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Tuesday – Twenty-ninth week – OT1
Readings: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Lk 12:35-38.
1/ First Reading: RSV Romans 5:12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 17 If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 12:35 “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!”
I. THEME: The communal aspect of the individual action
Many people want to advertise justice by saying “whoever does evil, must endure its consequences; whoever does good deed, can harvest good things for him.” This can’t be happened because in God’s plan, people are created to live together and to share responsibilities. For examples, the H1N1 swine flu (2009-2010), though originated from Mexico, but the whole world must contribute to fight against it; if not, it shall cause damages in their own country. Or the divorce which many people think it is their own business. When a divorce happens, it isn’t only affected the individual who files for a divorce, but also the spouse and the children who have no fault in the conflict of their parent. Then, the families of both sides must endure bad reputation and worry for their children. Moreover, it can also affect the society which must offer help for their children, and others can also be affected by the crime of their children due to the lacking of education. Finally, an individual sin also causes damage for the Church because he is one part of Christ’s body, the Church. So, an individual hardly predict the results which are caused by his or her sin for his family, society and the Church.
Today readings emphasize the communal aspect of human actions. In the first reading, Paul compared the Adam’s sin with the Christ’s merits which affected the whole human beings: “As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” In the Gospel, Jesus emphasized the reward which he shall give to those who sacrifice themselves to serve others. He shall serve them at the table in his kingdom because when they serve others, they serve Christ himself.
1/ Reading I: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
1.1/ Sin and death extend to all people through Adam and Eve’s sin: Many people asked why God makes them to bear the results of the original sin when they have no part in Adam and Eve’s sin! Paul’s explanation helps them to understand the communal aspect of human actions: there is no human action which has no effect on others. When a person does a bad thing, his action not only causes damage for him but also for others which can be his family and society; for example, the sin of robbery.
Sin and its effect have a tendency to multiply. St. Paul said, “As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.”
1.2/ Grace and salvation are given to people through Christ’s death: Many also asked and doubted about Christ’s Passion and Death; does it have power to save all people or only be limited on some people? According to Paul’s explanation, as sin has a tendency to extend, one’s good work also has a tendency to extend as such. For example, Mother Teresa’s charity; it isn’t only the poor or the Indians who were affected by her charity, but also all people of the world.
Applied it on Christ’s merits, St. Paul confirmed, “For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ;then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
1.3/ Where sins increased, grace abounded all the more: This is the Good News for all people: not only grace is spread like sin does, but grace is also stronger than sin, because God’s power and love are stronger than sin and death. That is the reason why God loves people when they are still sinners, and He is ready to forgive their sins when they sincerely repent.
2/ Gospel: Christ shall serve loyal servants.
2.1/ Readiness is evaluated by fulfillinging one’s duty: To evaluate a person to see if he is loyal to God or not, Jesus used a parable of a master who gave his servants a duty to take care his house when he is attending a wedding. Jesus said to his disciples, “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks…And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”
Since Jewish weddings used to happen at night time and have no fixed hour; therefore, all responsible people need to be prepared and especially, to have a lamp in their hands. Night time is the moment which people are least to prepare for; therefore, to evaluation his servants’ preparation, the master suddenly came back at night.
2.2/ The great reward for loyal servants: Jesus declared, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.”
Jesus’ promise is strange because serving belongs to servants; their duty is to serve their master at all times. Jesus wanted to say that if we, as his servants, are loyal in our duty to serve others; he shall serve us in his kingdom as a reward for us. This is a great reward because there isn’t any master who wants to serve his servants. In order to receive this reward, we must fulfill our duty which is to serve others as he exemplified: “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Sin has not only an individual effect but also a wider effect on our family and community; therefore, we have a duty to educate all members of our family and community.
– Similarly, one does good work, all familial members are benefited. When we help or educate all members of our family or community, we help ourselves so that we might not endure bad results caused by them, for the happiness of our family and for the growth of society.
– God’s love and grace are stronger than our selfishness and sins; therefore, we should patiently endure injustice and sufferings for our own benefits and the communal good.