Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 18:1-8):

Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus,
who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla
because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.
He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade,
stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
Every sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue,
attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia,
Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word,
testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.
When they opposed him and reviled him,
he shook out his garments and said to them,
“Your blood be on your heads!
I am clear of responsibility.
From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
So he left there and went to a house
belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God;
his house was next to a synagogue.
Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord
along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians
who heard believed and were baptized.

Gospel (Jn 16:16-20):

Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me,’
and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?”
So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks?
We do not know what he means.”
Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them,
“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”


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

 

I. THEME: Changes in life

             

            Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Our life is the same, what happens today is different with what happened yesterday and what shall happen tomorrow. Everyday has its own joy and suffering. Our life is made by a chain of daily events. The importance is that we must learn from what is happening to face what shall happen.

            Today reading help us to learn from Paul’s manner and Jesus’ teaching about the change of life. In the first reading, Paul came from Athens, the cultural center of the Greeks, to Corinth and earn money by working as a tentmaker. Every Sabbath, he comes to a synagogue to preach. In the gospel, Jesus foretold what shall happen to him and his disciples. His purpose is to prepare for his disciples to face the coming challenges.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Paul left Athens to preach the Gospel to the Corinthians.

1.1/ Paul worked for a living and preached the gospel on the Sabbath: His second is the longest of his three missionary journeys. He gathered many successes and failures, were accepted and rejected, peace and unrest. Today passage reported what happened when he left Athens to come to Corinth: “There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. He went to visit them and, because he practiced the same trade, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. Every Sabbath, he entered into discussions in the synagogue, attempting to convince both Jews and Greeks.”

            Tentmaker is Paul’s former profession before his conversion. We are surprised when we learn Paul came back to his former profession to earn a living instead of using all his time to preach the Good News. This can be understood because in the early Church, there was no financial help for missionary preachers. Paul must earn his living, especially when he came to a new city. Paul was very proud of his lifestyle because he wasn’t dependent on others for help.

1.2/ The Corinthians’ reactions: “When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began to occupy himself totally with preaching the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus.”

            (1) Those who denied to believe: The majority of them were the Jews. Due to their rejection, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your heads! I am clear of responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

            Though Paul was given a special mission to preach for the Gentiles, he still found opportunities to preach for the Jews because he concerned about their salvation; but he got little result.

            (2) Paul turned to the Gentiles and harvested better result: When Paul saw the Jews’ hardness and opposition, “he left there and went to a house belonging to a man named Titus Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next to a synagogue. Crispus, the synagogue official, came to believe in the Lord along with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard believed and were baptized.”

2/ Gospel: “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

2.1/ The apostles couldn’t understand Jesus’ announcement of what shall happen: When they heard Jesus’ announcement: “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." Some of his disciples said to one another, "What does this mean that he is saying to us, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,' and 'Because I am going to the Father'?" So they said, "What is this 'little while' (of which he speaks)? We do not know what he means."

            To us, who read Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, the above passage isn’t hard to understand; but to Jesus’ disciples before the Passion, there are at least three things that they couldn’t understand:

            (1) They couldn’t understand a person who clearly knows the date and the way he dies, except the one who commits suicide as the Jews thought of Jesus (Jn 8:21-22).

            (2) They couldn’t understand a person who foreknows his resurrection. Jewish tradition doesn’t believe in the resurrection as the Sadducees, or the resurrection only happens on the Last Day (Jn 11:24). They couldn’t believe that Jesus shall resurrect three days after his death.

            (3) They also didn’t understand the meaning of what Jesus said, “I am going to the Father;” because they didn’t completely believe Jesus’ relationship with the Father as a son.

2.2/ Different reactions to Jesus’ Passion: “Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, "Are you discussing with one another what I said, 'A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me'? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

            (1) The disciples shall weep and mourn about Jesus’ suffering, death and absence in their life; but when they witness his resurrection and appearances, these weeping and mourning shall become joy and hope. Similarly in the life of christians, there is a time when they feel that their following of Jesus require so much sacrifices and efforts, especially during their temptation of worldly joy; but it shall come a day when their sacrifices and efforts start to bear fruits, they shall have a complete joy and the eternal life.

            (2) The world shall be joyful: The world here is understood as those who opposed God, condemned and killed His Only Son, concretely were the members of the Sandherin. They thought that they destroyed the one who attracted the crowd and was the reason why they lost their power and influence on people. Their joy is only temporal because after that there is a period of mourning. Similarly for those who chase after the worldly joy. They can only be joyful in a short period of time, but after that there is a period of tiredness and hopelessness. It is the most miserable pain for those who don’t know, don’t have or lost God in their life.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - In life, we must face many changes; but it is fortunate for us that the main things were revealed for us by Jesus, especially God’s plan of salvation.

            - We need to study Scripture and history to know the main things in life, so that we are prepared to face changes in our life.

            - Mary is the exemplar for us to recognize God’s will in the changes of life. She was always silent, recorded all things that happened, and meditated them in her heart.

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