1 John 2:18-21
Children, these are the last days;
you were told that an Antichrist must come,
and now several antichrists have already appeared;
we know from this that these are the last days.
Those rivals of Christ came out of your own number, but they had never really belonged;
if they had belonged, they would have stayed with us;
but they left us, to prove that not one of them
ever belonged to us.
But you have been anointed by the Holy One,
and have all received the knowledge.
It is not because you do not know the truth that I am writing to you
but rather because you know it already
and know that no lie can come from the truth.
In the beginning was the Word:
the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came to be,
not one thing had its being but through him.
All that came to be had life in him
and that life was the light of men,
a light that shines in the dark,
a light that darkness could not overpower.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
The Word was the true light
that enlightens all men;
and he was coming into the world.
He was in the world
that had its being through him.
He came to his own domain
and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to all who believe in the name of him
who was born not out of human stock
or urge of the flesh
or will of man
but of God himself.
The Word was made flesh,
he lived among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John appears as his witness. He proclaims:
“This is the one of whom I said:
He who comes after me
ranks before me
because he existed before me.”
Indeed, from his fullness we have, all of us, received -
yes, grace in return for grace,
since, though the Law was given through Moses,
grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God;
it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart,
who has made him known.
Have you ever set out to do some work on the computer, but got distracted by something you came across on the Internet, or visited some link sent by a friend, and continued exploring the Internet. And at the end of the day when you look back, you realized that you wasted a lot of your time which could have been better used to do work? I have found that one way to avoid this kind of thing is to have a “To Do” list set in front of me, that I can frequently refer to and keep me focused on what I have to do.
When I read the first reading today, and came across the word ‘antichrist’, I found that I didn’t really read the rest of the reading, and was distracted by that word. But that is what the antichrist does – it distracts us from the Christ, who is the truth.
Today is the seventh day in the octave of Christmas. How many of us have already been distracted from the Christ? Some of us are enjoying the Christmas presents that we have received, and some of us are drawn to preparations for celebrating the New Year. Christ is born, that’s good and well, but life goes on for us, and Christ is left in the manger, forgotten.
My friends, we are living in the last days, and the antichrists are all around us, carrying out their mission of distracting us from the Christ. Today’s gospel reading is a timely reminder for us, as we prepare to welcome the new year. It is a reminder for us that Jesus has come into the world and is living among us. Jesus is a light among the darkness, and we who have been baptized into His Body are also lights among the darkness. Just as John was a witness to speak for the light, we too are witnesses to speak for the light.
On the practical side, one thing that we can do is to have a kind of spiritual “To Do” list as well, one that we refer to frequently, and one that we can look at and check off the things that we have done. While the spiritual life is not to be characterized by activity, it is also important to be able to look back and see how far we have come, because as humans, we are bound by time – we need to see change happening in our lives.
Let us spend some time today reflecting on how the past year has been for us, especially in terms of spiritual growth. Let us also spend some time preparing our “To Do” list for next year, listing out the growth and achievements we hope to achieve in 2008.
Dear Lord, we pray that as this year comes to a close, we might have the benefit of hindsight to see how we have grown and to give thanks to You for all that You’ve done for us this year. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: 2007.
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