ready to look for them. We must also forgive and help others to return to God.

            - Since God loved and forgave all our sins, we have no right to condemn others as the scribes and the Pharisees; but to find a way to bring others back to God.

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St. Martin de Porres, OP - November 3rd

Reading: Isa 58:6-11; Mt 11:25-30.

1/ Reading I: RSV Isaiah 58:6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

11 And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;

26 yes, Father, for such was thy gracious will.

27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


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

I. THEME: Who do you say that I am?

            There is a song which I learned from a leader of the Eucharistic Organization when I grew up, which has these words: “The black ant lies on a black stone, though it is night time the Lord still sees him.” I did not understand its meaning at that time. Later, someone applied these words to the life of St. Martin de Porres, I must agree it is perfect.

            - Martin’s life can be liken to the black ant: He is black, was born by a mixed parents: his father is a white Spaniard and his mother is a black Panamanian. His future is uncertain and dark as the night before the New Year, because his father decided to leave his mother and the two children to go back to Spain. Living in such gloomy situation, what is hopeful for a black orphan as Martin. Though Martin’s life is hopeless, the Lord still recognized him, and He has a wonderful plan for His black servant.

            - Martin had a good mother, Anna, who revered God. Even she lived as a widow and raised two fatherless children, she never complained God or blamed her husband. Instead, she worked hard to raise her children and taught them to revere God. Moreover, she also taught them to share what they had with the poor even though her family also financially suffered. According to one story, one time she became angry and slapped Martin twice in the face because she thought Martin had taken off some money for food to spend for himself. Later, she regretted when she had found out Martin used money for the poor.

            - When Martin came to a mature age, he joined the Dominican Order as a co-op brother. His humility and charity became good examples for people to imitate and to talk about. One time Martin asked his superior for permission to bring a miserable patient to his room to care for him. He let him to lie on his bed while he slept on the floor. When the convent ran out of money for living, Martin begged his superior to sell him as a slave to have money for the brethren to live. His superior was so touched that he embraced Martin and wept; but he could not sell the person who had that much love for the brethren.

            - Martin’s love was not limitted to human beings but also extended to animals. One story told he could speak to dogs, cats, and even mice. Since Martin fed mice so they multiplied through all areas of the convent and started to chew the brethren’s habits and clothes. The brethren complained and the superior demanded Martin must kill them either by traps or poison. After praying, Martin organized a meeting for all mice. He gave them a condition, if they want to be continually fed by him, they must promise that they would not chew the brethren’s habits; if not, death will be upon them. From that time on, there were no complain from the brethren.

            Today readings provide us more materials to meditate about St. Martin’s life, and at the same time, to draw out some practical decisions for our life. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah emphasized on the manner of fasting, it is not only to fast, but also to share what one has to the poor and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke. In the Gospel, Jesus praised his Father because He let him to reveal God’s wisdom to the simple ones.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: This is the fast that I choose: to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house.

1.1/ The fast that God likes: There are many things that we can do for people. The Church classifies them into two main categories: spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Each category has seven works.

            (1) Seven spiritual works of mercy: The prophet Isaiah declared the fast which God likes: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” The Church added more and made them easy to remember, they are:

  1. Instruct the uninformed
  2. Counsel the doubtful;
  3. Admonish sinners;
  4. Bear wrongs patiently;
  5. Forgive offenses willingly;
  6. Comfort the afflicted;
  7. Pray for the living, the sick and the dead.

            These seven spiritual works of mercy are hard to recognize and to do. All Christians have a duty to do them; but the priests, the religious brothers and sisters are those who specialized in these areas. When the faithful make a contribution to vocational funds, they are participating in the seven spiritual works of mercy, because Jesus has declared: “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward” (Mt 10:41). Many parents didn’t have time, knowledge, and ability to educate their children; but if they invest in the vocational funds, they are helping their children so that they will have good spiritual leaders to educate them in the future.

            Hungry for food is easy to recognize, but hungry for knowledge, virtues and love are not easy to identify. The results of spiritual hungry are more damaged to people than the results of corporal hungry, because they cause people not to know how to live their life on earth, and to loose track of their future destination. Jesus warned those who paid too much attention to their material things: “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

            (2) Seven corporal works of mercy: Isaiah declared the fast which God likes: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” The Church also added more as following:

  1. To feed the hungry
  2. To give drink to the thirsty.
  3. To shelter the homeless.
  4. To clothe the naked.
  5. To visit and ransom the captive, (prisoners).
  6. To visit the sick.
  7. To bury the dead.

