SEVENTH DAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD, DECEMBER 31, 2019
Reading from the first Letter of Saint John 2:18-21
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.”
Reading from the beginning of the holy Gospel according to John 1:1-18
“…’He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.’…” “…’No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.’..."
Last week we celebrated the most amazing earth-shaking event; God, himself come in the flesh, clothed in complete humility - as an infant and born to parents of low esteem. The four gospels reveal very little about His childhood and early adult life but we do know that he grew up and walked amongst a captive Jewish nation, groaning for deliverance from the Romans. When the time came to proclaim the good news and reveal his divinity, He taught and explained truths like no one else ever had, and manifested a divine power and authority mightier than ever witnessed before. His other-world type of love, mercy, and compassion attracted people from far and wide – and His wisdom was something greater than Solomon. Yet his people, for the most part, did not recognize the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob come in the flesh.
But what about us, today?
From its earliest days to our present day, the Church has had those who started out as His followers but later strayed. The Apostle John put it this way:
“They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.”
In the context of Saint John’s epistle, it would be frightening to be considered part of the ‘antichrist’. In our present day, as in the past, the Church has its enemies. But, we have a Shepherd who said, “My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me.” We have our share of confusing times and those who have deserted our Lord. We must know Him and the truths he taught us to be able to distinguish between truth and lies.
“I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.”