The Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas
1 John 2:12-17 + Luke 2:36-40
December 30, 2021
… your all-powerful Word, O Lord, bounded from heaven’s royal throne.
If asked to sum up the meaning of Christmastide in just a few words, we might reply, “gift” or “children”. The secular world perverts the religious meaning of Christmas by making this season about children receiving commercial gifts. Today’s Scripture passages serve as a corrective.
The First Reading is from the first epistle of St. John. The passage is poetic in form, with the Beloved Disciple alternately addressing “children”, “fathers”, and “young men”. In each brief address, St. John explains his reasons for writing to them. All of these reasons have to do with accepting God the Father’s Son as the means of forgiveness of one’s sins.
Then the Beloved Disciple contrasts God the Father’s gift of His Son with the way of the world. St. John draws a sharp contrast between God the Father and the world, akin to the contrast that Jesus speaks to when He declares that one cannot serve both God and mammon [Matthew 6:24]. What today’s First Reading clarifies, however, is the fault line between the two: sin. The world moves us both to disbelieve in sin and yet to commit sin. By contrast, God the Father calls us both to recognize our sins and also to accept His Son as the means of forgiveness.