Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Reading 1 (Acts 22:30; 23:6-11)

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
"My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead."
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
"We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome."

Gospel (Jn 17:20-26)

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
"I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them."


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

 

I. THEME: Division and unity

             

            Unity is a desire of a family, a community, the Church and the world. What does unity depend on? Is it depended on speaking of a same language? If unity only demands that, there won’t be civil war as happened in the Northern and Southern kingdom, in North and South Korean and in Vietnam. Is it depended on bearing a same name? If it is, there won’t be too many denominations between Christians. Or is it depended on believing in the same God? All three religions, Judaism, Islam and Catholic believe in the same God and aren’t in union with each other. The last several popes called for and aimed at the unity by paying attention to the similarities between religions so that all can work together and help people to know God.

            Today readings show that the perfect unity must be based on truth, love and respect of others. In the first reading, Paul, though preached about unity through his image of the human body, caused an intense conflict between Pharisees and Sadducees. In the Gospel, Jesus paid attention to doing God’s will and love, the two poles of unity.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: "It is my hope in resurrection that I was accused."

1.1/ Paul caused division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the Sandherin.

            (1) Resurrection: Paul was very clever. He knew that both sects opposed his faith in Christ; so he didn’t directly mention Christ, but the resurrection which the two sects are opposed each other. So he called out before the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead."

            (2) The result: “When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, "We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?"

1.2/ Paul’s faith in resurrection: One might blame Paul that he caused a division in the Sandherin, and isn’t a messenger of peace; but Paul was completely right when he did that due to the following reasons:

            (1) The true unity must be based on the truth, not on the falsity: The Sandherin didn’t follow the law when they condemned Jesus, Peter, Paul and other disciples. If the Sandherin unjustly treated people, Paul had no obligation to obey them, as Peter and John declared to them: “We must obey God than you.” Paul didn’t say anything wrong, but completely according to the truth. He believed in the resurrection. It is this belief that he believed in Christ when he appeared to him on the way to Damascus. The resurrection is the foundation for the Catholic faith that Paul stressed: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching; empty, too, your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).

            (2) The unity demands justice: A Christian isn’t required to obey all people, there will be a time that he must contest those who maltreated him, as Jesus protested the temple guard when this one struck him: "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me" (Jn 18:22)?

            (3) The unity demands a disciple to be wise: Paul knew how to weaken his enemies’ strength and also to raise the question which forces people to think. Jesus was please with what he did. He appeared to Paul that night and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

2/ Gospel: "They may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you."

2.1/ The ideal form of unity is the union between the Holy Trinity.

            (1) Unity in truth when people have the same faith in Jesus: This is Jesus’ prayer for all people, including us, who believed in him: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” In this prayer, we see Jesus’ firm faith in the Father and people, although he foresaw his disciples’ betrayals in the passion. He believed that his disciples, after going through their trials, shall recognize the truth and witness for him.

            (2) Unity in love when people have the same God’s love: Jesus knew two basic things for unity, that are: truth and love, so he prayed to the Father: “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” Love must be the uniform of unity. The believers may differ with each other about other things, but they must have the same love as Jesus emphasized, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

2.2/ The Father gives glory to Jesus: Love requires people to unite with each other everywhere and at all time, both in glory and in suffering. Jesus prayed that the Father always unites him with his disciples: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” What did Jesus do to achieve his glory?

            (1) The cross is Jesus’ glory: According to the author of the Fourth Gospel, when Jesus is crucified on the cross, it is the time Jesus is glorified. God is also glorified because His plan of salvation is completed. People are also glorified because from now on, they are no longer under the power of death. When the disciples suffered in Christ’s name, they glorify God and themselves.

            (2) A complete obedience to God’s will is Jesus’ glory: In Jesus’ agony in Ghetsemane garden, he prayed that he shall do God’s will even he must die. When the disciples overcome suffering to do God’s will, they glorify God and Christ.

            (3) Making his disciples to know God is Jesus’ glory: Jesus said, "I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them." When the disciples teach people to know God, they glorify God’s name.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - To achieve unity in our family and community, we must live according to the truth and love each other with God’s love.

            - Everyone have their own will; what helps people to unite with each other is to do God’s will, and there is only one God’s will.

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