New Beginnings

4 January - Christmastide

Jn. 3:7-10 and Jn. 1:35-42

When Christ calls us to follow Him, He invites us to make a fresh start, a new life. John the Baptist came to persuade the people of Israel to prepare for this new beginning. He gathered around him a small band of disciples, but when Jesus, the Messiah, appeared on the scene it was time to wean his disciples from him and point them to Jesus. "Look," he told them, "there is the Lamb of God." Hearing this, two of his disciples. John and Andrew immediately followed Jesus. They were like two curious fans following their idol, longing to approach their star, and yet afraid of how to break the ice. But Jesus made the first approach. He turned round and said to them, "What do you want?" Immediately, they answered, "Rabbi, where do you live?" and He invited them, "Come and see." At once, they felt at ease and they were never to forget their first encounter with Jesus. In fact that visit made such an indelible impression on them that if we were to ask John, "Can you mark the exact spot where you first met Jesus?" he could have done it without any difficulty. It was such an important turning point in his life that he tells us the exact time of day, the tenth hour, which was 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Wouldn't you and I love to have been a fly on the wall of Jesus' dwelling and to witness the conversation that took place among them.

The following day Andrew told his brother Simon Peter, "We have found the Messiah." He did something which was to become the role of Andrew in the Gospels and that was to introduce people to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at Simon and said, "You are Simon, son of John, you are to be called Cephas, which meant rock. His new name signified his new job, to be the rock on which Jesus was to build His Church.

New beginnings are inspiring times, full of hope and enthusiasm. If a new year, a new job, a new home can make us feel excited and alive, how much more alive we should feel when we begin to be disciples of Christ. St. John, in the first reading, tells us that we are not just disciples but children of God, but he warns us that we have to beware of being led astray. We can be enthused by new and exciting beginnings, but what follows is the important thing. You may be elated with a new job, but every job has its moments of difficulty and monotony. It can be very easy to give up. This is what St. John warns us against.

Lord Jesus, the start of a year is a good time to renew our devotion to You. It is a time to 'sing a new song to the Lord,' as the Psalm says, and to persevere in what we have begun.