Today is the last day of this old calendar year and tonight many of us will welcome the New Year with a big bang. We will listen to fireworks explosion even if the government made a warning not to do so but we are still doing it. Many of us will participate in these worldly rites to, according to some, exorcise the bad spirits, negative aspects and hope to guarantee improbable good luck.
Aside from fireworks, someone said that some Filipinos on this day buy round-shaped fruits from the market, for they say, ‘it would bring perfection and prosperity.’ Before midnight, parents would tell their children to open wide the windows and doors of their houses and switch on all the machines and motor power appliances and even vehicles, so that they would always be in good running condition for the whole year. Traditions like these intensify the festive character of the season. How different our Church is calling us to do. The Church invites to look at the Infant Jesus, the Word, the Life and the Light and present to Him our joys and hopes, grief and anguish.
In today’s gospel, St John presents Jesus to the Greeks and to us also that: first, Jesus was the Word. St. John says: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. He points out that Jesus is not part of the world but exists with God from all eternity even before creation and time. He is always God. Sometimes we think of God as stern, avenging and Jesus came to change God’s anger into love and altered his attitude to us. This is because the Old Testament often presents to us an angry and destructive God. However, it is not God who has changed. It is our knowledge of God that changed. We could only grasp and understand God’s nature in part. It was only when Jesus came that they saw fully and completely what God has always been like.
Second, Jesus is Life. He comes into the world as life to give us life. The life that He assumes is lowly. This life is so lowly that anyone hardly notices that God has come into the world except for a few shepherds and wise men. But would God have it any other way? Would he choose any other way to shame the strong than to enter the world as a poor child? In this way Christ assumes our human nature to free us from the slavery of sin.
Third, Jesus is Light. Christmas is a time of lights. Christ is the light that reveals who we are and reveals the greatness of our calling. He became incarnate so that we might make it to heaven, yet many of us forget this and His own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him, He gave power to become children of God, (v. 13). He became one of us so that we, one day, may be like him. “The Son of God became man, so that we might become God” (St Athanasius, De Incarnatione, 54, 3). “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods” (St Thomas Aquinas, Opusculum 57, 1-4).
And so may the fireworks explosion tonight will not cover the real Light, Jesus the Christ. It is because He is the One who enlightens and brightens our lives and paths towards the Kingdom of God. May the beginning of a new civil year may not be reduced to making resolutions that will only remain in words but of a recognition of Jesus the Word, Life and Light. May we welcome Him everyday so that, like St. John, we may daily say “Indeed from His fullness we have all received, grace in return for grace…”
OPTION 01, 02, 03,