Fifth Sunday of EasterC
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Fifth Sunday of EasterC

Sunday of the 5 EasterC

 

Readings: Acts 14:20b-26; Rev 21:1-5a; Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35.

1/ First Reading: NAB Acts 14:20 But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. 21 After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. 22 They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." 23 They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. 24 Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. 25 After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished.

2/ Second Reading: NAB Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away." 5 The one who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Then he said, "Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true."

3/ Gospel: NAB John 13:31 When he had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 (If God is glorified in him,) God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. 33 My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you. 34 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. 35 This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."


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


I. THEME: The presence is the result of the past and the preparation for the future.

            The Church isn’t easily formed; but the results of Jesus’ training of his disciples, the untired preaching of the apostles and their successors and the protection of all leaders who keep the faithful from all wrong teachings through many generations. Suffering doesn’t weaken the Church, but strengthens her and demonstrates her love for Christ.

            Today readings emphasize the value of suffering in training an individual as well as the Church. In the first reading, Paul and Barnabas let the newly converts know the truth: they must go through many sufferings to enter the kingdom of God. They themselves must also go through many sufferings to form and to nourish early communities. In the second readings, the author of Revelation nourishes the faithful’s hope so that they might be faithful to Christ by letting them foreseeing what they shall achieve: they shall remain with God forever, they shall be governed by God and never be afflicted by sufferings any more. In the Johannite Gospel, the hour when Jesus was hung on the cross is also the hour when he is glorified by his Father and his Father in him. Before the Passion, Jesus left the commandment of love to his disciples; according to this commandment, they must sacrifice and faithfully love until the end. By seeing how the disciples love each other, people shall recognize if they are Jesus’ true disciples.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."

1.1/ Paul and Barnabas untiredly worked to build up the Church.

            (1) The Church needs many ardent preachers as Paul and Barnabas: It is only in two short verses, the author of Acts abbreviated their preaching of the Gospel in four cities: Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch of Psidia. This is their first missionary. If they didn’t courageously suffer by going out of the Israel’s territory, how can Christianity be extended to Europia?

            (2) They taught the faithful the way to glory is through suffering: They didn’t lie to the faithful by promising that they shall not be suffered; in opposition, they forewarned them that “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” They wanted to say that their faith shall be tested by suffering; but through suffering, they have opportunities to demonstrate their faith in Christ and to strengthen their faith everyday.

1.2/ Paul and Barnabas’ good idea in building up the Church

            (1) The elders’ position in the early churches: Paul and Barnabas foresaw that thay can’t stay in one place to nourish and to protect the believers’ faith, so “they appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.” The elders are those who advance in age, have many experiences so they can directly lead the local churches. Paul and Barnabas are continually on the way to establish new churches; but they shall return to support and to nourish the established churches every time they have an opportunity.

            (2) All are God’s blessings: Paul and Barnabas confessed that the reason why they can fulfill God’s given duty is completely by God’s grace, not by their own power. After they established the new church, they always came back to the old ones to confirm and to support them.

 

2/ Reading II: “There shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain.”

2.1/ The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

            (1) The Hellenistic conception of “the ideal form”: According to the philosopher Plato, all things that exist in the visible world have “the ideal form” in the invisible world. The author of Revelation seems to have the same idea when he said what he saw in a vision, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

            The ancient people are afraid of crossing the sea because they didn’t have a compass like we have now and their ships were small. When they must cross the sea, they used to sail their ships parallel to or along the coast. Moreover, people know the power of wind, hurricane, water and tidal wave that killed hundreds of people. According to the vision in Revelation, “the sea shall be no more.”

            (2) The Jewish conception of the new Jerusalem: About the reconstruction of the new Jerusalem, we see many prophets who wrote about this, such as Isaiah 54:11-12, 60:10-20; Haggai 2-9; Ezekiel 48:31-35; and Tobit 13:16-18. The Book of Revelation mentioned many times about the new Jerusalem which is completely built by the precious stones, it has the Lamb as the torch to light up the city. The city has 12 gates and people of every nations shall come to see Jerusalem.

2.2/ The glorious result of the faithfulness with God: The purpose of the author in writing the Book of Revelation is to confirm the believers’ faith in times of persecution. Today passage emphasizes on three rewards which the believers shall possess if they are faithful to God.

            (1) God shall live with them: The author reported a loud voice from the throne that said, “Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race.” During the Israelites’ journey of forty years in the desert, God commanded Moses to raise up the Tabernacle with the Ark inside it. The purpose is for people to know that God dwells among them. For those who are victorious, God shall dwell with them forever.

            (2) The special relationship between God and men: The author described this relationship as follows, “He will dwell with them and they will be His people, and God himself will always be with them (as their God).” As God promised in the Book of the prophet Jeremiah 31:31-34, He shall sign with them a new covenant. According to this covenant, God shall be their God; and they shall be His people. He shall protect them to eternity.

            (3) Sufferings and tears shall be no more: According to the author of Revelation, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” What the believers must endure in this present world, such as diseases, separation and spiritual suffering are only temporal. When a believer comes to God, He shall take away all these sufferings; they shall never be free from any suffering. This point is also mentioned by the prophet Isaiah 25:5-8.

 

3/ Gospel: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

3.1/ The glorified hour on the cross: The Johannine Gospel reported, “When he (Judas) had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.”

            (1) The hour Jesus is glorified:

            - The hour Jesus is raised up on the cross is the hour he is glorified (Cf. Isa 52:13; Jn 12:23, 13:1). When he is raised up, he shall draw all to himself (Jn 12:32). On the cross, Jesus completed the mission which the Father gives to him and brings the salvation which he achieved to all.

            - When Jesus is raised upon the cross, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phi 2:9-11).

            (2) The hour God is glorified:

            - By Jesus’ obedience, God is glorified: All what the Father has planned in His plan of salvation are accomplished: Jesus took away all human sins, death is destroyed and people can now live with God forever.

            - By Jesus’ obedience, people love God, instead of only fearing and revering Him. Jesus revealed his Father’s love for human beings by saying, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). When we look upon the cross, we feel not only Jesus’ love by sacrificing to death for us, but also the Father’s love who sacrifices His only son for the world.

3.2/ Jesus’ love for his disciples: It is:

            (1) A free love: When a person loves, he is looking to see what he can get from his lover. When Jesus loves his disciples, he isn’t looking to get anything back from them, but completely and freely love.

            (2) An understanding love: When people meet each other several times, they can hide their shortcomings and bad habits; but when they live with each other for a while, these shortcomings and bad habits begin to show. Though Jesus clearly knows all his disciples’ bad habits, he still accepts, sacrifices for and loves them.

            (3) A faithful love to the end: People are easily stopped to love their lovers when they aren’t lovable anymore, especially when they betrayed. Jesus loved his disciples until the end even though they betrayed him. Jesus always takes the initiative, he was looking for his disciples when he resurrected from the death.

3.3/ The sign to recognize who are Jesus’ disciples: Jesus left the only commandment for his disciple, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

            The sign which people can recognize one to be Jesus’ disciple is to love as Jesus loves. This includes all the above things which are: to love freely, to love them as they are and to love them until the end even they were betrayed.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - The way of suffering is the way God has chosen, Jesus had gone through and we must accept it to be Jesus’ disciples.

            - The easy and free of suffering way, even though many chose to go, but only leads to destruction and death.

            - The ultimate result for those who choose the way of suffering is that they shall live with God forever and no longer be suffered any more.

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