“Jesus Christ said 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' not by their disclaimers.” ― William S. Burroughs: (1914 – 1997: American novelist)
Scripture Text: (1 JN 2:3-11)
Beloved: The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
The injunction to “Walk the Walk” and not just “Talk the Talk” seems to be at play in the first reading from Mass today. The Letter of John talks not about a “new” commandment, but a well-known commandment or call to deepen awareness of how the blessing of Christmas, the Light of Jesus, shines on us. We are challenged to walk the walk of that Light sent by God; how does it affect our lives? How are we to respond as persons gifted by that light? John makes it easy to understand: if we love our brother/sister we ARE in the light; if we hate our sister/brother we walk in darkness.
If I only talk the talk I might say: sure, I love my brothers; it’s what we do as Christians. We need only to tune into the daily news to show how difficult that brotherly love is. We’re bombarded with the hatred that shows up in the daily news of violence, death and destruction and the ongoing wars that confront us.
If I walk the walk, I confront such darkness in my actions. John’s Letter encourages me to start at home and love the ones there. