Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection January 05, 2024


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R/. Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. Today a great light has come upon the earth.

R/. Alleluia

At that time: Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

1. Jesus calls Philip, “Follow me”, and he follows him. The following of Jesus is like a burning fire that spreads its heat to others also. So Philip finds Nathanael and shares with him that he has found the Messiah, awaited and foretold by the prophets. It is Jesus of Nazareth.

2. Nathanael does not hide his apprehension, stating, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Still, at the invitation of Philip, “Come and see”, he proceeds to meet Jesus. Here we can appreciate the openness of Nathanael. He is not clung to or closed within his preconceived idea about the Messiah.

3. This is already an essential ingredient of faith. Such openness can come only from a heart without duplicity and guile. At the encounter with Jesus, this is the compliment he receives from Jesus, “Here is a child of Israel in whom there is no malice”. Indeed, the biggest and the best compliment that one can receive and that too from Jesus.

4. The encounter is not a casual meeting. It becomes transformative. Nathanael confesses his total faith in Jesus, saying, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel”. He too becomes a disciple of Christ.

5. Encounter with Jesus and personal experience of him cannot but transform the person. For that transformation, a guileless heart becomes a pre-requisite. And loving others becomes the effect and fruit of it. This is a quite valid process and journey.

6. In love, Jesus died for our sake and gave us life. Therefore, whoever believes and loves Jesus will certainly have his life. This life will manifest itself in sharing the same love and life with others. One cannot love Jesus and live in him but remain without loving others. Those who hate others are destroying the life of Christ and thus they become murderers.

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