Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time2

Thursday of the 17 OT2

 

Readings: Jer 18:1-6; Mt 13:47-52

1/ First Reading: NAB Jeremiah 18:1 This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you my message. 3 I went down to the potter's house and there he was, working at the wheel. 4 Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

2/ Gospel: NAB Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. 48 When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. 49 Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 51 "Do you understand all these things?" They answered, "Yes." 52 And he replied, "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old."

I. THEME: We need to know ourselves in the relationship with God.

            The more people become rich and advanced, the more people live far away from God; on the contrary, in the poor and less developed country, people are easier to believe in God. For example, the pope Benedict XVI more than one time warned the European countries are gradually lost their faith and Christian inheritance; while in the Asian and African countries, the number of the believers and the priests increases very much. What is the reason for people to live far away from God when they become rich and more advanced? Is it meant when people become rich and advanced, God is no longer important in people’s life?

            Today readings give us a true understanding about this problem. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah was revealed God’s providential wisdom when he witnessed a potter’s working. With clay in his hands, he can make different objects. If he didn’t please with any object, he could redo as he wants. Similarly to God, people are like clay in His hand, He could make them as anyone according to His will. In the Gospel, Jesus gave his audience two images and invited them to think. First, as a fisherman who threw his net into the sea and caught many good and bad fish, he selected good fish and put into a container and threw out all bad ones; the God’s angels shall also gather all people on the Last Day, they shall let the righteous enter into the kingdom of heaven while cast out all the evil ones. Secondly, as the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old; the kingdom of heaven includes both new and old things, not only the old ones.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.”

            God’s revelation to people isn’t only confined in words, but also by images because it helps people to easier recognize. The visions which prophets see aren’t necessary from heaven, but also from their daily experience. God gives His grace of inspiration for prophets so they could understand the deep truth behind what they see before they explain them to people.

1.1/ The image of clay in the potter’s hands: Today passage wanted to say that clay is only material. It can’t demand the potter to make it a vase instead of a pot. The creative mind is in the potter, he could make any object that he wants. When he incorrectly makes a thing, he could redo it or throw it away. Clay has no power over the potter.

            The wheel (obnayim) is only found here in the Old Testament; it is two pieces of round stones which is connected together by a vertical pole. The lower stone is controlled by feet while the upper stone is controlled by hands (Sir 38:29-30). The vase can be incorrect by many reasons but the main reason is because it doesn’t follow the potter’s will. When the potter isn’t please with it, he could correct it or start anew or make another object. This is the main idea of Jeremiah’s vision.

1.2/ The house of Israel is in God’s hand: The passage would like to say that God is the potter, the house of Israel is like clay in His hand. God can create “yasar” or make different people. The idea of people as clay was very popular in the Ancient Near East, and its origin is related to the potter.

            The main idea of the passage is that people completely depend on God for their existence. God can make them to be the most perfect and beautiful creature, as the potter makes a beautiful and perfect vase. A vase can’t say to the potter that it is by myself that I becomes this perfect vase. As clay can’t command the potter to make it as what it wants to be or not to be, people can’t ask God to create them as they want to be or not to be. They can’t become what God doesn’t want them to be.

            In reality, when people have everything they want or they become more advanced, they tend to be prideful, they consider that all they possess as they themselves make them. Because they forgot their origin, they consider them as the owner and do whatever they want. They disregard God’s commandments and treat them as something that limit their freedom.

2/ Gospel: The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.

2.1/ “The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

            Jesus used the image of a fisherman who sit and select fish to remind people this truth, no fisherman is unwise to put both good and bad fish together. In reverse, he shall select good fish and put them into a container and throw bad fish out. Similarly, on the Last Day, God shall send out His angels to gather all of them, they shall let the righteous enter the kingdom of heaven and throw the wicked into a fiery furnace, they will be wailing and grinding of teeth. If people know that they can’t enter heaven if they are full of sins, they must repent, return and practice to be better persons.

2.2/ “The kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old."

            Jesus used the image of the scribe after he was fluently learned about the kingdom of heaven. He was like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old. Jesus wanted to show people that the kingdom of heaven isn’t contained only the old, nor only the new; but both the old and the new. This can be applied to Jesus because he taught us both the old and the new teaching, both the Old and the New Testament. He came to fulfill what the Old Testament mentioned about him and to clarify what are still obscured in the Old Testament.

            A very danger attitude of the modern people is to discard the old and to keep only the new. These people think that they must get rid of all the old or at least to re-examine all past beliefs and to start anew. They forget that not all the old are bad and not all the new are good; the new aren’t certainly better than the old and many times, the new are the perfection of the old. The advancement of science shouldn’t make people to live far away from God; but must be the reason for men to get closer to God because He gives people wisdom to discover orders which He hides them in the universe.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We are created and controlled by God. We should never be prideful to consider ourselves to be better than God or have no need of Him. In opposition, we must be humble to recognize that we are only His creature and can’t live without Him.

            - We shall die and be judged on the Last Day. That Day isn’t a product of human imagination but Jesus himself revealed to us. In this Day, we must answer to God all what we did when we lived in the world. We can enter into heaven or be casted outside is depend on our acts.

            - Because of these truths, we must live wisely when we are living in the world. We must carefully observe God’s law. The more we are advanced, the more we must strictly keep God’s law. We shouldn’t live as people who have no origin and also as people who have no future.

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