January 6th in Christmas
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

January 6th in Christmas

January 6th in Christmas

baptism of jesus g

Readings: 1 Jn 3:22-4:6; Mt 4:12-17, 23-25.

 

1/ First Reading: 1 John 3:22 - 4:6  22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. RSV 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

 

2/ Gospel: Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25  12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles -- 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 23 And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.


 

I. THEME: The truth will set us free.

          Our ancestors often gave advice to their offsprings: “Truth can hurt, but only truth will liberate people and gives life to them. Therefore, knowing and acting according to truth will give people life; in opposition, not knowing and not acting according to truth shall lead people to death.

          Our life is composed by many days looking for truths; but this is not an easy task because we are constantly facing falsehood from the three enemies which are: the devil, the world and our flesh. In order to discover real truths, we must rely on Scripture because it is the treasure of truths which comes directly from God and are revealed by prophets, especially revealed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was sending to the world to reveal God’s truths for humen beings.

Today readings confirm our faith by reminding us this basic truth: we must look for truths in the Scripture, especially in Jesus’ teachings. In the first reading, the author of the first letter of John reminds us the basic truths which are we “should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” In the Gospel, Matthews reported Jesus’ mission when he began his journey of preaching truths about God’s kingdom. He chose the regions of the Gentiles: Zebulun and Naphthali, to preach truths for “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.

 

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: How to dicern truth from falsehood.

 

1.1/ We are led by God’s spirit to recognize truths: The change of time and the different environment make people to change their thinking and decisions; but truth isn’t depending on time and environments. Therefore, to know truth and to make wise decision people must base on truths and unchange principles. The author of the first reading reminds us that we are always led by the Spirit to know and to keep two basic truths:

 

(1) We must love all people: Have bearing the name of the children of God, we are demanded to become like God who commands the sun to rise and the rain to come down on the land of the just and the evil. Have bearing the name of Christ’s disciples we are demanded to love as Christ who died for both Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, as a Christian who is like Christ, we are demanded to love all people: the holy and the evil, we can’t exclude anyone because all are members of the one body which is Christ’s and they are our brothers and sisters.

(2) We must keep His commands which He gave to us: Like in John’s Gospel, chapter 15, love is connected with keeping Jesus’commandment. All commandments are included in the two important commandments which are to love God and to love others. We can’t loving God without loving our brothers and sisters since loving others is the standard to measure our love for God.

 

1.2/ How do we know that God’s Spirit dwells in us?

          Besides two things which we mentioned above so we know that we are leading by God’s Spirit, the author also gives us another standard to recognize real prophets from false ones.

 

(1) False prophets: They didn’t speak what God’s Spirit wanted them to speak; but they only spoke what they wanted and the world wanted to hear. “They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them.” In Ephesian community at the author’s time, there were at least two sects which the author called them Anti-Christ, originating from Greek’s philosophy:

- Gnosticism (Ngộ-đạo): This sect believes human body is evil and a prison to confine human soul which is good. To liberate a soul from its body, people need to have a special knowledge which can only be known by a special group of people. Scientology of the actor, Tom Cruise, is an example of this sect. Therefore, they don’t believe in Jesus’ incarnation. They can’t believe why Christ wants to incarnate in a body while they are trying to liberate their souls from their bodies!

- Docetism (Dường-như): Although they believe in Christ’s incarnation but they don’t believe in Christ’s sufferings. To them, God can’t be suffered. They try to explain that Christ seems to be suffered but it isn’t real. When the child Jesus was borned in the cave, He did’t feel cold because He is God. When Christ was nailed to the cross, it wasn’t him but it was Simon’s, who helped him to carry the cross, was there… All of their explanations are rejected by the Church who teaches that Jesus has two natures: divine and human, and they are intertwined that one can’t separate it. Moreover, all of Christ’s sufferings and His death are needed for human salvation.

(2) True prophets: They are ones who spoke what God’s Spirit wanted them to speak, not speaking what they want to speak nor what hearers want to hear. In particularly, the author gives us a standard to recognize who is the true prophet. That is “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.

 

2/ Gospel: Jesus is Christ who is incarnated to live among us.

 

2.1/ He is the light and the truth who comes to disperse the world’ s dakness and lying.

          Two symbols which are frequently mentioned in Christmas time are the light and the truth. These two symbols are also used and had a close relationship in Isaiah and the Fourth Gospel.

          (1) Christ is the light who comes to disperse darkness: When the sun is going down, the world becomes dark and people can’t do anything because there is no light. It is similar with the human intellectual light. If there is no God’s light to lead, people shall be immersed in darkness and can’t make wise decisions for their life. They need God’s light.

          (2) Christ is the truth who comes to take away the world’s falseness: As we mentioned in the introduction, our world is full of lyings that aim to destroy people. When Christ comes, He reveals for people to know all the truths that come form God; especially His intention to save people achieving by Christ. Once people know truths that come from God, they also recognize all falsehood at the same time and avoid all bad consequences that come from them.

          Matthews quoted Isa 9:1-2 to insist Jesus’ fulfillment of what the prophet described what shall happen to two Gentiles’ regions, Zebulun and Naphthali: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles -- the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.

         

2.2/ He healed all sickness and pain of people.

 

(1) Jesus heals people’s souls by preaching of the Good News of the kingdom of heaven: The soul’s sickness is more dangerous than the body’s sickness; therefore, the first thing Jesus did is to go everywhere to preach the Good News of the kingdom for people. Once people know that their purpose of life is to end up in heaven, they shall orientate their life to that last end.

(2) Jesus heals all people’s sickness by performing miracles: Matthews only briefly reported miracles: “And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.” In the next chapters, he will reports in details many miracles which Jesus performed.

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

 

- Truth shall liberate people. So, the first thing we need to do is to study in order to know as many truths as possible.

- God’s truths are revealed in the Scripture. Therefore, we can’t know truths by relying only on human thinking and analyzing.

- Once we possess God’s truth we also recognize all the world’s falsehood and avoid all bad results which are coming from them.

- When we know truths and ways for ourselves, then we can have capacity to lead others.

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