December 31 – 7th Day of Christmas

John 1:1-18

The Word

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Aside from fireworks, 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.

However, may tonight’s fireworks not obscure the real LIGHT. Jesus who enlightens and brightens our lives. May the beginning of a new civil year not be reduced to making resolutions that will only remain in oblivion, but of a recognition of Jesus the LIFE. May we welcome the LIGHT and the LIFE today and everyday, so that, like St. John we may daily say “Indeed from his fullness we have all received, grace in return for grace…” (SVD friend Bible Diary 2002)

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A story is told about a couple who took their son, 11 and daughter, 7 to Carlsbad Caverns in Texas. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately her brother’s voice was heard: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”

In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel; light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. John describes Jesus as God’s creative, life-giving and light-giving word that has come to earth in human form.

In our journey to God, sometimes we encounter darkness and we long for illumination. Sometimes we stumble and fall in the dark. But we must not falter in our faith because the Light of the world was sent to light our path.

John the evangelist begins his gospel with a description of the Word of God. The “Word of God” was a common expression among the Jews. God’s Word in the Old Testament is an active, creative and dynamic word. God’s Word is also equated with his wisdom. The Book of Wisdom describes ‘wisdom’ as God’s eternal, creative and illuminating power. Both ‘word’ and ‘wisdom’ are seen as one and the same. (Fr. Marlone Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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Movies entertain but they likewise reflect reality. News inform as they report on reality. As viewers and listeners, we naturally react. We laugh, we cry. We commiserate and emphasize. We hate ,we get angry. Movies and news or any media output for that matter, do not represent the whole of reality but only piecemeal presentations or interpretations of reality. But that us human as human can be. Life is seen from perspectives, angles and facets. Granted that in our human condition, we have been blessed to behold in an instant the fullness of reality which is also human longing, the experience would be too much and too soon. It will leave us physically and mentally aching, instead of being relieved.

We all hunger and thirst for knowledge, for truth, for God – in a word, fullness. But it is a search, a discovery, a journey of faith. The journey itself is the gradual unfolding of the fullness of God as he calls and leads us onwards moment by moment, day by day. That journey already started when “the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us.” In Him, Jesus Christ, we will behold “the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Reflection: The prologue of John’s gospel is a re-creation story. It repeats the opening words of Genesis: “In the beginning….” John says that Jesus is the Word through whom all things are created. He is life and light of the human race.

John emphasizes the divinity of Jesus. The Word coexists with the Father since the beginning. Jesus is coeternal, one in being with the Father. When the Word becomes flesh and makes His dwelling among us. Jesus brings to us the mind, the heart, and the plan of God. The Father works in us through His Son Jesus. Thus, to listen to Jesus is to listen to the Father. To accept and believe in the Son is to accept and believe in the Father.

Jesus is the light that conquers the darkness of sin and evil. He gives life: what comes to be through Him is life, and this life is the light of the human race.

The gospel urges us to accept Jesus that we may become children of God to testify to him as John has done. To witness to Jesus is to stand up, speak, act, and live for him.

Let us spend this last day of the year in praise and thanksgiving and let us begin the new year with joy and hope in our hearts.

Story: A woman accustomed to luxury dies and goes to heaven. An angel is sent to accompany her to the house that will be hers for all eternity. They pass by some huge houses and beautiful mansions. The woman is elated; surely one of these will be her home. To her surprise, the angel leads her past the mansions ‘til they end up in a narrow sidestreet. The houses are small and old. As they stop before a small hut, the angel tells her, “That is your house.”

The woman protests, “There must be a mistake. That cannot be for me. I cannot live in a small hut.”

The angel replies, “I am sorry. That is the only house we could build for you with the materials you sent up here.”

Challenge: How do I respond to God’s call? Am I happy or sad to heed it? What catches most my attention? On whom do I rely? I will always remember that God must come first…. That no one should take his place in my heart.

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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