From the beginning of time, to our time


Homily for Dec. 31, VII Day of the Octave of Christmas

Today’s readings are both by the same author – St. John the Evangelist – and they provide us with an interesting perspective on salvation history.

The Gospel reading speaks of two key periods. The first is “the beginning”, when God the Son (here called the Word) existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and participated in creating everything else that exists. The second is the time of God’s coming to earth in Christ, as the Light of the World, the source of truth and life. His role in creation was hidden from us, but He reveals Himself to us in the Incarnation, and John the Baptist had the honor and responsibility of proclaiming Him to the world.

The reading from the first letter of John brings in a third period, after Creation and the Incarnation: what he calls the “last hour”. John was writing less than a century after Jesus ascended into heaven, but already there were people whom he calls “antichrists” who were persecuting Christians or even distorting the Gospel with perverse teachings, working from within the Church. He writes to faithful Christians because they know the truth about the Lord, and he encourages them to be faithful to that knowledge and not accept any lies.

Today the situation has not changed that much. Even as we celebrate Christmas, there are people who persecute Christians; in some countries this year they were forbidden to have Christmas Mass in their churches. There are others who distort the meaning of the Scriptures and try to re-make the Church in the image of contemporary culture. But we know the truth, the truth that God became a man and was born in Bethlehem to die for our sins and rise from the dead to give us eternal life as children of God. We know that the Church passes on to us the teachings of Christ and authoritatively interprets Tradition to guide us in the world today. May God grant us always to be strong in our faith, to cherish it, and to bear witness to it like St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist, so that through us, the Light may shine in the darkness. We can be sure the darkness will never overcome it.

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About Matthew Green

I am a translator, origami artist/teacher, and photographer, a blogger, former philosophy professor, and I love to sing. You can see my photos on Flickr and buy prints of some of them on Fine Art America. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter (@mehjg), and in various and sundry other social media sites on the web.
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