READINGS for 2007-12-27
Feast of St. John, Apostle
“What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us.” – 1 John 1:3
A young lady’s miraculous healing was featured in a television show. A widow’s faith journey has likewise been featured in a couple of shows. A former bank executive’s sharing of his mountaintop call led an ex-member of his community back to the fold. A stranger in the United States e-mailed to say that my sharing helped ease his sorrow as his late wife’s first death anniversary approached. Indeed, the power of the written word cannot be underestimated. And this is what Kerygma and Didache are all about. We use it to proclaim God’s Word – made flesh through people’s lives.
Compared to other glossy magazines, our publications look very ordinary and small. Our covers are so simple. We don’t rely on big stars and sexy models to attract our readers.
We simply dish out people’s real-life stories, the truths of our faith, peppered with a dash of humor – all of that with a lot of faith that we are doing God’s purpose for the magazine. The rest of the work is God’s. Tess VA.
How well do you believe that what you are doing is God’s purpose for you?
Lord, help me to align my life with Your purpose.
1 John 1:1-4
The start of John’s first Epistle echoes the start of his Gospel. He speaks of giving testimony to what he has seen. It is this giving testimony that is at the heart of the Church’s understanding of evangelization. That is, without people willing to give testimonyto what God has done in their lives, how will the Gospel go forth into the world? Simply speaking, it will not. As those who have heard and seen the power of the Gospel at work in our lives we have an enormous responsibility to ensure that our lives reflect this reality and that we are ready to give witness to it in words as well (See 1Pet 3:15).
1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life — 2 for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us — 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
P S A L M
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
R: Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
1 The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. 2 Clouds and darkness are round about him, justice andjudgment are the foundation of his throne. (R) 5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. (R) 11 Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart. 12 Be glad in the LORD, you just, and give thanks to his holy name. (R)
G O S P E L
John can report on the actions of the beloved, or “other” disciple as we believe that it is he! The words that he uses to describe his reaction to the empty tomb are so simple and yet so profound and pregnant with meaning. “He saw and he believed.” I do not believe that John is trying to promote himself at the expense of Peter; he simply reflects the way that he felt and it is this simple response that outlines the mechanics of the next few weeks as Jesus appears to the disciples and others – they see and they believe.
2 Ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
think: Without people willing to give testimony to what God has done in their lives, how will the Gospel go forth into the world?
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Revelation 1-4
IT WAS A HIM, NOT A HER
There is much controversy surrounding the image of John in Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. The novel and movie, “The Da Vinci Code”, trivialized the Beloved Apostle’s presence during the Last Supper by saying that the young, feminine-ooking apostle in the painting is actually Mary Magdalene, not John the Beloved. The claim is totally wrong.
Examining the renaissance artwork, we may realize that the controversial painting is not faithful to Scripture. John the Beloved, according to John 13:23, was reclining at Jesus’ side during the Last Supper. Da Vinci’s painting, however, has John reclining at Peter’s and Judas’ side. Proponents of the “Da Vinci Code” assert that Da Vinci painted the Beloved Apostle that way to form a “V” with Jesus who was seated next to the apostle. The letter “V” has the form of a cup, a chalice, a grail. That shape between Jesus and John, according to the believers that Da Vinci hid a code in his “Last Supper” painting, reveals the Holy Grail. Putting together their first assertion, mentioned in the first two paragraphs above, and the grail-shape, formed by how Jesus and John are seated in the painting, according to the advocates of the “Da Vinci Code”, points to Mary Magdalene as the real Holy Grail. Thus, the Holy Grail, after all is not a cup or a chalice, but the womb of Mary Magdalene that bore the seed of Jesus.
But, again, the painting is not accurate to what the Gospel of John says. John was reclining at Jesus’ side, not at Peter’s or Judas’, during the Last Supper.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. John the Beloved, let us pray to be more faithful to the Faith that is handed down to us by the early Christian community. John, among all the apostles, lived long enough to see the early Christian community transmit from one generation to the next the truth about Jesus. And there were no codes when they did so because they did not mean to hide from us the truth about Jesus. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: The early Christian community did not use codes to hand down to us the truth about Jesus. Why do modern-day writers insist on decoding codes about Jesus?
My Lord, I believe in You; help my unbelief. Save me from false teachings and deliver me from false teachers who earn from their erroneous claims. May John, Your Beloved Apostle, keep me faithful to what has been handed down to us by the early Christian community that knew You first-hand. Like John, may I speak always about love, not codes. Amen.
Sts. Theodore and Theophanes, monks, pray for us.
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