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Tuesday – Twenty-fifth Week – OT2
Readings: Pro 21:1-6; 10-13; Lk 8:19-21.
Reading 1 (Pro 21:1-6, 10-13):
Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the LORD;
wherever it pleases him, he directs it.
All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes,
but it is the LORD who proves hearts.
To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart?
the tillage of the wicked is sin.
The plans of the diligent are sure of profit,
but all rash haste leads certainly to poverty.
Whoever makes a fortune by a lying tongue
is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.
The soul of the wicked man desires evil;
his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes.
When the arrogant man is punished, the simple are the wiser;
when the wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.
The just man appraises the house of the wicked:
there is one who brings down the wicked to ruin.
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself also call and not be heard.
Gospel (Lk 8:19-21):
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: To hear and to practice God’s word.
In life, people can’t live only for themselves, but also live in harmony with three other relationships: with God, with others and with the world. When there is a conflict between these three, people must live their relationship with God above all, then their relationship with others, and last of all their relationship with the world. If people don’t live these three relationships and according to their priority, they must endure all bad results, no matter if they know or not.
Today readings center on these three relationships and give a reason why people must always find out and practice God’s will in their life. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Proverbs gave some practical advises for people in their relationship with God, others and the world. In the Gospel, when Jesus was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
1/ Reading I: Some practical advises for our life
1.1/ To live righteously and humbly before God: When people have power in their hand, they think that they can do anything they want to; they don’t know that they are controlled by God. For example, God used Assyrian king as a rod to wipe out the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC; then he used Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylon king as other rod to punish the Assyrians and to wipe out the Southern Kingdom in 587 BC and to bring them on exile. Finally, God used Cyrus, the Persian king to take over the Babylonians and to issue a degree to set the Israelites free co that they can come back and re-establish their nation again. These kings might not know that they acted according to God’s will, but no matter they knew or not, they were still doing God’s will, as said by the author of the Book of Proverb: “Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the Lord; wherever it pleases him, he directs it.”
1.2/ To earn a living by one’s diligently working: People have a tendency to become rich quickly; they shall use any trick to attain of their goal. They forget that the riches they have by diligently working shall remain, but the riches they get by wicked way, soon or later shall disappear. Many people, because of wanting to become rich quickly, invest all what they have in the areas they think shall give profit quickly, such as: stock, housing, lottery. The result is that they lost all what they have. If these people read and think over these words of the Book of Proverbs, they might not lose their property: “The plans of the diligent are sure of profit, but all rash haste leads certainly to poverty. He who makes a fortune by a lying tongue is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.”
1.3/ To live in a way that God shall give us his blessing: The most miserable thing for people in life is that they live as though God doesn’t exist. Since they don’t believe in God, they don’t love others. They are ready to violate justice, even to destroy others to attain what they want. God shall open their eyes to see all what they do when He causes them to suffer. At that time, even they cry out to God, He shall not hear them because they had no mercy for others. The author of the Book of Proverbs taught: “The soul of the wicked man desires evil; his neighbor finds no pity in his eyes. He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard.”
2/ Gospel: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
2.1/ Who is my mother and my brothers? Luke reported in the Gospel today: “The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they wish to see you.” He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
One can easily make a conclusion when hearing Jesus’ reply that Jesus did not have a special love for his mother and brothers. This is not correct since Jesus’ intention is to widen his family to all who do God’s will, not only those who belonged to the circle of his family. The only important requirement to become a member of God’s household is “to listen to the word of God and act on it.”
2.2/ The Blessed Mother and Jesus’ brothers: Mary is Jesus’ mother, not only because she gave birth to Jesus, but also the mother according to Jesus’ requirement, that is “to listen to the word of God and act on it.” Mary heard and obeyed God’s word in all her life: in taking the vow of virginity; in saying “Yes!” to Gabriel’s announcement in the Annunciation, in Cana, in the loosing of Jesus in the Temple, and specially, in standing courageously at the foot of the cross with Jesus, her son. Mary also obeyed Jesus to become the mother of all human beings. In a word, she set a good example to those who “listen to the word of God and act on it.”
Many people rely on the expression “the mother of Jesus and his brothers” to show that Mary cannot be a virgin because she had many other sons who are Jesus’ brothers. This is not correct, since in Greek there is only a noun “adelphos” to indicate brother, whether blood brother, or cousin, or close friend, or any those who has the same goal as in armies, religious orders, or any association. Therefore, one cannot rely on the noun “adelphos” to make such a conclusion. The brothers mentioned here could be Jesus’ cousins, James and Joseph, Salome’s sons, or the apostles. They are brothers, not only of the relationship, but also of having the same Jesus’ standard which is “to listen to the word of God and act on it.” They sacrificed all to follow Jesus to do God’s will by proclaiming the Good News.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We are only God’s creatures and His instruments. Conscious of this or not, all of us are under God’s providence. Since God controls our life, we must make an effort to know and to do God’s will.
– The most unhappy thing in life is that people live as though there is no God. Since these people don’t believe in God, they don’t also love others, even their parents and the members of their family. Therefore, the most important thing which parents must teach their children is to revere God because to revere God is the source of all wisdom.
– The necessary requirement to become a member of God’s household is to listen and to do God’s will, not only to bear the title as a “Christian.”