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Beloved: Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.
But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.
I. THEME: Contribution in the preaching of the Good News
If we look back to the history of the salvation, we can see the co-operation between God and man and between men with each other, in the proclamation of the Good News to all. God is the cause of all: He sent angels, prophets, and His only Son to bring the Good News to men. Besides the proclamation of the Good News, they also chose and trained their disciples to continue their mission. Everything like that keeps continuing to happen, from one generation to the next, until the Good News is spread over the whole world.
Today readings emphasize the duty of everyone in making contribution in the proclamation of the Good News. In the first reading, St. Paul advices Timothy, his disciple, must pay attention to three special things: to preach the true preaching of Jesus instead of the art of oratory; to live a simple life to have time for preaching instead of using time to hoard up material possession; to train for a virtual life to overcome all dangerous temptations from devils.
In the Gospel, after listening to Jesus’ teachings and witnessing his power of healings, the Twelve and the group of women followed Jesus on his mission. They sacrificed their career, family, time, money to contribute to the preaching of the Good News to all people.
1/ Reading I: Compete well for the faith to win the eternal life.
1.1/ Preach the Good News instead of chasing after the art of oratory: When Christianity was spread into the cultural world of Greek and Roma, Christians were often threaten by Greek’s philosophy and Roman oratory. St. Paul had individual experience about this, so he gave Timothy an importance advice: “Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.” Paul knows human wisdom is only as dirt comparing with God’s wisdom. Many human beings, due to their ignorance or pride, put human wisdom and teachings above God’s true teachings.
They are on the wrong way and must accept many results as they fall “into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction.”
1.2/ Let be content with having enough to eat instead of desiring to be rich.
(1) The purpose of life is to try to gain eternal life: When a Christian says our Lord’s Prayer, one prays to have enough daily bread. The rest of one’s time and power is to build up God’s kingdom and to accomplish God’s will on earth and in heaven. St. Paul teaches Timothy: “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.”
(2) The purpose of life is not to become rich: Many Christians pray one thing, but do other thing in their life. Jesus has warned many times: “It is hard for the rich to enter heaven.” Paul also warns Timothy: “Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” The covetous of money is not only influenced laity, but also on clergy, priests, and the Church.
1.3/ Let exercise to have a virtuous life: To terminate all sins that prevent Christians on the way to eternal life, Paul advices Timothy must pay a special attention to train and to exercise virtues: “But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
2/ Gospel: From all towns, people come to Jesus.
2.1/ Those who followed Jesus: When Jesus was on the way to preach the Good News and to heal the sick, there are two groups of people who accompanied him.
(1) The Twelve: is the group of twelve apostles. Jesus called and trained them so that they can replace him to continue to preach the Good News and to govern the Church.
(2) The group of women who had been healed by Jesus: Living in the time which the woman’s role is not esteemed yet, Jesus gives them an important role in the proclamation of the Good News. These women followed Jesus because they were healed by him, either in spiritual or in body. Today’s account lists them as follows:
+ Mary Magdalene who was set free from seven devils by Jesus. All four gospel accounts mention her name. She followed Jesus until he died on the cross, and is the first person to see Jesus from the death. She was also the one who brought the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection to the apostles.
+ Joanna: is the wife of Chuda, Herod’s treasure. She is only mentioned by Luke in today account and the resurrection account (Lk 24:10). She is rich, but knows how to use money to make a contribution in proclamation of the Good News by helping preachers.
+ Suzanna and many others: She is only mentioned in Luke. We don’t know many about her.
2.2/ They sacrificed and contributed in proclamation of Good News: They are not just followed Jesus, but they “provided for them out of their resources.”
+ When inherited many useful things from Jesus and the Good News, all have duty to contribute in the proclamation of the Good News, depending on the means God gave to them, it is not necessary that they have to become preachers. The apostles are educated by Jesus to become the preachers; many women contributed by providing meals and means for Jesus and his apostles, so they are healthy to fulfill their duty. Both of them share the reward of the preachers.
+ One shallow cannot make a spring; but if everyone contributes according to one’s mean and capacity, the Good News will be spread to everywhere.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must take faith to respond faith, and take love to respond love which God, Jesus Christ, and the people of the past had sown in us.
– We must remember our purpose of life is not to hoard up material gains; but to help others to have eternal life.
– If we receive grace, we must return favor. If we received faith and love without contributing to the proclamation of the Good News, we have to answer to God and to people on the Last Judgment Day.