Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time2

Tuesday of the 13 OT2

 

Readings: Amo 3:1-8, 4:11-12; Mt 8:23-27.

1/ Reading I: RSV Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt: 2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3 "Do two walk together, unless they have made an appointment? 4 Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing? 5 Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? 6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does evil befall a city, unless the LORD has done it? 7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?" RSV Amos 4:11 "I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me," says the LORD. 12 "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 8:23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, "Save, Lord; we are perishing." 26 And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"


I. THEME: Fear and peace

            If there is a fire, smoke will follow it; if there are fruits, they must come from a tree; if someone commits a crime, he must pay for it. The one who commits a crime is always worry; he fears that others shall discover his sin and he must endure the punishment. He shall never be at peace after he committed his sin.

            Today readings want to emphasize the fear resulting from sins and the peace when a person is free from sins and puts his trust completely in God. In the first reading, God sent the prophet Amos to the Israelites to reveal all their sins. He warned them that they must meet God to receive all punishments which God is going to rain upon them. In the Gospel, the disciples startled when they saw Jesus slept peacefully while the sea were roaring and their boat was going to sink. They feared even more after they woke him up and he commands the sea to be quiet and it obeys him.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”

1.1/ The Lord God talks to people through His prophets.

            (1) A prophet appears is for a reason: Verses 3-6 in today passage are the rhetorical and challenging questions. The prophet Amos wanted to remind the Israelites that God has a valid reason to interfere with their life. The prophet used familiar imageries to emphasize the relationship between the cause and the effect. Amos’ audience must give a “No!” answer for all of these questions. All things that happen in this world must have a reason for it: Before walking together, there must be an agreement. A lion only roars when he sees a prey or already caught it. A bird only falls on a trap when there is a snare in it. A trap only springs up from the ground when a snare felt in it. People only sound the trumpet when there is an emergency in their city. Above all, when people see evil befalling their city, they should know it is from God and due to their sins against Him.

            (2) A prophet must convey God’s message: The prophet Amos wanted to convince the Israelites that his interference also has a reason. The Lord God sent him to announce what are going to happen to them. The prophet’s duty is to say what God commands. He can’t do anything other than to do God’s will if he doesn’t want God’s anger to fall upon him.

1.2/ The punishments which the Israelites must receive because of their sins: Sodom and Gomorrha are the two cities which were burned by fire and brimstones from heaven due to their sins against God. This is recorded in the Book of Genesis, chapter 19. Their sins are many; but the most serious sin is the homosexual act. They wanted to commit this act even with the angels sent by God. The words “a brand plucked out of the burning” might imply the event which God tried to save them in the last minute. Even so, they didn’t recognize their sins and return to God.

            Amos’ sayings are God’s warning for the Israelites. They are going to face God’s anger if they don’t repent and return to God. God warned them, “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

2/ Gospel: “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?”

2.1/ Two reactions when facing the storm    

            (1) Jesus’ reaction: St. Matthew reported Jesus’ action as followed, “Behold! there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” Why could Jesus sleep when the waves were in such violence? It may be due to the following two reasons: First, Jesus fears nothing. Only a person who fears nothing may have such a true peace. Secondly, all worldly powers must be afraid of him. When the apostles awoke him, “He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

            (2) The apostles’ reaction: There is no fisherman who has no fear of storm because he believes a storm can take away his life at any time. The fishermen have a tradition to pray to God or the heaven before the fishing season to ask for the protection from all storms. If they asked for protection, they must believe in God or the heaven’s protection; but their fearful reaction when facing the storm show that they didn’t believe in God’s protection or their faith is weak as Jesus rebuked his apostles in today passage. The apostles often saw Jesus’ working of miracles which no human being can do it, and Jesus is being with them in the boat; they are still fearful of the storm!

2.2/ Faith is necessary for people to overcome all obstacles in their life: Jesus rebuked his disciples, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Faith can be liken as experience which a person has in his life. Both faith and experience need to be tested. The experienced shall not be easy to fall into fear as the one who has just be graduated with no experience. Similarly, the one who has a strong faith shall not fear of threatening and persecution from worldly powers; he is ready to accept even death to witness for the truth.

            When people has no fear of anything, even death, they begin to live and fully live. When people don’t fear of all worldly powers, the world must be fear of them. We can see this point in Christ’s disciples: Before Christ went up to heaven, his disciples were fearful when they faced the Sandherin and the Roman power; all of them ran away from Christ and Peter denied him three times. After the disciples saw Jesus rising from death, they have no fear of anyone. Why? Because they realized that wordly powers can take away their physical life, but Christ shall raise them up; no worldly power can touch their souls. Therefore, after they were strengthened by the Holy Spirit, they opened all doors to go into the world and to be witnesses for Christ. The Sandherin’s members were astonished when they see the apostles are no longer afraid of them. The apostles publicly argues with the Sanhedrin’s members and they couldn’t answer their questions. Instead of using their power to surpress them as before, they are afraid to surpress them. They feared the apostles, not because they have no power, but because they feared of people who are ready to stone them when they recognize their hypocrisity.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:

                    

            - There is a reason for everything that happens. Recognizing this reason helps us to solve the problem.

            - We must try our best to stay away from sins because sooner or later, we must face the consequences and receive God’s just punishments

            - Sins cause us to be fearful and take away our peace of mind. After we commit a sin, we should come to the sacrament of Reconciliation right away to confess our sins so we can recover peace for our mind.

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