7th Day in the Octave of Christmas
31 December 2012
1 Jn 2:18-21
“In principio erat Verbum,
et Verbum erat apud Deum
et Deus erat Verbum”
There are few more daunting words on which to preach than these. They, and those that follow them, are perhaps the most difficult to interpret words in all of the New Testament.
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared.” These are also challenging words on which to preach. They are among the most easily misunderstood, misinterpreted, misapplied and misused words in the New Testament; rivaled only by the various manipulations of the Book of Revelation. Just ask survivors of fundamentalist sects. Just ask those who are deemed to be antichrists, a charge that has been leveled at Jesuits for centuries.
Francis Moloney, author of the Sacra Pagina volume on John, describes the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel as: “One of the most dense passages in the New Testament, a synthesis of the author’s Christology and theology.” At times it seems that the rest of John’s Gospel is commentary on, and explication of, the first chapter.
In his opening comment on this passage, Fr. Stanley Marrow notes, “Little acquaintance with the Bible is needed to recognize in these opening words of the Gospel of John an echo of those that open the book of Genesis, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He goes on to note that the words, In principio erat Verbum start at a point that is prior even to the “In the beginning of Genesis.”
Today we stand, as we do each year on this date, at the end and at the beginning. Out with the old. In with the New. Father time replaced by Baby New Year. Perhaps the only startling change in the end of the year routine this year is that Dick Clark died on April 12, 2012 and will not count down the ball drop in Times Square.
Tonight during the examen we will have the opportunity to look back on the year that passed and look forward to the one that is beginning.
What have I done?
What am I doing”
What ought I to do?
The triple colloquy will be as relevant next year, as it is this year, as it was last year, as it has been since the sixteenth century, and will be into the future beyond the time when anyone will remember any of us here today.
We are still in the Christmas Season. However, in light of today's Gospel one can only think forward to inscribing the paschal candle at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. The formula that the priest repeats while tracing the figures in the wax is the most appropriate prayer I can think of for those who are still awake tonight at midnight.
"Christ yesterday and today
the beginning and the end
all time belongs to Him
and all the ages.
To Him be glory and power
through every age for ever."
May you have a Blessed 2013.
I've spent the past weeks taking photos around Campion Center. The retreat center is revising the web site. My job is to take the pics. There is definitely an aerobic element to climbing to the third floor loft only to realize that the light in the sacristy is on and unbalancing the shot. In a few days the camera goes into the shop to be cleaned, a long overdue cleaning.
First is the entry sign after the recent snowstorm that dropped about eight inches into Sunday morning. Snow is difficult to photograph, especially in color.
The portrait of St. Edmund Campion, namesake of this house, hangs in the entrance lobby. To get a good idea of the life and bravery of this remarkable man read the short biography by Evelyn Waugh, a book that is said to have reintroduced him to modern consciousness and thus accounted in large part for his canonization.
On the other side of the house is Pierce Pavilion, the nursing home.
The roof after the snow. I took only a few shots up there because the temp was in the mid-20's and the wind howling. Can't use a camera with gloves and the Michael Jackson look with cut out fingers never appealed to me.
The Christmas Tree in the rotunda
The major photographic project has been coming up with a shot to use for the community Christmas card next year. This is a contender. Just don't tell anyone that I was standing on a chair so as to extend the tripod to its maximum height. There is an ugly exit sign over the archway on the right. Got that erased rather nicely.
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD