Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Second Sunday of EasterB - Divine Mercy

Second Sunday of Easter B - Divine Mercy

Readings: Acts 4:32-35; I Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31.

 

1/ First Reading: NAB Acts 4:32 The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34 There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, 35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

 

2/ Second Reading: NAB 1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves (also) the one begotten by him. 2 In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. 5 Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.

 

3/ Gospel: NAB John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." 24 Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." 26 Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." 28 Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.



I. THEME: The effect of the faith in Christ’s resurrection

 

            People tend to live according to what they believe. If they don’t believe in the resurrection, they shall live according to the worldly values; but if they believe in Christ’s resurrection, they shall live according to the heavenly values. The faith in resurrection helps people not only to overcome sufferings of life, but also to practice God’s teaching.

            Today readings show us the importance of the faith in Christ’s resurrection. In the first reading, the faith in Christ’s resurrection helped the first Christians to love each other; they put everything they had for the common use so that none shall lack of anything. In the second reading, the author of the First Johannine Letter confirmed that whoever loves God, also loves Christ, the Son of God; and whoever loves God, conquers the world because the world refuses to recognize him. In the Gospel, the author of the Fourth Gospel reported twice Jesus’ appearances to his apostles. The first time was without Thomas’ presence; he bestowed peace on them and sent them to preach the gospels to all. The second time was with Thomas’ presence; Jesus invited him to put his fingers into his injured marks so that he could believe in his resurrection.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: The power of the faith in Christ’s resurrection

           

1.1/ The first Christians put their possession for the common use: The Communism dreams about this ideal model but they miserably failed because of human greed; people even take common property for their own use. A century had passed, the communists not only failed to achieve their dream of building up “the heaven in this world,” but also increased social injustice.

            Today account of the Acts mentioned the ideal model of the first generation of the faithful: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” To achieve this, the believers must have a firm faith in God’s providence, especially their faith in Christ’s resurrection. If they believe that God takes a good care for them, why should they worry about their future? If Christ conquers even the death, there is no power greater than God’s power. Because of God’s bestowed power, the apostles witnessed for Jesus’ resurrection; and God also bestowed on them all blessing and grace.

           

1.2/ Everyone had enough to live: The author of the Acts continued: “There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale,and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.”

            The main reason why the believers could do this is their faith in the resurrection. The Jewish tradition used to believe that happiness is only limitted in this life. About the second century B.C., the faith in the eternal life was mentioned in the Book of the prophet Daniel and Maccabees, but it wasn’t a popular belief. When Christ came, he clarified this belief in his teaching (Jn 6:39-40) and proved it by his Death and Resurrection. If the faithful believe in the resurrection, they should not rely too much on material possession; but strive for the everlasting happiness of the next life.

            In any society, social injustice is common. The rich who have too much to the point of excess; the poor who lack of everything to the point of stealing for survival. Both these two classes have reasons for their protection. The rich say that they worked hard, didn’t steal from anyone, and are entitled to what their hands have worked. The poor say that all things in this world belong to all. God creates and gives them to all, and all are God’s children. People aren’t owners, but stewards of God’s creation. They are poor, not because they are lazy, but have no opportunity to advance; if they have opportunities, they aren’t probably in such poverty. To solve the problems of social injustice and to give people equal opportunity, God established the Jubilee year which happens every fiftieth year (cf. Lev 25). In this year, all land and property must return to their former owner who had sold them for living. The purpose of this Jubilee year is for people to have equal opportunity to start anew.

 

2/ Reading II: To love God is to practice His commandments.

           

2.1/ Whoever loves God, also loves Christ: There is a whole agreement in Christ’s teaching: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves also the one begotten by him.” Therefore, whoever said that he loves God, he must also love Christ and others. Jesus argued with the Jews about this point by saying to them: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here; I did not come on my own, but he sent me” (Jn 8:42).

            Loving God isn’t only in words, but also in deeds. St. John advised the faithful: “In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

           

2.2/ Whoever believes in Christ conquers the world: To understand this point, we must make a distinction when the author of the Fourth Gospel talked about the world (kosmos). There are four meanings of this word: First, it means the world where people are living. Secondly, it indicates all people, especially those who oppose against God. Thirdly, it means the worldly standards or values, especially those values oppose to divine values. Lastly, the decorations, as in 1 Peter 3:3.

            According to the syntatical analysis, the author probably implied the second meaning in these verses: “Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.”

            Those who oppose against God are those who don’t believe Christ was sent by God, or those who believe in only either his divine or human nature. Moreover, John also emphasized, “and the victory that conquers the world is our faith.”

 

3/ Gospel: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

           

3.1/ Jesus appeared to his apostles without Thomas.

            (1) Jesus’ peace: The worry and fear cause people to have no peace, as the passage reported the apostles’ state of mind during the days after Jesus’ death: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews.” While the apostles were in such state, Jesus knew what they need. He came in their midst and said: “Peace be with you."When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

            The peace that the apostles have is due to their faith in Christ’s resurrection. They thought that they shall never see Jesus again and were still in crisis because of what had happened. The apostles now greatly rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Moreover, Jesus’ appearance proved that all that Jesus said to them are true, all that Jesus foretold about his Passion, Death and Resurrection are true. Jesus’ presence brought them the true peace for their mind since he guaranteed them God’s power and love which are expressed by him.

            (2) Jesus’ sending out of his apostles: When Christ chose his apostles, he wanted them to continue his mission on earth. So, he told them in today passage: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

            The apostles’ peace isn’t only due to Christ’s presence, but also by the Holy Spirit’s presence and power which Jesus breathed on them. With this peace, he sent them to the world to preach the Good News to all. Before this moment, the worry and fear prevented the apostles to live and to witness for the truth; but now, after receiving Jesus’ peace and the Holy Spirit’s power, the apostles opened the door of their house and joyfully went into the world to witness for Christ. They believed that if Christ conquered the most powerful enemy which is the death, there is nothing to be afraid of.

           

3.2/ Jesus appeared to his apostles with Thomas.

            (1) Thomas’ hardness of heart: The passage reported: “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.""

            We shouldn’t hastily blame Thomas, because other apostles were also in such hardness when they didn’t see Jesus yet. However, the way “to see is to believe” is the only lowest way to believe the truth.

            (2) Thomas’ reaction after seeing Jesus: A week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."

            Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"Thomas’ confession isn’t simply about his faith in Christ’s resurrection, but also his declaration that “Jesus is his Lord and God.”

            To believe by seeing is the lowest way of believing; Jesus wanted to stress a higher way of believing when he said to Thomas, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." People can believe in God through God’s creation and providence, through Scripture, or through two witnesses. The law requires only two witnesses, we have millions of witnesses for Christ’s resurrection.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

 

            - We should live our life according to what we believe. If we believe in Christ’s resurrection, live according to his teaching; don’t live as those who believe only in this present world.

            - The faith in Christ’s resurrection must help us to overcome our worry, sadness and fear. If God so loves us that He gave His only Son, there is nothing else that we need and He doesn’t give to us. If Christ conquered death, the most powerful enemy of human beings, there is nothing we should be afraid of.

            - We have the true peace when we completely trust in God, and this peace shall empower us to witness for Christ.

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