Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

 

Reading 1 (Acts 6:8-15):

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Then they instigated some men to say,
"We have heard him speaking blasphemous words
against Moses and God."
They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,
accosted him, seized him,
and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
They presented false witnesses who testified,
"This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.
For we have heard him claim
that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place
and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him
and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Gospel (Jn 6:22-29):

[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea
saw that there had been only one boat there,
and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,
but only his disciples had left.
Other boats came from Tiberias
near the place where they had eaten the bread
when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?"
Jesus answered them and said,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me
not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."
So they said to him,
"What can we do to accomplish the works of God?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."


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

 

I. THEME: Let work for the food that endures for eternal life.

            Witness a same event, but people views it under different angles: There are some who can immediately recognize its meaning; there are some who need time to recognize it; but there are also some people who can never understand it because of their stubborn attitude. Similarly in Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection, when the apostles and many people recognized their sins by betraying and condemning the son of God, they repented of their sins and witnessed for him. But there were some who refused to believe in him; they continued to use their power and wicked plan to persecute and to condemn his disciples.

            Today readings pointed out human wrong judgment and wicked action. In the first reading, deacon Stephen argued with certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, about Jesus’ teaching on the temple and the law. Even though they couldn’t argue against him, they instigated some men to bear wrong witness against him so that they could seize and hand him over for the Sandherin. In the Gospel, people were looking for Jesus, not because the recognized him as the Messiah, but because they wanted him to give them their daily food. Jesus corrected them by saying: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

1.1/ The conflict between deacon Stephen and the members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen: Stephen was one of the seven new deacons, chosen to serve the widows who followed the Hellenistic culture. He was full of grace and power, and working great wonders and signs among the people.

            His adversaries are “the members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.” When they couldn’t win by arguments, they turned to their wicked plan. “They instigated some men to say, "We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God." They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin.”

1.2/ They condemned Stephen with wrong accusation: They presented false witnesses who testified, "This man never stops saying things against (this) holy place and the law. For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us."

            Stephen might argue with them about three main points:

            (1) The holy place which is the temple, must pass away so that people shall worship God in spirit and truth (Jn 4:20-24). This is the obvious truth because though the Jerusalem temple was completely destroyed in 70 A.D., the faithful continued to worship God in everywhere, at all times and in every generation.

            (2) The law must be oriented to Christ’s fulfillment, and his Good News is needed to preach to all people. The Sandherin couldn’t interpret the law according to their will, so that they could continue to maltreat the poor and to oppress the righteous.

            (3) God’s salvation is for all people: Some Jews thought that only they are God’s children and worthy of the salvation; all other nations must be their slaves and were predestined to be lost for ever. They forgot that the priviledges which God bestowed on them are as instruments so that they could lead many people to God.

            The Sandherin knew that Stephen was innocent, as the passage described their attitude: “All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” But they still condemned him as they did to Jesus Christ.

2/ Gospel: "This is the work of God that you believe in the one He sent."

2.1/ Looking for Jesus with a wrong motivation: Today passage continues the Feeding of the Five Thousand people. After people were fed, they wanted to make him their king. Jesus commanded his apostles to sail to Capernaum, he himself went up to the mountain and prayed. That night, the apostles met a great storm in the Galilean sea and Jesus walked on the water and calmed the storm.

            “The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left.Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.”

            When they found him across the sea they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” The temptation to look only for the perishable food is very strong and for all generation; people need to know Jesus’ anwer to the devil: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4).

2.2/ Looking for Jesus with a right motivation:

            (1) Difference between perishable food and the food that gives eternal life: Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."

            The perishable food which Jesus mentioned here is food for physical life; they come in human mouth and dissipate thereafter. The food that endures for eternal life is first of all God’s word, but especially Christ’s body as Jesus revealed to them in the next passage. These spiritual food shall nourish their soul and help them to reach the eternal life.

            (2) What is meant to do God’s will: So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God that you believe in the one he sent."

            The desire to do God’s will must be the food for human beings as Jesus answered to his disciples when they asked him to eat: “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work” (Jn 4:34). God wants everyone to believe in Jesus so they can inherit the eternal life.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We need to be open-minded when we search for the truth. We also need to pray to the Holy Spirit so that he can enlighten our mind to recognize the truth.

            - We need to use God’s given wisdom to recognize the truth and to help others to do the same. We can’t use power to force people to believe and to use wicked plan to persecute the righteous.

            - We should spend our effort to work for food that isn’t perishable, such as: God’s words, Christ’s body, God’s will, justice and love. Don’t let wordly worry and temptation make us to forget or to live according to these lasting values. 

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: