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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 narration, day after day, as if to not allow us to take our eyes off of this extraordinary Teacher. 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. This vision opposes the one of those who continue to think that Jesus robs life, asks for privations, limits liberty, impedes joy. Unfortunately, sometimes the evangelic life has been portrayed as gray and sad, full of sacrifice. In truth, the Lord gives us a life rich in meaning and a life much more expansive than the one we can ever imagine by ourselves. And often behind the objections that one can make to the high demands of the Gospel, are hidden the desire to remain a prisoner to one’s stingy and egocentric life. The Lord has great "ambition" for us. And these pages of John’s Gospel reveal it to us. From those poor fishermen in a remote province of the Roman Empire, begins the story of the unique fraternity created around Jesus and which continues today throughout the world. After the encounter with Andrew, John and Peter, it is Philip’s turn. Jesus also says to him: "Follow me!" And that is what happened. And then Phillip, in turn, tells Nathaniel the beauty of his encounter: "We have found the Messiah." Nathaniel replies with honesty and conventional wisdom. Nathaniel’s honesty, 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 what he had just seen. This is the ambition of this exceptional teacher for that 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 gave up.

Prayer of the Christmas season