Daily Scripture Analysis

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Fifth Sunday - Year C - Ordinary Time

fishermen

Readings: Isa 6:1-2a, 3-8; I Cor 15:1-11; Lk 5:1-11.

1/ First Reading: NAB Isaiah 6:1 In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. 2 Seraphim were stationed above; 3 "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!" they cried one to the other. "All the earth is filled with his glory!" 4 At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 He touched my mouth with it. "See," he said, "now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!"

2/ Second Reading: NAB 1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. 2 Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; 4 that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; 5 that he appeared to Kephas, then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God (that is) with me. 11 Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

3/ Gospel: NAB Luke 5:1 While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." 5 Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." 6 When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." 9 For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, 10 and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." 11 When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.


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

I. THEME: God invites people to co-operate with Him in bringing salvation to all human beings.

            God is so powerful and wondrously controls everything. He can do all things, but wants to use people to bring salvation to all people. He calls people in different situations and gives them the mission to bring salvation to others by different ways. Those who are called must have a deep experience with God before they can respond to His invitation. They must feel God’s love for them, their imperfection, God’s holiness, the importance and urgency of the salvation.

            Today readings illustrated the callings of some people by God to cooperate with Him in bringing salvation to all men. In the first reading, God called Isaiah when he attended the holy liturgy in the temple of Jerusalem. When he saw God’s glory and holiness, he recognized his impurity; but the seraphim, God’s angel, purified his mouth by a glowing ember, taken from the altar before he could volunteer to be sent to the Israelites. In the second reading, Paul recited his apostolic vocation when Christ called and gave him the mission to preach the Gospel for the Gentiles. He was called when he was on the way to persecute the faithful in Damascus; Christ appeared to him after he was fell from his horse and blinded. Then, he sent him to Ananias who opened his eyes, trained and gave him the mission to preach the Gospel. Paul felt God’s love for him and his imperfection; he also knew that God’s grace filled up his imperfection and helped his mission to be successful. In the Gospel, Jesus prepared Peter’s mind by let him see how people were thirsting to hear the Gospel’s messages and the wonderful catching of fish. Peter felt that he is a sinner and asked Jesus to avoid him; but he called and trained him to be the fisher of human souls.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Isaiah’s prophetic vocation

           

1.1/ Isaiah’s background: He was a citizen of the Judahite kingdom, married and had at least two sons. He lived in a very difficult period of the nation. When king Uzziah died, it was the end of the glorious period of Judah and begins the difficult reigns of kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He witnessed the destruction of the Israel’s kingdom in the hands of the Assyrian king on 721 B.C., and the declining of religion and morality in both kings and people of Judah leading to the destruction of this kingdom into the hands of the Babylonian king later on (about 587 B.C.). Today passage reported a vision which happened in the temple and beginning Isaiah’s prophetic mission.

1.2/ Isaiah’s experience of God: God let him see His glory and holiness. Isaiah reported the vision as followed, “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. Seraphim were stationed above; "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!" they cried one to the other. "All the earth is filled with his glory!" At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.” The sign of smoking reminded him about God’s presence in the temple as the Israelites had experiences about the column of cloud during their forty years of wandering in the desert.

            When he recognized God’s holiness, he also recognized his impurity and exclaimed, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" The Jewish tradition believes that no one sees God and be alive. The Isaiah’s case is special because God sent His angel to purify his impurity as he reported, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. "See," he said, "now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged."

1.3/ Isaiah volunteered to be sent out: The environment which Isaiah witnessed is God’s palace with His angels. That is why He asked for their opinion: "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" He didn’t directly call Isaiah; but Isaiah was urged to respond. Isaiah said to God: "Here I am; send me!" The reason for this urge might be Isaiah’s witness of God’s glory and holiness or be purified by the seraphim. When people felt God’s love and goodness, they want to respond by proclaim this love for all people.

2/ Reading II: Christ chose Paul to be the apostle for the Gentiles.

2.1/ Paul’s background: He is a Pharisee and very ardent of protecting the law. He was born in Tarsus, Cicilia province and making tents for his living. He was on the way to persecute those who believed in Christ. The reason for his persecution is that he believed as many Jews do, only the Jews can be worthy of salvation by carefully keeping of the law which handed to him by his forefathers. He didn’t directly hear Jesus’ teachings, but through others’ accusation. He saw Jesus and his believers as the threat for Judaism’s faith.

