5 January 2017
1 John 3:11-21
This is the message
as you heard it from the beginning:
that we are to love one another;
not to be like Cain, who belonged to the Evil One
and cut his brother’s throat;
cut his brother’s throat simply for this reason,
that his own life was evil and his brother lived a good life.
You must not be surprised, brothers, when the world hates you;
we have passed out of death and into life,
and of this we can be sure
because we love our brothers.
If you refuse to love, you must remain dead;
to hate your brother is to be a murderer,
and murderers, as you know, do not have eternal life in them.
This has taught us love –
that he gave up his life for us;
and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers.
If a man who was rich enough in this world’s goods
saw that one of his brothers was in need,
but closed his heart to him,
how could the love of God be living in him?
our love is not to be just words or mere talk,
but something real and active;
only by this can we be certain
that we are children of the truth
and be able to quieten our conscience in his presence,
whatever accusations it may raise against us,
because God is greater than our conscience and he knows everything.
My dear people,
if we cannot be condemned by our own conscience,
we need not be afraid in God’s presence.
After Jesus had decided to leave for Galilee, he met Philip and said, ‘Follow me.’ Philip came from the same town, Bethsaida, as Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’
[O]ur love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.
I once had a non-Christian friend comment to me that he admires Christians because it is the only Faith where the Son of God come down to save His creatures. It caught me by surprise when he mentioned it to me in that manner because I have never considered it from that angle. The readings of today remind us of the need to live out a life of action and not just to pay lip-service.
Perhaps we can draw a lesson from Nathanael, who wanted to follow somebody who was of action and hence was concerned about the origin of the person. Jesus eventually answered all the questions he had but we could also ask ourselves if we are a bit like Nathanael, who insists on seeing things here and now. The Faith we possess allows us to continue to trust in God’s abundant mercy and love despite the lack of action and physical movement in our presence.
As Christians, we should show others the importance of love because of our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not engage in actions just to please the people around us but because we want to make manifest the love of God in our lives to all whom we meet. In doing so, we draw closer to Jesus’ example to show His love for us even to the extent of our death.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let us follow your example in showing love unconditionally to all around us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who proclaim their Faith.