January 5, 2017

John Neumann

January 5, 2017:  St. John Neumann, Bishop

  • Suspenders with 'LOVE' sticker:  Love one another (1st reading)
  • 'Gun' pin:  Cain slaughtered his brother (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  God is greater than our hearts.  If our hearts don't condemn us, we have confidence in God (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  We're the flock the Lord tends (psalm)'Eyeball' pin:  "Come and see" (gospel)
  • 'Tree' pin:  "I saw you under the fig tree" (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Nathanael:  "You're the Son of God, the King of Israel" (gospel)
  • 'Angel' pins:  You'll see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Color of today's memorial


For 1st reading
For Psalm 100
  • 1 Jn 3:11-21  Love one another.  Cain slaughtered his brother because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.  Don't be amazed if the world hates you.  We know we've passed from death to life because we love our brothers.  Everyone who hates is a murderer, without eternal life.  We came to know love through Jesus' laying down his life for us; so we should lay down our lives for others.  If you refuse compassion to one in need, how can God's love remain in you?  Love in deed and truth, not word or speech.  If our hearts don't condemn us, we have confidence in God.
  • Ps 100:1b-5  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  We're his people, his flock.  The Lord is good, kind, and faithful.
  • Jn 1:43-51  Jesus told Philip, "Follow me."  Philip told Nathanael, "We found the one Moses and the prophets wrote about, Jesus from Nazareth." / "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" / "Come and see." / Jesus:  "Here is a true child of Israel." / "How do you know me?" / "I saw you under the fig tree." / "You are the Son of God, the King of Israel."  / "You'll see greater things; you'll see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
    • Creighton:  The gospel message is as simple as “God is love” and “love one another”:  love self, neighbor, enemy, the rich, the poor, creation, God.  How can I love more today?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Love meets the greatest need":  John points out the connection between love and need.  If we authentically love someone, we want to provide their needs.  The greatest need of the human person is to know Jesus deeply, so evangelization is "the highest service a Christian can offer" (Orientale Lumen).  If we don't share Jesus, we either don't believe or we don't love people.  "It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray:  Can we gain salvation if through negligence or fear or shame — what St. Paul called 'blushing for the Gospel' — or as a result of false ideas we fail to preach it?" (Evangelii Nuntiandi)  May we invite others to come and see Jesus, giving them Life.
    • Passionist:  At this time, people lament about how hard it is to change bad habits or cultivate good ones, and they give advice about turning your life around.  Today's readings give examples of how we can change ourselves and the world around us:  act in accord with our true intentions.  Our deeds need to reflect our love for each other and for God.  “If our hearts don't condemn us, we have confidence in God....”
    St. John Neumann
    When Philip tells Nathanael they've found the Messiah, he's dismissed, but once Nathanael sees the Lord, he has the grace to recognize him, allowing a new thought to arise.  May I remain open to the new person God is calling me to become, and may I become that person in deed and truth.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Come and see":  Philip was eager to tell Nathaniel (AKA Bartholomew) about his decision to follow Jesus.  Nathanael was skeptical because he didn't think the Messiah could come from Nazareth.  How could he, when the prophets said he'd come from Bethlehem?  We're skeptical when someone tries to convince us of truth till we can understand it ourselves.  Instead of arguing, Philip invited Nathanael  to "come and see" for himself, and the encounter with Jesus Christ changed his life.  When people see his love in action, the Lord touches them and opens them to recognize he's the Son of God who reveals the Father's love and truth.  When Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, Jesus opened Nathanael's heart and called him a true "Israelite in whom there is no guile."  Nathanael, like Jacob, hungered for God and believed.  Nathanael, seeker of God, waiting for the fulfillment of God's promises, was willing to meet Jesus and see whether he might be the Messiah.
    The fig tree was a sign of God's peace and blessing.  Rabbis often gathered their disciples under its shade to teach Scripture.  "He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit."  There Nathanael recognized Jesus as Messiah, "Son of God and King of Israel."
    In Jacob's dream, God opened a door for Jacob that brought him and his people into a new relationship with God.  God revealed his angels, showed him the throne of heaven, and him that he and his descendants would dwell with God.  Jesus promises to open the way for access God's throne, fulfilling God's promise to Jacob and his descendants; he's the is the way to the Father, the true ladder/stairway uniting earth with heaven.  In Jesus' incarnation heaven and earth unite; God makes his dwelling with us and brings us into the reality of his kingdom through his Son.  Jesus opens the way for us to "ascend to heaven" and bring "heaven to earth" in our daily lives.  God's kingdom is present in those who seek and follow him....

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