Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Monday of the 6th Week of Easter

Readings: Acts 16:11-15; Jn 15:25-16:4.

1/ Reading I: NAU Acts 16:11 So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis; 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. 14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.

2/ Gospel: NAU John 15:25 "But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, 'they hated me without a cause.' 26 "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 "These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.


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

 

I. THEME: Both suffering and glory are necessary for human life.

            Everyone’s life has both peace and tumult, success and failure, happiness and sadness, prosperity and poverty. These two extremities are necessary to keep one’s balance so that when one is happy, he shouldn’t be too happy to the point he forgets God and his duties; and when one is sad he shouldn’t too sad to the point he loses his faith in God and destroys his life.

            Today readings concentrate in these two extremities of one’s life. In the first reading, Paul enjoyed a success when he preached the Gospel at Philippi: A woman named Lydia and her family were baptized after listening to Paul’s preaching. She invited Paul and his companions to use her house as their dwelling place to preach the Gospel. In the Gospel, Jesus forewarned his disciples that they shall be seized, scourged and and expelled from synagogues when they preach the Gospel there; but the Holy Spirit whom Jesus shall send, will help them to recognize the truth and be witnesses for him.

           

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Paul conquered the first European woman to Christianity.

            In the journey of preaching the Gospel, Paul and his companions tasted many successes and failures: sometimes hearers recognize the truth and were baptized as the woman and her family as in today passage; sometimes hearers falsely accused, scourged, put in prison or expelled from their city as in tomorrow passage. In all circumstances, Paul still perseveres to preach the Gospel under the Holy Spirit’s guidance and gladly to suffer all things because of God’s name.

           

1.1/ Paul’s preaching at Philippi: In Paul’s second missionary journey, Paul was guided by the Holy Spirit in a vision to get out the boundary of Asia Minor in order to enter the European land, beginning with Macedonia, as the Acts reported today: “So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis;and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.”

1.2/ Lydia and her family were baptized: According to the Jewish tradition, wherever there isn’t a synagogue, the Jews are frequently gathered at seashore or a river’s bank to pray and to listen to the Scripture. It might be that there isn’t a synagogue in Philippi, so the author of the Acts reported, “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.” We can see Paul’s eager of preaching the Gospel in all places. Like Jesus, he took advantage of all God’s given opportunities to preach the Gospel: in synagogues or gathering places, for men and women, and for the rich as also the poor.

            In the audience, there is a woman named Lydia, a Thyatiran native, who buys and sells purple fabric. This is an expensive fabric which brings many profits for the seller. She reveres God; she heard Paul’s preaching and God opened her heart so that she understood what Paul said. After Paul’s preaching, she and her family asked him to be baptized. Since she had a big house, so she sincerely said to Paul and his companions: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.”

            God always urges and encourages those who have the mean so that they open up their heart to welcome preachers in their journey to preach the Gospel. The faithful should imitate Lydia’ exemplar to assist missionaries, especially at deserted and far-away places, so that they might be healthy and have the mean to bring God’s words to all people. When we welcome them, we welcome God’s Himself (Mt 25); and we shall also be rewarded with the prophetic award as Jesus promised (Mt 10:41).

2/ Gospel: They shall expel you from their synagogues.

2.1/ Christ’s witnesses: According to the Jewish tradition, two witnesses are required for the truth. Jesus gives people at least two witnesses to believe in him, they are:

            (1) The Holy Spirit: Jesus said to his disciples, "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about me." People can’t understand Jesus’ revelation without the Holy Spirit’s help from the inside because it exceeds all human natural reason. As St. Thomas Aquinas said when a thing exceeds natural reason, men need God’s supernatural light in order to fathom it. The Holy Spirit is God’s supernatural light to enlighten the faithful’s mind so that they recognize the truth and believe in Christ’s words.

                    (2) The disciples: Jesus continued, "And you will testify also, because you have been with me from the beginning." In order to winess, the disciples need three conditions: First, they must have personal experience in living with Christ from the beginning. Secondly, they must firmly believe that Christ is the Messiah sent by God, and in what Jesus has spoken and done. Lastly, they must ready to be witnesses for him when the opportunity comes. If there lacks any one of these three conditions, they can’t witness for him.

2.2/ The preacher of the Gospel shall be executed.

            (1) Jesus doesn’t hide anything from his disciples. He forewarned what they shall endure because of his name and the preaching of the Gospel. There are two reasons why he prepared them for their future mission:

            - Firstly, "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God." Many Christians think that once they were baptized, their life shall be peaceful because God shall bless and protect them; but they didn’t know that the beginning of the disciple’s life is the begin of a life to forsake one’s will and to carry the cross with Jesus. Moreover, their faith must be tested by sufferings as gold is tried by fire so God shall know if they have a firm faith in God.

            - Secondly, Jesus’ word shall help them in time of tribulation so they might find their peace. He said to his disciples, "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you." People shall be surprised when no one told them about sufferings as Christians; but if they know Jesus has forewarned and he himself passed through these sufferings, they shall be prepared and peacefully face them when that things might happen.

            (2) The reasons of persecution: Firstly, the leaders of the Sandherin condemned and crucified Jesus because they think they glorified God in doing that. Another example is Saul’s case before his conversion. He so eagerly protected his ancestors’ law that he didn’t want the Christians to violate them. Secondly, Jesus said: “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or me.” This is so obvious, because if the leaders of the Sandherin truly knew that Jesus is the true Messiah sent by God, they should not dare to condemn and kill him.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Suffering and glory are the two sides of our life. Like Christ, we must also undergo many sufferings before we reach glory.

            - We need to be patience and peaceful in handling success as also failure because all these belong to God’s providence.

            - We all have an obligation in preaching and witnessing for the Gospel. If we don’t have an opportunity to preach the Gospel, we must help and provide opportunities for preachers so that they can fulfill their duties in bringing the Gospel to all. 

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