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Friday – Ninth Week – OT2
You have followed my teaching, way of life,
purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions,
and sufferings, such as happened to me
in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra,
persecutions that I endured.
Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me.
In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted.
But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse,
deceivers and deceived.
But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching,
for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness,
so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.
As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said,
“How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David?
David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said:
The Lord said to my lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet.’
David himself calls him ‘lord’;
so how is he his son?”
The great crowd heard this with delight.
Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: Scripture helps people to attain salvation.
Today readings highlight the role of Scripture in human life. In the first reading, St. Paul explained for Timothy about the important role of Scripture for the preaching the Good News to attain salvation. In the Gospel, Jesus corrected the scribes’ misunderstanding of the title “the son of David.” This title isn’t enough to express Jesus’ origin and power.
1/ Reading I: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching.
1.1/ The necessary preparations for a preacher: St. Paul recalled what he trained and set good examples for Timothy, his beloved disciple.
(1) About the doctrines: The first and most important preparation is the doctrines. A preacher can’t preach the Good News if he doesn’t correctly understand Christ’s teaching. It is more dangerous for people when a preacher preaches wrong doctrines. Next is a practical training, it is necessary for a preacher not only to know Christ’s teaching but also to practice them. The most efficient preaching requires “words in parallel with actions.” Lastly, a preacher must clearly know the goal. Nothing causes more damages for people than a preacher who doesn’t know the goal of his actions. He does many things, but doesn’t know why he does them for!
(2) About the virtues: St. Paul only reminded Timothy of the most important virtues. Faith is necessary for believing in Christ and his teachings. Love or charity is the virtue which can’t be lacking in the Christian’s life. Hope is expressed through two virtues: patient for training and perseverance for overcoming all trials of one’s life.
(3) About the sufferings: Paul reminded Timothy of his sufferings and God’s protection in his life of preaching. He mentioned only the three events:
– Antioch in Pisidia: When the Jews saw Paul and Barnabas’ success in their preaching, they incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory (Acts 13:50).
– Iconium: When Paul knew that some Jews and Gentiles plotted a plan to stone him, he left there and fled to Derbe and Lystra (Acts 14:5-6).
– Lystra: After Paul healed a paralytic from birth, people thought that Paul and Barnabas were gods so the priests brought offerings to worship them. But some of the Jews from Antioch and Iconium came again and incited people to stone Paul to death. Thinking of Paul had been died, they threw his body out of their city; but when his disciples came, Paul rose up and went to Derbe with them (Acts 14:19).
1.2/ The important role of Scripture: Paul wanted to highlight the important role of Scripture for all people, especially for preachers.
(1) Scripture teaches people to understand God’s wisdom: Scripture reveals to people God’s mysteries, and there is none of human wisdom which can be compared with God’s wisdom. To know God’s wisdom is to know all worldly wisdom and its deception.
(2) Scripture helps people to believe in Christ and to inherit salvation: God’s words prepares people to put their faith in Christ; and when they profess their faith, they shall receive God’s salvation.
(3) Scripture is the educational instrument: To be perfect as God, human being can’t be lacking of Scripture because it helps people:
– in teaching: Scripture helps people to know the ultimate goal of their life, the right things to do and the wrong things to be avoided.
– in correcting and in judging: When people recognize the truth, they also recognize the falsity. People can use the truth to oppose or to condemn the falsity.
– in training to become the righteous: Scripture helps people to train for virtues and to follow the right path.
With all these helps, the people of God can be perfect and equipped to do all good deeds.
2/ Gospel: What is the correct meaning of the title “son of David?”
2.1/ The different meanings of this title: The Jews didn’t have many adjectives to describe qualities of a people or a thing, they used a verb at past participle and the reader must make a difference. There are at least three meanings of the word “son” according to Jewish tradition:
(1) A son: who was born by a parent. For example, Solomon is David’s son.
(2) A descendant: For example, when the angel said to Joseph: “Son of David! Do not be hesitated to receive Mary as your wife” (Mt 1:20). According to Matthews’ genealogy, Christ was also called “son of David” according to this sense.
(3) A symbolism: “Son” can be used to indicate the person’s virtue. For examples, Bar-nabas, means “son of consolation.” Son of Belial means a “useless person.”
2.2/ The title “Son of David” isn’t enough to descibe Jesus Christ: When hearing “son of David,” it requires a reader to think in what sense. Jesus belongs to David’s descendants according only to human standard. According to God’s standard, David is his son. In today passage, Jesus used Psalm 110 to explain that the title “son of David” isn’t enough to describe him.
(1) According to power: David himself, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, said: “The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.” David himself calls him ‘lord’; so how is he his son?”
(2) According to origin: Jesus existed before king David because he always exists. John the Baptist explained Christ as follows: “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me’” (Jn 1:15, 27).
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Scripture can’t be lacking in human life. We need to spend time to study so we can understand it before we can preach and educate others.
– Scripture isn’t easy to be understood. To correctly understand, we need time to study all of its Books before we can connect God’s mysteries and avoid falsehood.