Thursday Before Epiphany
1st Reading: 1Jn 3:11-21
Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God.
Gospel: Jn 1:43-51
Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Come and see: The Gospel reading today presents us yet another moment of “come and see”. This time Philip invites Nathanael to encounter Jesus. It is again another occasion of discipleship by mediation. Philip found Nathanael and spoke to him in such a convincing manner that in spite of his reservations, he still went to meet Jesus. Bringing others to Jesus is an integral part of our Christian vocation. The audacity of witnessing are instruments through which the Holy Spirit operates in the hearts of men and women, bringing them to the fountain of living water; Jesus the Lord. At times we need words, at other times it suffices an act of charity. Nathanael already was on a good path but Jesus invites him to a deep reality; very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened…” In every encounter with Jesus, he leads us to new things. He will build on the little we have gathered.
Prayer: Lord, you send us each day as your witnesses. Help us not to drive people away from you but to bring them close to an encounter with you. Amen
THE WISDOM OF LOVE: All people crave for love. In today’s readings the apostle John talks about love and what it means. We learn about love from Christ who lay down his life for us. Christ loved us so much that he suffered the painful passion and death for us. It is an example of true love. But it is not enough that we appreciate the great love that Christ has for us. We must also try to imitate the love of Christ and show it to others. As John says: “We too must lay down our lives for our brothers.” We must have enough love for our brothers that we would be ready to surrender our own life to save theirs. And we do have such examples of love in today’s world. Think of people who donate vital organs and put their own lives at risk to save the life of a family member. Think of heroic rescue operations where several people are rescued but the rescuer dies in the course of action. Yes, we do see love around us, and each of us needs to ask himself, am I a loving person?