Saturday (January 4): “We have found the Messiah!”

Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (January 4): “We have found the Messiah!”
Scripture: John 1:35-42

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).  42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Meditation: Who is Jesus for you? John calls Jesus the Lamb of God and thus signifies Jesus’ mission as the One who redeems us from our sins. The blood of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) delivered the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt and from the plague of death. The Lord Jesus freely offered up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7). The blood which he poured out for us on the cross cleanses, heals, and frees us from our slavery to sin, and from the “wages of sin which is death” (Romans 6:23) and the “destruction of both body and soul in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

It is significant that John was the son of the priest, Zachariah, who participated in the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple for the sins of the people (Exodus 29). In Jesus John saw the true and only sacrifice which could deliver us from bondage to sin, death, and the powers of hell. How did John know the true identity of Jesus, as the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 1:29)? The Holy Spirit revealed to John Jesus’ true nature, such that John bore witness that this is the Son of God. How can we be certain that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God? The Holy Spirit makes the Lord Jesus Christ known to us through the gift of faith. God gives us freely of his Spirit that we may comprehend – with enlightened minds and eyes of faith – the great mystery and plan of God to unite all things in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

“What do you seek?”
John in his characteristic humility was eager to point beyond himself to the Christ (means Anointed One and Messiah). He did not hesitate to direct his own disciples to the Lord Jesus. When two of John’s disciples began to seek Jesus out, Jesus took the initiative to invite them into his company. He did not wait for them to get his attention. Instead he met them halfway. He asked them one of the most fundamental questions of life: “What are you looking for?” Jesus asks each one of us the same question:”What are you searching for? Do you know the meaning and purpose for your life?” Only God, the Father and Author of life, can answer that question and make our purpose fully known to us. That is why the Lord Jesus invites each one of us to draw near to himself. He wants us to know him personally – to know what he came to do for us and what he wants to offer us.

“Come and see”
“Come and see” is the Lord’s invitation for each one of us to discover the joy of friendship and communion with the One who made us in love for love. Saint Augustine of Hippo reminds us that it is God, our Creator and Redeemer, who seeks us out, even when we are not looking for him: “If you hadn’t been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One who called you when you were opposed to Him make it possible for you to turn back?” It is God who initiates and who draws us to himself. Without his mercy and help we could not find him on our own.

When we find something of great value it’s natural to want to share the good news of our discovery with our family, friends, and neighbors. When Andrew met Jesus and discovered that he was truly the Messiah, he immediately went to his brother Simon and told him the good news. Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus so he could “come and see” for himself. When Jesus saw Simon approaching he immediately reached out to Simon in the same way he had done for Andrew earlier. Jesus looked at Simon and revealed that he knew who Simon was and where he came from even before Simon had set his eyes on Jesus. Jesus gave Simon a new name which signified that God had a personal call and mission for him. Jesus gave Simon the name “Cephas” which is the Aramaic word for “rock”. Cephas is translated as Peter (Petros in Greek and Petrus in Latin) which also literally means “rock”.

To call someone a “rock” was one of the greatest compliments in the ancient world. The rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: “I have discovered a rock to found the world upon.” Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was – the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know the Lord Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness the truth and joy of the Gospel to others. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to draw us to himself. Do you seek to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Let your Spirit be aflame in my heart that I may joyfully seek to do your will in all things.”

Psalm 98:1,7-9

1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!  His right hand and his holy arm  have gotten him victory.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe first disciples longing for the Messiah, by John Chrysostom (349-407 AD)

“Andrew, after having stayed with Jesus and after having learned what he did, did not keep the treasure to himself but hurries and races to his brother in order to let him know the good things Jesus has shared with him. But why hasn’t John mentioned what they talked about? How do we know this is why they ‘stayed with him’?… Observe what Andrew says to his brother, ‘We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.’ You see how, in a short time, he demonstrates not only the persuasiveness of the wise teacher but also his own longing that he had from the beginning. For this word, ‘we have found,’ is the expression of a soul that longs for his presence, looking for his coming from above, and is so ecstatic when what he is looking for happens that he hurries to tell others the good news. This is what brotherly affection, natural friendship, is all about when someone is eager to extend a hand to another when it comes to spiritual matters. Also see how he adds the article, for he does not say ‘Messiah’ but ‘the Messiah.’ They were expecting the Christ who would have nothing in common with the others.” (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 19.1)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2020 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

Daily Reflection

In today’s gospel, Andrew and John, two of the disciples get to know Jesus. We see them begin to follow him.  Ironically, Simon Peter is called by way of his brother Andrew.  This is a pretty good example of the power of evangelization.  Andrew gets to know Jesus, introduces him to his brother, and Simon Peter not only becomes a follower, but eventually a leader in the church.  In this interaction, Jesus calls Simon “Cephas’ which means Peter.  Cephas can also be translated to mean ‘rock’.    Peter not only follows Jesus, leads the disciples, but eventually becomes the rock upon which the church is built.

