Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Monday of the 4th week of Lent

Readings: Isa 65:17-21; Jn 4:43-54.

 

1/ Reading I: NAB Isaiah 65:17 Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create. For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying. 20 No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime. He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years, and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed. 21 They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

2/ Gospel: NAB John 4:43 After the two days, he left there for Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his native place. 45 When he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all he had done in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves had gone to the feast. 46 Then he returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. 48 Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." 49 The royal official said to him, "Sir, come down before my child dies." 50 Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. 51 While he was on his way back, his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live. 52 He asked them when he began to recover. They told him, "The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon." 53 The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live," and he and his whole household came to believe. 54 (Now) this was the second sign Jesus did when he came to Galilee from Judea.


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

 

I. THEME: Faith in God helps people to do all things.

            There exists a big difference between people who have and have no faith. The ones who have faith always hope in God, even in the most dark moment of their life such as: suffering a terminal disease, experiencing a terrible suffering or confronting death. The ones who have no faith don’t know whom they should turn to. They have no power to face disease or suffering, and it isn’t easy for them to face death.

            Today readings show us the difference between those who put their trust in God and those who don’t. In the first reading, though living a terrible life in exile, the prophet Isaiah believed God shall wipe out all sufferings to create “a new heaven and earth.” As He wiped out all human sins in the Great Flood, He shall also wipe out sins of the Israelites and let them back to their country to re-establish their country and to rebuild their temple. More than that, the prophet also foresaw the day when the Messiah shall come and redeem all human sins. In the Gospel, Jesus healed the royal officer’s son, not by putting his hands on the son, but by the father’s faith. When the royal officer begged Jesus to follow him to his home to cure his son who is on the point of death, Jesus told him, “You may go; your son will live.” He believed Jesus and went home. While he is still on his way, his servants ran out and announced to him that his son has completely recovered at exact time during which Jesus told him.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.”

1.1/ God shall create everything new: The prophet said, “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create.” The expression, “new heavens and a new earth” is used many times in the New Testament and the Deutero-canonical books (Cf. 2 Edr 6:16, 7:30, 2 Bar 32:16, I Enoch 91:16, 2 Cor 5:17, 2 Pet 3:10-13, Rev 21:1). The meaning of this expression is varied: In the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul wanted to say that in Christ, the faithful becomes a new creation: the old man together with its evil habits passed, the new man together with good habits appear by Christ’s grace. In the Second Letter of Peter and the Book of Revelation, the expression indicates what shall happen after the Judgment Day where God’s justice shall reign; there exists no longer injustice in the world. According to the prophet Isaiah, the expression indicates both what shall be created after the exile and what are news shall be brought to people by the Messiah.

            Jerusalem shall be the source of happiness and the people of Jerusalem the source of joy, as God said the prophet, “For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight;I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.” The temple shall be rebuilt and the people shall have a place to worship God. Jerusalem shall also be a place for the Gentiles to be gathered, they shall also be God’s people together with the Israelites. As the Father of both of them, God shall be joyful because of Jerusalem, He shall be happy when all His scattered children be gathered in one flock.

1.2/ God shall wipe out all of their sufferings: People cried out and lamented because of death in wars and sufferings during the exiles; but God shall wipe out all these. He promised with them that He shall do the following three things:

            (1) They shall no longer be suffered as in exile: “No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying.”

            (2) They shall not be died of wars: “No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime. He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years, and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.”

            (3) They shall live safely: “They shall live in the houses they build, and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.”

 

2/ Gospel: “You may go; your son will live.”

            The distance between Capernaum to Cana is about 20 miles, a long distance for people to walk. If a man walk to and fro, it takes about 10 hours.

2.1/ Differences between John’s and the Synoptic accounts: There is a similar story in the Synoptic (Cf. Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10); however there are two main differences between the two:

            - In John, it is Jesus who wanted to test the royal officer’s faith by saying to him, “You may go; your son will live.”

            - In Synoptic, it is the centurion who displayed a strong faith in Jesus by saying to him, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” And Jesus praised him, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”

2.2/ The extraodinary attitude of the royal officer: We could learn many good lesson from this royal officer’s attitude.

            (1) Humility: John used the word “basilikós” for the royal officer, this noun means “a little king.” There are many walls that separate Jesus and this royal officer:

            - The social separation: He is a royal officer; but he is humble to walk a long distance to meet Jesus, a normal Jew who has no social standing, and to ask him to come to his house to heal his son.

            - The race separation between the Jew and the Gentile: The Jews don’t want to have any relation with the Gentiles, especially the Romans who was dominating their country. He knew that he can be rejected by Jesus. However, the love for his son (can be his servant too) helped him to overcome these obstacles to ask for healing.

            (2) Patience to overcome testing: Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe."Jesus used the plural subject “You.” He might want to say to the officer and people who stood around him. Jesus wanted to stress a reality of the Jews, they shall not believe if they don’t witness a sign. At the same time, Jesus wanted the Jews to witness the faith which doesn’t base on signs of the royal officer. When the officer begged him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."Jesus said to him, "You may go; your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said to him and left. The Jews must be startled at the royal officer’s faith.

            (3) His faith is strengthened by his reason: When he is still on the way, his servants who came from his house went out to annouce to him that his son lives. To an insensitive person, he shall be happy with this good new and forget all other things; but the royal officer is still on his progress of faith. He asked them when he began to recover; they told him, "The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon."The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." His faith in Jesus is completed. What he promised to him is fulfilled and he believed in him.

            (4) He and his household believed: It isn’t easy for the royal officer to publicly confess his faith in Jesus because of the public influence; but he had a firm faith which is assisted by reason. Not only him to believe in Jesus, he also wanted all of his household to believe in him. This is normal for people at that time: the head of a household can decide all things in his house. When he recognizes one thing is good, he can command all people in his house to do it. For example, Abraham commanded all male in his house to be circumcised.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - God doesn’t want to remember our sins and sufferings. He always invites us to look forward to our future and to advance in hope. As the Father, He is happy when He sees His children to live in joy and happiness.

            - God wants us to put an absolute trust in Him even when we don’t see results yet or live in dark moment of our life, because whatever God promised, He will do it.

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