Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors
1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Gospel: John 1:19-28
“Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ…”
“…The Lord has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations
he has revealed his justice…”
“John (the Baptist) answered them: ‘I baptize with water.
There is one among you whom you do not recognize – the one who is to come
after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten.’…”
Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors – Memorial - Both were born in 329 AD of parents who had lived through the times, which included the persecution of Christians. The Church declared them saints along with others in their own families. They guided our early Church through difficult times.
For those of us who try to see our world with the eyes of Faith, we took advantage of the seasons of Advent and Christmas to restore ourselves in Christ. Here now in 2002 we sit filled up and renewed. But, the Church, mindful of what we will face tomorrow, schedules John’s letter to the early Church. They were facing false teachers, people who dismissed Christ’s Divinity and oneness with the Father. So, we too will face the less than perfect world tomorrow and we are therefore content to move from his arrival to our life beyond His coming.
In 1 John 2:24-27, “Let what you hear from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made us: eternal life. I write you these things about those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.” There is something assuring about the reading, which uses the word anointing, meaning by divine appointment we know what we know to be true. We keep our eyes on His teachings.
In today’s Gospel reading St. John the Baptist, quotes the prophet Isaiah when asked who he is by the priests and Levites sent by the Jews “I am a voice in the desert, crying out: Make straight the way of the Lord!” (John 1:23) “…the one who is to come after me – the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten.” (John 1:27) St. John the Baptist has been in these reflection writings three times for me in the past 12 months. When I got my second assignment (I think it was his feast day), I wondered what the Lord was trying to tell me, getting a second opportunity to reflect on the Saint who felt Christ’s presence when they were both in their mother’s womb. I thought, well I’ve never felt particularly close to St. John, because he was so quiet and spent so much of his life in seclusion (while in the desert); maybe God just wants you to get to know him better. So, in encountering St. John the Baptist for a third time, I am still listening for the lesson. While we all listen, we are more mindful of our need for Him, because of the year that just ended. We are hopeful Lord, as it says in our first reading, if we remain in the Son, He has promised us eternal life. Let us become more aware of Christ presence in our lives. We invoke the Holy Spirit to keep drawing us closer, to the things of Heaven, mindful of all those we share this life with on earth; drawing all closer to Him who is present in us.
In closing, words from the Great St. Basil whose feast day we recognize today:
“For the Lord does not want the sinner to die, but to return and
live. There is still time for endurance, time for patience, time
for healing, time for change. Have you slipped? Rise up.
Have you sinned? Cease. Do not stand among sinners, but leap
aside. For when you turn away and weep, then you will be saved.”
Basil from the Saints O’ the Day website)
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