Today is the memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.  She was born to a prominent Episcopal family in 1774 in New York City.  She married and had five children.  She was widowed at a young age while living in Italy.  It was in Italy that she discovered Catholicism.  She joined the Catholic Church while living in New York in 1805.  By 1809, she had founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.  This was the first order of religious women established in the United States.  Some consider her the mother of Catholic education.  She started St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, Maryland, USA.

So, today we celebrate two incredible leaders in faith.

God is using your present circumstances to make you more useful for later roles in His unfolding story.
—Louie Giglio

January 4

MORNING

Ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you. Deut. 12:9

This is not your rest. Mic. 2:10

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. Heb. 4:9

Within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus. Heb. 6:1920

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:23

With Christ; which is far better. Phil. 1:23

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. Rev 21:4

There the wicked cease from troubling: and there the weary be at rest. Job 3:17

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt. 6:2021

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col. 3:2

EVENING

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? I Cor. 15:55

The sting of death is sin. I Cor. 15:56

But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shalt he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Heb. 9:26-28

As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb. 2:1415

I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. II Tim. 4:6-8

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.130325_0023.jpg
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

LITURGIA DELLA PAROLA

Prima Lettura   1 Gv 3, 7-10
Chiunque è stato generato da Dio non commette peccato.

Dalla prima lettera di san Giovanni apostolo
Figlioli, nessuno v’inganni. Chi pratica la giustizia è giusto com’egli [Gesù] è giusto. Chi commette il peccato viene dal diavolo, perché da principio il diavolo è peccatore. Per questo si manifestò il Figlio di Dio: per distruggere le opere del diavolo.
Chiunque è stato generato da Dio non commette peccato, perché un germe divino rimane in lui, e non può peccare perché è stato generato da Dio. In questo si distinguono i figli di Dio dai figli del diavolo: chi non pratica la giustizia non è da Dio, e neppure lo è chi non ama il suo fratello.

Salmo Responsoriale    Dal Salmo 97
Tutta la terra ha veduto la salvezza del Signore.

Cantate al Signore un canto nuovo,
perché ha compiuto meraviglie.
Gli ha dato vittoria la sua destra
e il suo braccio santo.

Risuoni il mare e quanto racchiude,
il mondo e i suoi abitanti.
I fiumi battano le mani,
esultino insieme le montagne.

Davanti al Signore che viene a giudicare la terra:
giudicherà il mondo con giustizia
e i popoli con rettitudine.

Canto al Vangelo   Eb 1,1-2
Alleluia, alleluia.

Dio, che molte volte e in diversi modi nei tempi antichi
aveva parlato ai padri per mezzo dei profeti,
ultimamente, in questi giorni,
ha parlato a noi per mezzo del Figlio.

Alleluia.

Vangelo   Gv 1, 35-42
Abbiamo trovato il Messia.

Dal vangelo secondo Giovanni
In quel tempo, Giovanni stava con due dei suoi discepoli e, fissando lo sguardo su Gesù che passava, disse: «Ecco l’agnello di Dio!». E i suoi due discepoli, sentendolo parlare così, seguirono Gesù.
Gesù allora si voltò e, osservando che essi lo seguivano, disse loro: «Che cosa cercate?». Gli risposero: «Rabbì – che, tradotto, significa maestro –, dove dimori?». Disse loro: «Venite e vedrete». Andarono dunque e videro dove egli dimorava e quel giorno rimasero con lui; erano circa le quattro del pomeriggio.
Uno dei due che avevano udito le parole di Giovanni e lo avevano seguito, era Andrea, fratello di Simon Pietro. Egli incontrò per primo suo fratello Simone e gli disse: «Abbiamo trovato il Messia» – che si traduce Cristo – e lo condusse da Gesù. Fissando lo sguardo su di lui, Gesù disse: «Tu sei Simone, il figlio di Giovanni; sarai chiamato Cefa» – che significa Pietro.
 

LETTURE DALL’UFFICIO DELLE LETTURE

Versetto
V. Nel Verbo di Dio è la vita,
R. e la vita è la luce degli uomini.

Prima Lettura
Dalla lettera ai Colossesi di san Paolo, apostolo 3, 17 – 4, 1

La vita della famiglia cristiana

Fratelli, tutto quello che fate in parole ed opere, tutto si compia nel nome del Signore Gesù, rendendo per mezzo di lui grazie a Dio Padre.
Voi, mogli, state sottomesse ai mariti, come si conviene nel Signore. Voi, mariti, amate le vostre mogli e non inaspritevi con esse. Voi, figli, obbedite ai genitori in tutto; ciò è gradito al Signore. Voi, padri, non esasperate i vostri figli, perché non si scoraggino. Voi, servi, siate docili in tutto con i vostri padroni terreni; non servendo solo quando vi vedono, come si fa per piacere agli uomini, ma con cuore semplice e nel timore del Signore. Qualunque cosa facciate, fatela di cuore come per il Signore e non per gli uomini, sapendo che come ricompensa riceverete dal Signore l’eredità. Servite a Cristo Signore. Chi commette ingiustizia infatti subirà le conseguenze del torto commesso, e non v’è parzialità per nessuno. Voi, padroni, date ai vostri servi ciò che è giusto ed equo, sapendo che anche voi avete un padrone in cielo.

Responsorio
    Col 3, 17
R. Tutto quello che fate in parole e in opere, * tutto si compia nel nome di Gesù nostro Signore.
V. Rendete grazie per mezzo di lui a Dio Padre:
R. tutto si compia nel nome di Gesù nostro Signore.

Seconda Lettura
Dai «500 Capitoli» di san Massimo il Confessore, abate
(Centuria 1, 8-13; PG 90, 1182-1186)

Mistero sempre nuovo
Il Verbo di Dio fu generato secondo la carne una volta per tutte. Ora, per la sua benignità verso l’uomo, desidera ardentemente di nascere secondo lo spirito in coloro che lo vogliono e diviene bambino che cresce con il crescere delle loro virtù. Si manifesta in quella misura di cui sa che è capace chi lo riceve. Non restringe la visuale immensa della sua grandezza per invidia e gelosia, ma saggia, quasi misurandola, la capacità di coloro che desiderano vederlo. Così il Verbo di Dio, pur manifestandosi nella misura di coloro che ne sono partecipi, rimane tuttavia sempre imperscrutabile a tutti, data l’elevatezza del mistero. Per questa ragione l’Apostolo di Dio, considerando con sapienza la portata del mistero, dice: «Gesù Cristo è lo stesso ieri, oggi e sempre!» (Eb 13, 8), intendendo dire in tal modo che il mistero è sempre nuovo e non invecchia mai per la comprensione di nessuna mente umana.
Cristo Dio nasce e si fa uomo, prendendo un corpo dotato di un’anima intelligente, lui, che aveva concesso alle cose di uscire dal nulla. Dall’oriente una stella che brilla in pieno giorno guida i magi verso il luogo dove il Verbo ha preso carne, per dimostrare misticamente che il Verbo contenuto nella legge e nei profeti supera ogni conoscenza dei sensi e conduce le genti alla suprema luce della conoscenza.
Infatti la parola della legge e dei profeti, a guisa di stella, rettamente intesa, conduce a riconoscere il Verbo incarnato coloro che in virtù della grazia sono stati chiamati secondo il beneplacito divino.
Dio si fa perfetto uomo, non cambiando nulla di quanto è proprio della natura umana, tolto, si intende, il peccato, che del resto non le appartiene. Si fa uomo per provocare il dragone infernale avido e impaziente di divorare la sua preda, cioè l’umanità del Cristo. Cristo in effetti, gli dà in pasto la sua carne. Quella carne però doveva tramutarsi per il diavolo in veleno. La carne abbatteva totalmente il mostro con la potenza della divinità che in essa si celava. Per la natura umana, invece, sarebbe stata il rimedio, perché l’avrebbe riportata alla grazia originale con la forza della divinità in essa presente.
Come infatti il dragone, avendo istillato il suo veleno nell’albero della scienza, aveva rovinato il genere umano, facendoglielo gustare, così il medesimo, presumendo divorare la carne del Signore, fu rovinato e spodestato per la potenza della divinità che era in essa.
Ma il grande mistero dell’incarnazione divina rimane pur sempre un mistero. In effetti come può il Verbo, che con la sua persona è essenzialmente nella carne, essere al tempo stesso come persona ed essenzialmente tutto nel Padre? Così come può lo stesso Verbo, totalmente Dio per natura, diventare totalmente uomo per natura? E questo senza abdicare per niente né alla natura divina, per cui è Dio, né alla nostra, per cui è divenuto uomo?
Soltanto la fede arriva a questi misteri, essa che è la sostanza e la base di quelle cose che superano ogni comprensione della mente umana.

Responsorio   Gv 1, 14. 1
R. Il Verbo si è fatto carne, e venne ad abitare in mezzo a noi: * abbiamo contemplato la sua gloria, gloria dell’unico Figlio del Padre, pieno di verità e di grazia.
V. In principio era il Verbo, e il Verbo era presso Dio, e il Verbo era Dio:
R. abbiamo contemplato la sua gloria, gloria dell’unico Figlio del Padre, pieno di verità e di grazia.