Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jesus Gives Knowledge and Love

January 6, 2015
Tuesday after Epiphany Sunday
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings. 

Jesus Gives Knowledge and Love
Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

With logical consistency we can rearrange John’s words to read: “Everyone who is begotten by God knows and loves.”

Knowledge and love: the fruit of embracing our Baptism. These are two gifts Jesus gives. We need to recognize this and appreciate it.

Parenthesis: We will do both if we praise and thank him for these gifts, as Jesus did the Father: “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants’” (Luke10:21). It is a principle of life that what we praise we will appreciate. What we don’t praise we will not appreciate. Those most likely to leave the Church (or not be truly in it) are those who don’t show any enthusiasm during the Gloria at Mass.

Jesus “saves” us by teaching us truth. John identifies him as the “Word” (logos, intelligibility) of God who gives life by giving light: “In the beginning was the Word… In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” When many of his disciples “turned back and no longer went about with him,” Peter’s reason for staying was: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus’ words are not just words. The early Christians called his teaching “the word of life.” Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life… If you continue in my word, you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Jesus saves us from life-destroying ignorance. Because of blind enslavement to the attitudes and values of our culture, we “sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” But Jesus came to free us, to “guide our feet into the way of peace.” His light “shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:1; 6:64, 68; 8:31; Luke 1:79; Philippians 2:16; 1John 1:1).

Only Jesus overcomes the darkness that deludes every human mind and culture.

The Jewish Scriptures, also called the “Old Testament,” are the revealed word of God himself. But they are incomplete. Hebrews (1:1) says:

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son… He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.

There is only one pure and complete source of truth for our day: Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. Those who do not know Jesus must take what they find in the Jewish Scriptures, then for the rest pick and choose among the partial and uncertain theories of groping human beings. But those who know Jesus can find in his words the light they need to live by, in his example the life that embodies his words, and in the Church his words made flesh in our time. Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life—the same: yesterday, today and forever” (John 14:6; Hebrews 13:8).

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
The Lord is God and has given us light.

Jesus has empowered us to know and to love.

“Lord, with you is the fountain of life; in your light let me see light!” (Psalm 36)

Keep a Bible on your pillow. Read one line every night.

What have you learned from Jesus that has helped you to love?

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