Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas

(I John 2:18-21; John 1:1-18)

It’s our last chance to take to take account of the passing year before we launch into the new one.  Which were its happiest moments and which would we take back?  Certainly the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has brought the world a new sense of hope.  His simplicity, openness, and compassion have disarmed critics of religion when bolstering the aspirations of the poor. There always seem to be too many competitors for the distinction of what most went wrong.  However, the war in Syria that remains intractable and devoid of promise stands out as especially lamentable.  In the midst of this darkness today's gospel shines a ray of hope.

The passage tells of the word bringing "life" to the world.  The original Greek makes a distinction here that is necessary to bear in mind.  The evangelist is not writing of bios, natural life, which has its wonder for sure but is always subject to corruption.  No, the life highlighted here is nous or living fullness that transcends even death.  It is a life of personal and social exaltation in which those who partake of it feel a connection with the divine that defeats sin.  It is a sense of "grace in place of grace" pouring into one's heart.

We are recipients of the fullness of life in Baptism.  Those who remember the occasion know it as a moment of particular grace.  None of us should forget that the grace beckons us to resist the temptations to personal aggrandizement that destroy this sense of unity with all.  Then we look forward to the New Year with every intention to keep ourselves close to other people, especially the poor, as well as to God.