Thursday of the 1 OT1
Readings: Heb 3:7-14; Mk 1:40-45.
1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the holy Spirit says: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice, 8 ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works 10 for forty years. Because of this I was provoked with that generation and I said, “They have always been of erring heart, and they do not know my ways.” 11 As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest.”‘” 12 Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. 13 Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. 14 We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 1:40 A leper came to him (and kneeling down) begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” 42 The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. 43 Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. 44 Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” 45 The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: One must endure bad results for disobeying God’s command.
In life, we recognize the principle: If we want a good result, we must do all requirements; if we don’t, we shall get a bad result. For examples, to recover health, people must do things which their doctor prescribed; if they don’t, their health shall not be recovered. To have knowledge and a good mark, a student must carefully listen to his professor to answer what he shall ask; if he doesn’t, he shall be failed.
Today readings center around the theme that people must obey God and do what He commands if they want to be cared for and blessed by God. To do against what God commands is to get bad results for themselves. In the first reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews used the examples of the two leaders, Moses and Aaron, to teach people to obey God and to believe in Christ. In the Gospel, though was rebuked by Christ, the leper still didn’t obey him. His disobedience prevented Christ to enter the town to teach people.
1/ Reading I: “They shall not enter into my rest.”
1.1/ “They have always been of erring heart, and they do not know my ways.”
(1) The events that happened at Meribah and Massah (Psa 95:7-11): When the Israelites didn’t have water to drink in desert, they complained with Moses and Aaron two times. The first time at Marah (Exo 15:23) because the water there was so bitter that they couldn’t drink. God instructed Moses to take an wood and to throw into the water, it became sweet and drinkable. The second time happened at Meribah (Exo 17:1-7, Num 20:1-13), people complained again to Moses and Aaron because they didn’t have water to drink. God commanded Moses and Aaron: “Take the staff and assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron, and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters. From the rock you shall bring forth water for the community and their livestock to drink.” So Moses took the staff from its place before the Lord, as he was ordered. He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock, where he said to them, “Listen to me, you rebels! Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?” Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out in abundance for the community and their livestock to drink” (Num 20:8-11).
If we compare what God commanded with what Moses did, we shall see that Moses didn’t do exactly what God commanded him. God said to him “you shall order the rock;” but Moses took his staff and striked the rock, not once but twice. Therefore, this is the eternal lesson for the Israelites and us: Whatever God commands, we must do exactly like it. The author of Psalm 95 reminded people this event so that they know the importance of the obedience to God, “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert. There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works. Forty years I loathed that generation; I said: “This people’s heart goes astray; they do not know my ways”” (Psa 95:7b-11).
(2) The result of their disobedience: Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you were not faithful to me in showing forth my sanctity before the Israelites, you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites contended against the Lord, and where he revealed his sanctity among them” (Num 20:12-13). Moses and Aaron, though they did many good things in leading the Israelites out of Egypt and their forty years journey in the desert, weren’t permitted to lead them into the Promise Land due to their disobedience at Meribah. God let Moses see the Promise Land from Mt. Nebo and died (Jos 1:1-2), and chose Joshua to lead the Israelites into it. The author of Psalm 95 also repeated this result: “Therefore I swore in my anger: “They shall never enter my rest.””
1.2/ Do not forsake your faith in God:
(1) Do not forsake Christ: After the author used the example of the Old Testament to show the importance of obeying God, he applied this in the New Testament. Since God sent Christ to teach and to bring salvation for people, all the people should believe in him and do what he taught. He wrote, “Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.”
(2) The result of denying Christ: is to leave the living God. According to most of the New Testament authors, the condition to inherit salvation is to believe in Christ. Whoever doesn’t believe in Christ, shall not have the eternal life; therefore, shall never be lived with God.
2/ Gospel: The leper was healed but didn’t obey Jesus.
2.1/ Jesus healed the leper: A leper came to him (and kneeling down) begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
2.2/ Jesus’ command: Warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”” The reason why Jesus healed him are because he had compassion for him and wanted him to recognize he is from God, not to become well-known. If after receiving or witnessing a miracle, people still don’t believe in him, the miracle is regarded as it doesn’t reach its goal.
2.3/ The leper disobeyed Jesus: Mark reported, “The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.” We imagine that if Jesus is a worldly king or a military leader, what shall happen for this leper?
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must absolutely obey God and do what He commands us.
– To obey God and all good leaders isn’t weak or slavery, but shows our wisdom because we know that they have more wisdom and love us.