JANUARY 2 Mon Sts Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops Doctors
Memorial 1 Jn 2:22-28/Jn 1:19-28
3 Tue Christmas Weekday [ Most Holy Name of Jesus] 1 Jn 2:29—3:6/Jn 1:29-34
4 Wed USA: St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious Memorial 1 Jn 3:7-10/Jn 1:35-42
5 Thu USA: St John Neumann, Bishop Memorial 1 Jn 3:11-21/Jn 1:43-51
(St. Charles Houben, Passionist)
6 Fri Christmas Weekday [USA: St André Bessette, Religious]
1 Jn 5:5-13/Mk 1:7-11 or Lk 3:23-28 or 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38
7 St Christmas Weekday [St Raymond of Penyafort, Priest]
1 Jn 5:14-21/Jn 2:1-11
8 SUN USA: EPIPHANY OF THE LORD SolemnityIs 60:1-6/Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6/Mt 2:1-12
The First Letter of John, read this week at the end of the Christmas season, responds to the claim of some early Christians that the Word did not become flesh; Jesus was not human like us. It would be unworthy of God to assume our lowly humanity, they thought.
The dissidents were either Docetists, who said Jesus only seemed to be human, or Gnostics who believed that a greater Power would succeed him. They did not believe “the Word was made flesh.”
Speaking for the Apostle John, who saw Jesus and believed, the letter condemns that opinion and those who express it. Keep away from them, it says. The Word became flesh and we see his glory reflected in his humanity.
We may see these questions as old and settled and no longer of interest to us today, but believers of every age face the questions posed in John’s letter. Believing is inseparable from reason and doubt, Pope Benedict once wrote. “Just as the believer knows himself to be constantly threatened by unbelief, which he must experience as a continual temptation, so for the unbeliever faith remains a temptation and a threat to his apparently permanently closed world.… In short, there is no escape from the dilemma of being a man.”
In the gospel readings from John this week, John the Baptist points Jesus out to his disciples as the One who is to come.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
Two of the great saints of the eastern church, St.Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen are remembered January 2. Two important American saints, St. Elizabeth Seton and St. John Neumann are remembered January 4 and January 5.
On January 5, the Passionists remember St. Charles Houben, CP, a saintly healer.