Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus – January 26th
Readings: 2 Tim 1:1-8; Mk 3:31-35
Reading 1 (2 Tm 1:1-8)
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God,
whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did,
as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears,
so that I may be filled with joy,
as I recall your sincere faith
that first lived in your grandmother Lois
and in your mother Eunice
and that I am confident lives also in you.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
Gospel (Mk 3:31-35)
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
I. THEME: What God said or promised shall be achieved.
There exists a huge difference between God’s words and human words. What God said or promised are always true and shall be achieved while what human said aren’t always true and seldom be achieved. This is not a surprise because not only God’s wisdom is much higher than human wisdom, but also His power to achieve what He promises is much greater than human power. Because of this, people need to learn God’s words and to trust in His promises.
Today readings concentrate on God’s truth and promise. In the first reading, God promised to David that He shall build for him a house that lasts forever. This promise was fulfilled when Christ incarnated and born in David’s lineage, and became the eternal king to govern people for ever. In the Gospel, Mark listed out several Jesus’ sayings about light, truth, the relationship between giving and receiving, and the necessary of constantly improving.
1/ Reading I: Bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee.
1.1/ David thought about God’s promise: The author wrote the following passage: “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in thy eyes, O Lord God; thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast shown me future generations, O Lord God! And thou didst establish for thyself thy people Israel to be thy people for ever; and thou, O Lord, didst become their God.”
The RSV translation isn’t according to LXT and MT when translated: “Thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast shown me future generations.”
What David was thinking is that God promises to give his house a future that lasts forever, not only is terminated with his death: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever” (2 Sam 7:16). The Jewish tradition didn’t have a clear understanding about the next life and the eternal life as we have; they understood that life is only limitted to the life on earth, once people died, their life are also ended.
1.2/ David prayed for what God has promised shall be achieved: The content of the passage, 2 Sam 7:24-29, showed what we said above is true. The key word “for ever” was repeated five times in verses 24, 25, 26, and 29. Even the content of verses 27 and 28 was also implied God’s “for ever” promise.
24 And thou didst establish for thyself thy people Israel to be thy people for ever; and thou, O Lord, didst become their God. 25 And now, O Lord God, confirm for ever the word which thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house, and do as thou hast spoken; 26 and thy name will be magnified for ever, saying, `The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of thy servant David will be established before thee. 27 For thou, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, hast made this revelation to thy servant, saying, `I will build you a house’; therefore thy servant has found courage to pray this prayer to thee. 28 And now, O Lord God, thou art God, and thy words are true, and thou hast promised this good thing to thy servant; 29 now therefore may it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee; for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken, and with thy blessing shall the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.”
This promise was seriously threatened when both the kings of Israel and of Judah kingdoms were on exile to Assyria and Babylon, because they disobeyed God’s words through His prophets. However, God is still faithful to His promise. He let the Israelites go back and re-establish their nation until the time of Jesus’ incarnation.
2/ Gospel: Worldly and heavenly entities
In today passage, Mark reported a collection of Jesus’ teachings in many different events. One can recognizes this when he compares Mark’s with Matthew’s Gospel. Therefore, we shall analyze each sentence because it has a full meaning in itself.
3.1/ The lamp’s purpose is to shine: Jesus said: “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?” Everyone understands the use of the lamp is to shine; therefore, one needs to put the lamp on the pole so that it can shine a large area. If the lamp is put on the floor, it can shine only a small area. To put the lamp unfer a bushel is to destroy the purpose of the lamp.
The truth is liken as the lamp; the purpose of the truth is to guide people on the right path. Therefore, people need to learn, to speak and to live according to the truth. People can’t hide the truth though it hurts. To live according to the truth can be ridiculed, hated, persecuted or lost one’s life; but only the truth can set people free. The martyrs are examples of those who courageously lived according to the truth; they become the light for all people to follow.
3.2/ The truth can’t be hidden: Jesus said: “For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” People can be indifferent, surpress or destroy the truth; but sooner or later, they must face the truth either in this life or the life to come. Therefore, people must be careful when they live against the truth because they must endure its consequence. Using force can make people to be afraid, but it can’t hid the truth. Moreover, though people can hide the truth from all people, but they can’t hide from God, who can see and understand all secrets in men’s heart.
3.3/ To give out much is to receive much: Jesus taught: “Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This principle must be the guideline for our life because the result we hope to receive depends on the effort we put out. If we prepare and try hard, we shall receive a better result; and if we don’t prepare or try a little, we shall receive an undesired result. For examples, if one spends much time to study in a special field, he shall have a better knowledge in that field. Similarly, if one spends time to read and to meditate about the readings of that day before he goes to church, he shall understand more when a priest gives his sermon.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God’s promises are always achieved. We should never doubt any promise He made to His people.
– God’s words are always true. We should spend time to learn to understand their meanings before we can put into practice and get good results.
– We must value God’s words more than human words, especially when there exists a conflict, because God’s thought is much higher than human thought.