Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 19:1-8)

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples.
He said to them,
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?"
They answered him,
"We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
He said, "How were you baptized?"
They replied, "With the baptism of John."
Paul then said, "John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus."
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.

Gospel (Jn 16:29-33)

The disciples said to Jesus,
"Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God."
Jesus answered them, "Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world."


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

 

I. THEME: The language is used in preaching of the Good News.

             

            What kind of language that must a preacher use to effectively preach the Good News? First, on the account of the preacher, he must speak the truth because he brings God’s message to people. Secondly, on the account of the audience, since the majority of them are plain people who don’t have much literature background to understand stylish words or deeply thought, the preacher must use a simple style, clear and easy to understand. Moreover, the purpose of preaching the Good News is to lead the audience to have faith in God and to repentance, not to enjoy stylish talking or literary analysis. Therefore, the preacher must use sincere words which guided by the Holy Spirit to touch the audience’s mind and heart, to help them to recognize God’s love for them and to recognize their weaknesses and sins which shall lead to repentance.

            Today readings give us concrete examples in preaching of the Good News. In the first reading, when Paul came to Ephesus, he asked the faithful there if they received the Holy Spirit yet. They answered him, “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then, Paul explained to them about the difference between two kinds of baptism; and when they understood it, he baptized them in the name of Christ so they would receive the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel, when Jesus knew his Passion is near, he used the language of heart to help his disciples to know the meaning of what are going to happen, so that they know how to react when they happen.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Paul patiently educated the faithful at Ephesus.

1.1/ Paul explained the difference between two kinds of baptism: In the beginning of the Church, many believers thought that there is only one baptism in water of John Baptist. They never hear of the baptism in the Holy Spirit by Christ’s name and why they must receive this baptism, as the Ephesians answered Paul, “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Understanding their lacking of knowledge, Paul explained for them the difference between the two kinds of baptism.

            (1) Baptism by water of John Baptist: is the baptism to show one’s repentance. John Baptist did this baptism to prepare for people so that they shall believe in Christ, the one comes after him. This baptism is necessary, but not the only baptism.

            (2) Baptism by the Holy Spirit of Christ: Jesus received his baptism by John, but not for the forgiveness of sin because he has no sin to be forgiven. The Church Father, Jerome, explained: Jesus received John’s baptism to sanctify the water of Jordan river and all water which the Church uses to baptize the faithful. The main difference between the two baptism is the presence of the Holy Spirit which came up from heaven and descended on him.

            When people receive baptism, they are forgiven not only of their sins, but also are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit sanctifies people by helping them to understand God’s words and by giving them necessary grace so that they deservedly live their vocation of God’s children. We can recognize this when an adult is received into the Church. He receives not only baptism in water, but also the Holy Spirit through the anointing of Chrism oil, and then the sacrament of the Eucharist in the one rite. To children, the Church separates them into three sacraments according to their progress of becoming adults: they receive baptism at birth, the Eucharist when they know how to differentiate between right and wrong, and the Confirmation when they are ready to be Christ’s witnesses.

1.2/ Paul baptized the faithful in the Holy Spirit: "When Paul laid (his) hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied." Speaking of language isn’t only limited to different languages as the apostles did on the Pentecost, but also extended to speak the language that help others to understand what God wants to convey, namely truth and love. Prophecy isn’t also limited to the prediction of what shall happen in the future, but to speak on the behalf of God, to preach the Good News to those who never know about God. When the faithful speak language and prophecy, they don’t speak confused and senseless words as mad people, but the meaningful word of truth and for upbuiding which others can understand them.  

2/ Gospel: We believe that you come from the Father.

2.1/ Faith and trials:

            (1) Jesus used the language of heart with his disciples: Today passage belongs to Christ’s teaching, specially preserved for his disciples. To different audience, Jesus used different language and style. Jesus had not much time to educate his disciples, he used language of the heart to prepare for them what shall happen. The disciples understood what he said and spoke to him: “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.”

            (2) Trials are needed to test the disciples’ faith: Jesus said to them: “Do you believe now?Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Jesus didn’t intend to correct his disciples when he said these words, but he wanted them to know two truths: First, faith must be tested to know the true faith. Secondly, the one who has a firm faith is never lonely because he always has God to accompany and to help him through all dangers of life.

2.2/ Jesus left two sources of peace to his disciples.

            (1) The disciples have peace when they betrayed their master: How can we understand Jesus’ statement, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me”? He knew they shall betray him because of their fear and weakness in his coming Passion, but he still loves and forgives them. He wanted to say these words before their betrayals happen, so that they shouldn’t be hopeless to the point of commiting a suicide as Judas, but to believe in his forgiveness.

            (2) The promise of victory before fighting: Jesus continued, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” Nothing that motivates the disciples more than Jesus’ promise of victory. Once he is guaranteed a victory, the disciple shall thrust into the battle and nothing can hinder his step.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We don’t need to use literary words in preaching of the Good News, but the simple truth which everybody can understand.

            - More importance, we should use words from our heart, guided and warmed by the Holy Spirit. Our audience are easy to recognize and to understand those who has concern for their needs because the Holy Spirit acts in both the preacher and the audience.

            - We shouldn’t fear of anything in our preaching of the Good News because the Holy Trinity always accompany us to enlighten, to support and to protect us.

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