            The life of St. Martin de Porres is the perfect examples of these seven corporal works of mercy: He gave food and drink to the poor; clothed the naked; cared for the sick; received the stranger into his room; volunteered to be sold as a slave to find money for his brethren; and buried the dead.

1.2/ The rewards for those who have mercy: According to Isaiah, those who helped the one in need will be protected, blessed, and enjoyed God’s glory; when they prayed they will be heard by God: “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

            Martin helped many people when he lived; but when he passed away, he even offered more helps for people, especially for the Vietnamese. Many times I pondered why a saint who lived in South America, became so closed and love our people in Vietnam. I think the correct answer might be because he had a special love for the poor and the oppressed as someone said: “If you have a sore eye, you will have compassion for the blind.” Because he had endured so many sufferings on his life, he had compassion with sufferings and pains of the Vietnamese. So many boat people had come to his shrines at the Dominican convents in Ho Nai and Saigon to ask for his protection before they escaped from the country in small boats. I myself also put his images before the cashier in our family stores and asked him to protect my brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces from bodily harms. I also told them to be charitable for those who are in needs.

2/ Gospel: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

2.1/ God’s wisdom is revealed to the simple: There is a huge difference between God’s wisdom and human wisdom.

            (1) Human wisdom is only for those who study much, are smart, and have opportunities to go to school.

            (2) God’s wisdom is only for the simple, the ones who completely rely on God; and hidden from the wise, as Jesus said to his Father: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;

yes, Father, for such was thy gracious will.”

           

2.2/ Jesus is the one who revealed God’s wisdom: When Jesus incarnated, his first duty is to reveal God’s mysteries, especially the mystery of the Incarnation. If Jesus had not revealed, no one could know these mysteries. He said: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Indeed, he revealed to all people, but not all could understand them. To understand these mysteries, people need to have faith and the humble hearts.

           

2.3/ The poor and the suffer are those who understand God’s wisdom: Jesus invited: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

            Therefore, it is no surprise that a gentle and humble man like St. Martin early recognized God’s wisdom. Martin had a special love for Jesus’ Cross. He was willing to suffer in order to share in Christ’s Passion and death. Martin felt God’s love for him through the Cross, and saw God in those who suffered; therefore, he was ready to sacrifice all to help them.

           

III. APPLICATIONS IN LIFE:                  

            - If life gives us a lemon, we can make a glass of lemonade. We should practice to always have a positive attitude in dealing with people.

            - We should not complain because were born under a bad star. There is no bad star. If we put completely our trust in God and let him to guide our life, we could also be a saint like St. Martin de Porres.

            - St. Martin was bestowed God’s wisdom to recognize the most important thing in life is the charity. We should love all people as God has loved us.

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All Souls - November 2nd

Readings: Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11; Jn 6:37-40.

1/ Reading 1 (Wis 3:1-9):

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
they shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

2/ Reading II (Rom 5:5-11):

KJV Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

 

3/ Gospel (Jn 6:37-40):

Jesus said to the crowds:
"Everything that the Father gives me will come to me,
and I will not reject anyone who comes to me,
because I came down from heaven not to do my own will
but the will of the one who sent me.
And this is the will of the one who sent me,
that I should not lose anything of what he gave me,
but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day."


Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, OP.

I. THEME: Face the death to learn how to live.

            It is not accidental the Church reminds all the faithful that November is the month of all souls, and invites us to meditate about the rapid passing of life and the death. Looking out of a window, we recognize right away the change of weather: green leaves have changed to yellow, some already felt from trees, been torn down by cars’ tires or flown away by wind. Entering a car which was bought new some years ago, now became old, was repaired so many times, and then it will be ended up in a cars’ junk yard.

            Looking into our own body, it used to be a young, firm, healthy, quick to move for some years ago; now was completely changed: black hairs turned to silver, skins to tortoise shell; the whole body must be warmed up every morning before it can stand up and move around; our health will be gradually decreased until a day, people will carry us to a cemetery. Is our life also such meaningless as leaves or a car? If not, what is the purpose of our life and how could we reach that purpose?           

            Today readings provide us many important things to meditate about. In the Gospel, the Son of God himself clearly revealed to us what is the purpose of life and how could we reach that goal end. The first reading showed us the fates of two lives: of the righteous and of the unbelief. The second reading explained the main point of Pauline theology: all people have sinned and deserved death; but out of God’s immense love, He gave people His Only Son to redeem us from sins. His blood took away death and purchase for us the eternal life.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Two different beliefs lead to two ways of life.

