Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Seventh Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

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

In the first reading, the author, who is known as John the Elder, writes of antichrists.  He finds them repugnant for having left his community.  Later on in the document he refers to those who do not acknowledge that Christ has come in the flesh as having the “spirit of the antichrist” (4:2).  The meaning of the passage is not completely clear, but given the times, one can offer an explanation.  It probably refers to those who deny that Jesus had a corporeal body -- a familiar concept of the Gnostic heretics prominent in the first centuries after Christ.  Dismissing Christ’s body enabled the Gnostics to downplay the need to guard against excesses of their own bodies.

If there are antichrists in the world today corresponding to those castigated in the first reading, they would include those eat foolishly and avoid exercise.  Often these people are plagued by emotional problems so that they deny the value and lack the will to care for their bodies.  They need the encouragement of others and a heightened sense that God cares about their health.

Taking our bodies seriously because Christ had a body is a worthy thought on the eve of a new year.  We do not want to party so much tonight that our bodies will ache tomorrow.  Also, we want to firmly resolve to diet and exercise regularly in 2015 so that our bodies may serve the glory of God.