Thursday – Ninth week – OT1

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Thursday – Ninth week – OT1

 

Readings: Tob 6:11, 7:1, 9-14, 8:4-7; Mk 12:28-34.

1/ First Reading: RSV Tobit 6:11 because you are entitled to her and to her inheritance, for you are her only eligible kinsman.7:1 When they reached Ecbatana and arrived at the house of Raguel, Sarah met them and greeted them. They returned her greeting, and she brought them into the house. 9 So he communicated the proposal to Raguel. And Raguel said to Tobias, “Eat, drink, and be merry; 10 for it is your right to take my child. But let me explain the true situation to you. 11 I have given my daughter to seven husbands, and when each came to her he died in the night. But for the present be merry.” And Tobias said, “I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me.” 12 So Raguel said, “Take her right now, in accordance with the law. You are her relative, and she is yours. The merciful God will guide you both for the best.” 13 Then he called his daughter Sarah, and taking her by the hand he gave her to Tobias to be his wife, saying, “Here she is; take her according to the Law of Moses, and take her with you to your father.” And he blessed them. 14 Next he called his wife Edna, and took a scroll and wrote out the contract; and they set their seals to it. 4 When the door was shut and the two were alone, Tobias got up from the bed and said, “Sister, get up, and let us pray that the Lord may have mercy upon us.” 5 And Tobias began to pray, “Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed be thy holy and glorious name for ever. Let the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee. 6 Thou madest Adam and gavest him Eve his wife as a helper and support. From them the race of mankind has sprung. Thou didst say, `It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’ 7 And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.”

2/ Gospel: RSV Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love

one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.


I. THEME: To love God and to love others are two most important commandments. 

            In order to live happily and to attain the ultimate goal which God plans, people need to do what He teaches: that is to love God above all things and to sincerely love others.

            Today readings illustrate the importance of these two commandments in our life. In the first reading, Tobias stated his goal when marries Sarah, “O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.” And God blessed their marriage. In the Gospel, when was asked by a scribe, “Which commandment is the first of all?”Jesus answered, “The first is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is this, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity.”

 

1.1/ God plans and blesses the marriage between Tobias and Sarah: Yesterday, we heard the prayers of Tobit and Sarah. Today, we witness their sufferings turning to joy according to God’s providence. He sent the archangel Raphael as Tobias companion to guide him to fulfill all God’s plan for his family and Sarah’s family. An important event but is passed by the Lectionary is Tobias’ killing of the fish. He followed Raphael’s guidance to save the fish’s heart, liver and gall for future uses. The fish’s heart and liver shall be used to exorcize the devil Asmodeus who killed Sarah’s seven husbands, and its gall to heal his father’s eyes.

            When they came close to Ectabana, their destination, the angel said to the young man, “Brother, today we shall stay with Raguel. He is your relative, and he has an only daughter named Sarah. I will suggest that she be given to you in marriage, because you are entitled to her and to her inheritance, for you are her only eligible kinsman.”

            When they reached Ecbatana and arrived at the house of Raguel, Sarah met them and greeted them. They returned her greeting, and she brought them into the house.So he communicated the proposal to Raguel.

– Raguel said to Tobias, “Eat, drink, and be merry;for it is your right to take my child. But let me explain the true situation to you.I have given my daughter to seven husbands, and when each came to her he died in the night. But for the present be merry.”

– Tobias said, “I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me.”

– Raguel said, “Take her right now, in accordance with the law. You are her relative, and she is yours. The merciful God will guide you both for the best.”Then he called his daughter Sarah, and taking her by the hand he gave her to Tobias to be his wife, saying, “Here she is; take her according to the Law of Moses, and take her with you to your father.” And he blessed them.Next he called his wife Edna, and took a scroll and wrote out the contract; and they set their seals to it.

 

1.2/ The new family’s prayer: When the door was shut and the two were alone, Tobias got up from the bed and said, “Sister, get up, and let us pray that the Lord may have mercy upon us.”And Tobias began to pray, “Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed be thy holy and glorious name for ever. Let the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee.Thou made Adam and gave him Eve his wife as a helper and support. From them the race of mankind has sprung. Thou didst say, `It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her.”

            The reason for Tobias’ victory over the devil Asmodeus is the angel Raphael’s guidance. Tobias took the fish’s heart and liver and burned them outside of Sarah’s door. This action caused Asmodeus to flee to Egypt and he was seized by Raphael (Tob 8:2-3). Tobias and Sarah live together until the end of their life.

2/ Gospel: Love God and love others are two most important commandments.

 

2.1/ Some wrong intentions of asking question: The Gospel in last few days illustrated some kinds of people who questioned Jesus with their different intentions.

            (1) Questioning to find one’s fault: Some Pharisees and those belong to Herodian party asked Jesus, “Should we pay tax for Caesar or not?” Their intention was to find a cause to seize him, either Jesus says “Yes” or “No.” This dirty trick is still happening for religious leaders.

            (2) Questioning to prove the falsehood: The Sadducees asked Jesus: “At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” These Sadducees didn’t want to believe in the eternal life so that they could enjoy their life in this world, even though they could find proves for eternal life in Scripture. Today, there still exist many people like them, they don’t want to believe in God so that they don’t have to keep His teachings or to live at peace in their darkness!

            (3) Questioning to show one’s knowledge: Some ask a question to see that if their opponents know what they know. Their purpose are to insult others or to display their knowledge.

           

2.2/ Searching for the truth: Those kinds of people might hide their wicked intentions from people, but can’t hide themselves from God because He sees through their mind. He knows who is sincerely searching for the truth. To those who have wicked intentions, Jesus displayed their falsity. To those who are sincerely looking for truth as the scribe in today passage, Jesus revealed the truth to him which can be abbreviated as “to love God above all and to love others.”

            The scribe agreed with Jesus. He recognized the principle which stands behind the two commandments is the love people have for God and others, expressed by concrete acts such as: to keep God’s commandments and to help others. Whoever understand the principle and do it, they aren’t far away from God’s kingdom.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            – We should constantly review the first commandment in our life to see if we satisfy its requirement. Do we love God above everything?

            – The main demand of the married covenant is the sincere and lasting love which the couple has for each other, not the temporal love of their flesh. Before entering marriage, a couple should differentiate between these two loves so that they might not be separated later.

            – All things in this world shall be passing; the only thing shall remain is the true love. We should use all of our time and efforts to develop our love for God and others.

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