            But the event of encountering Christ on the way to Damascus has changed Paul’s whole life. He was felt from his horse by a very strong light from heaven, became blind and heard the Christ’s voice which affirmed that “He is the one whom Paul was persecuting.” He also forewarned Paul: “It is hard for you to kick against the goad” (Act 26:14b). After that, he was sent to Ananias, Christ’s disciple, to be healed and to receive the mission of preaching the Gospel, especially for the Gentiles.

2.2/ Paul’s experience: When reflected on the falling event, Paul felt that he is unworthy of Christ’s love. First of all, he was Christ’s enemy because he was persecuting those who believe in him. Not only Christ didn’t kill him but also healed his physical and spiritual blindness. Christ let him know the truth about many God’s mysteries which he didn’t know before that event. Next, he granted him the priviledge to be his apostle. Paul confesed: “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Lastly, he gave him so many graces to fulfill his mission, as he declared: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God (that is) with me.”

2.3/ Paul carried out his apostolic mission: In Paul’s journey of preaching the Gospel, Paul met much opposition, both from the Jews and the faithful. The faithful couldn’t believe Paul, an ardent persecutor, to be a preacher of the Gospel. Some jealous leaders accused Paul of spreading the wrong faith because he didn’t belong to Christ’s apostles and therefore, couldn’t fathom Christ’s teaching. In today passage, Paul highlighted some important beliefs which all faithful must believe, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Kephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.” All witnessed that Christ died and resurrected. And Paul concluded, “Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

3/ Gospel: Jesus called Peter to be the fisher of human souls.

           

3.1/ Peter’s background: He was born and raised at Bethsaida and fishing on the Galilee. According to today passage, Jesus wanted him to witness two important things.

            (1) People are thirsting to hear the Good News: Since the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. He was getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. Sitting on the boat with Jesus, Peter witnessed how people were thirsting for Jesus’ words; but he never dreams that a fisher like him can become a preacher of the Gospel.

            (2) Jesus let Peter have a miraculous catch: After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." He might think with his experience of catching fish many years, he shall show Jesus’ command is useless; but Jesus showed Peter his divine power. When Peter had done this, “they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking.”

3.2/ Peter’s experience: Peter recognized his sinfulness and Jesus’ power. Jesus had power not only in preaching of the Gospel but also on the sea, which even an experienced fisherman like him worked all night long and caught nothing. Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."

3.3/ Peter gave up everything to follow Christ: Then, “Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” When Jesus called Peter to follow him, he wanted Peter to use his experience in catching fish to apply on the preaching of the Gospel. Fishing requires patience and a habit of waking up early. The fisherman must know at what time fish are looking for food and only catch them at that time. The conquering of human soul is similar, a preaching must know not only the Gospel’s content but also human psychology, and be patience to converse many stubborn people.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:           

            - All of us are invited by God to cooperate with Him in bringing salvation for ourselves and others.

            - We aren’t worthy of God’s love, invitation and salvation; but we shouldn’t be worry because God shall fill us up with His grace.

            - We should ardently respond to God’s call and try the best to fulfill His given mission. Difficulties shall certainly happen, but God’s grace shall help us to overcome all of them.

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Saturday - Fourth Week - OT2

Readings: 1 Kgs 3:4-13; Mk 6:30-34

 

Reading 1 (1 Kgs 3:4-13): 

Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there,
because that was the most renowned high place.
Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, "Ask something of me and I will give it to you."
Solomon answered:
"You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David,
because he behaved faithfully toward you,
with justice and an upright heart;
and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today, seating a son of his on his throne.
O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant,
king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?"

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.
So God said to him: "Because you have asked for this?
not for a long life for yourself,
nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies,
but for understanding so that you may know what is right?
I do as you requested.
I give you a heart so wise and understanding
that there has never been anyone like you up to now,
and after you there will come no one to equal you.
In addition, I give you what you have not asked for,
such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like."

Gospel (Mk 6:30-34): 

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
"Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.


 

I. THEME: The relationship between the shepherd and the sheep.             

            No one is an island; no body can live by himself. A person needs others’ help and he has an obligation to help others. For example, a baby can’t live by himself. Physically, he needs his parents to help him until he can feed himself. Intellectually, he needs to be guided by his parents and educated by his teachers so he can acquire necessary knowledge, reason, judge and make right decisions. Spiritually, he needs to be guided to recognize his Creator and to live his relationship with God.

