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Saturday – Seventh week – OT1
Readings: Sir 17:1-15; Mk 10:13-16.
1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 17:1 The Lord created man out of earth, and turned him back to it again. 2 He gave to men few days, a limited time, but granted them authority over the things upon the earth. 3 He endowed them with strength like his own, and made them in his own image. 4 He placed the fear of them in all living beings, and granted them dominion over beasts and birds. 5 6 He made for them tongue and eyes; he gave them ears and a mind for thinking. 7 He filled them with knowledge and understanding, and showed them good and evil. 8 He set his eye upon their hearts to show them the majesty of his works. 9 10 And they will praise his holy name, to proclaim the grandeur of his works. 11 He bestowed knowledge upon them, and allotted to them the law of life. 12 He established with them an eternal covenant, and showed them his judgments. 13 Their eyes saw his glorious majesty, and their ears heard the glory of his voice. 14 And he said to them, “Beware of all unrighteousness.” And he gave commandment to each of them concerning his neighbor. 15 Their ways are always before him, they will not be hid from his eyes.
2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 10:13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
I. THEME: Let completely trust in God as a child in his father.
Our life clearly has two parts: one part when we live in our parent’s house under their care and protection; the other part when we are mature and can live on our own, to build up a family for ourselves. Corresponding with these two parts are two different attitudes. When we are living with parents, we don’t have to worry about anything, the only things we do are studying, playing, eating and drinking, without knowing where the money is come from. We completely trust in our parents and depend on them, whatever they say we shall do as such. When we leave our parents, our attitude is completely changed. We must take care of ourselves: to work for food, dwelling and transportation, to face many calculated decisions and dangers. These things take away most of our youthful innocence, make us careful in contacting with others and are uneasy when people bother us.
Today readings teach us to keep for ourselves the children attitudes in our relationships with God and others. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach describes in details what God has done for human beings. The author advises us to have keen eyes to recognize that God is still controlling our life. In the Gospel, Jesus is indignant when his disciples chased away children when they want to come to him. He gives people one of conditions to enter the kingdom of God which is to welcome it with the child’s heart.
1/ Reading I: “He set his eye upon their hearts to show them the majesty of his works.”
1.1/ God does everything for human beings: Going over today poem, one can recognize this point: most of the poem’s subjects is God and the objects are human beings whom receive God’s acts. The verbs express God’s different acts for men. The author wants us to accept the following truth:
– God is the One who creates and controls our life; not ourselves nor anyone. He holds our destiny and counts the days we live on this earth.
– God creates us according to His image and likeness; He gives people wisdom and strength to co-govern the earth with Him.
– God creates all parts of human body for a purpose. People must use them to recognize what is good and evil and God’s love for men.
– God teaches people all wise things; He gives them life-giving laws and signs an everlating covenant with humankind.
1.2/ Human beings have a duty to praise God: We can say that all what people have are from God; therefore, the proper attitude for people is to thank, to praise and to tell what He has done for people so that all might recognize and praise Him. Moreover, people must also use what God has given to them to help others, especially the poor.
If people don’t recognize this viewpoint, they shall think totally the opposite. They think all happen on the earth are accidental; therefore, they shall hoard as much as possible material things to enjoy them to the full. Since they don’t recognize God’s wonderful providence, they shall live as though there is no future for them; and the results happen are they shall be lost and can never attain the ultimate goal which God predestines for them.
2/ Gospel: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
We shall firstly find out the good habits which children have, and then apply them on those who look for God’s kingdom. We only examine the common cases for children, not their exceptional cases.
(1) Truthfulness: Whatever children see they tell as such; they don’t hide the truth and pay no attention to others’ displeasure. A Vietnamese adage describes this children’s good habit, “Ask the elder before you are on the way, and ask children when you are back at home.” This adage means when you go out of your house, you should learn experience from the elder; but when you come back, you should ask children to know all things that happened at home when you are absent. Jesus also teaches us to have this good habit in all relationships, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes ‘ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil” (Mt 5:37).
(2) Humility: Children wants to learn because everything seem new for them. They ask a lots of questions without fearing of others’ jeer at them because of their foolish questions. They ashamed when are praised by others. They are easily to harmonize and to make friend with others; for example, when they come to other’s house, it only takes them a while to make friend with children in that house. The adults behave differently, they need to carefully know others and take a long time to make friend with others.
(3) Obedience: Children are easy to obey their parents, older brothers and sisters and teachers; whatever these people say they shall do as such. They don’t reason nor talk back nor find out why they have to do like that. The adults don’t act as such, they always find out the reason to do; and many times, the reason for not to do it.
(4) Trust: Children completely trust their parents but not the outsiders. To them, whatever their parents say, they believe in them, even some legendary stories such as: Santa Claus, the Snow Princess and the seven dwarfs, etc. God also wants us to completely trust in Him because all what He promises to men, He shall do them; and all what He says, shall happen.
(5) Love: Children don’t get revenge, they love their parents and all those who do good for them. If they get angry, they shall quickly reconcile and easy to forget. The adults aren’t easy to forgive others. There are some violations they shall never forget; and to forgive, they demand many conditions.
God demands we need to have all these children’s good habits in our relationships with God and others to enter His kingdom. The most important thing we should recognize is God’s love and His providence. The fear of loosing what we have and the fear of dangers are the reasons that make us cautious in dealing with others; but if we trust the One who always concerns and protects us, we shall not be fearful and more confident in our treating of others.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– God is our powerful and loving Father. He still controls and leads us to our ultimate destiny which He predestines which is to happily live with Him forever in His kingdom.
– We shouldn’t let difficulties and challenges make us to become arrogant, selfish, angry and suspicious person. No one can harm us if God still blesses and protects us.