Twelfth Day of Christmas   12 comments

Above:  Painting of St. Philip the Apostle, by Peter Paul Rubens

The Last Day of Christmas

JANUARY 5, 2024


1 John 3:11-18 (New Jerusalem Bible):

This is the message

which you have heard from the beginning,

that we must love one another,

not to be like Cain, who was from the Evil One

and murdered his brother.

And why did he murder his brother?

Because his actions were evil and his brother’s upright.

Do not be surprised, brothers,

if the world hates you.

We are well aware that we have passed over from death to life

because we love our brothers.

Whoever does not love, remains in death.

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer

has eternal life remaining in him.

This is the proof of love,

that he laid down his life for us,

and we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

If anyone is well-off in worldly possessions

and sees his brother in need

but closes his heart to him,

how can the love of God be remaining in him?


our love must not be just words or mere talk,

but something active and genuine.

Psalm 100 (New Jerusalem Bible):

Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,

serve Yahweh with gladness,

come into his presence with songs of joy!

Be sure that Yahweh is God,

he made us, we belong to him,

his people, the flock of his sheepfold.

Come within his gates giving thanks,

to his courts singing praise,

give thanks to him and bless his name!

For Yahweh is good,

his faithful love is everlasting,

his constancy from age to age.

John 1:43-51 (New Jerusalem Bible):

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 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.

The Collect:

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The designated readings for the twelve days of Christmas cover much ground.  Some highlights follow:

  1. the birth of Jesus
  2. the circumcision and naming of Jesus
  3. the Massacre of the Innocents
  4. foreshadowing of the suffering and death of Jesus
  5. the ministry of St. John the Baptist
  6. the calling of the first apostles
  7. encouragement to “come and see” Jesus
  8. advice to follow Jesus

One of the basic formulas of logic is “If x, then y.”  If we accept that Jesus is God incarnate, how can we argue that we should not follow him actively?  The advice pertaining to active love in 1 John is timeless.  Yet I notice many people’s words about helping people belying their deeds when they have the opportunity to do something positive.  Yesterday, while listening to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio online, I heard someone talk about an assignment at a seminary.  Some seminarians received the assignment to go a certain place across campus to preach on the Parable of the Good Samaritan at a certain time.  The professor arranged for individuals playing homeless people to intercept the seminarians, sometimes to delay them.  Many of the seminarians brushed off the strangers.

Our love for God and each other needs to be active.  God has demonstrated this love in the form of Jesus.  If we do not understand this message, we need to pay more attention.  That seems logical to me.


Written on June 7, 2010


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