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We live in a culture of invitation. Television invites us to join complicated story arcs so that we feel connected to the characters. Commercials invite us to see their product as a new movement and invite us to join it. We are invited to join groups on Facebook and invited into chat rooms and blog responses. The number of social networks is exploding as we are invited into ever expanding ways to connect.
Invitation is an essential part of our walk of faith, but here we frequently see ourselves not as the invited but rather the one who is supposed to be doing the inviting. We can misuse invitation, maybe using the phrase “invite Jesus into your heart,” which often results in the misunderstanding that we are carrying a little bit of Jesus wherever we go. But today’s gospel (John 1:43-51) emphasizes not invitation as our call to others to join the walk of faith but rather Jesus’ invitation to us to follow him. Jesus’ invitation is not that we carry him with us but rather that we follow where he would lead. When Christ invites Philip to “follow me,” may we hear that invitation in our own ears.
Gospel: John 1:43-51
In John’s gospel, Jesus’ ministry begins with the call of disciples, who then bring others to Jesus. Philip’s friend Nathanael moves from skepticism to faith when he accepts the invitation to “Come and see.”
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”