            Today readings emphasize these relations, especially the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep. In the first reading, king Solomon asked God to give him only the wisdom so that he can govern his people in justice and love; because he knows if he has wisdom, he shall have everything. In the Gospel, even though Jesus would like his disciples to value silence to rest and to live their relationship with God; but he had compassion for people because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Give thy servant wisdom to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil.”

1.1/ A wise petition of king Solomon: The wise person is the one who knows God, himself and others. Solomon showed he was wise in making his petition even before he receives wisdom from God.

            (1) Solomon knew how to learn from previous generation: Educated by David, his father, Solomon certainly acquired many virtues from him, such as: to revere God, to trust Him, to live justly, and to care for people under his authority. However, Solomon also learned of his father’s sins and all terrible punishments had happened to him, his family and nation. These were results of not having a right judgment.

            God’s promise to Solomon, "Ask what I shall give you," is a dangerous promise; because if Solomon doesn’t ask a right thing, it will come and hurt him later. For examples, it is not wise to ask for richness because it can destroy one’s family or lead one to live far away from God. It is also not wise to ask for a long life when one’s body is sick and no longer functions well.

            (2) Solomon recognized his limit in governing his nation: A leader must be wise to lead and to show people a way. A blind people can’t lead others on the right way, as Jesus warned the Pharisees and the scribes: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39).

            King Solomon realized his limitation and recognized the importance of wisdom in governing his nation, so he prayed to God: “O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people; that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern thy great people?”

1.2/ God pleased with Solomon’s petition and granted it to him.

            (1) Solomon’s petition pleased God because he wasn’t concern of himself, but of the governing of His people. Therefore, God said to him: “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.”

            (2) To have wisdom is to possess all things: Solomon foresaw what the wisdom can help him to achieve. If he knows how to govern his nation, people’s life shall be improved; nation shall be at peace and prosperous; he shall be glorified and inherited people’s richness. In opposition, if he doesn’t know how to govern his people, people’s life shall be suffered; nation shall be divided and poor; he shall be blamed and replaced by someone better than him. Therefore, Solomon’s petition of wisdom is the key to solve all things. Solomon’s reign is considered the most glorious and properous reign of the Israel’s history.

2/ Gospel: "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while."

2.1/ An apostle needs tranquility to rest and to refresh: An apostle is easily to get high when he sees the results of his apostolic works and is praised by people. These shall lead him to try harder, even ready to sacrifice his time of eating and drinking, resting and recreating, to satisfy people’s need. However, Jesus wisely reminded them: "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." There are many reasons of this wise advise:

            - Human body has its own limitation: When people works hard and are tired, they need to be rested and recovered. If they don’t, they shall be burdened and their future works shall not be effective.

            - The apostolic works must be balanced by the prayer life: If an apostle doesn’t spend time to pray, he shall not have spiritual power to meet requirements of the apostolic life. St. Dominic wisely established the Dominican Order that balances these two dimensions: to do apostolic works in daytime and to communicate with God in night time.

2.2/ People are thirsting for the Gospel: Though Jesus and his disciples got on a boat to be away from people and rested for a while, but when Jesus got out of the boat, “he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” The need to care for people is always urgent because:

            (1) Sheep without a shepherd don’t know the way: The shepherd needs to show his people the way to God, the ultimate goal of their life. Without this goal, people are led astray and easy to be led into immoral activities of the devils and the world.

            (2) Sheep without a shepherd can’t find nutritious food: The shepherd needs to provide spiritual food for his people through God’s words, sacraments and a prayer life with God.

            (3) Sheep without a shepherd will be preys for wolves: The shepherd needs to early recognize signs of danger and traps to warn his people, such as: individualism, materialism, divorce, abortion, wrong understanding of freedom, etc.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We need to ask God for His wisdom so that we know how to live and to guide people under our responsibility to live according to God’s way and to avoid all dangers.

            - Our apostolic life must be balanced by our prayer life. An apostolic life without a prayer life shall be lost, and easily lead us to hopeless and desperation.

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Friday - Fourth Week - OT2

Readings: Sir 47:2-11; Mk 6:14-29. 

