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Hopeful Resolutions: Weekly Message for 12-27-16
Dear Friends in Christ,
Today within the Solemnity of Christmas, an event so big in salvation history that we celebrate it with an eight-day octave, we also honor St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. John first met Christ when he was young, and, according to tradition, he was the longest-lived apostle. Thanks to John we have a prolonged meditation on Christ’s divinity and grandeur, from the Word being with God and becoming flesh to dwell among us (see John 1:1-5,14), all the way to the Lamb standing before the throne of God and adored for all eternity (see Revelation 5).
The old year concluding and the new year beginning are often depicted as an old man departing and a newborn arriving. In John’s case, despite his long life, one thing remained young: his love for Christ. From being chosen by Christ, to writing his Gospel, to his old age his disciples remember him enjoining them to love one another, because for him love was enough.
In his First Letter he marveled, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1).”God the Son became flesh so that he could become our brother and we could become the Father’s children. The Father has given us his Son; that’s the Christmas gift we celebrate every year, and the brief liturgical season of Christmas would seem to not do it justice if we lost sight of the fact that this gift is given and to be given throughout the whole year. John’s love was ever young because he learned it from Our Lord.
The end of the year is a time to take stock of resolutions, kept or broken, and to make resolutions for the year to come. Paul reminds us that Our Lord came to save us no matter how good or bad we’ve been: “…one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8). If Our Lord has loved us and continues to, let’s learn from him and from John and make concrete resolutions to love in this New Year. Advent and Christmas are often a time to consider where and when we’ve not loved enough; the newborn in the manger will fill us with hope in order to love more and better this year.
May God bless you in the New Year and always.