Commentary on the Gospel of
Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
As I am reflecting on and writing about these readings for Jan. 2 – the dawn of a new year and the dawn of a new decade – Christmas music and Christmas bustle are swirling all around me. At the same time, our nation is embroiled in impeachment proceedings, adding rancor and partisanship and name-calling to the mix. In addition, personally, I am dealing with some health issues that have slowed down my energy capacity, putting me in a less-than-ideal frame of mind.
The opening line of the first reading, “Beloved: Who is the liar?” jumped out at me because “liar” is the very word politicians on both sides of our country’s political divide are hurling at each other. I am sorry to bore readers from other countries, but Americans are getting very weary of childish behavior and name-calling, and refusal to even try to understand another’s viewpoint.
I needed these readings today. It always comes back to putting our sights on God, on Jesus, doesn’t it? As John says twice in 1 John, “remain in him.” We really have no hope if we take our sights off of God, his word, his Son, and put them exclusively on the present world and all of its divisions and rancor. Or on our health, with its ups and downs. As the psalmist says, “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” We just need to remember that, to revel in it, to let it permeate our being.
In the Gospel, John writes that when priests and Levites came to John the Baptist asking who he was, “He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, ‘I am not the Christ.’” How refreshing. Someone admitting and not denying something. Present-day politicians do not know the meaning of those words. Their mantra is admit nothing, deny everything.
John points his questioners to Jesus, gladly. Even though his own situation is bleak, he is happy to direct them to Jesus. He, and the whole of Scripture as well, points us to Jesus, too. The Alpha and the Omega. Our beginning and our end.
Lord, help us to follow John’s lead, and always look to your Son for the answer to every problem, for the Way, the Truth and the Life.