Reflection for Sunday, January 2, 2005: Second Sunday after Christmas.

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Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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PRE-PRAYERING|In many parts of the Christian Community, Epiphany is not celebrated on this day, but on January sixth. In other parts of the world it is celebrated on this day. This Daily Reflection is an offering for the readings for the Second Sunday after Christmas.|Yesterday we began living the days of the second half of the first decade of the 21st century. The readings invite us to pray about true beginnings. We have time to reflect backwards and forwards.|We are still in the Christmas prayer-spirit. God created this world billions of time-years ago and then in a matter of time-seconds pitched a Tent of Flesh to create time as a sacrament to be received each moment. We are invited to pray with grateful amazement that we are here, just in time to worship the Creator and be loved by the time-keeper, Who embraces us each second. Every moment is the beginning of something ancient yet new. The New Year will provide us with nothing new except our amazement.|REFLECTION|In our First Reading, the writer personifies the creative activity of God who is distinct from God and declares its own praises. We hear this Wisdom announce that it was in the presence of God and then joined in the creation of the world as well as the saving accompaniment of the Jewish people during the Exodus.|In the second half of the reading, Wisdom announces that God had commanded that Wisdom should pitch a tent permanently in Israel establishing Zion and Jerusalem as the eternal dwelling place of God on earth. God had journeyed with Israel and brought her to this Holy mountain and now would dwell with Israel for ever.|The Gospel begins at the beginning when the Word was with God and the Word was God. It is the Gospel for the Mass of Christmas during the Day, or the third special Mass celebrating Christ's birth. It is also the reading which is known as "The Last Gospel" which in the Roman Latin Liturgy is read at the conclusion of Mass. It is the Prologue or prelude to John's presentation of Jesus. There are hints about the major themes and events of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. John is laying out his basic plan|The big argument in those days was whether John the Baptist or Jesus was the "True Light". So John the Evangelist states very clearly that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Baptist was a "witness" to the Light. He, the Baptist, testifies in this Prologue to what the author intends to prove in the full play of his Gospel; Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and dwelt among us. The author Offers Jesus as the New Temple continuing the ageless-old love which God has had for this world through the covenants with Israel.|Jesus as Word, Jesus as Light, Jesus as the Glory of God, these are major themes which will present themselves all through the Gospel. For us it is a beginning. During these next weeks and months, we too will watch the play and be invited to believe and live, being made "children of God." We will hear the Word, we will see the Light, we will watch His glory through His signs, His cross and His Resurrection.|We have been through the wonderful Christmas season and next Sunday we will celebrate Jesus' baptism. With the turning over of the calendar we have stopped as well to recall the past months of time. We, like Jesus are heading out into the unknown next months.|For me it is a space to contemplate the few moments each of us has to nod our head, or bend the knee, or even just wink for one second in acknowledgement that we are time-bound and bound to live as "Children of God." Many games are won in the last few seconds. That kind of excitement in life's game I would rather live in God's eternal "now" - right now. I love the lines early in John's Prologue, "All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." If we admit we were made, then we were made in Him and He is the "Light of Life".|In John's Gospel, Jesus is the main character who has come into the play of life to brighten up our days. He is the Life of the party called existence and we enjoy both the party and His light. In that light we come to know who we are and how to act each scene. The play begins with the lines from today's Gospel. There are two final scenes or ending-chapters to John's Gospel which form a thematic conclusion. We who have come to believe are the "books" containing the continuing play which from the "beginning" through "time" will end in God's coming again in "glory" and all the players will enjoy an eternal cast party.|"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing you may have life in his name." John 20: 30-31|"There are many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21: 25
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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