Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.” True evangelization always works this way. It’s not a matter of convincing speech but of the transmission of a flame, of a passion, of a certainty that you can read in the gaze of someone whose eyes are fixed on Jesus.
However, we must be careful not to confuse the certainty of faith with the certainty of this world. To be certain in faith is to have a focal point from which to look at all things. The certainties of this world, on the other hand, are simply an explanation of things. Jesus does not save us from the questions and doubts that life raises in our hearts, but he always gives us a point of view that never loses sight of the essentials.
If you’re looking at Jesus you can even allow yourself to have questions and crises because you won’t get lost. If you lose sight of Jesus, you’re already lost, even if you live under the illusion that you’ve explained the whole universe.
But in addition to where we look, there is the warmth of John’s words that move the disciples to leave him to follow Jesus. There’s a way of speaking that inspires a desire to follow, and there’s a way that discourages following.
I often wonder if the people who hear us speak are encouraged to follow Jesus, or if they only feel internal obstacles? When our way of talking about the Gospel arouses guilt in people, or makes them feel judged, does this inspire them to follow, or prevent them from meeting Jesus? There isn’t a clear recipe, but this is a key to understanding the quality of our words.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.