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Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

Wednesday of the third week of Easter

Readings: Acts 8:1-8; Jn 6:35-40.

 

1/ Reading I: NAU Acts 8:1 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. 4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. 6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.

2/ Gospel: NAU John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 "But I said to you that you have seen me, and yet do not believe. 37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out. 38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. 39 "This is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day."


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

I. THEME: God’s plan of salvation

            In God’s plan of salvation, He desires all to believe in Christ so that they might have His salvation. In order for people to believe in Christ, there must be preachers who preach the Gospel and witness for God, as St. Justin said: “The blood of martyrs is the seed that blossoms the catholic faith.” To have witnesses, there must be persecutors. Therefore, though the early Church is still young, the persecution has begun. God let the persecution happen so that the Church may have witnesses; and by witnesses, people shall recognize and believe in Christ. God is the One who controls and provides strength for the faithful and helps them to extend the Church to the end of the earth.

            Today readings center on God’s plan of salvation. In the first reading, due to the fierce persecution of the Church after deacon Stephen’s death, Jesus’ disciples and the faithful must be scattered to the regions of Judah and Samaria to preach, except the apostles. The deacon Philip came down the region of Samaria and was succesful in preaching of the Gospel there. In the Gospel, Jesus clearly revealed God’s plan of salvation for people, that is, they should believe in Christ so that they shall have the eternal life and not be dead forever.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Church was extended from Jerusalem to Samaria.

1.1/ The Jerusalem was fiercely executed: The author of the Acts reported, “and on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

            (1) The reasons why the apostles stayed back: There are at least two reasons for their stay in Jerusalem: First, they are courageous men; they must stay back to proclaim the Gospel and to confirm the faithful in Jerusalem. This is a very important location where Christianity was born and the important place for all people of the world to look upon. Secondly, they stay so that they can set a good example for the faithful to follow. They are leaders of the Church, they can’t leave them behind to escape themselves.

            (2) Saul, a fierce persecutor of the Church: The Acts gave us a sketch of St. Paul’s former life. In the death of St. Stephen, the author said: “the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:58). In today passage, the author described Saul’s actions: “But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.” Later, Saul even asked for permission to go to Damascus to drag the faithful who escaped there to Jerusalem and put them in prison (Act 9:1).

1.2/ The Church extended from Jerusalem to everywhere: Wherever has a persecution, the faithful must be scattered around and to a safe place so they can practice their faith and proclaim the Gospel. This is God’s plan, so His Church shall not concentrate in Jerusalem but be dispersed around to other places.

            The author reported the good result of deacon Philip from this persecution as follow: “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city.”

            Philip isn’t one of the Twelve, he is only a deacon who was ordained together with Stephen and five others; however, he was also bestowed God’s wisdom and power to perform miracles. This proves that God’s wisdom and power are not only limited in the circle of the apostles.

            Jesus seldom came and preached at the regions of Samaria. The reason is what he said, “He was sent only to the Israelites.” However, the Samarians were praised by Jesus as being demonstrated in the Gospel, especially in John and Luke.

            (1) The conversation between Jesus and the Samarian woman ended up with the event that she came back to her village and called all of her people to come out and to meet Jesus (Jn 4:39-42).

            (2) In Luke passage, the good Samaritan was praised by Jesus, not the priest nor the Levite, because he heartily helped the injured man (Lk 10:30-36).

            (3) One of the ten lepers who came back and thanked Jesus for his healing is also a Samaritan (Lk 17:11).

            The innocent and poor are those who eagerly received the Gospel, whereas those who knew God and the Scripture many years not only ignored the Gospel, but also persecuted those who preached the Gospel to them.

2/ Gospel: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life.”

2.1/ Jesus is the bread of life: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me, and yet do not believe.”

            When Jesus incarnated and preached the Gospel for the Jews and all people, they are put in the situation that they must choose one of the two followings: either to believe or not to believe in him. If they choose to believe in him, they shall have the eternal life; If they choose not to believe, they shall be died forever.

            By their freedom to choose, people judge themselves, not God, because God sent His Son to the world to save the world, not to condemn it (Jn 3:16-21). Jesus opened his arms to embrace everyone, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” There is no predestination for anyone to come up to heaven or to descend to hell in God’s plan of salvation; people make their own choice, and therefore, bear the result of this choice.

2.2/ Jesus revealed his Father’s will to people: If there is a predestination, it is God’s predestination for everyone to go to heaven, as Jesus said, “This is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day.”

            According to God’s plan, He wants all people to have salvation, and Jesus’ blood is poured out for all. However, as St. Augustine said, “God needs people’s co-operation to bring out the salvation for themselves.” They co-operate with God by believing in Christ.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Jesus was sent by Father to execute God’s plan of salvation. He died and resurrected to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. Therefore, everyone can inherit the salvation if they believe in Christ.

            - In order for people to believe in Christ, we need many preachers and witnesses for the Gospel.

            - We believe in Christ because we had our preacher and witnesses who poured out their blood or sacrificed their life for God. We have duties to continue the mission of preaching the Gospel and to become witnesses so that people might recognize and believe in Christ. 

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