Christmas Tide (5th January, 2019)
First Reading: 1 Jn 3:11-21
Gospel: Jn 1:43-51
The account of Philip and Nathaniel following Jesus indeed gives us the picture of the call each disciple of the Lord has. In fact, whenever God reveals his nature to other, we find that the recipients do not hid or keep it to oneself but indeed share it with others. This is what Jesus says in Mt 5:14-15, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel of basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the sun shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”. Similarly, we see that John the Baptist indicates the Jesus, the Messiah saying here is the Lamb of God to his disciples. Then one of those disciples namely Andrew finding his brother Simon says, “We have found the Messiah”. Both these events give us some insights on evangelism. First of all, the work of evangelism should begin with the good news of God’s love for mankind. The Gospel bears not only these two persons namely John the Baptist and Andrew but also several others like Samarian woman and so on who share the good news she received with others.
We also learn that Jesus being called ‘Lamb of God’ and ‘Messiah’ indicate that God’s love for mankind is brought through Jesus Christ. In other words, man cannot save himself but his salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ, the only son of God. It means that our salvation is not the fruit of our sacrifices but the love and mercy of Christ our Lord. Secondly it is in sharing of the good news that each of us becomes blessed. We must recall the words of Isaiah who says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation…” (Is 52:7). In our lives too, we received faith in Jesus through our parents, teachers, parents and others. And we need to reciprocate it by sharing with others what we have received.
Another important aspect we notice in today’s Gospel is the doubt raised by Nathaniel who says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” It is a genuine doubt indeed. The doubt arose because Nazareth being a small town was considered least and in no way anything significant could be considered to arise from it. So, he raises this bout. In fact, such hesitation in following the divine calls arises in many persons described in the Gospel. For example, we find it so in Moses, Abraham, prophet Jeremiah, St. Joseph Mother Mary etc. so raising the doubt appear a common feature in the Bible about persons who received call from the Lord. The Bible does not stop with only raising the doubt. On the other hand, there is another phase to it too namely assurance from the Lord and subsequent commitment to follow the call. The manner of reception of assurance from the Lord differs from persons to person. Yet all received it from the Lord and they then set themselves on following their call. This is the most important feature to those who followed the Lord, i.e., one does not stop with doubt alone but receives grace from the Lord to following him closely.
In our effort to follow, it is not what we think or presume but what the Lord offers us impels us or motivates us to follow Him. It is the Lord who guides us, helps us follow Him. This is what we see in the three kings or the shepherds following Jesus. We only offer ourselves. We take our mind and body to where the Lord calls us and he takes care of the rest. Shall we then move ahead with Nathaniel to clear our doubts? Let’s go and see for ourselves so that we may ever remain committed to Him. Amen.