Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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

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

The First Letter of John hinges on the belief that Christ came in the flesh.  This explains its use during the Christmas season.  In the first century doubters argued that Christ was an angel-like being who saved through revealing the divine will.  Of course, if he were only spiritual, he would not have been like us. Nor could he have sacrificed himself to redeem us from our sins. And we would not have gained an eternal destiny. 

Today’s passage references the anointing the faithful receive after Baptism and at Confirmation.  This sign assures that the Holy Spirit has penetrated our being.  The Spirit inculcates in us the sense of being joined to Christ so that we share in his crucifixion and resurrection.  Now as members of the Christian community, the Body of Christ, we receive all the support necessary to live a life of justice.

The lesson on the Holy Spirit fits the feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen.  These two Fathers of the Eastern Church commented extensively on the work of the Holy Spirit.  Also, their self-effacing friendship epitomizes the communal assistance necessary for the Christian quest of eternal life.