READINGS for 2008-01-02
HAPPY NEW YEAR
And now, children, remain in him. – 1 John 2:28
What is it about the New Year? I mean, it’s just a day like any other day, and yet there’s something not quite the same.
Is it the hush that greets the morning after a night of revelry?
Or maybe it’s the sense that with another year gone, you can close another chapter in your life.
As I stay on my bed sifting through the ideas in my head, I try to name the feelings that New Year evokes.
Thankfulness… for all the blessings and hardships that have made me what I am today.
Gladness… for simply being alive and knowing that I am a child of God.
Joy… that I can live each day according to His purpose, nourished by His words and guided by His Spirit.
Hope… that someday I might be able to see Him face to face. But until that day comes, I can strive to bring His kingdom here on earth by sharing His love.
Yes, this day is different from all the rest, because instead of being burdened by daily realities, I look to the heavens and see my place in eternity. Cecil Lim
Remember all that has happened in the past. Do you see the hand of God guiding you to Himself?
May the New Year bring us closer to You, Lord.
1 John 2:21-2 8
The first Letter of John is very clear and categorical in its statement – you are either for Christ or against Him. There is no middle ground. John wrote this probably because Christians were being persecuted by both the Jews and the Romans thus causing a distinct differentiation of the new faith. Let us pray we will remain faithful to this calling.
22 Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.
P S A L M
Psalm 98: 1,2-3ab, 3cd-4
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) 2 The LORD has made his salvation known; in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. 3 He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. 4 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R)
G O S P E L
John is quite clear about his position and calling. Do we have the same clarity about our own lives? If not, then it is time for us to honestly seek the will of God for our lives so that when the time comes, we will be able to know what to do. God has a plan for us all but what use is that plan if we have not sought it out and discovered it?
19 This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” 23 He said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 Some Pharisees were also sent. 25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, 27 the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
think: God has a plan for us all but what use is that plan if we have not sought it out and discovered it?
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR John 4-6
Who are you?
“Who are you?” is a question that makes us feel uncomfortable. A person who knows you and loves you has no need to ask this question. It can express curiosity but also suspicion, depending on how the question is asked. Those who came to John the Baptist and asked him, “Who are you?” were certainly not curious but full of suspicion.
John, who dressed and lived like the prophet Elijah, was the son of a priest but did not have anything to do with the Temple. He was drawing ever-increasing crowds — very dangerous in a time when the Romans occupied and oppressed the nation. It could easily lead to rebellion and to a disastrous crackdown by the Romans. John could have said that he was a prophet sent by God. He could have said that he was the Messiah, as several pseudo-messiahs had done before him. In unbelievable humility, John is nothing but a simple messenger who prepares the way for a greater person coming after him.
It’s quite human to brag about who we are. We put ourselves in relation to a great politician, or a doctor or an artist or a bishop. We may be relatives of certain great or not-so-great people. Yet, this does not say anything about who we really are. The more boastful our answers are, the more our real being remains hidden.
Who am I? It is a question best asked before God, because before Him we have to be honest and cannot pretend to be better than we are. We become small. We cannot but admit that we are sinners. We are humbled like John the Baptist who wanted to be nothing but a voice telling the people to get ready.
We are signposts that point to Christ as the ultimate goal of history, as the answer to all questions. Nothing great is demanded from us signposts. We only show the right direction through our simple Christian way of life. Fr. Rudy Horst
What makes me hide my real self from others? Why can I not be honest about myself even before God?
Lord, You know me better than I know myself. You see me as I am – and still You love me more than I love myself. For this I thank You. May the humility of John the Baptist inspire me to be always myself and prevent me from pretending to be more than I am – a simple signpost along the way to Your kingdom.
St. Adelard, abbot, pray for us.
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