Readings: 1 John 5:5-13; Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20; Mark 1:7-11 or Lk 3:23-38 or Lk 3:23, 31-34, 36, 38
Our meditations on the first letter of John have brought us full circle. We may recall that we began, on 2 Jan, by having our attention focused on the distinction between those who acknowledge and those who deny God’s coming in the flesh. We then spent some days reflecting on what it means to believe. Today we are brought back to consider the basis upon which our belief rests. How do we know that Jesus is indeed the Son of God?
In part, much of our faith is based on external events in the life of Christ: on his birth, his baptism – which we heard described in the gospel of today, his public ministry, and most of all in his passion, death and resurrection. But we also know that while many were acquainted with, and even witnessed, these events, not all came to believe. Obviously something more is required.
It is only when seen with the eyes of faith that these events take on their true significance as nothing less than the testimony of God himself. It is only when seen through the eyes of faith that Christmas takes on its true meaning. It is only through the eyes faith that we see – as much in the babe in the manger as in the man baptized in the Jordan, as much in the wonder-worker in Galilee and Jerusalem as in the one crucified on the cross – the water, the blood and the Spirit by which the Almighty God professes his undying love for his people to the extent of becoming one like us even unto death.
This then is the basis of our belief in the God-made-flesh. And perhaps what’s even more important, this testimony of God is found within us – as individuals and as a community. Indeed it is into this testimony that we have all been baptized and confirmed, and in which we partake at the Eucharistic Table. So that it is not only in the external events of Christ’s life two thousand years ago, not only in the bible, that we encounter God. Rather God continues to come to us in the flesh in each event and person that we encounter everyday in our lives. Here too – as much in the joy and the laughter as in the blood, sweat, and tears of our daily living – we can see and follow the Christ who is continually being born, and who is continually dying and rising to new life.
This is the testimony, this is the awesome mystery, that we have been celebrating in these days of the Christmas season. And although the season will soon come to a close on Monday, we will continue to rejoice in the mystery because God continues to testify to his great love for us by coming to meet us each day.
How might we continue to welcome this God who comes?