Octave of Christmas
1st Reading: 1 Jn 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus, we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
Gospel: Jn 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
HE MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US: St. John the evangelist begins his gospel by affirming the pre-existence of the divine Son of God. The Son of God is fully divine, for he is “consubstantial” with the Father; that is, he shares the one and same divinity with the Father. Through the incarnation of the Son of God, God takes upon himself our human nature, uniting it with his divine nature. God does so in order to heal the human nature, to redeem it, to make it alive again. By dwelling among us, he revealed the glory of God to us, and he brings us light. The Son of God enables us to become the children of God, that is, to reconcile us with the Father, from whom we had been estranged by sin. This is what makes the Christmas season such a joyous season, since we reflect and celebrate the magnitude of God’s love for us.
Prayer: Lord, help me to implement your will all the time.
JESUS IS BEGINNING AND END: I wish you Peace, Joy and Universal Good Will through Jesus as we end the year and start a new year. In research works, the introduction is written after writing the body of the research and the conclusions. For the films, the trailer is made after the complete making of the movie. The introduction sums up the whole treaty and the whole film. Similarly, the introduction to the Gospel of John (prologue) sums up the whole life of Jesus. The conclusion of the Gospel of John says, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20, 31). John’s gospel says that the universe is the expression of God; let us contemplate the presence of God in the university and believe in Jesus.
SAILING ACROSS THE SEAS WITH GRATITUDE: God’s son came to us as the true light, which enlightens everyone. But there always were people who refused to believe. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1: 12). Yes, this God is the Word became flesh and who chose to live among us. As we bid farewell to a year and as we attempt to recollect the blessings we had, we bow in gratitude before the Lord. Because it is this God who pitched His tent among us, who supplies steam to carry on ahead. With optimism and hope driving us forward let us step into another year. With evangelist John let us tell to ourselves: “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1: 16). It is this conviction that helps us to take the rough weather of life with equanimity. Even in the context of a world where suffering and pains abound, anarchy and bloodshed shock us, it is the hope that comes from presence of the Immanuel that urges us forward. Let us be rooted in the promises of the Lord: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
TO THOSE WHO DID ACCEPT HIM HE GAVE POWER: As we are about to conclude the Octave of Christmas, the Liturgy of the Word invites us once again to listen to one of the gospel readings of the Christmas celebration. It is the prologue to the Gospel of John. At the beginning of operas or classical musicals, before the curtain opens, there is a piece of music played. It would capture the different moods and the themes of the opera. It is called the overture. John 1:1-18 is like the overture to the Gospel of John. It lays the foundation to the whole of the Gospel. The gist of that text is clear within the overall scope of the Gospel: the listeners are to recognize the presence of God in Jesus and believe in him as the Son of God, so that believing in him they may have eternal life. This is the invitation of the Word of God today; it is the invitation of the celebration of the feast of Christmas!