Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

January 3rd in Christmas

January 3rd in Christmas

 

Readings: I Jn 2:29 - 3:6; Jn 1:29-34.

1/ First Reading: RSV 1 John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right is born of him. 3:1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.

2/ Gospel: RSV John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."


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

I. THEME: God’s love urges us to eagerly witness for Him.

            Experiencing God’s love is the key in the faithful’s relationships with God and others. If one doesn’t experience God’s love for him, his relationship with God can’t be intimate and he shall not fulfill his duty to be God’s witness. But if he experienced how much God loves him, he shall, in turn, responds to His love by eagerly making Him known to all people whom he meets.

            Today readings concentrate on the Christian’s duty to witness for God. In the first reading, St. John reminded the faithful that they have become God’s children, and their duties are to become like God by living a holy life and to avoid sins. In the Gospel, John Baptist set an exemplar for the faithful about how to witness for God by words and by living according to the truth.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Every one who does right is born of him.

1.1/ A Christian became God’s children by believing in Christ. St. John clearly declared this fact in his Gospel: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). In this passage, he repeated this fact: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” He also talked about those who refused to believe in Christ in his Gospel: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (Jn 1:11). Therefore, “the reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

1.2/ A Christian can be God’s witness in two ways:

            (1) To live a holy life: To see God in His essence, or “face-to-face,” is the faithful’s ultimate goal; but in order to achieve this beatific vision, one must be holy, because only the holy one can see God. (Mt 5:8). Christ didn’t only purify the faithful from their sins but also sanctify them by his grace so that they can live righteously and see God. His grace are given through sacraments and helping the faithful to live a virtuous life.

            (2) To stay away from sins: The faithful can glorify God by avoiding sins. St. John had similar thinking as St. Paul about the relationship between the Law and sin, and about Christ’s role in destroying sins and in justifying people before God. He said these in the following verses: “Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.”

2/ Gospel: John Baptist’s three witnesses about Christ

           

2.1/ His first witness: When he saw Jesus walking across, he pointed his hand to him and said: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Only in a single and short verse, John Baptist revealed to people Christ’s main mission in the world: He shall sacrifice himself for people in order to take away their sins. Three images of “the lamb” in the Old Testament are the backgrounds of “the Lamb of God” which John Baptist mentioned.

           (1) The Passover lamb: Before the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, each Israel family must sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood in the doorpost. That night, God’s angels were commanded to kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beasts. The angels passed over all family which had the sprinkling blood on the doorpost and didn’t enter to kill their firstborn (Exo 12:11-13). This Passover is always considered by the Church the image of Christ’s Passover. He is the Lamb of God (Jn 2:13).

            (2) The goat of the Day of Atonement: In this day, the Israelites shall prepare two goats to be offerred to God for the forgiveness of people’s sins. One shall be released to desert for the devil Azazel, after the priest prayed and put his hands on goat’s shoulder (signifying putting people’s sins). One shall be sacrificed and the priest will sprinkle its blood on people (cf. Lev 16:7-30).

            (3) A lamb was sacrificed in the Temple: According to the law, each morning and evening, the Levites must sacrifice a lamb of about one year old and offer it as the sin offering for the Israelites (Exo 29:38-42).

2.2/ His second witness: John Baptist said: “This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’” Jesus in his humanity was born after John, but in his divinity existed before him. Not only Jesus always exists, he is also much more important and powerful than John, because he has God’s power in himself. John clearly declared his duty is to prepare for people to meet Christ. When John saw Christ, he introduced him to people and commanded his two disciples to follow Christ. He kept nothing for himself.

           

2.3/ His third witness: John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."”

            John Baptist was permitted by God to witness the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ as a dove and remained on him, when he baptized Jesus in Jordan river. In Palestine, doves are regarded as holy birds; people can’t hunt and eat them. The Rabbi used to say the Holy Spirit moves and flies like a dove in dark and wild region in former time to pour out his living breath and to give its order and glory (cf. Gen 1:2). The Holy Spirit descended and remained in Christ to bestow power and to prepare Christ’s coming public mission. With this vision, John had no more doubt; he certified that Christ is God’s selected one to bring His plan of salvation to fulfillment.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We must use all possible ways to experience God’s love for us before we can witness for Him.

            - All of us are God’s children. Our duty is to share our Father’s concern which is how to lead all people to believe in Christ so that they shall also inherit the eternal life.

            - In order to achieve this goal, we must forfeit all jealousy, selfishness and worldly desire. When we see some who have talent to draw people to God, we must be happy and co-operate with them to enlarge God’s kingdom everyday.

            - We must become lesser everyday in order for God to be greater in ourselves first, and then in people.

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