Daily Reflection – Jan 5, 2018
Friday 5 January 2018
First Reading: 1 JN 3:11-21
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4, 5
Gospel Reading: JN 1:43-51
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop
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.”
We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
Nobody said following Christ would be easy. Thoughts of self-denial, of carrying the cross, even of martyrdom come to mind. Such grand sacrifices, though, begin with the commission John gives in today’s first reading: love one another. Love the people around you. Hold them dear, even when they push you away. Be devoted to their welfare, even if they seem indifferent to yours. Hope and pray for their healing, just as you do for your own.
Not so easy, is it? Christian author C. S. Lewis likens it to beginning the study of mathematics with basic addition and not calculus. Start by forgiving your spouse, parents, or children for something they have said or done in the last week: for dishes left unwashed in the sink (again) perhaps or the car’s gas tank left on empty, for phone calls unmade or unreturned, or for being left having to walk the dog in the rain.
Everyday life offers us many opportunities to love one another in small, concrete ways, “in deed and truth,” as John wrote (1 John 3:18). To love and not resent, to serve and not crave revenge—this kind of loving requires the death of something inside ourselves. “The feeling of resentment, the desire for payback, must be simply killed,” says Lewis. “It is hard work, but the attempt is not impossible.”
Feelings can be stubborn, but God will help you. He will give you everything you need to love your family as he has loved you. When anger or bitterness rises up within you, stop and do your best to halt those thoughts. Ask Jesus for the grace to think thoughts of love for that person, and then take one small step to treat them with kindness. You may discover, over time, that you actually are becoming more loving. You may find yourself hoping for “good” and even praying for those thoughtless coworkers, rude drivers, and ungodly “others” whom you find insufferable. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it does happen. Gradually. Unnoticed. Deep down in your heart. Resolve today to give no place to negativity, and God’s grace will abound.
“Holy Spirit, give me the gift of fortitude today so that I can fight the good fight of faith. Give me grace to love other people as Jesus loved me.”