29th December 2020



Reading 1: 1 Jn 2: 3-11 John tells us that we cannot know Jesus unless we are willing to keep his commandments: to love God and to love our neighbour.

Gospel: Lk 2: 22-35 Luke tells about the presentation of Jesus in the Temple forty days after his birth, and Simeon predicts that a sword will pierce Mary’s heart.

Today’s first reading can be divided into two halves. The first part tells us about the test of our faith. In the second part, we see how our love can be tested. Using the image of light and darkness, we are told, if we are truly born again in Christ. Love is the living evidence of new birth and eternal life.

The sin of disobedience prevented man from walking in the light. God, out of his abundant love, wanted to bring man back to the light through the incarnation of Christ. Light was born to drive away the darkness so that men may come to the light and live in the light. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12). Christmas invites us to live in the light of faith, hope and love. Faith is looking back at what God has done for us as revealed through his Word; hope looks forward to what God will do for us as we walk in obedience to him; and now our love is a response to his love as we serve him by serving his people.

But “the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13). How are we to live in the light of love? Jesus gives us the answer in the Gospel, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14:15). This implies that if I profess to have love but do not do the acts of love, my love is superficial. The essence of Christ’s teaching and life is summed up in the commandment of love, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” (Lk 10:27).

As Mary carried Jesus in her womb so too must we carry him within our hearts. One becomes a true lover of God and neighbour just by keeping the words of Christ tirelessly. This is how we re-live Christmas today. The reward for this life of love is union with God; “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (Jn 14:23).

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 95: 1-3,5-6 Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

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