Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas

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

It is our last chance to take to take account of the passing year before we launch into the new one.  What was good about this past year, and what do we wish never would have happened?  On first recall it seems like things mostly went wrong during 2019.  President Trump made so many blunders that no one is surprised that he has been impeached.  Much more tragically, guns are taking a record number of lives on many cities’ streets.  If that were not enough misery, suicide rates are reaching new heights.  On the bright side, unemployment is so low that most people can find a job.  Today’s gospel gives news of something even more hopeful.

The passage tells of the word of God bringing "life" to the world.  The original Greek makes a distinction here that should be kept 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 a life so vibrant that it transcends death.  It is a life of exaltation in which participants feel such an intimate connection with God that they can avoid sin.  It is a sense of "grace in place of grace" pouring into one's heart.

We are recipients of grace’s vibrant life in Baptism.  Those who remember the occasion know it as a moment of being overwhelmed by a higher power.  But all should be aware that the grace enables us to resist personal aggrandizement that destroys our unity with others.  Moved by this grace, we look forward to the New Year.  It gives us resolve to maintain close relations with other people as well as with God.