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Children of the Most High
Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
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.
Opening Prayer: On this last day of the calendar year, help me, Lord, to drink deeply from your word. I am blessed to be closing this year with you at my side.
Conversing with Christ:
- In the Beginning: How beautiful that Mother Church provides these first words of John’s Gospel, so timeless and deep, to help us reflect on the awesome nature of God as we close out another calendar year. In the beginning–before any of our days were numbered, before human beings existed, before God separated light from darkness (Genesis 1: 3-4)–Our Lord is. In our world, time passes, we grow old, and everything is in flux, so we draw consolation from the truth that God never changes. He loved us just as much before the world was created as he does today, and will for all eternity. How blessed we are, mere creatures, to be so beloved by the Creator of all!
- Divine Filiation: Lest we settle for being mere creatures, John reminds us that we have “been given the power to become children of God.” We are required only to accept him, to believe in his name, and to be born “not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.” Our divine filiation merits us unique spiritual gifts and graces from the moment of our baptism to our final breath. For our part, we honor our God with love and obedience, desiring with our whole heart this most intimate relationship. Our inheritance as children of God is nothing less than Heaven, tastes of which we can savor right here and now.
- John—the Greatest: John the Baptist was called by Jesus the greatest man born of a woman (Matthew 11:11), as the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, the person entrusted with preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah, and the prophet who was honored to proclaim Jesus “Lamb of God” at his baptism. John’s mission was lofty, of eternal significance. To be appointed by God to such a position in salvation history would be daunting. Yet, in the economy of salvation, each of us has an important and unrepeatable role to play. We probably don’t dress in hair shirts or eat locusts, but we are nevertheless called to witness to our faith in uncomfortable ways. As this year winds down, let’s reflect on the witness we have given and look ahead, begging God to make his will known in the new year.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I am overwhelmed by your love and concern for me. I feel very little when I think of the grand scheme of things. I am grateful to be your creature but even more incredulous that you call me son/daughter. Please bless me so that I can follow your will and one day join you in Heaven.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray a prayer of self-offering in anticipation of the new year.
For Further Reflection: CCC 2736: Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.
Written by Maribeth Harper.