30 December 2010

30 Dec 2010, The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Reading 1
1 Jn 2:12-17


I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Ps 96:7-8a, 8b-9, 10
Responsorial PsalmR. (11a)


Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel
Lk 2:36-40


There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Meditation: 1 John 2:12-17


“Do not love the world or the things of the world.” (1 John 2:15)


Have you ever noticed how magical life can feel during this week between Christmas and New Years? As far as the church is concerned, we are still in the Octave of Christmas. And as far as the world is concerned, the holiday season is still in full swing. Candles still give off their warm glow. Christmas trees remain in many homes. Families are spending more time together, and children are still basking in the mirth of the season.

So why, in the midst of all these good feelings, is John warning us not to love the world? Why caution us against “sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life” (1 John 2:16)? Does he like being a killjoy?

Not at all. Just a few verses before these warnings, John gives a litany of all the blessings that are ours because of Christmas: Our sins are forgiven. We can know “him who is from the beginning.” We can even know victory over the evil one?(1 John 2:12-14). Surely there is much to rejoice over!

John gives us this warning because he knows how tricky life in the world can be. He knows that the Christian life is a matter of ongoing change and transformation. None of us really “arrives” at perfect holiness. It’s a journey filled with joy and fear, an adventure that has its triumphs and defeats.

Brothers and sisters, God has so much that he wants to give us. And the devil has so much that he wants to tempt us with. So no matter how far we’ve come, there is always more awaiting us: More grace and love from the throne of God. Greater transformation into the image of Christ. More healing of our past and more hope for our future. And there will never be an end to the obstacles, the challenges, and the temptations to rest on our laurels and stop seeking after the Lord.

So as the Octave of Christmas winds down, take time to rejoice in the marvelous gifts God has given you. But begin also to make a plan for growth in the coming year. And always remember: Jesus is with you no matter what!

“Lord, protect me from the snares of this world. Help me remember today who you are and all that you have done in me. Jesus, I want to know you even more!”

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