Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time - St. Ignatio Loyola priest

Tuesday of the 17 OT2

 

Readings: Jer 14:17-22; Lk 10:38-42.

1/ First Reading: NAB Jeremiah 14:17 Speak to them this word: Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound. 18 If I walk out into the field, look! those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! those consumed by hunger. Even the prophet and the priest forage in a land they know not. 19 Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead. 20 We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you. 21 For your name's sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not. 22 Among the nations' idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.

2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 10:38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." 41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."

 

 

I. THEME: Each person must be responsible for his acts.

            There isn’t a human act which doesn’t cause results for that person, his family and society. Many times, people don’t think about results when they act; but if they can see future, they shall be afraid the results which their acts caused them. Therefore, before deciding to do anything, especially important decisions, we need to be wise and mature so that we don’t cause terrible results for ourselves, our family and community.

            Today readings want to show the damages caused by past actions. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah wanted to show a historical lesson. Since the Israelites disregarded the law and God’s words which were spoken by prophets, they must endure terrible results: they lost their homes and country, the temple Jerusalem was destroyed, many of their familial members were died and they were on exile. In the Gospel, Mary knew what Jesus prefers when he came to visit her family, so she sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teaching. When Martha, her older sister, complained to Jesus because Mary didn’t help her in the kitchen’s tasks, Jesus helped Martha to recognize that she didn’t understand God’s will, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Israelites recognized their sins when they suffered.

1.1/ We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead: Today passage supposed the war happened in the whole region of Judah as the prophet Isaiah and Micah had announced. The prophet Jeremiah is considered as the prophet of the exile. He witnessed all things that are fulfilled as God pronounced through the prophets. All of Judahites were compared by him as a virgin who was beaten up to death.

            They must face two terrible afflictions at the same time which were war and famine, as the prophet said, “If I walk out into the field, look! Those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! Those consumed by hunger.” When facing suffering, they recognized that God has truly forshaken them. Before, they didn’t think God shall given them up by let the enemies from the north destroy the temple Jerusalem, God’s sacred house where He dwelt in it. Now, all what the prophets had announced were fulfilled. What prophet Jeremiah said in today passage only reminded them of what had told them through the prophets’ mouth: “Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.”

1.2/ The Israelites recognized the truth.

            (1) They recognized their sins: Before, they thought God only threatened them; they didn’t think that they must bear the consequences of their wicked acts; now they experienced the results of sins and God’s words. They confessed their sins, “We recognize, O Lord, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you.”

            However, they still have a hope in what God promised through their forefathers and prophets. God shall save and protect them if they repent and return. Therefore, they called out to God: “For your name's sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not.”

            (2) They recognized God’s power: The prophet continued to report, “Among the nations' idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O Lord, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.” This verse supposed Judah had a famine. As in the prophet Elijah’s time, when the Israelites became rich because of good harvests; they didn’t think God blessed them by giving them rain for their crops. They gave credits for Baal and their own effort. To open the Israelites’ eyes, Elijah commanded to close the heaven’s doors for three years in which there were no rain nor dew. The results are: there were no harvests; their cattles died because there were no grass; people also died because of hungry and thirsty. Jeremiah also pronounced that when people were hungry and thirsty, they must open their eyes to recognize God’s power.

2/ Gospel: “Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

2.1/ Mary chose to sit beside Jesus’ feet to hear his teaching.

            Many of us also think like Martha, Mary her sister is lazy; she chose the easy way and let all works for Martha to do. But Mary’s choice is very wise and calculated as Jesus praised her, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” Some reasons which Mary could be based on to make her choice:

            (1) Mary clearly knew the priority of life: She knows that she must choose God above all thing as the first commandment teaches. This is obvious in principle, but not easy to follow in reality. Mary knew no one has the word of wisdom which brings life as Jesus; therefore, she delayed all other things to listen to what Jesus wants to reveal.

            (2) Mary knew how to take advantage of the opportunity when it came: Some people who are so busy to preach the Gospel as Jesus, isn’t easy to meet. Mary knew her chance to converse with Jesus is rare; if she doesn’t take advantage of it; there could be no other chance. We need to learn from her so that when God sends His preachers to meet us; we know how to arrange our time so we can listen to them. Do not suppose that we shall have another opportunity so we shall not be regretful later.

            (3) Mary knew hospitality isn’t only limited in serving but also in conversation: Mary saw her sister was so busy with serving; she chose to have conversation with Jesus. Many of us didn’t pay attention to this delicate aspect so we let our guest sit alone in the guest room while we are preparing food in the kitchen. Understand so, Mary’s decision is wise: she converses with Jesus while her sister is preparing food.

2.2/ Martha chose to cook for Jesus.

            When a precious guest like Jesus visits Martha’s house, it is the opportunity for the host to show her hospitality and talent of cooking. We aren’t surprise to see Martha who was so busy with serving to the point that she came to him and complain, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." To her surprise, the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." There are many lessons we can learn from Jesus’ answer:

            (1) Martha didn’t understand the priority of life: Jesus corrected her fault when he said, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” The food, even they are so good, shall pass away; but God’s words remain in people’s mind and shall enlighten them so they know how to live in order to have a happy life.

            (2) Martha didn’t pay attention to others’ need: She might think that only her work is matter and the conversation is useless! This is an error which many of us have. We should not make others to think like ours because each of us has different thinking and actions. We also don’t have enough knowledge to decide which work is the best, until that work is clearly declared by God.

            (3) Martha didn’t know how to arrange her time and tasks: She might not know in advance when Jesus comes because ancient people don’t have a habit of making appointment like us. Whatever happened, Martha should not pay attention too much to food because our guests come to visit, not to only eat! Our Vietnam families need to pay attention to this point so we shall not make too much food for guests. In most of the meals, our guests didn’t consume a half of our prepared food. The host must eat the leftovers or throw them away. In such cases, we unnecessarily wasted our food.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must be responsible for all of our human acts. We shouldn’t ignore any human act even though it is small.

            - A review of the history of humankind, family and individual shall help us to be careful in making our decisions. Don’t blindly make them because they shall come back and hurt us.

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