Memorial of Saints Basil the Great
and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church
1 John 2:22-28
The Christmas seasons is a time when children are so often the focus of our attention and energies: planning, shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts, opening gifts, church activities, family visits. No wonder that there might come a moment around January 2 when we grown-ups might feel that we’ve earned a break from the juvenile and are ready for some "downtime" in front of the tv, the computer, or at a movie theatre.
It was against this backdrop that my attention was snagged by the reference at the end of today’s first reading about being "children". There are some very clear references of Jesus and of the New Testament authors to the followers of Jesus as children, or as "little ones." On the feast of the Guardian Angels, October 2 each year, the gospel very literally has Jesus challenging his followers to become like children.
In today’s reading from 1 John, chapter 2, verse 28 begins by addressing the followers of Jesus as "children." But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him. And now, children, remain in him…
As though to drive home the point, the Greek word for children here (teknoi) is also the word used for the formative relationship between a mentor/teacher and his student.
This is a good thought to hold to as we start the new year, and as we are tempted to declare our best intentions for the year ahead: our proverbial "New Year’s Resolutions". Our lives are entwined with a God-made-flesh, who asks us to abide in him, to let him teach us how to grow into the full stature of a "child of God." We need only one New Year’s Resolution, it is to abide in Jesus so that we will use every moment of the year ahead to live as the son and daughter that once put on Christ in baptism, and now lives in the community of faith known as the Church of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.