Today as we read the readings we encounter a paradox. John in his first letter speaks of the "last hour" and in the gospel he speaks of the "beginning."
Which is it?
Is it the "last hour" or the "beginning?"
Jesus entering into time and becoming flesh and dwelling among us is the beginning of the end, he marks the last hour of our old existence and the beginning of something new.
Every end has a beginning and every beginning has an end. This is the cycle of life.
As we stand on the precipice of the last day of the year, we also look into the great beyond of the new year that we eagerly anticipate. As the old draws to an end, the new beckons with delight and surprise and with much in store for the great adventurer of time.
This day offers us a time to reflect. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that only with time to reflect, in reflecting on the journey of the days we have lived, can we truly gain inner freedom and the patient readiness to move again.
Gaining inner freedom is essential. Gaining inner freedom is the reason Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. He comes to set us free. He comes, as John reminds us, to offer a gift, "to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God,"
To be given power means to have the freedom and liberty to finally become who we were meant to be. This is what the LAST HOUR is about. It is about accepting the offer laid bare at our feet at the foot of the manger at the foot of the cross.
Quia amaste me Domine, feciste me amabilem: Because you have loved me, O Lord, you have made me lovable.
Excerpt from St. Leo the Great:
In the very act in which we are reverencing the birth of our Savior, we are also celebrating our own new birth. For the birth of Christ is the origin of the christian people; and the birthday of the head is also the birthday of the body.