Saturday after Epiphany
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday after Epiphany

Saturday after Epiphany

Readings: I Jn 5:14-21; Jn 3:22-30.

1/ First Reading: NAB 1 John 5:14 And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 16 If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly. 18 We know that no one begotten by God sins; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the evil one cannot touch him. 19 We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one. 20 We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Children, be on your guard against idols.

2/ Gospel: NAB John 3:22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. 23 John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, 24 for John had not yet been imprisoned. 25 Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings. 26 So they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him." 27 John answered and said, "No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said (that) I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. 30 He must increase; I must decrease."


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

I. THEME: We must avoid sins.

            Sin is the reason why Jesus came down from heaven to take away it and to liberate people from its power. Is it meant that people shall no longer be affected by sins? One heresy in the apostles’ time says that people shouldn’t worry about sin because St. Paul said, “The law entered in so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:20-21).

            Today readings concentrate on what relate to sins. In the first reading, St. John differentiated between the two sins: the sin that leads to death and the sin that doesn’t. People can only pray for those who committed sin that doesn’t lead to death. In the Gospel, John Baptist’s disciples committed the sin of jealousy when they saw people coming to Christ more than to their master. John Baptist explained for them that they shouldn’t be jealous because of three following reasons: first, all power come from God; secondly, they must know themselves and the others to have inner peace; and lastly, they should be joyful when they see that God is glorified.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The sin that leads to death and the sin that doesn’t.

           

1.1/ The condition for God to hear our prayer:

            (1) God listens to our prayer when we ask what pleases Him: God listens to all of our prayers but doesn’t grant all of them, but only those who please Him. This is easy to understand because there are some prayers which only aim to satisfy the petitioners; or some prayers which ask God to destroy others; or prayers which ask God to behave against His nature. What people need to do when they pray is to conclude their prayer as the leprosy who prayed to Jesus yesterday, “if you wish, you can heal me.” Only God knows what is good for people and He is ready to give what is good for His children.

            (2) The sin that leads to death and the sin that doesn’t: Though John mentioned these two sins; but he didn’t clearly explain them. He said, “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray.All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.”

            According to the Church’s teaching, there are only two sins that commit against the Holy Spirit and are unforgivable- they are sins of despair and of presumption. The sin of despair is committed by the one who doesn’t believe God shall forgive his sins. The sin of presumption is commited by the one who believes that God shall forgive all of his sins without his contrition, confession and compensation. If one prays that God should save people who committed these two sins, one asks God to violate His justice. He can’t save those who don’t want to be saved. People can pray for them to repent when they are living.

1.2/ Two cases of people in the world: The next passage is difficult to understand; we must understand it in the context of his whole Letter. First of all, John isn’t meant that all faithful can’t commit sins because in the first few verses, he already differentiate two kinds of sins, the sin that leads to death and the sin that doesn’t. What he wanted to do here is to differentiate between two kinds of people: those who belong to God and those who belong to the world.

            St. John explained: “We know that no one begotten by God sins; but the one begotten by God he protects, and the evil one cannot touch him.We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one.” To John, the world is the battlefield between good and evil; there are both those who belong to God and those who belong to evil in it. Those who belong to God can still sin due to the weakness of their flesh, but they are always conscious of their sins and want to reconcile with God through the sacrament of Reconciliation. The devil can’t touch these people. Those who belong to the devil lost all their consciousness of sins; they don’t consider anything is sinful. These people belong to the devil.

2/ Gospel: Sin comes from human jealousy.

           

2.1/ The jealousy of John Baptist’s disciples: John reported this event as following: “After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing.John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized,for John had not yet been imprisoned.Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings.So they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him."” John Baptist clearly explained the difference between his and Jesus’ baptism at other place. His baptism is for the repentance of sins; while Jesus’ baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and for sanctification by the Holy Spirit. His explannation should help his disciples to recognize that Jesus’ baptism is much more importance than his baptism; but his disciples were still jealous when they saw Jesus attracted more people than their master.

           

2.2/ Medicine for jealousy: John Baptist gave us three reasons to heal jealousy.

            (1) All blessings come from God: John Baptist said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven.” St. Paul also said that all gifts come from the same source which is the Holy Spirit, for serving, not for boasting.

            (2) Know oneself is the condition to have joy and peace: John Baptist was very peaceful because he knew himself and who Christ is, when he said: “You yourselves can testify that I said (that) I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him.” He felt joyful when people came to Christ because it proves his mission is successful. John compared Christ as the bridegroom, people as the bride and him as the best man, “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.”

            (3) “He must increase; I must decrease:" This must be John Baptist’s way of life and should be for all who sincerely serve God. Our duty, like John Baptist, is to prepare and to show the way for people to come to God; not using God’s service to find power, fame or material gains for individual satisfaction. When people came to God, we should be joyful because we completed our duty and ready to withdraw to ourselves.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE

                    

            - Jesus came to the world to set us free from the power of sin and death. He established the sacrament of Reconciliation to forgive all of our sins.

            - We can still sin because of the weakness of our flesh. Everytime we sinned, we should use the sacrament of Reconciliation to be forgiven.

            - The most danger sin in our life is losing the consciousness of sin or believing that God shall save us without repentance. This is the sin that leads to death.

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