Daily Reflection
January 2nd, 2004
Rev. Rich Gabuzda
The Institute for Priestly Formation

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Memorial of Saints Basil the`Great and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church
1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
John 1:19-28

“There is One Among You Whom You Do Not Recognize”

We are accustomed to the figure of John the Baptist joining the images which color the days of Advent.  John’s message focuses on preparation; he announces the Christ who is coming.  So it may come as a surprise to see John appear in this post-Christmas period.  But even more than his appearance, his message startles us:  “There is one among you whom you do not recognize.”  No future Christ, but a present Christ, a Christ whom we do not recognize.  This message of the Baptist seems to speak to our hearts today:  Jesus Christ is here; but do we see him, do we recognize his presence?  The message encourages us to seek, to look, to search.  But how shall we do that?

The saints honored in today’s prayer, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, were born in the same year and, by God’s grace, became great friends and remained great friends throughout the twists and turns of their own lives.  They were friends of a particular sort; their friendship was rooted in their relationship with God.  A letter of Gregory’s captures this driving force that drew them together:  “Our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.”  We may imagine that this graced friendship helped both to see God in one another’s lives.

With eyes that struggle to see the presence of Jesus in daily life, our friendships can help us to see, to recognize the face of Jesus there.  Who are the friends, near and far, long-standing or newly found, who have revealed the face of Jesus to me?  Our best response to God’s word today may be a prayer of thanks for those whose friendship with us has drawn us to see, to recognize the face of Jesus in our lives.


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