Monday 3rd January
The extensive use of the first letter of John in the immediate post-Christmas period is due to its strongly Christ-centred focus, in a meditative, almost mystical tone. In prayerful and somewhat repetitive fashion, John hovers around the theme of salvation and the love of God, incarnated in Jesus. It is through Him that our relationship as God’s children is made possible. Today’s reading includes the faith-filled linkage that if we “abide in Jesus” we are “born of God”, which is also found in John’s prologue. Then, in the Gospel, another theme from the prologue is taken up: John the Baptist’s key role in pointing to Jesus as God’s special messenger, the “Lamb of God,” who “baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John subordinates himself totally to Jesus, and is happy to act as “testimony” to the God-given ministry of the Messiah.
First Reading: 1 John 2:29 – 3:6
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.
Gospel: John 1:29-34
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”