Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Sixth Sunday of EasterC

Sixth Sunday of EasterC

 

Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; Jn 14:23-29.

1/ First Reading: NAB Acts 15:1 Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved." 2 Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question. 22 Then the apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. 23 This is the letter delivered by them: "The apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, 25 we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: 28 'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, 29 namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'"

2/ Second Reading: NAB Revelation 21:10 He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, (the names) of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. 13 There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. 23 The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.

3/ Gospel: NAB John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. 25 "I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you. 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.


Written by: Fr. Tien M. Dinh, O.P. 

I. THEME: From Judaism to Christianity

 

            In God’s plan of salvation, He wants to choose the Jews first to prepare the way for the Messiah to come; and when the Messiah comes, the salvation is opened up for all the Gentiles. This point is mentioned many times in the prophetic writings; but many Jews deny to believe that the Gentiles are also inherited the salvation as the Jews. Saul is the typical example. Since he was so passionate to protect the Jewish law and the tradition, he asked for permission to go to Damascus to persecute the christians there.

            Today readings want to illustrate the continuity from Judaism to Christianity. Though having many difficulties, but the leaders of the early Church knew how to effectively solve them and to help the Church to make a smooth transition. In the first reading, when there arose of the problem that is it necessary for the Gentiles to be circumcised as the Jewish christians? The leaders of the early Church decided to organize the first Council of the Church in Jerusalem to solve this problem. In the second reading, the author of Revelation described the unity between Judaism and Christianity by the image of the heavenly Jerusalem, it is the combination of both the twelve tribes of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New Testament. This holy city still has God’s presence but no temple, because it has the Lamb which is Christ in the city. In the Gospel, though Christ is no longer present with his disciples, but he sent the Holy Spirit and his peace upon them. The Holy Spirit shall remind them of all things that Jesus has said and lead them to all the truth.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: What is necessary for salvation?

           

1.1/ Is it the circumcision according to Moses’ law? The author clearly showes us the problem which had been argued, “Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved."Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question.”

            Paul is the one who understood this problem more than anyone because he was fallen from his horse on the way to Damascus to persecute the christians there. The result of this event and Christ’s revelation led him to confirm that people become righteous by their faith in Christ, not by works of the law (Rom 3:28).

            To solve the problem, the leaders of the early Church decided to gather at the first Council of the Church in Jerusalem to solve it. The delegates of the local churches were also invited to Jerusalem to solve the problem together with the apostles. According to chapter 25 of the Acts, after the delegates heard Peter, the Church’s leader, and James, the leader in Jerusalem, expressed their opinions, all agreed that Gentile christians don’t have to be circumcised as Jewish christians.

1.2/ The Church’s solution: The Acts reported, “Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind,we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'”

2/ Reading II: The new Jerusalem city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.

2.1/ The new Jerusalem is the combination of both the Old and the New Testament: When the author of the Revelation wrote his Book, the temple Jeruralem was completely destroyed by the Roman army in 70 A.D. From that time until now, the temple has not been rebuilt. The temple which we now see belongs to the Muslims, and is called the Golden Dome. The Jews have only the bare wall which remains in the west side of the temple, called the Wailing Wall. Some Jews have a habit of coming to this wall in morning and evening to wail and to pray for this temple to be rebuilt.

            The holy city which the author described in today passage is what he saw in the vision. He reported the structure of this new city as follows: “It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, (the names) of the twelve tribes of the Israelites...The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

2.2/ There are two strange things in the heavenly Jerusalem:

            (1) There is no temple in there: According to the author’s vision, “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.” In the old and current city, the center of the city is the temple; but the future Jerusalem city has no temple because there shall be the presence of both God and Christ himself.

            (2) There is no light: The author continued, “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.” In order for people to see, there must be light. The future city needs no light because it has both God’s glory and the lamp which is the Lamb himself.

 

3/ Gospel: “The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

           

3.1/ To love Christ is to keep what he teaches: In Jeremiah 31:31-34, the prophet emphasized the differences between the Old and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is based on the law which comes from outside of a man, so it has no power to help him to fulfill the law’s requirements; whereas the New Covenant which is based on the love and comes from inside, so it has power to help him to fulfill the love’s requirements. This is the reason why Jesus demands, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.I have told you this while I am with you.” To Jesus, obedience is the condition to respond to Jesus’ love; whoever loves, that one fulfills the law.

3.2/ What Jesus shall do for his disciples:

            (1) He shall send the Holy Spirit to them: Jesus promises his disciples, “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name-- he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

            Two main things which the Holy Spirit shall do for the faithful: First, he shall repeat what Jesus said during his time on earth. In other words, he shall not declare what Jesus didn’t say, but only what he already said. Many people think that when they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they shall be able to say new things which people are never heard of. To verify what one says under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we only need to compare with the Gospel to see if Jesus said that thing or not. Secondly, the Holy Spirit shall guide the faithful to all the truths (Jn 16:13). There are many truth which come from God and they can’t be contradicted with each other. The Holy Spirit help the faithful to understand all the truth—to see all the truth that connect with each other and nothing is contradicted. The faithful need to remember an important thing that they are living in the Holy Spirit’s reign, the continuation of Jesus’ reign. They need to pray to him everytime they learn Scripture and look for the truth.

            (2) He gives them peace: Jesus promised to his diciples, “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 the most precious gift of Jesus for his disciples. Jesus’ peace is completely different with the world’s peace. The latter is happened when there is no war, anxiety or contention, whereas Jesus’ peace presents in the midst of war, anxiety and contention. God’s peace is only happened when people are ready to live and to witness for the truth; not to sacrifice the truth to have peace.

            (3) He shall intercede with the Father for his disciples: Jesus said to his disciples, “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.And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

            The Jews and even Jesus’ disciples can’t understand this sentence, “I am going away and I will come back to you.” How can one who died, comes back to his disciples? After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared many times to the disciples before he ascended to heaven. Only in the light of the resurrection, the disciples could fathom this verse.

            Another thing that confused the disciples is the relationship between Jesus and God. As the Jews, they believe only in the one God. Though Jesus revealed many times for them about his relationship with God, but only in the resurrection’s light, this relationship is clear for the disciples. He returns to his Father and intercedes for them before Him.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - In God’s plan of salvation, He chose the Israelites first to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. Once Jesus comes, the salvation is opened up to all people.

            - We must open up our mind to receive God’s revelation because He is the Creator, the only One who knows human past, present and future. When the new and the perfection come, the old and the imperfection must yield. We should not be stubborn to hang on to the imperfection in God’s plan.

            - God never leaves us orphan. In any age, He always gives us the leader(s) to guide us to the truth and to protect us from falsities.

            - Living according to the truth shall brings us the true peace in our mind; the peace which no one can take it from us. 

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