January 4, 2016
by Edward Morse
Creighton University's School of Law
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Second Week of Christmas Lectionary:207

First John 3:7-10
Psalms 98:1, 7-8, 9
John 1:35-42

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Christmas Daily Prayer

For those celebrating Epiphany on January 3rd

Today’s readings are for those who celebrate Ephipany on January 6th, while different readings will be used where the Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday, January 3rd.  To my brothers and sisters abroad, greetings!  It is good to be part of something so big that it transcends borders and extends across mountains, deserts and oceans, bringing us into fellowship based on the grace and peace of our Lord, who has indeed come to dwell among us.

The first reading challenges us with a high-quality mirror.  Sometimes we can deceive ourselves (and even one another) about the extent of our virtue.  We may think that because of our religiosity, our familiarity with the Scriptures and the ways of the Church, and even our “God-talk” sprinkled into our conversations that we are just fine. Often, those thoughts are followed by, “it’s those other people who are the problem, you know.”  But this mirror helps us to see clearly.  If we are honest, we know that we sin and have need of mercy and transformation.  We are not there yet!  But thankfully, John also explains that if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. (1 John 1:9)  In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is good to know that the doors are open to those who sometimes “fail to act in righteousness.”  Let us consider the significance of doing good and loving, especially toward those close to us who sometimes hurt us. We may even harbor unforgiveness.  Lord, help us to be transformed!  

Dwelling too long in front of a mirror can also distort our perspective. The Psalm reminds us of the glorious works of God, of His divine mercy and intervention into our own history. The promise of God coming to govern the world with justice and the people with fairness straddles time, as it is both now and not yet. We do not yet experience the fullness of this in our world, yet we have seen glimpses of it and we long for its coming.  We are also comforted in knowing that God has not left us as orphans here to fend for ourselves. 

John’s gospel also reminds us of a familiar path, which many of us have experienced. John and Andrew heard the word spoken by others. They listened and thought about it.  Then, they acted upon their curiosity, following Jesus from afar. Yet it was Jesus who took the initiative, meeting them and inviting them to come to his dwelling place. They trusted him enough to respond to his invitation, without knowing really what that would entail.  And they told their friends about what they learned, even before they had it all figured out!

Let us follow their example, too.  And let us pray for one another that we may learn to act on our faith, trusting in the sufficiency of divine mercy to continue on our journey, knowing that the One we follow is trustworthy.

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