 

Reading 1 (Sir 47:2-11):

Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings,
so was David in Israel.
He made sport of lions as though they were kids,
and of bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he slew the giant
and wiped out the people's disgrace,
When his hand let fly the slingstone
that crushed the pride of Goliath.
Since he called upon the Most High God,
who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
and raise up the might of his people,
Therefore the women sang his praises,
and ascribed to him tens of thousands
and praised him when they blessed the Lord.
When he assumed the royal crown, he battled
and subdued the enemy on every side.
He destroyed the hostile Philistines
and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole being he loved his Maker
and daily had his praises sung;
He set singers before the altar and by their voices
he made sweet melodies,
He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year
So that when the Holy Name was praised,
before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
The LORD forgave him his sins
and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
and established his throne in Israel.

Gospel (Mk 6:14-29):

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
"John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
"It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


 

I. THEME: People need to be faithful to the truth.           

            To the people who have no faith in God, they don’t believe in the absolute truth. They think every truth is relative, it is only true in certain time or in a special occasion. To these people, they are ready to change their conception of truth for their success, convenience and benefit.

            To the people who firmly believe in God, they believe in the absolute truth because it is beyond people. No matter if people know it or not, it is still existed. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews gave us an example of the absolute truth: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings” (Heb 13:8-9). To these people, success in this life is just temporal, and isn’t a guarantee for a future success. Therefore, to reach the ultimate goal of life, people can’t live according to time or occasion; but to the truth.

            Today readings give us two different kinds of people according to their lifestyles. In the first reading, the author of Sirach gave us two exemplars, David and Solomon. Though they are sinners, they recognized the truth, repented and asked God for His forgiveness. God forgave their sins and continued to bless them. In the Gospel, Mark reported two opposite kinds of people. One kind, represented by king Herode, Herodia and Salome, didn’t want to live according to the truth; but to their pleasure, passion and others’ command. One kind, represented by John Baptist, always lived according to the truth at all costs, even to the point of accepting death.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: David sang praise with all his heart, and he loved his Maker.

1.1/ The closed relationship between God and David: For a relationship to develop, there must be both directions. We can see how the relationship between God and David was developed through time, trials and sufferings.

            (1) God blessed David: From the youth, God’s special love and protection were always with David. He saved him from lion’ mouth and bear’s claws when he was a shepherd. When king Saul couldn’t find anyone to fight against Goliath, a giant Philistine warrior, David volunteered to fight against him. God’s blessing helped him to kill Goliath with his sling and only one stone. Through the prophet Nathan, God selected him to be a king among his older brothers to succeed Saul. When David was on the throne, God helped him to wipe out his enemies on every side, and annihilated his adversaries the Philistines. With God’s help, David united the twelve tribes of the Israelites and reigned over them. David is considered the greatest king of Israel; and his reign, the most glorious one in Israel history.

            (2) David recognized God’s deeply love for him: David was very sensitive of God’s love and did everything he could to thank and to glorify God, as the author of Sirach described: “In all that he did he gave thanks to the Holy One, the Most High, with ascriptions of glory; he sang praise with all his heart, and he loved his Maker. He placed singers before the altar, to make sweet melody with their voices. He gave beauty to the feasts, and arranged their times throughout the year, while they praised God's holy name, and the sanctuary resounded from early morning.”

1.2/ David committed sins, but he repented and relied on God’s mercy: As a human being, David isn’t perfect. In a weak moment, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and she was pregnant. To avoid responsibility, David twice set up the opportunities for Bathsheba’s husband to be at home with her; but he refused to do so. Finally, David found a way to get rid of him by ordering a command to send Uriah to a hot battle without armies to back him up. Uriah was killed in that battle. Due to these two serious sins, God sent heavy punishments on him and his family: the deaths of his three sons; incest between brother and sister, between his son and his concubines; his son’s betrayal... But David didn’t commit blasphemy or loose his hope in God when he endured all these punishments. He only asked God to forgive his sins and to stop punishments on his family. These trials and sufferings helped him to recognize terrible results of sins and to confirm his love for God.

2/ Gospel: When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.

2.1/ Herode’s family: When one studies the background of Herode’s family, one can see the devil’s influence upon this family. Herode the Great had 5 wives (Cleopatra of Jerusalem, Doris, Mariamne of Hasmonean, Mariamne of Boethusian, and Malthake). He killed his three sons: Antipater, a son with Doris; Alexander and Aristobulus, by Mariamne of Hasmomean. Some jokely said, “it is safe to be Herode’s dog than to be his sons.” The incest happened when Herodias, Aristobulus’ daughter, married Philip, her uncle; and wanted to marry with Herode Antipas, Philip’s brother, as reported by Mark in today passage. Another incest happened when Salome, Herodias’ daughter wanted to marry Philip, Cleopatra’s son.

