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Thursday – Twenty-seventh Week – OT2
Readings: Gal 3:1-5; Lk 11:5-13.
1/ First Reading: NAB Galatians 3:1 O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard? 3 Are you so stupid? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 4 Did you experience so many things in vain? — if indeed it was in vain. 5 Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you and works mighty deeds among you do so from works of the law or from faith in what you heard?
2/ Gospel: NAB Luke 11:5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ 7 and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. 9 “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? 12 Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 13 If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
I. THEME: Perseverance in trials and sufferings
Perseverance in trials and sufferings is one of important elements to decide between success and failure in life. Those who are weak and fickle are easy to be deceived and to change because they have no firm standpoints. The persevered aren’t easy to be deceived or swayed because they are firm in what they believe and stand for.
Today readings teach people to be firm in their faith, hope and charity. In the first reading, St. Paul rebuked the Galatians because they were so easy to be deceived by the false doctrine. In the Gospel, Jesus taught his disciples to be firm in their faith, hope and charity expressed through prayer.
1/ Reading I: Need to be firm in faith and right doctrines. Don’t let all false doctrines deceive you.
1.1/ The faithful need to value and protect their Catholic doctrines: The faith which people have is the combination of both hearing the Gospel and the Holy Spirit who is at work inside people’s mind. The Holy Spirit’s gifts are given to those who believe in Christ (Acts 8:14-17, 10:44), not by belonging to a chosen nation. When the Galatians received the Holy Spirit through Baptism, they didn’t hear about the circumcision or the keeping of the law according to the Jewish tradition. They only heard about these when Paul left them and some of Jewish Christians came and preached to them another doctrine which is based on the circumcision and the keeping of the law. Therefore, Paul was angry when he heard that the Galatians forfeited his preaching and believed in their doctrines, so he wrote to them, “O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?”
1.2/ If they don’t persevere in their faith, they shall be deceived by all false doctrines: St. Paul used his experience to remind the Galatians of their beginning when they didn’t have their faith in Christ yet.
(1) Beginning with the preaching of Christ’s and Paul’s lives, the Galatians recognized God’s love and believed in Christ. The faith they have is because of hearing Paul’s preaching and the Holy Spirit working in their mind to convince them to proclaim Christ is God’s son. Now, they heard the others’ preaching and believed against that. They preached to them in order to have the Holy Spirit, they must keep all the law. St. Paul strongly rebuked them: “Are you so stupid? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?”
(2) Because of believing in Christ, the Galatians were full of the Holy Spirit and had so many experiences about the Holy Spirit’s working among them, such as: the gift of tongue, the healings and the faith of many Gentiles who believed in Christ. Now, because of believing in the preaching of false preachers, they want to begin anew to have the Holy Spirit, and it isn’t guaranteed that they shall have by their keeping of the law. St. Paul put out a question for them to think, “Did you experience so many things in vain? — if indeed it was in vain. Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you and works mighty deeds among you do so from works of the law or from faith in what you heard?”
2/ Gospel: Whoever askes will receive, finds will be found, knocks will be opened.
2.1/ One must ask for something when he is in need even, he has to bother others: Jesus brought out a story to illustrate that his disciples must be persevered in prayer.
(1) The reaction of the one who was in need: The need of the one who had a visited friend during midnight put him in a difficult situation: either to let his friend to go to bed hungry or to ask his neighbor to loan him some bread. He knew that he would annoy his neighbor; but if he does not do so, he will be inconsiderate to his friend. Because of his hospitality to his guest, he decided to bother his neighbor and asked him: “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him.”
(2) The neighbor’s reaction: He replied: “Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.” The one in need could predict his neighbor’s reaction, but he was determined to keep asking until he gets the result. The neighbor must arise and give him what he asked, because he did not want his whole family to be awaken all night. And Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.”
The Greek noun for “persistence” is “anaídeia.” This noun has two meanings:
– negatively: to indicate the one who is not sensible to other’s denial or contempt, not shy, or stubborn.
– positively: to indicate the one who is patient or persevered until he reaches the result. He does not care how long must he wait, where can he find, and who can he ask? This is the attitude which Jesus wants his disciples to have when they ask anything from God. The reason for this attitude is because the petitioner doesn’t have other choice.
2.2/ Comparison between the heavenly Father and a earthly father: In order for his disciples to know God’s care for them, Jesus used a practical example of the love of an earthly father: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” No father on earth will do that to his children.
Jesus led them to the love of their heavenly Father and said: “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” God is supreme good and powerful; He will give to His children what is necessary. The Holy Spirit is the origin of all gifts, He knows what people need and bestows on them properly.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We need to persevere in our faith and to be firm in the Church’s doctrines. We shouldn’t have an attitude that whoever says anything, we also believe; and whoever commands anything, we also do that. In order to persevere, we need to learn to clearly understand Scripture and all the Church’s doctrines as possible.
– We need to persevere in faith, hope and our prayer even we must face trials and sufferings.