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Wednesday – Twenty-fifth Week – OT2
Readings: Pro 30:5-9; Lk 9:1-6.
Reading 1 (Pro 30:5-9):
Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.
Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:
Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;
Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”
Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.
Gospel (Lk 9:1-6):
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority
over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God
and to heal the sick.
He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,
and let no one take a second tunic.
Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.
And as for those who do not welcome you,
when you leave that town,
shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.”
Then they set out and went from village to village
proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.
Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.
I. THEME: The necessary virtues for those who preach the Gospel.
Two most necessary things which people need to have in life are God’s words and faith and these two things complement each other: God’s words enlighten and strengthen the faith while faith helps people to understand God’s words thoroughly and to sacrifice so that they could be extended to the end of the earth.
Today readings emphasize on the necessary virtues of preachers. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Proverbs asked God to grant him two things for his life: first, to put falsity and lying far away from him; secondly, to grant him neither too rich nor too poor because if he is too rich, he might forget about God; if he is too poor, he might steal from people and defile God’ name. In the Gospel, Jesus empowered and strengthen his apostles before he sent them out to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick. He advised them to completely put their trust in God’s providence and people’s kindness by bringing not too many luggages for their journey. They should bless those who welcome them and shake the dust of their feet to accuse those who refuse to welcome them.
1/ Reading I: To correctly understand God’s words and to completely believe in him.
1.1/ Not to add anything to God’s words or to substract anything from it: Scriptures aren’t easy to understand. When people read a difficult passage, they must pray for understanding and search the Church tradition for its interpretation. Many people chose other way either by adding their interpretation in or substracting from it what they don’t understand or like it. For examples, the Muslims who also believe in the Old Testament, but whenever they don’t understand or like a passage, they get rid of it with a reason that the Jews added it on because they don’t like them. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a group called Jesus Seminar, when they meet a difficult passage or the confliction between the evangelists, they have a meeting to vote which passage should be discarded and which one should be kept. Moses and the author of the Book of Proverbs condemned this tendency by saying, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Add nothing to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver.”
1.2/ Two most important virtues which people should ask God to grant them for their life:
(1) To live truthfully: The author asked God, “Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me.”
People aren’t truthful with God by adding or substracting God’s words to protect their bad habits. They aren’t truthful with themselves when they deceive others either by words or deeds. Lastly, people aren’t truthful with others when they accuse the righteous or deceive those who are weak and vulnerable to take away what they have.
(2) To live simply: The author asked God: “Give me neither poverty nor riches; (provide me only with the food I need); lest, being full, I deny you, saying, “Who is the Lord?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.”
The best way is to have enough daily, as Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the Our Father: “give me our daily bread.”
2/ Gospel: To hope in God’s strength and to sacrifice for the Gospel.
2.1/ Jesus gave his apostles power and strength: St. Luke reported Jesus’ sending of the Twelve as follows: “He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus’ mission on earth is to preach, to heal and to train disciples to continue his mission. Before sending them out, Jesus gave them his strength and power so that they might also do what he did to bring people to God. The power over the devil belongs to God’s power; if Jesus doesn’t give, human beings can never conquer the devil. Similarly as power to heal, not only the apostles but also many priests through all generations were granted by God to heal the sick. In our generation, the famous ones who healed many people are St. Martin de Porres and Father Pio who had five Jesus’ marks on his body.
2.2/ He sent his disciples to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick with these warnings: “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” When commanding these words, Jesus wanted from them three things:
(1) Absolutely trust in God, because hired workers are worthy to be rewarded by God and those who received. God can motivate gratitude from those who listen to the Gospel or those who are healed so that these people shall give back to preachers. Many faithful contribute their money to the church weekly, or to help the vocational fund, or to give money for the priests’ tuition and room and board who go back to school, etc.
(2) Sacrifice all for the preaching of the Gospel: When preachers don’t depend too much on material things, they are easy to go anywhere who need to hear the Gospel. But when they depend so much on them, they shall be suffocated by clothings, belongings, housing and car; they aren’t easy to be on the way to preach the Gospel for those who live far away.
(3) To bless those who receive them and to shake the dust from your feet at those who don’t receive them: Whoever welcomes the disciples is to welcome Jesus himself because he sent them out. Similarly, whoever denies them is to deny Jesus himself. Shaking the dust from their feet is a sign for those who deny them that they refused to hear the Gospel; and as a consequence, they condemned themselves.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must try to spend time to learn and to search for God’s words before we can apply them to our life to benefit ourselves and to preach them to others.
– We should ask God to grant us things needed for our life. We should not be too poor so that we must steal for our living, and this defiles God’s name. We should never ask for being rich because richess makes us to believe in ourselves and to forget about God.
– By not depending too much on material things shall help us to be light and easy to fly, not to worry how to keep them safe, and especially help us to have more time for learning and preaching the Gospel.