Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church

(I John 2:22-28; John 1: 19-28)

Mere mention of “anti-Christ” raises the specter of consummate evil – the devil branded “666” coming to menace the whole world before Christ appears in glory. In the New Testament, however, the use of the terms conveys a less threatening figure. It only appears in four passages, all of which occur in the Letters of John and one of which we find in today’s first reading.

“Anti-Christ” in the Letters of John refers to anyone who refuses to accept Jesus as the Christ. They might be termed as well “against Christ” since they deny Christ’s coming in the flesh. Of course, the author of the letters finds these people subversive and despicable since they were once part of the Johannine community but have since followed the errant belief and may be leading others to follow suit.

Today we celebrate two great theologian saints, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen. They are apparently celebrated together because they were the best of friends. Perhaps more importantly here is that both wrote extensively to increase the understanding of the Blessed Trinity – how the Father and the Son have existed together with the Holy Spirit from the beginning of time and how Christ and the Spirit were sent from the Father to redeem and glorify humankind.