Readings for Wednesday December 29, 2010
First Reading: 1 John 2:3-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96
Gospel: Luke 2:22-35
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 Jn 2:7-11)
In college I was blessed enough to go on a recreational trip to the smoky mountains. We back packed for a week in the Smokey Mountains; and let me tell you that I saw first hand some of the amazing work our Divine creator. Now most of us on the trip were beginner or novice back packers, but thankfully we had some great trip leaders who really knew their stuff. They helped us with what to pack, things to wear, food to bring, everything. Probably one of the most important things that they showed us was the way to go. The trip leaders were our guides, they helped us on the trails and helped lead us to our final destination. While that trip will never leave my memory, I certainly know that it would not have been possible without the help and leadership of the trip leaders.
In the first reading today Saint John tells us that "to know Jesus is to keep His commandments," and that if we are going to abide in Him then we need "to walk as He walked." Like my backpacking trip, in life we need a guide, some one to help us and lead us to our final destination. Jesus is our guide in life, and He wants us to know Him, and for us to open ourselves to His love and help. He wants to lead us to heaven, if we will only turn from this world and follow Him. Saint John warns us that if we allow ourselves to be blinded by sin, then we cannot see Jesus in our lives, and we will not be able to walk as He did.
Following Christ is not easy, it is a hard life, but it is also a life full of joy and peace. Many of us want to be more holy and closer to Christ, but do not think that it is possible. If we rely on ourselves in these situations, then we are right, it is not possible. BUT, if we rely on Christ, then anything is possible. Let us not lose sight of Christ in our lives, let us pray for focus and clarity of how God wants to use us and how He wants to work in us. Let us never think that we are alone, God puts all kinds of other guides in our lives to show us how and where to walk. In today's gospel Mary and Joseph show us the importance of following God's commandments. Not only can we learn much from their great examples, but they are also in heaven ready and willing to pray for us and to help continue to guide us towards Christ, may we all seek their intercessions.
Let us each walk as Christ did, and listen to Him when He tells us in life, to walk this way.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this way. We thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed in our lives. Lord, we pray for increased faith and hope in you so that we may be better and more worthy followers of you. Lord, we pray for a heart full of your love, that will help us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We pray for all those who serve the church, and all those who are being persecuted for their faith. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.