In today’s first reading, we get some great advice from St. John. More on that in a moment. The Gospel reading today is from Luke 2. Today we read about the prophetess Anna. She was a very old woman and “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.” Like Simeon, she knew that the child Jesus was the Messiah, and boldly told others. Two thousand years later, do we?
St. John speaks today of our relationship with “the world.” He says, “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” So what is “the world” about which St. John speaks. He goes on to tell us: “For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” Interesting, isn’t it? In our relativistic society, people scoff at this notion. Some will try to defend their sinful ways. After all, didn’t God make all these beautiful things? Beautiful people? Nice things? Our passions and desires? God gave us all these things, so He must want us to use them, right? Well…not so much.
God did, indeed, give us a desire to love. He gave us nice and beautiful things and people. And when things are rightly ordered, these are all very good. But it is when we disorder them that we fall into sin. When we give in to our sexual urges outside the context of marriage, when we take on a mentality of accumulation, when we allow our passions to become self-centered rather than other-centered; these are the times when we “love the world.” When any of the things that God has created come before God in our lives.
Father, we are so sorry for those times when we love the world more than we love you. Forgive us, and help us to always put you and your will first in our lives. Amen.
If you'd like to learn the faith better in the New Year, start with the A Minute in the Church series, available at www.GusLloyd.com.