33 Years In 2 Days
“Time flies like an arrow...but fruit flies like a banana.” ~ Groucho Marx
It seemed rather odd to move from the Advent Readings of Isaiah, Matthew and even Luke, those which heralded and foreshadowed the birth of Jesus, directly to John 20:1a, 2-8 ~ the story of Jesus’ Resurrection ~ in a mere 48 hours as we in fact did today, two days after the Nativity of Jesus. We do so however for very good reason as today marks the Feast Day of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist.
The brother of James and generally believed to be the youngest of the 12 Apostles, John authored the Book of Revelation, the 3 Epistles of John, and of course the very Gospel of John from which we read today. This was the man who reclined at table with Jesus on the evening he bestowed upon the faithful the gift of the Eucharist, the man who was at the foot of the cross with Mary at the time of Jesus’ agony and death, and as we read today, the man who arrived with Peter at the empty tomb of our Lord on the heels of his miraculous Resurrection. His role in the recording and portrayal of these cornerstone events gives one insight into his unique gift for evangelism; God saw to it that he would be on hand to witness these moments for very good reason.
Today’s 1st Reading (1 John 1:1-4) was written, John himself tells us, so that we in the ages to come could be brought into full relationship with God. John was tasked with fulfilling the mutual joy between himself and his readers. So many false teachers opposed the truth of Jesus in the early church; many persist in doing so today. John’s Epistles serve to counter these arguments and to build up his fellow believers in Jesus. These writings serve the very same purpose today.
Over the next few days, as we continue to read from John’s Gospel and Epistles, we’ll have the opportunity to truly reflect on God’s love for us and the pursuit of the things that are lasting. A disordered attachment to the secular world will be addressed tomorrow when John tells us that those who love the world do not have the love of the father within him (1 John 2:15). The wisdom and knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, God’s love for us, will be addressed on Tuesday in 1 John 2:18-21. These gifts in turn breed the gift of fortitude, needed so badly in a word that incessantly rejects Jesus, even 2,000 years later as he sits at the right hand of the Father. As he prepares to come again.
As January1st draws near, we will have the opportunity to reflect upon the year that has gone by, the decade for that matter if we so choose. Although honest introspection is critical in the development of a well-formed conscience, and nostalgia, in small doses, certainly has its place, I would challenge you to instead use this time of reflection to focus on those things in your life that have kept you from taking your relationship with Jesus to the next level. Your prayer life to the next level.
My New Years Resolution this year is a simple one, and I invite you all to join me in making it. Let’s all agree to place a far greater emphasis on living a life that is rooted in the hope of eternal heavenly glory. This paradigm shift must impact all that we say and all that we do. It certainly compels us to change our way of thinking. When faced with a decision, big or small, ask yourself if the course of action you plan to pursue will be for the good of your eternal fate and the eternal fate of those whom God has put in your life, those whom you are called to help achieve eternal life. For as Saint Catherine of Siena once said, “if you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.”
“O God, who through the Blessed Apostle John have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may grasp with proper understanding what he so marvelously brought to our ears.” ~ Amen