Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas

Endings and beginnings collide in today’s readings, just as they do in real time.  Today we are poised between the past and the future—the perfect opportunity to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going.  At midnight we will say goodbye to yet another year.  And how fitting it is that the Church makes use of, what used to be called, the Last Gospel for this last Mass of 2014.  This Gospel was read at the end of Mass for more than 400 years.  The Gospel talks about the beginning which had no beginning: the eternal existence of the Word of God.  It talks about the beginning of all creation through the Word: Through him all things came to being, and apart from him nothing came to be.

Then the Gospel talks about a new era from which all calendar time began over: The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.  Throughout the world all dates are counted forward or backward from the birth of Christ.   What already was – the Word – breaks into time in a new way – the Word became flesh.  The eternal Word of God became human.  Humanity has never been the same.  Our relationship with God has never been the same.  Instead of being creations of God, we have become his adopted sons and daughters.  The eternal unites with the mortal so that the mortal can share eternity.

Saint John tells us that: enduring love came through Jesus Christ: This is truly Good News.  This Last Gospel was the final thing Catholics heard before they left Mass and resumed their lives in the world.  And, it’s a reminder for us that the Good News preached here will reach others only with our preaching.  John the Baptist carried the message that the light had come into our world.  We carry that same light today through our preaching and teaching, but even more so through the witness of our lives.

Traditionally today is an inventory day, a day to sit down and take stock of the past year and make some positive resolutions for the next.  Where have we spread the light in 2014?   Where can we be Christ’s light in 2015?  Saint John says: Of Christ’s fullness we have all had a share.  At this and every Mass, we receive the Lord himself in Word and in Holy Communion.  May we share Him with all those we meet in 2015.

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