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Tuesday – Twenty-fourth week – OT1
Beloved, this saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert, so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment. He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.
Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything. Deacons may be married only once and must manage their children and their households well. Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.
I. THEME: Trustworthy in one’s vocation and duty
Both God and man esteem a high value on trustworthy. God demands people must be loyal in their married life, in prosperity and poverty, in healthy and sickness, they must respect and love each other until the end of their life. Jesus also said whoever remains faithful until the end shall be saved. When we choose a leader, we also want to choose who we can trust. We would like them to be faithful to the country and to what they promise to do.
Today’s readings show different cases of trustworthy. In the first reading, Paul gives all necessary requirements to be an episcopos (leader of a community) and a deacon (episcopos’ helper). The most important requirement is to be loyal to God, to their family, and to those God entrusted to them. In the Gospel, Jesus had compassion to the mother who lost her only son. He is her only hope and strength because she is a widow. Jesus raised him up from the coffin and gave him back to her.
1/ Reading I: The necessary requirements to be leaders of a community
1.1/ The requirements to be an episcopos: St. Paul lists out many necessary requirements to be episcopoi, we can classify them in three categories:
(1) Loyalty to God: An episcopos cannot be a new convert. This is a wise advise because his faith needs to be tested by time and sufferings. St. Paul worries that if one becomes an episcopos so early, he might fall to his pride and be condemned as an evil. The devil can use pride to destroy not only an episcopos but also his family and community.
(2) Loyalty to his family: He must be married only once, know how to control well his family, know how to educate his children so that they obey him; because if he cannot govern his family, how can he govern the church of God?
(3) Loyalty to people: He cannot be hot-tempered but be gentle; not fighting and greedy of money, but meekness, hospitality, and be able to teach.
1.2/ The requirements to be a deacon: We can classify what Paul describes about the necessary requirements to be a deacon as above:
(1) Loyalty to God: He must safeguard the mystery of faith in clear conscience, and be fortified by his strong faith in God.
(2) Loyalty to his family: He must marry once, know how to govern his family and to educate his children well.
(3) Loyalty to people: He cannot find debase gains, not be questioned by people, not backbiting, but be trustworthy in everyway.
2/ Gospel: Jesus has compassion for the woman who lost her only son.
2.1/ Confronting the death, especially the death of a young person, a sudden death, or the dead of many people, man feel helpness and frightened. Like the case of the mother in Nain village, she is a widow and has only a son. He is her hope to support her during the old age of her life in the world, but he is death now. She might never expect such a tragedy can happen to her! She certainly thought that he will be the one to bury her, not her to bury him!
The Greeks, especially those who are Stoics, believe in God; but they don’t believe He has compassion for people’s pain and suffering. They reason: If people can make God happy or sad, that means people have an influence over Him; when people have an influence over God, people is greater or mightier than God. But no one is greater than the Almighty God; therefore, God must have no compassion for people.
2.2/ God have compassion for people: Stoic’s faith is contrary to Catholic faith; we have a God who has compassion for people because Jesus had endured all pain and suffering as a human being. St. Luke reports Jesus has compassion for the Nain mother who lost her only son. He consoled her: “Do not weep.” He raised the man by touching the coffin and gave him back to her.
In the Fourth Gospel, the author also reported “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35), and “He deeply moved within” (Jn 11:38) before He raised Lazarus up from death.
God can surely raise up the dead. In the Old Testament, both Elijah and Elisha prophets raised up the sons of the widows (2 Kgs 4:34-37). In the Gospel, there are three times Jesus raised up the dead: (1) He raised the daughter of Jairus (Mt 9:18-26, Mc 5:35-43, Lk 8:40-56); (2) He raised Lazarus who is already dead in the tomb for three days (Jn 11:38-44); and He raised the man up in today’s report (Lk 7:11-17). When people saw what Jesus did, they proclaimed: “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Trustworthy is an important requirement, not only for an episcopos or a deacon, but also for all of us. We must be loyal to God, to our family, and to all people God has given to us. Every one of us has a position in building up God’s house and Christ’s body. We cannot maltreat people, deceive them or use them for our debase gains.
– God has power over death and He has compassion for our pain and suffering. These beliefs are the hopes of our life, since we know all sufferings have meanings and the death is only temporal. If we persevere and overcome all sufferings, we will be raised up and live happily with God forever in His glory.