Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 9:31-42):

The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
was at peace.
She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.
As Peter was passing through every region,
he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas,
who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him,
"Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed."
He got up at once.
And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him,
and they turned to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
(which translated is Dorcas).
She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Now during those days she fell sick and died,
so after washing her, they laid her out in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, hearing that Peter was there,
sent two men to him with the request,
"Please come to us without delay."
So Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs
where all the widows came to him weeping
and showing him the tunics and cloaks
that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed.
Then he turned to her body and said, "Tabitha, rise up."
She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.
He gave her his hand and raised her up,
and when he had called the holy ones and the widows,
he presented her alive.
This became known all over Joppa,
and many came to believe in the Lord.

Gospel (Jn 6:60-69):

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."


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

 

I. THEME: You have the words of eternal life.

            What a speaker said can cause different reactions and effects from his audience. Some might consider them as hard to hear; some said they are illogical and useless; but some might consider them as having profound meaning and can help those who live according to them. All are dependent on if the audience could understand and recognize the speaker’s intention or not.

            Today readings rotate around the words that bring life of Jesus and Peter. In the first reading, Peter used the name of Christ to heal the paralyzed who had been confined to bed for eight years, and raised a dead woman to life. In the Gospel, Jesus’ declaration, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51) caused different reactions from his audience. Some of disciples were no longer followed Jesus because they couldn’t accept his words. Peter, represented for the apostles, confessed his faith in Jesus’ words: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Peter used Jesus’ name to work two miracles.

            The author of the Acts reported: “The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.” God controls the Church according to His wise providence. He knows that not only persecution is needed for the Church to be purified and to grow but also peace is needed to confirm and to expand. Therefore, the Church must be always ready and prepared for the faithful to face persecution as well as to live in peace. Today passage reported two Peter’s miracles which he performed in Christ’s name.

1.1/ Peter healed a man who was paralyzed for eight years: Like Jesus worked miracles to heal all kinds of sickness for people; Peter was also bestowed power to preach and to heal. “As Peter was passing through every region, he went down to the holy ones living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed." He got up at once. And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.” The important thing is that Peter didn’t use his name, but Christ’s name to preach and to heal people. God knows Peter’s miracles are necessary for people to believe what he was preaching about Christ.

1.2/ Peter raised a woman from death: “Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated means Dorcas). She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving. Now during those days she fell sick and died, so after washing her, they laid (her) out in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, "Please come to us without delay." So Peter got up and went with them. When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs where all the widows came to him weeping and showing him the tunics and cloaks that Dorcas had made while she was with them.”

            “Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to her body and said, "Tabitha, rise up." She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up. He gave her his hand and raised her up, and when he had called the holy ones and the widows, he presented her alive.”

            Imitating Christ who also raised his eyes to heaven and prayed to his Father before commanded Lazarus to raised up and to get out of the tomb (Jn 11); Peter also knelt down to pray to ask for God’s power before called and commanded her to stand up. It was not Peter’s words that raised up the death, but his words in the name of the Lord raised her up.

2/ Gospel: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

            Jesus’ saying, “and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51c), caused two different reactions:

2.1/ From some of Jesus’ disciples: When Jesus talked about people must eat his flesh and drink his blood, some disciples couldn’t be quiet, they protested: "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe."

            Jesus’ words has the power of the Holy Spirit; therefore, they have power to give life. Some disciples didn’t believe them because they reasoned according to the flesh; they can only believe if they let the Holy Spirit guide them to recognize the truth and to believe in what Jesus said. In order to have the Holy Spirit, they must be bestowed by the Father as Jesus told them, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

            As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. They withdrew because they couldn’t understand Jesus’ revelation which exceeded their reason. They missed an opportunity to learn about divine revelation.

2.2/ From Jesus’ apostles: Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

            There are only three who were called “holy” in the Fourth Gospel. The Father is holy (Jn 17:11); the Son in today passage and the Holy Spirit (1:33, 14:26, 20:33). Since all three are holy, they all have power to sanctify people (1:33, 10:36, 14:26, 17:11, 17, 19, 20:22). Jesus comes to sanctify men by destroying the devil’s works to restore life for men. Peter confessed that Jesus’ words can bring not only life in this world, but also the eternal life.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - God’s word has the Holy Spirit’s power in it; therefore, we must believe that it has power to create from nothing, to heal what has been broken up, to rise up what has been died, and specially to help people to reach eternal life.

            - In order to benefit from God’s words, we need to pay respect for God’s words by preparing our mind through silence and prayer, carefully listening to them, and making an effort to study, to meditate, and to practice God’s words in our life.

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