Biographical Information about St. Silverter
Readings for the Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Readings from the Jerusalem Bible
Reading 1 1 John 2:18-21
After telling his community that they were armed by their knowledge of Christ against evil, the Apostle now tells them that he hour is near. Christ has died and is risen and the second coming must be approaching. He warns them to be alert and watch out for the antichrist (This designation occurs only in the writings of St. John. In Matthew and Mark they are called false messiahs, in St. Paul’s letters the same person(s) is designated “lawless one”.) This group of “Antichrists” mentioned by the Biblical Authors seems to indicate a group of persons who were teaching falsely about Jesus.
St. John identifies these antichrists as individuals who schismatically leave the faith community, holding false premises. He then tells those who are faithful to be steadfast because they are anointed in the truth.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
This song of praise exhorts the people to praise the Lord for his wondrous works of creation. The reason for this exhortation is that God will come to rule the earth with his justice. In this passage we see the forerunner of the understanding of the New Jerusalem – the Heavenly Kingdom.
Gospel John 1:1-18
The introduction of St. John’s Gospel is also used in the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord (Cycle A). It first provides the description of the relationship of God and Jesus who is the Logos – or word of God. The Word is light to the world and all things are subordinate to the Word because they were created by and through the Word.
St. John then introduces himself as one who came to testify to the light (now equivocated above with the Word). His message, like that of Jesus was not accepted by the very people created by the Lord. He goes on to say that those who accept Christ are adopted by God.
St. John then makes his own profession as he speaks of the incarnation of the eternal as “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” His divinity is once more established as he says “…we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son”. This was the message St. John tells us he was sent to bring. He then reestablishes himself as messenger and servant of the one who sent him, Jesus. He says that while Moses brought the Law, Christ came and revealed God himself.
It seems somewhat ironic that at this time as we bask in the glow of the birth of the Prince of Peace that we are reminded that there are those who would take the truth of his coming and revealing the Father to us and twist it for their own purposes.
We have seen it time and again in our own age, yet here we find that it has been happening since the very beginning. It was this very issue that the then Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now Pope Benedict XVI) was addressing during St. John Paul the Great’s papacy when he addressed those Christian faith communities not in union with the Holy See. He indicated that while each of these “denominations” had a part of the truth about our Lord, the ultimate and complete truth was passed down through Apostolic Succession and resides with the Chair of Peter.
We see the in-roads the “Evangelical” churches have made in recent years and while we do not wish to seem exclusive, we are saddened by those who leave the repository of truth for communities that only make the “feel better about their worship”. While there have been abuses of power and authority in the Catholic Church, there is also accountability within it. To a large degree it is self policing of such abuses. The major problem with the so called “independent” Christian communities is there is no such hierarchical governance to insure the truth is consistently transmitted. The possibility of the “False Messiahs” or “False Teachers” has come from these ranks time and again. (e.g. the Jonesville Massacre, the Branch Davidians from Waco) The list goes on. We must take St. John’s words to heart and both prepare ourselves spiritually for the promise to come and be wary of teachers who sound too good to be true, they probably are.
As for us, we cling to the Church and Christ made present in the Eucharist. In this holy season, let us continue to proclaim the joy of our Savior, born of Joseph and Mary and his reign to come.
 The picture used today is “Sylvester I and Constantine” artist and date UNKNOWN
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