04 January, 2013. Friday before Epiphany
1 Jn 3:7-10. How and why we have been born as children of God.
Jn 1:35-42. “What are you looking for?” “Come and see.” Call of Jesus’ first disciples.
First Reading: 1 John 3:7-10.
Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.
Gospel: John 1:35-42
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him an said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
Called By Name
“I have called you by your name; you are mine.” It’s a fundamental of our faith that God knows each individual one of us – and has known us from our mother’s womb. And yet, remembering people’s names – what a problem this can be; even with the best of intentions, even when we are really interested in someone and can recall some personal details, the name eludes us. So many methods of mnemonic are advised and tried, just to avoid the disappointing admission, “Sorry, but I just can’t remember your name.” Every man and woman (and child!) likes to be recognized by name; when others forget, it is a blow to our person-hood.
God knows each individual by name totally, intimately, always. None of us is ever ignored by him; like the birds of the air, and all created things, we are forever in God’s mind, under his care (cf. Mat. 10:29.) Even the person of no particular significance in his neighbour’s eyes, the born loser who lives in the shadows of depression most of the time – even he (or she) is precious in the eyes of God, perhaps more precious than anyone can suspect.
Some may feel a strong but quite false sense of identity, based to much on our own achievements, efforts and ambitions. God’s plan for us hardly enters the picture at all or we dismiss it as too uncertain, too “spiritual” and remote from daily life. But biblical faith insists that God calls us into relationship with himself=, always offering us life, always calling on us to live worthily in God’s sight. We are called by name. For Christians, specifically, our relationship with Christ is at the heart of our identity. Not only are we called to friendship with Jesus – we become “members of his body,” sharers in his spirit. Sometimes, in prayer we can taste the rich privilege of belonging to Christ. More often, it is in the darkness of faith that we simply believe in it. But always, and in ordinary details of behaviour, we are called to live up to the standard of love and truth set by the Spirit of Jesus. That is our vocation; and only by trying to live like that are we worthy of our Christian name.
Only in the next life will we discover our full identity in God’s presence, when God calls us by name into His presence. Like the two apostles who wanted to know Christ better, we will be invited to “Come and see.”