First Reading: 1 John 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 96:1-2, 11-13
O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
Gospel: John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
Today marks the end.
Oh, don’t worry—I’m not a doomsday prophet warning you about the impending apocalypse! But just in case you’ve been super busy recovering from the craziness of Christmastide, today happens to be the very last day in the calendar year of our Lord 2014.
And you know what? I’m personally simultaneously relieved that 2014 is ending and filled with trepidation about what 2015 may bring. This year, we quit a job in a place where I had just begun to feel at home, and accepted a position back in our home state. Even in light of a new beginning near family and old friends, it was heart-wrenching to leave a kindred spirit and vibrant parish community.
Endings can be tough! There’s something about “the end” that seems so, well, final. People say, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” for a reason. It’s not guaranteed that tomorrow will bring any more comfort, peace, and joy than yesterday or today. Fear of the unknown is a real thing!
And yet, admittedly, sometimes completion brings a great sense of satisfaction: a job well done means I can take a break (for a quick minute); a test successfully navigated means I can move on to the next level; a mostly mastered health habit means that perhaps I can finally buy that new pair of jeans!
Maybe you’ve resolved that today marks the end of some things for you, too—old routines that just don’t work anymore, bad habits that steal your joy, or unhealthy boundaries that destroy your peace. It can be scary to contemplate the end . . . but consider that with every ending comes a new beginning. And, as Saint John reminds us in today’s Gospel, HE is there—in the beginning—in each of our new beginnings— just as He has been since the Dawn of Creation.
As broken people in a broken world, however, we recognize that darkness constantly threatens to overcome us and our good intentions. What darkness threatens to overcome you? Is it depression over a broken relationship? Anxiety related to an unrealized goal? A habitual sin that seeks to drag you down? Today’s Good News is that Jesus—the Eternal Word—shines brightly in the darkness, and that no darkness can overcome this Light.
My sisters, as daughters of the King, do not allow the darkness to overcome you! Seek the Light of Christ in the Eucharist, and seek it in His Word! We are well equipped to fight the darkness, as Saint Paul tells the Ephesians, when we wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Belonging to the Blessed is She community and finding nourishment in His Word in this space is a wonderful way to start!
As we contemplate the coming of the New Year, I consider the words Saint Francis of Assisi reportedly told his brothers each day: “Let us begin again.” So shall it be with us, dear sisters in Christ! Tomorrow is a fresh beginning, a clean slate, a new dawn—an opportunity to seek the light of new life in His Word.
May we, too, begin again.
Heather Anderson Renshaw is currently not drinking enough [coffee] to keep up with her five young kiddos in the beautiful Pacific NW. You can find out more about her here.