1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
New Yearís Eve...a time to look back, perhaps with some nostalgia, some regret, but also with thankfulness; a time to renew hope in the future; and hopefully a time to sit in the now with family and friends.
Todayís scriptures call us to all of this and more.
In the first reading, John cautions his listeners that the end may be near. Some antichrists have arisen and the community needs to discern who is Ďof Godí and who is not. But he also reminds the community that they can have confidence that God is with them...in the now. They have the insights and presence of God, and thus can go forward with the knowledge that God is truly with them.
Where have we realized the antichrists (what is not of God) in our world? Certainly violence, famine, war, and poverty are not of God, but can we, do we recognize it in our midst as well as in the broader world community? What about in our day-to-day lives? Is there violence, famine or poverty of spirit, or warring struggles that will not be quiet in our souls?
The Gospel of John reminds us of the new...the beginning. God has always been with us. Jesus, as the Word made flesh has been celebrated in our homes and churches this past week.
Where do we find ĎGod made realí in our hearts, our lives, our world? Or do we?
But there is hope-we DO know God because Jesus has revealed the very presence of God in the actions, words, and relationships that Jesus lived while with us.
Where am I called to witness to the Word...to make God real in our world of potential war, in our offices and homes of unrest, in our prayer time alone and with others?
The psalmist has it right...we can and must rejoice. "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!" We have our family, our friends, and our home for which to be thankful. "God comes...to rule the earth. And God shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with Godís ever present fidelity." God is faithful, always. Why should we not rejoice?!!
How do we relate with a faithful God, but to follow Jesusí example of making God real in our midst? If we really believe that God is with us, can we act in any way but in a just and faithful covenant/ relationship with God and Godís creation...all of Godís children?
A challenge, certainly, but one which is possible because God IS in our midst from the beginning of time.
Let us rejoice in knowing that God has been with us, regardless of what 2002 has brought to our lives, and let us continue to be glad and rejoice as we bring in the new of 2003. Let us meet the challenge of making God real in our lives, and in our world. May Godís faithful love and peace be realized in our hearts and in our relations with all of Godís creation.
Happy New Year!
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