2.2/ Different lifestyles:

            (1) King Herode Antipas: was influenced by his father’s immoral and wicked life; he didn’t respect the truth. He had sent soldiers to seize John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." His wavering attitude to the truth was described by Mark: “When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.”

            An opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. When Herodias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." He vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer." And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." The king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. The king immediately sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head.

            (2) Herodia and Salome: lived and witnessed against the truth. Herodia was angry with John Baptist because he prevented her to marry Herode Antipas. She tried to find a way to get rid of him. When the opportunity came, she wasn’t hesitated and ordered Salome, her daughter, to ask for his head on a platter.

            (3) John Baptist: always lived and witnessed for the truth. He didn’t pay attention to material gains, fame or power; but he courageously lived a simple life and spent all of his time to fulfill his mission.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must learn and faithfully live according to the truth, because a wavering life shall not help us to reach our destiny.

            - We have to pay a dearly price to live according to the truth; but only the truth can set us free and give us joy. The truth will help us to unite with God and all His faithful.

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Thursday - Fourth Week - OT2

 

Readings: I Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12; Mk 6:7-13.

1/ First Reading: RSV 1 Kings 2:1 When David's time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, 3 and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, `If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.' 10 Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. 11 And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established.

2/ Gospel: RSV Mark 6:7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, "Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them." 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.


I. THEME: Obeying God’s teaching shall bring great results for people.

            In order for people to accept suffering, they need to have a clear goal to follow. For examples, a farmer is ready to accept working under sun and rain because he expects a harvest to come. Similarly, a student accepts to sacrifice his pleasure for studying day and night because he knows the day of his graduation and finding a good job shall follow.

            Today readings center on the ultimate goal of human beings. In the first reading, King David, after has going through all thick and thin of his life, wants to teach Solomon, his son, two most important things: to fear the Lord and to keep what He teaches. In the Gospel, Jesus called the Twelve and sent them out to preach the gospel. He commanded them not paying too much attention to material gains and worldly allurements so that they shall have more time to heal people and to preach the gospel.

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes.”

1.1/ People must fear the Lord and keep His commands.

            (1) Parents’ experience is the priceless inheritance: Vietnamese has an adage, “Unsalted fish easily goes bad and indocile children easily go wrong.” When parents teach this sentence, they used both their glorious and painful experience to transmit a precious lesson for children out of their love for them. When the faithful hear about King David’s life through last week’s readings, they recognized King David had too many experience, both glorious and painful, in his life. When the king lived according to God’s way, he harvested so many glorious results. When he lived according to his way and passion, countless painful results happened for his individual, familial and nation. Now, as he is going to depart from this world, he wants to transmit all of his experience to Solomon, his son. He hopes that his son shall not have to go through his sinful life; but always fear and obey God’s will.

            (2) False understandings about God’s and parents’ teachings: Many shallow people think that if they follow God’s or their parents’ teaching, they debase themselves or their freedom shall be limited; but experience teaches them that if they don’t, they shall have to pay a dearly price to learn their parents’ experience. God gives people the Ten Commandments because He loves and wants to protect them. The law is likened as a firm fence to protect people from outside dangers. If people go beyond this fence, suffering and death shall certainly happen to people. God’s law doesn’t limit people’s freedom; but protects and warns them from falling into the devil’s trap and being slaves for them.

1.2/ Obeying God’s command shall bring countless benefits for people.

            (1) Successes in everything people do: God is the only One who can see all the future. This is the reason why He commands people to do things to guarantee success and to avoid danger. If people obey God, they might be “prosper in all that they do and wherever they turn.” If they disobey God’s command and do their will, suffering and bad results shall certainly happen, as they happened to King David and all historical persons. Today passage ends up with the sentence, “So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established,” as the guarantee for Solomon if he obeys David, his father, and walks according to God’s way.

            (2) God’s promise shall never be ineffective: In the Old Testament, God made many covenants with our forefathers and He never violates any covenant. In His covenant with King David, He promises, “If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.” These covenants were violated from people’s side because they didn’t do what God commanded. Though people violated these covenants many times, God’s love still exceeds human sins; He always looks for opportunities to bring people back and for the covenants to be continued in effective.

