January 2, 2020

Basil and Gregory

January 2, 2020:
SS. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors

How many connections with today do you see?
Legend below

    1st reading:  Who's the liar?
    (not lyre; image is for psalm)
  • 1 Jn 2:22-28  Whoever denies Jesus as the Christ is a liar; whoever confesses the Son has the Father too.  If what you heard remains in you, you'll remain in the Son and the Father.  He teaches you about everything; remain in him.
  • Ps 98:1-4  "All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God."  Sing to the Lord a new song; the Lord has made his justice, kindness, and faithfulness known.
  • Jn 1:19-28  When asked, “Who are you?” John admitted, “I'm not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet but one crying, ‘Make straight the Lord's way.’”  Pharisees / John:  “Then why do you baptize?” / “I baptize with water, but one is coming whose sandal I'm not worthy to untie.”

  • Creighton:  “Who is the liar?” jumped out at me because politicians have been calling each other liars.  I need to keep my focus on God, his word, his Son, and remember “all the earth has seen God's saving power.”  How refreshing that John the Baptist admitted, “I am not the Christ”; he gladly points his questioners to Jesus.  All of Scripture also points us to Jesus, Alpha and Omega, our beginning and end.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Who are you?"  If we don't know who we are, we don't know why we are, what to do, or who others are.  Because it's so important, the Lord reveals our identity to us.  We are who we are, and we know who we are, because of him.  Satan uses people to lie to us about our identity, people who deny Jesus is God and so deny our identity in him.  They tell us we can create our own identity, as if we could create ourselves.  We must know who the liar is to hold onto our faith and know who we are in him.  Let us totally give our lives to Jesus, losing ourselves to find ourselves and live 2020 freely and fully for Jesus.
  • Passionist:  In the ancient world, in preparation for kings' or emperors' visit to provinces, regional governors made sure the roads were in good condition, fit for a king.  So far in advance of a visit, gangs would ferry stone, level roads, repair holes, and strengthen bridges.  The prophets used this image to parallel the coming of a messiah and highlight God's promise to send a messiah.  John the Baptist drew on such practice to speak of the Lord's arrival.  John doesn't speak of Jesus' power or privilege or seek them for himself; in fact, he highlights his own unworthiness and clarifies he's announcing the Lord's coming and making his way clear by preparing the people.  His strategy was to initiate a reform, creating a momentum of repentance.  By leading people to baptism, he helped them be ready to recognize and accept the Messiah.  Jesus would be a lowly, unassuming leader, a servant leader, so expectations of a powerful political leader needed to be set aside. To adopt such expectations, one had to be spiritually ready, so the cleansing of past actions and the embrace of a new beginning was a hallmark of John's baptism.  John is focused on Jesus as Messiah and invites others to do the same.  We too need renewal and conversion to see and serve the Lord better.  May we be open, always ready to recognize Jesus....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Christ stands among you":  John the Baptist stirred the peoples' expectation of the Messiah's arrival, that many thought he might be the Messiah himself, or at least Elijah.  But he said he was only a voice bidding people to prepare the way for the Messiah.  He's the last Old Testament Prophet who points the way to the Messiah and the first New Testament witness, preparing the way for Jesus and announcing his mission as Lamb of God.  He saw the Messiah came to redeem us from sin and adopt us as God's children.  The Church has given John many titles:  Witness of the Lord, Trumpet of Heaven, Herald of Christ, Voice of the Word, Precursor of Truth, Friend of the Bridegroom, Crown of the Prophets, Forerunner of the Redeemer, Preparer of Salvation, Light of the Martyrs, and Servant of the Word.  Do I point others to Christ by my witness and example?  When the Lord's presence was revealed to Mary Elizabeth, John the Baptist, and Zechariah, they were all filled with the Spirit.  Lord, fill me with the Spirit and renew in me the gifts of faith, hope, and love, and the courage and boldness to point others to Christ.
  • Saint or seasoning?  Merriam-Webster shows both can be pronounced the same but prefers \ba-zəl\ (rhymes with 'dazzle') for the herb and \bā-zəl\ (rhymes with 'basal') for  the bishop
Universalis on the hermits made bishops
Dress legend
  • 'Children around the world' tie:  Children, remain in him (1st reading); all the ends of the earth have seen God's saving power (psalm)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' tie pin:  Sing to the Lord a new song (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's right hand has won victory (psalm)
  • 'Christmas trees' suspenders, "No-'L'" button:  Christmas season continues through Jan. 12
  • Sandals (not shown):  "I'm unworthy to untie the sandal strap of the one coming after me" (gospel)

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