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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 1,43-51

The next day, 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 him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.'

Nathanael said to him, 'From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?' Philip replied, 'Come and see.'

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an Israelite in whom there is no deception.'

Nathanael asked, 'How do you know me?' Jesus replied, 'Before Philip came to call you, 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 are going to see greater things than that.'

And then he added, 'In all truth I tell you, you will see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending over the Son of man.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Evangelist John continues his story, day after day, as to prevent us from taking our eyes off this extraordinary master. The encounter with Jesus does not limit, restrict, or impoverish the life of whoever draws near to him. On the contrary, it opens one’s eyes and heart. In a word, the encounter makes us leave behind the provincialism and harshness that surround us, so as to place us on a horizon infinitely greater than us. It is an opposite view to that of those who continue to think that Jesus’ demand steals life, asks for deprivations, limits freedom, or prevents joy. Certainly, sometimes the Gospel life has been presented as a sad life, based on renunciation and sorrows. In truth, the Lord gives us a life full of meaning, one much larger than what we are even able to imagine. The desire to remain prisoners of a greedy and self-centred life often hides behind the objections. The Lord has great ambitions for us, which these pages of the Gospel of John demonstrate. From those poor fishermen in a remote province of the Roman Empire begins the story of the unique fraternity created around Jesus, which continues today throughout the world. After meeting with Andrew, John and Peter, the time for Philip came. Jesus also said to him: "Follow me." And so it happens. In turn, Philip tells Nathaniel the beauty of his encounter and says: "We have found the Messiah." Nathaniel responds with ordinary honesty and wisdom. Nathaniel’s ordinary honesty, however, also praised by Jesus, is not enough to save him. Only the encounter with the Nazarene prophet (even if one were to think that nothing good could possibly come from Nazareth) illumines the heart of that just man who feels profoundly understood. Jesus promises him that he will see things greater than he had just seen; this is the ambition of our exceptional teacher for his small group of followers. Perhaps they are not even aware of it, but the Lord entrusts to them his very own mission. For this, a bit later, he will say to Peter and to all his disciples who follow him that they will receive a hundred times more than they give up.

Prayer of the Christmas season