2/ Gospel: Jesus sent the Twelve on their mission with two commands.

2.1/ The things which they can and can’t bring on their journey: Mark reported, “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 exist many interpretations of this command. The main concern of this command is that the apostles must use all of their time and efforts for the preaching of the Gospel, not too concern or depend on material living. Jesus invited them to believe in God’s providence because “workers are worthy of their reward.” God shall take care of their living through the love of those who are permeated with the Gospel’s values. Moreover, if they don’t carry with them heavy luggage, they are easy to travel everywhere they are sent. Lastly, the preaching without influence of material things is more effective.

2.2/ The preachers’ attitudes: Jesus said to his disciples, “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.”

            Similar to the above explanation, the apostle is sent out to preach the Gospel, not to find vainglory, power or material profits. If the apostle aims at the latter, he shall easily be discouraged and moves to places where he can find more profit. On the side of those whom the Gospel is preached to, they must open their heart to receive and to care for those who work for God, so that both the sowers and the harvesters are joyful in the harvest.

            The preachers’ main activities are: Firstly, to preach the Gospel and to lead people to repentance. Secondly, to liberate them from being slavery to the devil and sins and to live a holy life as the Gospel requires. Thirdly, to anoint the sick and to heal them from all sickness, body and soul.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

            - We have the ultimate goal to follow which is to live with God and all the faithful in heaven and forever. To attain this goal, we need to sacrifice and to accept all sufferings to preach and to live according to the gospel’s teachings. We can’t catch fish with both hands—to inherit eternal life with God in heaven and to enjoy this life to the fullest. Those who catch fish with both hands run the danger of losing everything.

            - God’s word is the light for us to see all dangers of life. We should never despise it so that we shall not fall into the devil’s temptations and become a slave for sins. The parents’ and others’ experiences are precious lessons for us to learn, so that we don’t have to pay to learn their painful experiences.

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The Presentation of the Lord - February 2nd

 

Readings: Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-32.

1/ First Reading: RSV Malachi 3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

2/ Second Reading: RSV Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. 16 For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

 

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 2:22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; 30 for mine eyes have seen thy salvation 31 which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."


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

I. THEME: Jesus came to the temple to meet his people.           

            The temple signifies God’s presence among His people. It begins with the Tabernacle when the Israelites were journeying forty years in the desert. After they settled down in the Promise Land, king Solomon built the First Temple in Jesusalem and moved the Ark into this temple so people could pray and offer their sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. When the First Temple was completely destroyed by Babylonians and people were on exile in 721 BC, God let Cyrus, the Persian king, set them free and came back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Second Temple, which was dedicated in 515 BC. When the Second Temple was agained demolished by the Roman armies in 70 AD, God’s presence was no longer limited at Jerusalem, but expanded to all churches in the world. Wherever there is a church, God’s presence is with people until the Last Day.

            Today readings emphasize God’s presence in the temple to welcome His people anytime they come to meet Him. In the first reading, the prophet Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, foresaw the Day that the Lord himself shall come to visit his people to purify them from all of their sins. A messenger shall come in advance to prepare a way for him. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews described the manner of God’s presence: He shall be incarnated in human form to live among people; they can see him in human flesh. He shall go through all human suffering so that he can have compassion, help and take away all of their sins. In the Gospel, the elder Simeon was the first people to see the Lord in human form when Joseph and Mary brought him to the temple to meet his people. Simeon asked God to take him away because he has seen the salvation with his eyes as foretold by prophets.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.”

            The Book of Malachi was written after the Exile, about 515-400 BC. Like other prophets, Malachi believed the reign of the Messiah is near: “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.”

            According to Malachi, a messenger shall come before the Messiah to prepare a way for him. When this messenger finishes his preparation, the Messiah shall come anytime.

1.1/ The messenger’s role: The Jewish tradition believes the Day when the Messiah comes shall be a terrible day for the wicked, but a hope for the remnant. The prophet Malachi foretold what shall happen in this day: “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap;he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.”

            The messenger’s two main duties in preparing a way for the Messiah are to refine and to purify people’s mind so that they shall be ready for the Messiah’s coming. Two material things are used by the messeger are fire of the refiner and detergent of the fuller. Fire is used to find out real gold and to purify them from unclean mixture. Detergent is used to wipe out all dirt in clothing. What the messenger needs to purify and to refine are human minds so they can be firmed in their feet on the Lord’s day.

