1st Reading: 1 Jn 3:11-21; Gospel: John 1: 43-51
“Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth”
The well-defined call of the first reading is to develop authentic love for the neighbour. The absence of love and the presence of hatred is equivalent to murder, which naturally stands as a stumbling block to enjoy eternal life. Hence, for us believers, love is never an option but an obligation.
An authentic love does not remain in just in word or speech, but is tangibly expressed in action. The Gospel reading enumerates the actions that would result from sincere love:
A sincere love will desire, indicate and command what is good for the other and urge one to strive for it. We see Jesus asking Philip to follow Him for that is good for Philip.
An authentic love will wish others to have the same amazing experiences as Philip wished for Nathaniel. Philip shared his experience of Jesus with Nathaniel that he too may experience the Messiah.
A real love gives freedom for the other to grow. Philip never argued to prove what he believed; rather, gave freedom for Nathaniel to have his own experience of Jesus by stating, “Come and see.”
A genuine love will bear witness to the truth. Jesus, who had seen Nathaniel under the fig tree, would have heard what he had said too: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” A sarcastic remark of this sort never made Jesus to react. He, instead, stated the truth about Nathaniel, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him,” which made him believe to the extent of saying, “Rabbi, you are the son of God; you are the king of Israel.” An authentic love bears witness to the truth, and naturally the result is strong faith in Jesus Christ.
Dear friends, let us love others not in word or speech but in deed and truth by indicating what is good for the other, wishing others to have the same amazing experiences we had, offering freedom to grow and by being the messengers of truth.