Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 13:44-52)

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth."

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Gospel (Jn 14:7-14)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said to Jesus,
"Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."


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

 

I. THEME: Let use God’s given opportunities to bring His salvation to all people.

            In their missionary journey to preach the Good News, Paul and Barnabas met many hardship and opposition from the Jews. The reason was that they didn’t want to loose their influence on the crowd and the Gentiles to be God’s children. Instead of using God’s given priviledge to bring people to Him, they let their selfishness and jealousy to prevent not only themselves but also the Gentiles to come to God.

            Today readings emphasize on the effort to bring God’s plan of salvation to fulfillment. In the first reading, Paul used the prophet Isaiah’s words to prove that God’s salvation isn’t limited only to the Israelites, but also for all people: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” In the Gospel, Jesus promised to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” The greater work is to bring his salvation to the end of the earth.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God’s plan of salvation is for all people: both the Jews and the Gentiles.

1.1/ The Gentiles can also inherit God’s salvation: The Book of Isaiah was written about 700 years B.C., and mentioned God’s plan of salvation as followed: God said to His Suffering Servant, “It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isa 49:6). The Suffering Servant is Christ, who came to save first the Israelites; not only them but also all nations until God’s salvation is spread out to the end of the earth.

            Therefore, it is not surprised when the Acts reported in today passage, “on the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.” God provides everyone to have opportunities to listen to the gospel. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”Paul also used the prophet Isaiah’s words to apply to himself and all preachers of the Good News because they also fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

            Hearing Paul’s explanation of Scripture and knowing God’s plan of salvation, “the Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region.”

1.2/ The Jews were jealous and maltreated Paul and Barnabas: When the Jews saw such a crowd gathered to listen to Paul’s preaching, they became irritated; they opposed what Paul said and maltreated him. This was also happened to Jesus due to the two following reasons:

            (1) They didn’t want Jesus and Paul to have influence on the crowd because if the crowd follows Jesus or Paul, they shall no longer have their influence on the crowd.

            (2) They didn’t want anyone to be better than them, and they were envy when someone did. The Jewish tradition believes that only they are God’s children. If the Gentiles are also God’s children, they are no longer special!

            Therefore, the Jews “incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory.” So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. They were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

2/ Gospel: “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.”

2.1/ Jesus and the Father are one: No one has ever seen God; but when people see Jesus they see the Father, as Paul said: “He is the image of invisible God” (Col 1:15). In the dialogue between Jesus and Philip, Jesus also confirmed this. When Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us."Jesus answered him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?” Jesus wanted to show Philip two things:

            (1) Jesus is the Father’s word: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own."

            (2) Jesus’ works are according to Father’s will: "The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves." No one can do Jesus’ works if God wasn’t with him.

2.2/ The apostles can do what Jesus did and greater work than that: Jesus declared: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”

            (1) What Jesus did, such as: preaching the Good News, expelling demons, raising the dead, forming future disciples, etc; the apostles could do all these in Christ’s name, not according to their own effort. They clearly knew that they had no power to do these things. Jesus’ words to them guaranteed these thing: “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

            (2) The “greater works than these” is to help all people to believe in Christ to inherit salvation. To achieve this, Jesus needs human cooperation.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must use all possible ways to preach the Good News and to bring God’s salvation to everyone as Christ wanted.

            - We must eliminate all selfishness and jealousy while preaching the Good News so that God’s words can be extended and bear good fruits for all people.

            - We should not let any obstacle to prevent us in our mission of preaching the gospel. Christ promises us: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

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