Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Second Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 6:1-7)

As the number of disciples continued to grow,
the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews
because their widows
were being neglected in the daily distribution.
So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said,
"It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.
Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men,
filled with the Spirit and wisdom,
whom we shall appoint to this task,
whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word."
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community,
so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit,
also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas,
and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
They presented these men to the Apostles
who prayed and laid hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread,
and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly;
even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Gospel (Jn 6:16-21)

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea,
embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum.
It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
They wanted to take him into the boat,
but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.


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

 

I. THEME: How to solve difficult problems in life?

            Difficulty and conflict happen everywhere and in all generation, because as long as people live together, they shall have conflicts. How to solve problems when we face difficulties and conflicts? The angry people shall scream, quarrel or do anything to satisfy their tantrum. The quiet people shall withdraw and be content with separation. Both ways aren’t God’s ways because they didn’t help people to improve. Moreover, wherever people go, they still have to face conflicts.

            Today readings help us to solve problems according to God’s way and helping people to improve. In the first reading, the author of the Acts reported the difficulties of the first generation of the faithful; one of their problems was the partiality and the jealousy between the Jews who lived according to Greek’s culture and those who were native. Instead of avoiding the problem or separating, the apostles chose to add seven deacons to take care of the widows who were living according to Greek’s culture. Everyone were satisfied with this wise resolution. In the Gospel, when the apostles faced a violent storm, they were afraid of, and even more afraid when they saw a shadow who walked on the surface of water and approached them; but Jesus said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid!”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Knowing how to wisely solve problems.

1.1/ Partiality and jealousy happened in the eraly community: The author of the Acts reported this as follows: “At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.”

            (1) Recognition of the problem: People’s tendency is to protect those belong to their family, community and nation before others. This problem also happened between the Jews of different cultures: the native Jewish widows were provided better than the ones of Hellenistic culture. If the apostles didn’t solve this problem, the partiality and jealousy shall be more serious, lead to separation, damage the unity, and cause scandal for other faithfuls.

            (2) The resolution: The Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

            One man can’t do everything, and isn’t good to do all by himself because it shall not have better result than many contributors. Moreover, the extension of God’s kingdom is the duty of all faithful, not just leaders. The apostles know how to set priority: the proclamation of the Good News is the first duty which can’t be neglected. To have people to care for the community’s needs, they need to have more deacons who must have necessary virtues. The apostles wisely let the faithful to involve in finding the candidates; then, they shall verify by laying their hands upon them and guiding them in serving the community.

1.2/ The hierachy of the Church is gradually established: “The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.” These were the first seven deacons of the Church. Deacon Stephen shall be the first martyr who was stoned to death to witness for Christ which we shall hear about in coming day.

            As the number of the faithful increase, the Church’s hierachy must also be extended to meet the needs of the community and the faithful. Under the apostles’ guidance and the Holy Spirit’s works, “the word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”

2/ Gospel: Do not be afraid when facing hardship in life.

            Difficulties in life can’t be lacking in the progress which helps people to reach their maturity. The difficulties can be sent by God to test people’s faith or caused by others due to living together. In today passage, the author wanted to emphasize the earlier.

2.1/ The apostles were afraid of the storm: This event happened right after Jesus’ multiplication of five loaves and two fishes to feed five thousand people and they wanted to make Jesus their king. Jesus commanded his disciples to go across the Galilee first, and he went to a mountain to pray. From the mountain of Tiberias region, Jesus could clearly see his disciples’ boat in the Galilean sea. Many authors of the holy songs compared the Church and human life as a journey to the heavenly destiny on a boat. Jesus could foresee many difficulties which his disciples must face in leading the Church’s boat later, he wanted to prepare them by letting them face a violent storm in today event.

            From Tiberias, where they departed, to Capernaum, their destination, isn’t too far; but on that night, the sea was violent because of a strong wind. When they sailed about five to six kilometers, they saw someone who walked on the surface of water and approached them. This made them terrified because they never witnessed a man who walks on water. They thought that only a ghost can do it. Therefore, their fear was doubled.

2.2/ Jesus settled them down: He said to them: "It is I. Do not be afraid."They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading. Many times in Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus said these words to them. For examples, when he chose Peter to be the Church’s leader, he said to him: “So I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). Jesus’ last words to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27). After the resurrection, he appeared to them and the first words he said to them are: “Do not be afraid!” (Mt 28:10). When people live in his protection, there is nothing to be feared about.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - When facing difficulty and conflict, both angry and withdrawing must be avoided. We need to combine both God’s spiritual help and taciful behavior to solve problem wisely and charitably.

            - All Christians have a duty in developping of God’s kingdom. Leaders need to be wise in guiding all faithful to have an opportunity to contribute according to their situation.

            - When the difficulties come, don’t be afraid; but to be patient, to pray, and to find a good resolution.

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: