Please press here to listen to the homily or download
Thursday – Twelfth Week – OT2
Readings: 2 Kgs 24:8-17; Mt 7:21-29.
1/ First Reading: NAB 2 Kings 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his forebears had done. 10 At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. 11 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, himself arrived at the city while his servants were besieging it. 12 Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother, his ministers, officers, and functionaries, surrendered to the king of Babylon, who, in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive. 13 He carried off all the treasures of the temple of the LORD and those of the palace, and broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel, had provided in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had foretold. 14 He deported all Jerusalem: all the officers and men of the army, ten thousand in number, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None were left among the people of the land except the poor. 15 He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother and wives, his functionaries, and the chief men of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon all seven thousand men of the army, and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all of them trained soldiers. 17 In place of Jehoiachin, the king of Babylon appointed his uncle Mattaniah king, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
2/ Gospel: NAB Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ 24 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” 28 When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
I. THEME: Whatever the seed which one sows, he shall harvest the corresponding result.
Building a house is a work that demands time to study landscape, weather and suitable materials to build. If one doesn’t spend time to study, the house which one builds up shall not last long. To build one’s life requires more time and effort. St. Paul advised the faithful a wise advise: They should build their life on the foundation of Christ, the cornerstone of our life.
Today readings help people to recognize that they must endure the corresponding results with what they acted. In the first reading, the author of the Second Book of the Kings reported the last days of Judah kingdom. They were completely destroyed by the Babylonian empire and on exile because they refused to live according to God’s teaching. In the Gospel, Jesus declared that the faith only in words isn’t enough for people to enter the kingdom of God; people must express their faith in deeds which is to build their life upon the foundation of God’s word, in order to enter the heavenly kingdom.
1/ Reading I: The results which the Judahites must endure because they insulted God’s words.
1.1/ Two opposite lifestyles: Yesterday, the author reported king Josiah’s renovation of the whole nation based on the teachings of the Book which was found in the temple. The result was that the king saved his kingdom from God’s anger and the nation was peaceful in a period of time. Today, the author reported the last days of Judah kingdom. The reason was because the next few kings returned to their ancestral lifestyle: they turned their back to God and didn’t keep God’s commandments. The result which they must endure is that God no longer protected them and let their enemies devour them.
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his forebears had done. At that time the officials of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, himself arrived at the city while his servants were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah, together with his mother, his ministers, officers, and functionaries, surrendered to the king of Babylon, who, in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive.
1.2/ The results of the lifestyle that disobeyed God: The author reported three main results:
(1) All valuable properties felt into the enemies’ hands: The Jews were very proud of their temple which was built by king Solomon on the top of Zion mountain. When the temple was felt into the Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, the king commanded his soldiers to carry all valuable things in both the treasure of the temple and of the royal palace to Babylon. He broke up all the gold utensils that Solomon, king of Israel, had provided in the temple of the Lord.
(2) The king, officers and talent people were on exile: “He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, and also led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother and wives, his functionaries, and the chief men of the land. The king of Babylon also led captive to Babylon all seven thousand men of the army, and a thousand craftsmen and smiths, all of them trained soldiers.”
(3) The Babylonian king replaced Jehoiachin, the Judaean king, with his uncle: He replaced Jehoiachin with Mattaniah, his uncle, to reign over all the remaining poor people. He changed his name to Zedekiah. Mattaniah is the third son of king Josiah. He governed Judah 10 years, from 597 to 587 BC. Many considered Jehoiachin only as the official king of Judah.
2/ Gospel: The kingdom of God is only for the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
2.1/ The kingdom of God isn’t for the one who says he loves God:
(1) Jesus clearly differentiated between two areas: words and deeds; and the kingdom of God is only for those who do God’s will. An innocent people can believe in sweet talking, but none can deceive God by his praises in words because God fathoms all his intentions.
(2) False prophets or priests can use the name of God to preach, to expel demons or to heal. Their works have some successes, not because of their efforts, but because of God’s power. But if they don’t keep God’s commandments and cause damages to others, they shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(3) Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthews clearly declared that God’s standard to judge is whatever we do to the least is we do to Him; and only people who practice charity shall enter the kingdom of God.
(4) Therefore, true love must be expressed in words and deeds. The true lover is the one who is ready to sacrifice for his loved one, not only loves in words. A true lover of God is the one who tries to find out His will and do it. A concrete way is to help all people both spiritually and materially.
2.2/ We must build our life on the foundation of Christ’s teaching: To illustrate the importance of God’s words, Jesus used a concrete example which all can understand is to build a house. There are two ways to build a house:
(1) Building the house on the rock: though it is difficult in the beginning, but shall endure all the changes of weather, such as: heavy rain, torrent of water or thunderstorm. Similarly for those who built their life on a firm foundation which is God’s words. First, they must spend time to learn God’s words. Secondly, they must use all opportunities to apply them in their life.
(2) Building the house on sand: though it is easy in the beginning, but can’t endure all threats of weather. Only a small storm is enough to wipe out that house. Many people built their house on a foundation which is not God’s words, such as: gold or silver, fame, power, beauty, etc. When they have to face sufferings or catastrophes, they can’t withstand them. Many people destroyed their life because they can’t overcome the worldly temptations and the devil’s traps.
Those who built their house on sand can be compared to little crabs which try to build their caves on sand when the tide is low; but when the tide is high or the sea is disturbed, water shall wipe out all their caves. They continue to build their caves and keep being to wipe out. If people aren’t wiser than these little crabs, they shall have no opportunity to live a safe life in their present house, not to mention a happy life with God in the next life.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– To firmly build up the house of our life, we must build it on the foundation of Christ which is his teaching.
– We must spend time to study Christ’s teaching before we can apply them to our life: beginning when we are young, continuing when we are grown up, and lengthen all of our life.
– Whatever seed we sowed we must harvest the corresponding yield. Whatever we lived our life in this world, God shall return to us the corresponding results.