Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

 (I John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35)

One of America’s favorite movies is all about Christmas.  “It’s a Wonderful Life” ends on Christmas night, but that is almost incidental.  More importantly, the movie relates the message of this season.  It reflects what today’s gospel and first reading teach more clearly.  The Word of God has come as light in darkness, as good amid evil.  The darkness has tried to quench the light, but it is banished.

 “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of George Bailey who from childhood cares about others.  Things go well for George through early adulthood.  Then the forces of darkness close in.  They leave George so completely depressed that he attempts to kill himself.  Only interference from above saves him.  George is like us at our best and our worst.  We begin with good intentions and worthy actions.  Then darkness – usually selfishness – blinds us to what is right.  We seek what seems good for us.  In the extreme we reject both God and neighbor.  Thanks be to God we are saved from excessive concern with self. 

 Today’s first reading reveals the light that saves us.  The gospel passage names him as Jesus.  If he is to dissipate the darkness of our selfishness, we must follow his two simple commands.  We are to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.