Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 18:23-28)

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Gospel (Jn 16:23b-28)

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything in my name;
ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

"I have told you this in figures of speech.
The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures
but I will tell you clearly about the Father.
On that day you will ask in my name,
and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me
and have come to believe that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."


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

 

I. THEME: The Christians work together to bring salvation to all.

            People used to feel insecure and jealous when they see others more famous, powerful, richer and respected than them; therefore, they try to reduce others’ fame, power and authority by wicked ways such as: backbiting, defaming, slandering, taking away opportunies or even destroying others. To Jesus’ disciples, they aren’t permitted to do such things. In opposition, God demands them to co-operate with each other and to use the Holy Spirit’s different gifts for upbuilding Christ’s Mystical Body and for the preaching of the Gospel.

            Today readings show us the exemplars of unity and co-operation in God’s plan of salvation. In the first reading, when the church of Ephesus recognized that Apollo had a special talent for preaching the Good News, they weren’t jealous with him. In opposition, they found a way to help him to complete what he was lacking and provided opportunities for him to bring the Good News to all people in Achaia region. In the Gospel, Jesus didn’t keep the disciples for himself, but encouraged them to come to the Father. He confirmed with the disciples that the Father loves them and is ready to grant all what they shall ask in his name.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The faithful co-operated with each other in preaching and protecting the Gospel.

1.1/ The appearance of Apollo, a new and talent preacher: Through the Jewish and the Church’s history, God continually sent prophets and preachers who are wise, holy, courageous and ardent to bring His messages for people; for examples, Moses, King David, Solomon, Isaiah, John Baptist, Peter and Paul. In the church of Ephesus, God gives the community a new and talent Jewish preacher, Apollo of Alexandria.

            Alexandria of Egypt and Antioch of Syria were the early Church’s two important centers of philosophy and theology. These two centers offered for the Church many talented and ardent Church Fathers in teaching and protecting her doctrines. Apollo had many characters of a good preacher, he was an eloquent speaker. “He was an authority on the scriptures.He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.”

1.2/ Preaching of Good News is everyone’s duty: Recognizing Apollo’s talent and eagerness, the faithful in the church of Ephesus helped him to complete what he was lacking and created easy opportunities for him to bring the Good News to people in the Achaia region.

            (1) Priscilla and Aquila, her husband, helped Apollo to concisely understand Christ’s teachings: After listened to Apollo’s preaching in the synagogue, “They took him aside and explained to him the Way (of God) more accurately.” We learn many things from this event:

            - They weren’t jealous with Apollo, but wanted to help him to understand more concise.

            - Apollo wasn’t haughty. He knew that he didn’t know all and was ready to learn from others.

            - Those who live in familial vocation can contribute in education and forming of future preachers.

            - Women have a role in the preaching of the Good News without demanding to be equal as men.

            (2) Those in the community provided Apollo opportunities to preach the Good News in Achaia region: The Acts reported: “When he wanted to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.” Those who promote prophetic vocation and those who provide opportunities, both contribute in preaching the Gospel. To have preachers, God needs the contribution of all people.

            All enjoy the reward: The Acts continued: "After his arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace.He vigorously refuted the Jews in public, establishing from the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus."

2/ Gospel: The Father loves you because you love me.

2.1/ Jesus encouraged his disciples to come to the Father: Jesus didn’t work by himself but together with the Father and the Holy Spirit to benefit people. An example shall illustrate this co-operation: The Father provides opportunities for people to come to Jesus to listen to his teaching. Jesus reveals for people the Father’s will and love. The Holy Spirit enlightens people’s mind so that they can understand Jesus’ teaching. In today passage, Jesus showed his disciples the way to the Father: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”

            When people don’t keep anything for themselves, but sacrifice for others, all of them shall enjoy good results; for example, The Father loves Jesus, Jesus loves people and reveals his Father’s love for people. People love both the Father and the Son.

2.2/ To love the Father is to love the Son: From the first to chapter 12 of the Fourth Gospel, Jesus used many parables to teach both his disciples and people; but from the chapter 13 to his Passion, he revealed and taught only his disciples. This is the reason why Jesus said to his disciples, “I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.”

            Jesus’ disciples can directly come to the Father: Jesus continued: “On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” If the Father loves His Son, He also loves all belong to the Son (Jn 10:29). If the Son loves the Father, he shall keep and protect all those the Father gave to the Son (Jn 6:37, 39-40). People are the common properties of both the Father and the Son.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Preaching the Gospel to all is the duty of everyone; therefore, some contribute their labor, others provide opportunities. We must co-operate to expand God’s kingdom to all.

            - Power, fame, authority exist everywhere, even in the Church, the religious communities and the parishes. These vices, not only prevent the Good News to expand, but also scandalize the faithful and cause damages for the ones who commit.

            - Since we received the Gospel free of charge, we must gratuitously give it away. God doesn’t allow us to use the Good News to acquire fame, power and material gains for ourselves.

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