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Wednesday – Thirty-second week – OT1
Readings: Wis 6:1-11; Lk 17:11-19.
1/ Reading I: RSV Wisdom 6:1 Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. 2 Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. 3 For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High, who will search out your works and inquire into your plans. 4 Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God, 5 he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places. 6 For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy, but mighty men will be mightily tested. 7 For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one, nor show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. 8 But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty. 9 To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, that you may learn wisdom and not transgress. 10 For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defense. 11 Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 17:11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
I. THEME: Learn to know the origin of all things!
There are a big difference between the learned and the unlearned. The learned know how to use their knowledge to live the correct relationships with God, others and all creatures in the world. The unlearned, since they don’t know the origin of all things, only react according to what they think. Because of this, they must endure God’s strict judgment, the others’ hatred and many failures in their life.
Today readings teach people to learn and to reason about the cause of many things. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Wisdom confirmed about the origin of authority. According to him, all authorities come from God; He bestows authority on leaders to lead and to govern people. He shall righteously judge the leaders about their use of His given authority; therefore, they must govern people according to God’s will. In the Gospel, though Jesus healed all ten lepers; but only a foreign leper, who knew the origin of the healing, came back and thanked God. Jesus questioned, ““Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.””
1/ Reading I: All authorities come from God.
1.1/ The origin of authority: Most worldly leaders think they have authority because they are good, learned and talent. This is why people picked them for their offices. Therefore, these people govern their subjects according to their wisdom and never question about the results of their governance. In opposing to these people, the author of the Book of Wisdom reveals to us his concepts about the authority.
(1) Human authorities are given by God: He said, “Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High.” This truth is not only applied for the Church’s leaders but also the worldly leaders, no matter if they know it or not.
(2) All leaders are God’s servants: The author teaches: No matter how great they are, they are only servants to serve His kingship.
(3) God shall judge those who He gives His authority: He shall condemn those who don’t rightly judge people, “The Most High, who will search out your works and inquire into your plans. Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God.”
1.2/ The leaders must know these followings:
(1) They must judge rightly, keep the law and act according to God’s will. If not, “He will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places.”
(2) Everybody is equal before God; but those in power shall be judged more strictly than those who have no authority. The author said, “For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy, but mighty men will be mightily tested. For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, nor show deference to greatness; because He himself made both small and great, and He takes thought for all alike. But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.”
(3) The more one has authority the more he has to acquire wisdom in order to judge rightly. The author said, “To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, that you may learn wisdom and not transgress…Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed.”
(4) They must know the law to live a holy life: “For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defense.”
2/ Gospel: “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
This Gospel is used in the Thanksgiving Day each year. The purpose is to remind people to recognize what God has done for them and to give thanks to God.
2.1/ One must recognize a favor before giving thanks: As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” Some laws concerned about the lepers are written in the Book of Levites and Numbers:
(1) The terrible fate of a leper: Since the Jews pay a special attention to purity, the lepers can’t live with people, but must live outside of the camp (Lev 13:46, Num 5:2). They can’t make a direct contact with the healthy but must cry out loudly “Unclean! Unclean!” every time when the healthy come close to them so that they know of their presence to avoid (Lev 13:45).
(2) To show that they have been cured from leper, they must be examined by the priests: When the priest declares they are clean, they can live a normal life with people in the camp (Lev 14:2-3). This is the reason why Jesus told them, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.
2.2/ Those outside are easy to recognize favors than those inside.
(1) The Samaritan’s gratitude: “And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
(2) The Jews want nothing to do with the Samaritans: One strange thing in this passage is the nine Jews let the Samaritan live with them because that shall never happen when they are healthy. This shows that when people are suffered and discriminated, they tend to unite and to live with others.
(3) Why are the Samaritans often mentioned in the Gospel as the more grateful? The Samaritans though were despised by the Jews, but many time were praised by Jesus: In the Good Samaritan’s story, Jesus intentionally praised the Samaritan than the priest and the Levite because he showed compassion for the unfortunate. He let him ride his donkey, cared for him at the motel, and promised to pay back the amount for the motel’s owner for caring of him (Lk 10:30-37). After the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, she became Jesus’ first missionary when she joyfully and eagerly announced what Jesus has done for her (Jn 4:39-41). These examples show the Gentiles can be more grateful than the Jews, God’s chosen ones.
(4) To give thanks is to deservedly receive more favors: “Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”” The Samaritan leper was not only healed from his sickness, but also received salvation because of his faith in Jesus while the other nine Jews were only healed from their leper.
2.3/ Why are people ungrateful? There are many reasons: First, because people don’t reflect; they don’t think about the reason why they receive favors. Secondly, they suppose everyone must help them: God must give grace; parents must care for their children; teacher must teach their students. Lastly, they are afraid that they must return their favors if they acknowledge them. There are three kinds of person whom people are ungrateful to:
(1) God: Who creates, protects and unceasingly gives grace for them. Thanksgiving Day is the occasion for people to recognize God’s grace and to thank Him for that by participating on a Mass and helping the unfortunate. How many people do these? Instead, they organize party to enjoy as if the success is from their own effort.
(2) Their parents: who conceived, cared for, protected and educated them most of their life. They should take care of their parents when they are no longer caring for themselves. Instead, they put them in the nursing home and said to themselves, “the government shall take care of them better than us.”
(3) Others: who spent all of their life to research, to build up and to invent all the conveniences of life which they are enjoying. They forget that their duty is to continue to make a better world for the next generation, not only to selfishly enjoy them.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must learn divine wisdom to reason and to live our life. All things in this world come from God. If God gives us much, He shall request more from us. Those in power shall be sternly judged; therefore, the leaders must know how to wisely serve and lead their subjects according to God’s way.
– We must reflect and compare to recognize a favor. If we receive a favor from others, we must thank them. Not only to say thank, but we must also find a way to repay them or to do favors to others so that good things continue to flow.