Thursday, January 2, 2014

Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen

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

Saints Basil and Gregory Nazianzen were fourth century bishops in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.  Because of their intimate friendship, they share a common feast day.  They also played a significant role in defending the divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy.  Their testimony to Christ may be likened to that of John the Baptist in today’s gospel.

In the Gospel of John the Jews from Jerusalem are set against Jesus.  Later in the gospel they will contest his claim that he gives his flesh to eat.  Here they play a similar role vis-à-vis John.  They first ask who he is and then if he might be related to the expected Messiah.  John’s replies must have frustrated them as he only claims to be the precursor of one is greater than he. 

We think that we may know who Christ is by saying that he is the Son of God.  But because he is that, we can never know him completely.  Yet this fact should not keep us from trying to know him more.  He will keep surprising us by both his gentleness and strength.  As the New Year takes shape, let us promise ourselves to make every effort to dialogue with Christ in order to know him better.