Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 18:9-18)

One night while Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him in a vision,
"Do not be afraid.
Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.
No one will attack and harm you,
for I have many people in this city."
He settled there for a year and a half
and taught the word of God among them.

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,
the Jews rose up together against Paul
and brought him to the tribunal, saying,
"This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law."
When Paul was about to reply, Gallio spoke to the Jews,
"If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud,
I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;
but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles
and your own law, see to it yourselves.
I do not wish to be a judge of such matters."
And he drove them away from the tribunal.
They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official,
and beat him in full view of the tribunal.
But none of this was of concern to Gallio.

Paul remained for quite some time,
and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria,
together with Priscilla and Aquila.
At Cenchreae he had shaved his head because he had taken a vow.

Gospel (Jn 16:20-23)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn,
while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;
but when she has given birth to a child,
she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
that a child has been born into the world.
So you also are now in anguish.
But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy away from you.
On that day you will not question me about anything.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."


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

 

I. THEME: Be loyal in all circumstances.            

            People are easily discouraged before hardship, suffering and failure; and eagerly before glory, happiness and success. Both of these poles are two sides of our life as a coin with both sides. To live is to accept and to master both of them.

            Today readings help us to recognize these two poles through concrete examples in life. In the first reading, St. Paul might feel tired and discouraged when he saw his efforts didn’t bring the desired results. Moreover, he also endured many trials and sufferings such as: misunderstanding, scourging, prison, especially the opposition from the Jews, his own people. When Paul realized that Christ is still with him and protect him, he stayed and built up the church of Corinth. In the Gospel, Jesus compared his coming Passion as the woman in labor. His disciples are worry and sad because of the sufferings shall happen to him and to them; but Jesus oriented them to the complete joy which no one can take away from them when they see his glorious resurrection.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Must be persevere in preaching of the gospel in all situation.

1.1/ Sufferings can discourage people to witness for Christ: In Paul’s second missionary journey, he faced many misunderstanding and persecution from Jewish people, scourged, confined in prison, and didn’t see desired results. These sufferings might disccouraged him so he was no longer eagerly preaching the gospel as in the beginning. However, Christ is always accompanied him. One night, Christ appeared to him in a vision and encouraged Paul: “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent,for I am with you. No one will attack and harm you, for I have many people in this city."When Paul recognized Christ’s will, he settled there for a year and a half and taught the word of God among them.

1.2/ God always protects his loyal servants: Then, the suffering continued to happen to Paul: “But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him to the tribunal,saying, "This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law."”

            (1) God used the proconsul of Achaia to protect Paul: When Paul was opening his mouth to defend, Gallion said to the Jews: "If it were a matter of some crime or malicious fraud, I should with reason hear the complaint of you Jews;but since it is a question of arguments over doctrine and titles and your own law, see to it yourselves. I do not wish to be a judge of such matters."And he drove them away from the tribunal.

            (2) The accusator became the accused: Seeing the result, “They all seized Sosthenes, the synagogue official, and beat him in full view of the tribunal. But none of this was of concern to Gallio.” Sosthenes was the main one who manipulated people to bring Paul to the tribunal.

            Paul continued his missionary journey: “Paul remained for quite some time, and after saying farewell to the brothers he sailed for Syria, together with Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut because he had taken a vow.” In order to fulfill the special mission, a preacher needs to pray often, to live an intimate relationship with Christ and to be disciplined.

2/ Gospel: Your grief shall become joy.

2.1/ Happiness is achieved through suffering: Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

            The Jewish tradition thought they are living between the two eras: The present era is completely bad and damned, the future era is good and desirable; between the two eras, the Messiah shall come which the prophets labeled as “the terrible days”: “Lo, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and burning anger; To lay waste the land and destroy the sinners within it!” (Isa 13:9; cf. Joel 2:1-2, 2 Pet 3:10). Jesus used this traditional concept in two examples to explain for his disciples what were going to happen to him and them.

            (1) The woman in labor: “When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.” The woman’s pregnant time can be compared as the past and the time after giving birth as the future. Between these times is the labor, though very painful, but she can endure because she hopes a child shall be born. She can see, love and care for her child.

            (2) Your grief shall turn into joy: Jesus continued: “So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

The time which the apostles were living with Jesus is compared as the past and the time they shall see him again as the future. Between these two times is Jesus’ Passion. The disciples feel painful when they see their Lord is condemned, scourged, nailed to the cross and buried in a tomb. They are also worried and fear for their life. All these terrible moments shall past. They shall be joyful when they see Jesus’ glorious resurrection. They shall also be resurrected and joyfully live with Jesus for ever.

2.2/ The fully joy: Jesus said, "On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you." Their joy is full because:

            + It is complete joy: They shall lack of nothing. The worldly joy shall never be complete because it lacks of many elements.

            + It is lasting joy: No one can take it away from them. The worldly joy is only temporal and fragile because it is threatened by many dangers. When a Christian lives with Christ, he is always joyful and there is no more sadness.

            (1) On that day you will not question me about anything: As long as people live in this world, they are struggle in searching for the truth in the midst of many falsity and confusion. When people have the “beatific vision,” they understand all truth and no longer need to ask any more question.

            (2) Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you: Many people wrongly explain this sentence. In order to be granted, they must keep Jesus’ commandments and ask for what is according to God’s will, not what shall cause damages to themselves or others. When a child ask his father a favor, his father shall not grant anything he asks for, but only good things. He shall not grant to his child deadly weapon, having internet on his room or going out with bad friends. A complete understanding of the truth shall discard petitions which aren’t according to God’s will.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Suffering and glory are two poles of life in God’s plan of salvation. We must accept both of them in our life.

            - We shouldn’t avoid suffering to chase after the worldly and temporal joy. If we aren’t faithful in our vocation, we shall never have a complete joy of the loyal witnessess. 

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