            Malachi accused the priests of their sins because they were lazy and despised God in worship. This is why God didn’t accept their offerings; He shall choose the more purified offering (Mal 1:1-2:17). Therefore, the main people that Malachi aimed to correct are the Levites: “He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”

1.2/ The prophet Elijah was the Messiah’s messenger: Malachi continued to reveal about this messenger: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse"(Mal 4:5-6). Luke took Malachi’s prophecy and applied to John Baptist in his Benedictus: “And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared" (Lk 1:16-17).

            The duty of people to God must be in parallel with their duties to neighbors, especially to those who are in their family. When their vertical relationship to God is neglected, their horizontal relationship with others is also suffered. God’s messenger must pay attention to the reconciliation between human beings in their family and community.

2/ Reading II: Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect.

            When Christianity was spread in the Roman and Hellenistic cultures, two difficult questions that the Church must explain for them to understand are:

            (1) Why must Jesus be incarnated? To the Greek, God is purely spirit; there is absolutely no material in Him. To liberate themselves and to unite with God, people must try to set them free from their body, a prison that confines human soul, by some kind of a secret knowledge. The Christianity is completely on the opposite: Jesus must take human form to liberate people from sins because people couldn’t do as the Greek advertised.

            (2) Why must Jesus be suffered? The Greek and the Jews don’t believe God must suffer; only people must endure suffering. To them, a God who suffers is no longer God. They reasoned: If God doesn’t have power to overcome suffering, how can He help people to overcome their suffering? Christianity is also opposed their belief in saying: Salvation can’t be achieved if Christ didn’t go through his Passion and die on the cross. The author of the Hebrews answers these two questions as follows:

2.1/ Jesus must be incarnated to take a human form: To destroy sins and death, Jesus must have a human body to die and to compensate for human sins; without a body, how can he die? The author reasoned: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham.” Jesus didn’t remain in death, he resurrected in glory and became the first fruit of all who were resurrected from their death. He is the forerunner who went first to open the way for his brothers and sisters to follow him on that way.

2.2/ Jesus must become a man in all respects: The author recognized the necessary of Jesus’ completely becoming a human being except sin: “Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.” The purposes of Jesus’ complete becoming a man are:

            (1) He can be really regarded as a man: To be a man is to suffer and to die.

            (2) He can understand and have compassion with human fate: If a person doesn’t go through suffering and death, he shall not completely understand and have compassion for those who are in that situation.

            (3) He can effectively help those who are in such situation: “For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.”

            In short, God has authority in both life and death. He can let His Son to be incarnated, suffered, died and resurrected; nothing is impossible to God. The one thing we need to always remind ourselves is that: Let us never apply human way of thinking to God.

 

3/ Gospel: The examples of those who lived according to God’s way.

3.1/ The Holy Family kept God’s Law: Jerusalem temple is the center place of the Israelites. The Holy Family, though they were poor, kept the Law by fulfilling their obligation. So, when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

3.2/ Simeon believed in God’s promise and the Holy Spirit’s guidance: The reasons why Simeon was one of the first persons to encounter Jesus are because he frequently visited the temple and strongly desired to inherit God’s salvation. Mark described his characters as follows:

            (1) Simeon was righteous and devout. He was looking for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Inspired by the Spirit, he came into the temple to encounter the Lord.

            (2) When Jesus’ parents brought him in the temple to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Churches are places where people encounter God to pray, to be guided, and to receive necessary blessings for human life.

            - We need to prepare for our mind every time when we come to churches to meet God. If we come to there with an unprepared mind, hurry and disrespect, we can not encounter God and receive His blessings. 

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Tuesday - Fourth Week - OT2

 

Readings: 2 Sam 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30 - 19:3; Mk 5:21-43.

1/ First Reading: RSV 2 Samuel 18:9 And Absalom chanced to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding upon his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak." 14 Joab said, "I will not waste time like this with you." And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. 24 Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 And the watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, "If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth." And he came apace, and drew near. 30 And the king said, "Turn aside, and stand here." So he turned aside, and stood still. 31 And behold, the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, "Good tidings for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the power of all who rose up against you." 32 The king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be like that young man." 33 And the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" 19:1 It was told Joab, "Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom." 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people; for the people heard that day, "The king is grieving for his son." 3 And the people stole into the city that day as people steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle.