            Depending on what people believed, they will live according to it and must endure its result. People must know what do they live their life for, before they can decide how to live in order to reach that goal.

           

1.1/ The belief and the way of life of the righteous: They believe:

            (1) Death is not the end, but the beginning of the eternal life with God. This belief is based on Isaiah’s prophecy: “He (God) will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.He will swallow up death for ever” (Isa 25:7-8a).

            (2) Death is the end of human suffering and the beginning of eternal happiness: Isaiah continued: “The Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.It will be said on that day, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation”” (Isa 25:8b-9).

            (3) The meaning of all sufferings in our life is to show our faith and love for God: Since “having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.”

            (4) The reward of the righteous: “In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.”

            (5) The righteous’s way of life: If they shared their sufferings with God in this life they will also share His glory in the life to come. The author of the Book of Wisdom declared: “Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.”

1.2/ The belief and the way of life of the unbief: They believe:

            (1) Death is the end: To them, there is no resurrection, nor the etranal life. There is no need to pray for the death.

            (2) Death is the most painful of their life: Death ends everything. When death comes, they can no longer enjoy anything in life; therefore, must avoid death at all cost.

            (3) Sufferings of life is meaningless. They need to avoid all sufferings.

            (4) The reward of the unbelief: To them, there is no reward or punishment in the next life. All they have are in this life.

            (5) The belief and the way of life of the unbelief: How long they live in this life, they must find all possible ways to enjoy life and to be happy in this world.

2/ Reading II: Why are people not dead for ever?

 

2.1/ Everyone has sinned; therefore, all must be dead: The law which God gave to the Israelites can be liken as the two-edges knife. It can give life to people if they live according to the law, or if can lead people to death if they violate it, even only one time, as Moses said to them:

"See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Dt 30:15-19).

            But no one in this life can claim that he never commits any sin. Therefore, all must be dead because all have sinned against Him.

2.2/ Why are people not dead for ever?

            (1) God looks over people’s sins: The Jews and the Muslims believe this because they don’t believe Christ. Such faith, though highly esteems God’s mercy, but gravely despises God’s justice. Do God’s words through Moses have any true effect? Why doesn’t God forgive devils’ sins too?

            (2) God’s plan of salvation: To protect both God’s mercy and justice, one needs to believe in His plan of salvation. According to His plan, the followings must be happened:

            - Christ, the Son of God, agreed to die in the place of humankind: St. Paul explained this fact: “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man -- though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

            - Christ reconciled people with God: “Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

            - People can have the eternal life: When people believe in Jesus, they are justified by Christ; as a result, “now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

 

3/ Gospel: The only way to achieve the eternal life

            The most important revelations of God were revealed in five verses of today Gospel (Jn 6:35-40).

3.1/ Christ is the Bread of Life: Jesus said to them: " I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” The sacrament of the Eucharist is the divine food that gives life (zoê) to people when they still live in this life. John used the same word “life” (zoê) to indicate the divine life or the eternal life. Once people was tasted the Bread of Life, the eternal life belongs to them.

3.2/ The required condition to reach the eternal life: When people stand before Christ, they can have two attitudes; and depending on their attitudes, they will receive the eternal life or be destroyed forever.

            (1) Believe in Christ:There is no other places in Scripture that reveal clearly God’s will than today passage of John’s Gospel. Jesus repeated twice his Father’s will:

            - “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.”

            - “ For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

            (2) Don’t believe in Christ: “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” Whoever doesn’t believe in Christ when one faced him, that one cannot have the eternal life.

           

III. APPLICATIONS IN LIFE:                    

             - We must know for sure what do we live this life for, before we decide how to live our life. The purpose of life is to inherit the eternal life from God. In order to reach this goal, we must firmly believe in Christ and practice his teachings.

            - Practice what we believed. Don’t believe in one thing and live according to other things. The danger for those who want to enjoy both this life and the life to come, is that they could loose both.

            - What should we do for our beloved death? They are parts of our life; without them, we cannot be as we are now. We need to pray for them, especially through Mass’ intentions, and to do good deeds so that God could lessen their punishments.

            - To love the souls is to love ourselves, because when they finish their purification, they will joint with all the saints in heaven, and they will intercede for us when it is our time to be purified. We hope that we will see them again and live happily with them forever in heaven.

            - The Church is in communication: We have three different communities in the Church, they are: the glorious church in heaven which is all the saints; the suffering church in purgatory which is all the souls; and the fighting church on earth which is all living Christians. There are only two which can do good are the glorious and the fighting churches; the suffering church cannot do anything good, they completely rely on all the saints’ intercessions and our prayers.