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Gospel for Thursday, January 7: John 1: 35-42

John 1: 35-42

35The next day John was still there with two of his disciples 36and, fixing his gaze on Jesus as he passed by, he said: «Behold the lamb of God!». 37And the two disciples, hearing him speak thus, followed Jesus. 38Jesus then turned and, seeing that they were following him, said: “What are you looking for?”. They answered him: «Rabbi (which means teacher), where do you live?». 39He said to them: “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he lived, and they stayed with him that day; it was around four in the afternoon. 40One of the two who had heard John’s words and followed him was Andrew, brother of Simon Peter. 41He met his brother Simon first, and said to him: «We have found the Messiah (which means the Christ)» 42and led him to Jesus. Jesus, fixing his gaze on him, said: “You are Simon, the son of John; you will be called Cephas (which means Peter)”.

John 1: 35-42

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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John’s passage (1.35-42) is typological: it presents us with the entire dynamic of believing in a few lines.

The first step is “to follow” (v. 37), a technical term to indicate discipleship: “These two disciples are the first to undertake an exodus, they leave John to follow Jesus. They set out on his trail in the desert; Jesus then turns and, looking them in the eyes, asks them: «What are you looking for?». It is his first word in the fourth gospel, in the form of a question, a question that Jesus still addresses to you today, reader of the gospel: «What are you looking for? What is your wish?”. It is extraordinary, Jesus does not make an affirmation, a declaration, as would come naturally to many ecclesiastics who are always accustomed only to affirming, but asks a question: «Are you looking for something? And what?”. So whoever sets out on the trail of Jesus must first try to answer this question, he must try to know his own heart, to read and scrutinize it, in order to be aware of what he desires and seeks. Let’s think about it, but only when we welcome or ask ourselves questions do we contradict the closure that tightens us, and we open up” (E. Bianchi).

“To come” and “to see” (v. 39) are the two typical verbs of Faith: the first underlines the human response, the second the experience of God; and sometimes we only experience God if we have first enthusiastically told him “yes”.

The aim of following is menein with God (vv. 38-39), that is, to dwell, to abide with Him: the disciple escapes transience to fix himself in the eternal, in the infinite.

“It was about four in the afternoon” (v. 39): the time of the wonderful encounter with Jesus remains forever imprinted in the hearts of the two disciples: it is in fact the moment that transformed their lives, it is the radical turning point of their existence, the most important hour of their history. “That day in which the first disciples sought Jesus, followed him and remained with him, was decisive for their entire life, which from that moment on was nothing other than seeking Jesus, following him and try to live with him, persevering with him: it is the Christian life! Before the disciple there is always and only a Lamb, a Servant, in any case a meek, harmless creature who “carries” (see John 1:29) the burdens of others and does not place them on the shoulders of others; there is someone who gives his life, spends his life and offers it as a sacrifice” (E. Bianchi).

Then follows the profession of Faith: “We have found the Messiah!” (v. 41); and we then become evangelizers in our turn: “Andrew… met his brother Simon first, and said to him: «We have found the Messiah (which means the Christ)» and led him to Jesus” (v. 41).

Today’s Gospel is a parable of Faith: we must first abandon ourselves, our path, to follow Jesus: we must first trust him, his Word, hand ourselves over to him. He therefore reveals himself, makes us live with him, makes us taste the sweetness of God. And only then, filled with him, will we be able to overflow with him to our brothers, announcing him with joy to the world.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

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