2/ Gospel: RSV Mark 5:21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and besought him, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." 24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." 29 And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched my garments?" 31 And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, `Who touched me?'" 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." 35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" 36 But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe." 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi"; which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." 42 And immediately the girl got up and walked (she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.


 

I. THEME: The power of faith

            People are very practical and realistic, in order for them to pay attention to or to do something, that thing must benefit them in some ways. Similarly in the area of faith, many people don’t pay attention to it because they think that faith doesn’t do anything for them. Today readings show people some important dimensions of faith; however, there are much more important dimensions than that, as someone correctly said: “People can’t live without faith.”

            In the first reading, although king David has lost his third children and endured many sufferings through God’s providence, he still trusted in God and didn’t commit blasphemy against Him; because he knew all these sufferings were God’s punishments for his two serious sins. In the Gospel, St. Mark reported two miracles due to people’s faith in Jesus: First, a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years. She thought: "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." She approached Jesus from behind and touched his cloak, and immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Secondly, the daughter of Jairus, the head of a synagogue, was sick to the point of death. Jairus came to Jesus and begged him to come to his house to heal his daughter. Jesus came and made her alive.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

1.1/ Absalom was killed by Joab, David’s commander-in chief: Under human eyes, Absalom was a bat hieu and betrayed son. He committed murder when he killed Amnon, his half brother, because Amnon raped Tamar, his sister. He also committed incest when he had relations with his father’s concubines during the day and in front of many people. He committed betrayed because he devised a plan to kill his father and to take his throne. He was on the way to chase after David’s armies and was caught by a tree, and hung up between that tree and the ground.

            When a David’s soldier saw him, he ran to Joab, David’s commander-in chief. Joab took three darts in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. Joab thought he did for king David a big favor because Absalom shall no longer cause any more trouble for him. He sent his soldier to announce the good new for David and thought David shall be joyful to hear it.

1.2/ King David wept for Absalom, his son: There was only two persons who knew the reason of all troubles caused by Absalom were David and the prophet Nathan. King David knew the reason of Absalom’s death is his sins. Therefore, when he heard the new of Absalom’s death; instead of being joyful as Joab and soldiers thought, he was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. As he went, he cried out, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

            So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people; for the people heard: "The king is grieving for his son."      

            This is the third son king David has lost due to his sins: the first is Bathsheba’s son; the second is Amnon; and the third is Absalom. Though David was severely punished by God, he didn’t complain any word against him; for he thought he was deserved all these sufferings. He wanted to die in the place of his sons because he was the one that committed sins; but God has a plan and David must obey it. If David didn’t have a strong faith in God, how could he overcome these sufferings and still believe in God?

2/ Gospel: "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

2.1/ The ruler of a synagogue asked Jesus to come to his house and to heal his daughter: The title, “the ruler of a synagogue,” told his authority and honor. Through many conflicts between Jesus and the Jews, he can be the person that avoids or has confliction with Jesus. In opposition, according to today’s report, he fell at his feet, and besought him, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." When Jesus saw his sincere expression of faith, he agreed to go to his house, and a great crowd followed him.

2.2/ Faith can heal a terminate disease: When Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house, an other miracle was happened. “There was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well."” She did so, and immediately her hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

            There were only two persons who knew what have happened are Jesus and the woman. Jesus’ disciples couldn’t understand why Jesus said “Who touched me?” They said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say that?" Jesus knew what he was doing, and he looked around to see who had done it. At that moment, the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."

2.3/ Faith helped Jairus daughter to live again: While Jesus was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" Ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe."

            There are at least three times in the Gospel, the evangelists reported Jesus resurrected the death: in today report; the son of the widow in Nain (Lk 7:11), and Lazarus (Jn 11). People who witnessed these miracles were in great amazement; because they never saw anything like them before. In Lazarus’ resurrection, Jesus emphasized the necessary of faith to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25-26).

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Faith helps us to be faithful to God in this life on earth. Without the faith, we can easily fall to desperation when we face great sufferings of our life.

            - Sins cause many terrible results for individual, family and society. We should learn what happened to David, his family and the nation, to resist sins and to avoid temptations.

            - Faith helps us to live. If we have a strong faith in God, nothing in this life can prevent us to come to God. Death is just temporal; once we overcome that, we shall live with for ever.