Today’s first scripture from the First Letter of John testifies that the Christian must make a clear and unambiguous decision to follow Christ, and that this decision will for Christ will inevitably entail a decision against worldliness and the tempting allurements of wealth, pleasure, power and honors.
This decision has never been easy.
We live in an era where the sharp razor’s edge of the decision for Christ has been dulled by accommodation and inclusivity- and in doing so, we hope to evade the decision that Christ insists that all his disciples must make. The Gospel is clear: we are either for him or against him. We either gather with him or we scatter. There is no safe or easy in between. There is moderation in terms of the practice of the Christian way of life, but the decision for Christ is always extreme and uncompromising.
We can defer the decision for Christ for only so long. Not to decide is to have made our decision, and indecisiveness means no.
There is a legitimate inclusivity to the Church’s Faith, for it seeks the truth and also seeks to draw the whole world into relationship with the Lord Jesus, but there is also a sharp edged, deep cutting, exclusivity to the Church’s Faith as well. Nowhere else is this exclusivity more evident than in the decision for or against Christ.
Christ makes it very clear what his Church stands for and what it stands against. The Lord who is the bearer of light and truth separates good from evil, and does so sometimes, painfully. No one can faithfully serve two masters, but this is precisely the strategy of worldliness. The truth is not plural, but singular. There is one divine light, and all other lights are either a reflection of Christ’s light or they are counterfeits.
The Christian can serve only one Master, and he is Christ the Lord.
Today’s Gospel presents the witness of the prophetess Anna, who is a representation of the hopes of the Israelites that the divine life and presence of God, that had left his holy temple, would one day return.
Anna sees with her own eyes the return of God’s divine life and presence in Christ.
Do we see the divine life and presence of the Lord and give thanksgiving as Anna did?
The divine life and presence of God in Christ remains with us in the temple of the Church. Christ makes himself present in the Church’s temple, not simply as an idea in our minds or as feelings in our hearts, but in the new covenant of his Body and his Blood.
It is in the Blessed Sacrament that we see what Anna saw.