January 3, 2015
by Mark Lattta
Creighton University's Dean of Dental School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Second Sunday of Christmas

Sirach 24:1-4, 8-12
Psalms 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

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For those celebrating Epiphany on January 3rd

The spiritual high and the secular rush of the Christmas season is over. The liturgical calendar notes today as the second Sunday of Christmas but many of us may be experiencing a form of post-holiday let down even in this octave of Christmas and as we prepare to engage anew the challenges coming in 2016.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians should give us pause, and motivation to meet the new year with grace and enthusiasm. In the first verse, Paul address the ‘holy ones’ or said another way the saints in Ephesus—who are saints because of their belief in Christ. This could easily be directly addressed to all of us. Are we ‘saint’s” and if so what does that mean?

The significance of Christian holiness in rooted in our acceptance of Jesus Christ and that we belong to God and that we know that through the sanctification of the blood of Christ. We can only be God’s if we surrender our will and be devoted to his service. Holiness is a mark upon us, God’s mark by which he says that we are His to His service. Our ‘sainthood’ is really a separation from the masses people who are not conscious of God and who do not give themselves to his service. In God’s church on earth there is no upper class and the name of saint does not apply only to those above the ordinary grind of daily life and duty. Being a saint is not about cultivating an ascetic life disconnected to the world but can encompass an immersion in the troubles and difficulties of the secular world with the only condition for holiness being that we know who we are and who we serve. In verse 11 this is emphasized “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will.”

When we doubt, when we are discouraged about our drive to holiness in the world let us be lifted by the example of Christ who has walked the path of holiness before us:

“And the Word became flesh
And made his dwelling among us,
And we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
Full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

If the Son of God has walked in the secular world with holiness, as believers how can we not strive to imitate his example as we belong to the Father?

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