This blog follows the Catholic daily bible readings
1st Letter of John 2: 12-17
I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven through his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the Evil One.
14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, parents, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong, and God’s word remains in you, and you have overcome the Evil One.
15 Do not love the world or what is in the world. If anyone does love the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him, 16 because everything there is in the world — disordered bodily desires, disordered desires of the eyes, pride in possession — is not from the Father but is from the world.
17 And the world, with all its disordered desires, is passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains for ever.
Is the author writing to different sections of the church community, in appropriate terms according to age, or is he hinting that all Christian people are simultaneously children needing parental help, young people showing their vigour against evil, parents trusting in the ancient wisdom of God. Both interpretations are possible.
How can we reconcile the command not to love the world, with the statement in the Gospel of John, that God loved the world so much he gave it his only Son? Indeed why did God create the world if he didn’t love it? One answer is that God has the wisdom to love the world without being seduced by it, whereas human beings are always in danger of worshipping the creation instead of the creator. If we go with that answer, then we will also hope that we can learn in God’s spirit, how to love the world rightly. There was a tendency amongst religious people in the first century CE to view the world in a very negative light, some sects even going so far, as to suggest that it was created by an inferior God, and everything material was tainted. True Christianity teaches us to be wary in face of the evil in the world, but not to see it as evil in itself. The “disordered desires” of which John speaks, do not come from the world, but from human sinfulness.
Gospel, Luke 2:36-40
36 There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years
37 before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer.
38 She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
39 When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40 And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
Luke has given the story of the priest Symeon. Here he shows that a woman also can be a symbol of the old Israel, trusting in God, longing for deliverance. As we get older, and our hopes of what we, or our generation, might achieve for the peace of the world are shown to be false, we are thrust back on the life of the one whom Anna recognised in the Temple, who is the eternal way.