Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of  Easter

 

Readings: Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31.

1/ First Reading: NAB Acts 14:19 However, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 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. 27 And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 Then they spent no little time with the disciples.

2/ Gospel: NAB John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. 28 You heard me tell you, 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. 30 I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, 31 but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.


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

I. THEME: Glory is achieved through sufferings.

            In order to have a good harvest, farmers must go through hard works under scorching heat and cold rain. Similarly in spiritual field, the faith of believers is the result of the missionary’s hard works and sacrifices. They weren’t weary of long distance, danger, suffering, jealousy, persecution and even death to sow the seed of faith, to confirm the weak, and to establish communities of believers.

            Today readings want to illustrate the missionaries’ toils in bringing out faith in believers. In the first reading, the Acts reported hardships and persecution which Paul and Barnabas must go through on their first missionary journey to the Gentiles. Even in the midst of these harships, they were still persevered and went from city to city to sow the seed of faith, to confirm the weak and to establish local churches. When they returned to Antioch, the place where they started, they gathered all the faithful and reported to them what God has achieved for the Gentiles through them. In the Gospel, though Jesus knew many sufferings are waiting for him in the Passion, he is still courageously coming forward to face them. He also advised his disciples not to worry and be fearful because he shall grant them his peace. He also guaranteed that God’s power shall triumph over worldly power.

II. ANALYSIS:

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

1.1/ Wherever Paul went, the Jews followed him there: The Acts reported some sufferings which Paul went through on his missionary journey: “Some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city. On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.”

            The city which Paul was stoned supposed to be Lystra, the sixth city of his first missionary journey. We can see Paul’s perseverance and courage in the preaching of the Good News. He had just received some good results from his toil, the Jews of Antioch and Iconium, the two cities that Paul passed by, came to destroy his work. Not only that, they wanted to destroy his life by stoning him to death. Even so, when they thought he was already dead, they threw him out of the city, he arose and came to other city to preach the Good News. It seems to us that nothing can extinguish his zeal of preaching God’s words, and God’s power is with him.

            Another thing we can learn from Paul and Barnabas is to come back to the place where they evangelized to confirm the believers’ faith and the newly formed communities. They advised them to firmly keep their faith in the midst of sufferings, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."It is so obvious that the faithful can’t enter God’s kingdom without going through sufferings.

           

1.2/ Paul and Barnabas completed the first missionary journey: In their first journey, they started from Antioch of Syria to Salamis and Paphos of Cyprus, to Perga, Antioch of Psidia, to Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, and followed their earlier way to come back to Perga, and from Perga to Attalia, returned to Pergha and used ship to return to Antioch of Syria. This is the shortest of three Paul’s missionary journeys to the Gentiles. They traveled through eight cities. In each local community, they appointed presbyters for them, and with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.

            When they arrived Antioch, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

2/ Gospel: “Now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

2.1/ Christ’s peace: Jesus knew that his Passion is near and what shall happen to his disciples, so he left a most precious gift for them: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Peace is also the gift which God’s angels announced on the day that Jesus was born: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2:14).

            Jesus emphasized the difference between his peace and worldly peace. God’s peace comes from human mind while worldly peace depends on outside circumstance. God’s peace can never be lost while worldly peace is so fragile. We can recognize this fragility in war and society, peace can be lost anytime where there is a conflict.

            God’s peace is based on the truth and guaranteed by God. Jesus temporally left this world to return to his Father, then he shall return to his disciples after his Passion, Death and Resurrection. The peace that the disciples shall have is the result of witnessing all these events. If Jesus was victorious over death and is living to intercede with the Father for them, there is nothing to be afraid or worry about; therefore they always have peace.

2.2/ The conflict between God and the world: Jesus warned his disciples that they shall be persecuted by the world because they don’t live according to worldly standards. Jesus also knew the world is going to persecute him, and so he said to his disciples, “And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me,but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.”

            The Jewish leaders thought that they used their power to kill Jesus and to end their worry about him; but the truth is they only did God’s will. God wants His Son to suffer to take away people’s sin and to bring eternal life for people. When Jesus resurrects, the world is startled. They thought they are victorious but they miserably failed, because the faithful are no longer slavery for them.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Faith is the priceless gift which God bestows on us through the missionary’s effort and sacrifice. They left their family and country, accepted many sufferings and hardships from the countries they evangelized to give us this precious gift. We should never despise this gift.

            - Our duty is to preserve and to confirm this faith. We also have a duty to propagate this faith in our children and unbelievers. If we receive the faith free of charge, we must also freely give.

            - An advice for Vietnamese youth: To have this faith, the missionary and our forefathers must sacrifice their life and suffer persecution, scourging and prison. Let live our faith corresponding with their precious blood. 

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