1Jn 2:12-17; Ps 96:7,8ab,9,10; Lk 2:36-40
Where is the wisdom? The wisdom of this Christmas Octave is found in our responsorial psalm. We must give the LORD the glory due to his name. To give anything less is completely foolish. What is the glory due to his name? It is the glory of all the heavens and all the earth. It is the glory of the families of nations. It is the glory of every creature upon the face of the earth. How do we express that glory? We bring gifts and enter his courts offering worship and dress in holy attire. Indeed, we tremble with all creation before the majesty of His Name. This is the jubilant praise that will attract the attention and of all the nations. For the LORD is King of all the nations. He has made the world firm, and it is breathless before his glory. “Be still and know that I Am God.” This Great King governs all the peoples with equity, with complete justice. The LORD governs all who seek him on the face of the earth and even those who do not seek him. The LORD governs by giving us wisdom the wisdom to love the will of God more than we love anything else. The Prophetess, Anna, loved the LORD and waited in love her whole life long was filled with boundless joy when she recognized Immanuel in the child brought to the temple that day. We pray for the wisdom to recognize the Lord Jesus who has come, is near, and will come again in glory, a glory that begins in this Eucharist and continues until the end of days.
Many of us have letters to send. We want to get out the thank you cards or write those who remembered us during Christmas by sending a card we were not expecting. In this first letter of Saint John, the Beloved Disciple, we hear of his motivation for writing. His motivation is pure evangelization and noting less. Saint John wants everyone to really hear the good news of the Word Become Flesh and Dwelling Among Us. He wants children, fathers, young men, and all God’s children to realize that they are strong and that this strength comes from the Word of God that remains in them. Such strength and bright glory indeed casts out all darkness and evil; the Evil One no long dominates our thoughts, desires, and memories. As Saint John unfolds this great mystery of faith, it sounds like he is contradicting his Gospel: “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son!” This football-crowd famous quote John 3:16 still holds true. We cannot love the world as the world loves itself. We cannot love the world with sensual lust, enticement of the eyes, and pretentiousness. We can only love the world with the Father’s love. When we are given eyes of faith to gaze upon the world and see everything as the Father sees everything, then and only then, will we love without hesitation and without regret. Then we will love as God loves, unconditionally and forever.
The prophets and the prophetesses were not always respected. Sometimes their message was too much to handle; sometimes they were persecuted, rejected, and killed. The daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, was old but her heart was pregnant with the good news of great joy. In her daily prayer and faithful fasting this holy widow was ready at the moment of the LORD’s coming into the temple. At that very moment, she was right there; she was on time and ready to announce the fulfillment of the Promise. The only way this Christmas celebration will make a difference in our lives is because we too “wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Even though he has come and we have celebrated his coming, still he comes in this liturgy. He comes and is welcome by those who fast and pray daily, always seeking the face of the LORD. Indeed, this is our redemption as we await the final coming of the LORD. So, the Lord Jesus teaches us to be like the Prophetess. He also teaches us to imitate his divine example in fulfilling the law of the LORD. Then, and only then, will we grow strong, be filled with wisdom, and the favor of the LORD our God will rest upon us.