January 11, 2019
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 216

1 John 5:5-13
Psalms 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
Luke 5:12-16

Celebrating Christmas

In today’s reading John tells it like it is; no holding back on the plain and simple facts when he writes, “And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.” These are very comforting words. John tells us that through Christ Jesus we have eternal salvation.

But these same words provide us with a challenge. In America we are often faulted for our rampant materialism. More is better, especially when it comes to possessions. I even remember a T-Shirt a young toddler had on that said, “Whoever has the most toys Wins,” blazoned across the front in big, bold letters. Wow! Talk about planting the seed at an early age.

So, why do many of us have trouble coming to grips with John’s words? Is it because when we think of the word “possess” we often think of ownership and physical custody of a tangible item, something we can see and touch; an item that we can put on the mantle above our fireplace for our friends and family to see and admire. Or, for some of us, do we feel we are not worthy to have such a valuable possession in our custody?

The simple truth is, the gift is ours for the taking. But how do we “possess the Son” so that we, too, might have eternal life? Is faithfully going to Sunday Mass and Holy Days, praying the Rosary and tithing to the church enough to insure our possession? These are all well and good and things we should do with pride, but more importantly, we should find a way to “possess” Christ with all of our hearts, souls and minds. 

How we live our daily lives as Christians is testimony and proof positive that we “possess” Christ and that he is with us each and every step of our journey through life. We must remember that Christ’s death on the cross was a gift to all of us and a gift we never want to lose possession of. We need to remember his gift in our thoughts, words and deeds, in hopes of making it more “tangible” to us and to cherish this wonderful — yet oh so intangible — gift.

As we do our Daily Examen of Conscience, we should continue to focus on the most important possession we will ever have: the Son of God who animates our lives through our thoughts, words and deeds. Are we using this invaluable possession to do God’s work on earth, or do we instead have it on the mantle to be admired by friends and family but only touched when we raise it to dust around it? Let’s focus this year on sharing our possessions, especially our most valuable possession, the Son of God, with others, and thereby affirm that, through our thoughts, words and deeds, Jesus truly does reside within us.

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