Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Holy Week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKmdIdQg3Ks

I would like to introduce to you the love letter sent to you by God the Father. Please hit the site on You Tube to watch and to read.

 

Reading 1: (Isa 42:1-7)

 

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Gospel: (Jn 12:1-11)

 

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
"Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?"
He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, "Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came,
not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him.


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

I. THEME: The Suffering Servant carried out his mission to the end.

            We officially enter the Holy Week, the most solemn week of the liturgical year. This week’s readings completely concentrate on the person of Jesus, God’s Suffering Servant. We shall listen to all four songs of the Suffering Servant from the Book of Isaiah. The first song is read today; the second song shall be tomorrow; the third song shall be on Wednesday; and the fourth song shall be on Holy Friday. Each song tells us different aspects of the Suffering Servant; all four songs show us the totality of Jesus’ person and mission, God’s Suffering Servant. We can compare these four songs with what happened to him on last week of his life on earth, to know that all were arranged by God, revealed to people by the prophet Isaiah at least 500 years before Christ, and were fulfilled by Christ.

            In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah talked about the relationship between God and the Suffering Servant. His mission is to reveal God’s righteousness, and the ways he attains his goal are through humble services, loving all people and being loyal till the end. In the Gospel, Jesus straightforwardly criticized Judah Iscariot to protect Mary’s lovely act. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the Jews’ wicked plan when he raised Lazarus from death and had dinner with his sisters at Bethany.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The first song of God’s Suffering Servant

1.1/ The relationship between God and the Suffering Servant: This isn’t a normal people, but God’s selected one, as the prophet Isaiah described: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.”

            The prophet also gave a reason why God sent him is to protect God’s love: “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spreads out the earth with its crops, Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it.”

1.2/ The mission and the ways to carry out his mission:

            (1) The Suffering Servant’s mission is to reveal God’s righteousness to all people: “I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations,to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

            (2) His ways to carry out his mission: His ways are very different with human ways. Isaiah described his ways as followings:

            - Humility: “Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.”            - Love: “A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.”

            - Faithful till the end: “until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.” His mission are to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

2/ Gospel: Jesus criticized Judah Iscariot and defended Mary’s action.

2.1/ Two people with two contrasted attitudes:

            (1) Mary loved Jesus uncalculatedly: “Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” This was the second time Mary was reported as sitting at Jesus’ feet. The first time happened in Luke’s gospel; Mary was praised by Jesus because she chose a better part which is to listen to Jesus’ teaching. The way she expressed her love for Jesus this time was also different with people. This shows us that when people are in love, they are very creative in expressing of their love.

            She used “a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard;” which Judah estimated about three hundreds dennarii. Normally, the Jewish people only sprinkle a few drops of such costly perfume. She didn’t think about how much it costs because she must knew from Jesus that she shall no longer see him in this world. She might be the one who loved and understood  Jesus the most, beside the Blessed Virgin Mother, in his last week on earth.

            Hairs are precious to women and they take a good care of them daily. Mary used her hair to dry Jesus’ feet instead of using towels. This act shows how deep of her love she had for Jesus. Normally, a woman is discreet to show her love; but Mary courageously and publicly expressed her love for Jesus.

            (2) Judah Iscariot’s calculation and criticism: Witnessed of her action, one of Jesus’ apostles who was Judah Iscariot, voiced his displeasure: “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?” Judah was entrusted by Jesus and his apostles as the treasurer; if Mary wanted to help the poor, such amount of money is certainly in his hands. The evangelist John might knew his character, so he commented: “He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.” Since Judah wasn’t in love, he didn’t understand what love is. When a person compares love with money, such person doesn’t understand the value of love.

2.2/ Jesus and the high priests’ reactions:

            (1) Jesus’ reaction: He said to Judah: "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." Jesus knew his death is about to happen and he knew of Mary’s intention when she performed this act. Only the one who is in love understands the lover’s action; the outside can’t understand it. Jesus gave a valid reason to defend Mary’s action: people shall not have him for ever.

            (2) The high priests’ reaction: This event happened after the event in which Jesus raised Lazarus from death after three days in the tomb. St. John continued to report: “(The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.”

            The chief priests “plotted to kill Lazarus too,because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Like Jesus, who was given a mission by God in coming into this world, each of us was also given a mission. We should find a way to fulfill that mission until the end.

            - God’s ways are very different with human ways. To fulfill our mission, God demands us to humbly serve others, be faithful in love, and accept sufferings.

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