Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 5:17-26)

The high priest rose up and all his companions,
that is, the party of the Sadducees,
and, filled with jealousy,
laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail.
But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said,
"Go and take your place in the temple area,
and tell the people everything about this life."
When they heard this,
they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.
When the high priest and his companions arrived,
they convened the Sanhedrin,
the full senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the jail to have them brought in.
But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison, so they came back and reported,
"We found the jail securely locked
and the guards stationed outside the doors,
but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report,
they were at a loss about them,
as to what this would come to.
Then someone came in and reported to them,
"The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area and are teaching the people."
Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them, but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.

Gospel (Jn 3:16-21)

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.


Written by Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

I. THEME: People hate the light because their work is deceptive.

             

            God creates people who have capacity to know the truth. The main reason why people refuse to know the truth is that they want to stay in darkness so that others shall not recognize their suspicious work.

            Today reading want to show this darkness in human beings. In the first reading, out of jealousy, the high priests and the Sadducees wanted to put the apostles into prison. They were jealous because people left them to follow the teaching of the apostles. In the name of the law they wanted to put the apostles in prison; but in reality, they wanted to cover up their wicked desire. In the Gospel, after Jesus declared God’s love for people through the fact that He gave them His Only Son, he proceeded to explain why people refuse to come to the light is because they want to cover up their deceptive thought and deed. If they come to the light, others shall see their deceptive work, and their true identity shall lay bare for people to see.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Out of jealousy, they seized the apostles and put them into a public prison.

1.1/ The conflict between God’s power and human strength: God is the One who creates and controls this universe, and gives the earth for people to take care of; but many people are wrong when they think humankind is the owner of this world. Therefore, there always exists a conflict between God and human beings, people want to take God’s right to decide everything for themselves. One of these examples happened in the first reading.

            (1) People wanted to surpress and to cover up the truth: “Then the high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the apostles and put them in the public jail.”

            (2) God set the apostles free and commanded them to preach the truth: “But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, "Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life." When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught.”

1.2/ What should people do when there exists a conflict between God and the world?

            (1) The apostles chose to obey God’s command: They despised scourging and prison of the worldly power to preach the Good News as God’s messenger commanded them. Why could they do this while many others are afraid and run away? The answer is that the apostles realized that God’s power is much more powerful than human power. This was expressed through the fact that God’s messenger liberated them when the soldiers were guarding and the doors of prison closed. Moreover, the apostles recognized Christ’s truth and the Sandherin’s falsity. They probably asked themselves this question: why should they continue to be slaves for liars and not let the truth set them free? Therefore, when the opportunity came, they laid bare the lying and announced the truth.

            People also chose to follow the truth of the apostles’ teaching. In God’s providence, there is “nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known” (Mt 10:26). The truth shall be revealed, people can’t cover up the truth for ever. Although people have little knowledge of the law, they can still have God’s widom to recognize the truth. They aren’t stupid to the point that the leaders can deceive them for ever. They recognized Jesus is the true Messiah whom God sent to redeem people; they also recognize the wicked act of the Sandherin, they killed Jesus out of their jealousy. Once people recognized the truth, the leaders who has done wrong, lost their trust; they must be careful because people could stone them.

            (2) The people of the Sanhedrin continued to stay in darkness: The author of the Acts reported: “When the high priest and his companions arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin, the full senate of the Israelites, and sent to the jail to have them brought in. But the court officers who went did not find them in the prison, so they came back and reported, "We found the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside." When they heard this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss about them, as to what this would come to.”

            They were surprised of what happened, “the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” If they let the truth to guide them, they shall understand that God’s power has set the apostles free, and they should not continue to oppose Him. But they chose to be stubborn and didn’t change their attitude to the apostles by giving out an order to seize them again. “Then the captain and the court officers went and brought them in, but without force, because they were afraid of being stoned by the people.”

            There exists a funny thing here: Instead the apostles must fear of them, they now feared the people to stone them. They probably recognized this strange, but didn’t pay attention to, because they were so used of surpressing the innocence by force!

2/ Gospel: Who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light.

2.1/ God loves people: Jesus confirmed God’s love for people by saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

            God’s purpose when He sent His Son to the world is to redeem the world, not to judge the world. If a God who loves people to the point that He sacrificed His Only Son to them, this point showed that He doesn’t think of judgment, but only of redemption. If God doesn’t judge, why people are still lost? St. John answered: People judge themselves when they turn their back to God’s love and don’t believe in Christ.

2.2/ The conflict between light and darkness: First, it is a physical conflict which people can see. Jesus is like the light who comes to expel the darkness which is covering the world. People have freedom to choose, either to come up to the light by believing in Christ or to stay in the darkness by refusing to believe in him. It is this choice which a person can be saved or destroyed.

            Behind this physical conflict is the moral conflict between good and evil, as Jesus said: “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.” Jesus wanted to say that the reason why people don’t accept the light, not because they don’t know the light is good and useful; but because there are wicked sins which people got so used to and don’t want to give up. If they choose to come up to the light by believing in Christ, they must give up these sins.

            Finally, it is a spiritual conflict between God and the world. God wants to save men while the devil and the worldly power want to draw people to themselves. In order to belong to God, people must “lives the truth by coming to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We are always being put in a conflict between light and darkness, between God’s power and those of the devil and the world until the day we shall leave this world.

            - We must choose to live between God’s standard and the worldly standard. Jesus has warned us that we must suffer to live according to God’s standard because “they shall hate you because you don’t belong to them.”

            - Jesus also foretold the victory if we choose to live according to God’s standard: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16:33).

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