On the last day of Christmas my true love had two words for me …“follow me” – John 1: 43- 51
The Christmas season will end four days from now on the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord which this year falls on a Monday. This last advent was the longest advent season, consisting of four full weeks but the Christmastide is the shortest consisting of only 16 days.
The Love of God is what has flown through these twelve days of Christmas and it is this love that we celebrate at Christmastime; he is the TRUE love that gives not only during these twelve days but will continue to love throughout the year.
Today we reflect on his love as seen in the Gospel of the day, John 1: 43-45. So far the Gospel of John has told us that John the Baptist redirected his disciples towards Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God.” We know that one of the two disciples was Andrew who is named in verse 40. He and another disciple had spent the day with Jesus. They were clearly smitten with this “rabbi” (verse 38). But now that the day was almost done (verse 39 tells us that it was about four pm) conviction had set in. Jesus is no longer just a rabbi or a teacher for these two disciples. We are told that Andrew goes in search of his brother Simon Peter and having found him declares a kerygma or a faith proclamation, “we have found the Messiah.” In one swift move, Jesus looks at Simon and turns his life upside down. He is no longer Simon but Peter the rock!
But a good thing cannot be hidden under a rock and this ‘rock’ decided to rock and roll. Peter, Andrew and the unnamed disciple become the first batch of ‘seminarians.’ This was a seminary like no other. There was no structural institution, no liturgical garments of identification and no admission interview. It had just one thing, The MESSIAH, who was the first formator of these disciples. Their first lecture was to be on a journey on foot and this was no walk in the park for Jesus had a mission and great was his enthusiasm.
The text of today tells us that Jesus now moves from Bethany on the far side of the Jordan to Galilee in the North. A band of four now grows as Jesus ‘finds’ Philip. No long discourse or sales pitch is required to win Philip over. Jesus had two words for him, “Follow me,” and the band of three disciples has reached four. Vocation promotion has never done better! It is now Philips turn to do what Andrew did for his brother, to go out and bring more souls to Christ. Philip knows Nathaniel and his two-word encounter with Jesus was enough for him to declare emphatically, “we have found him whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.”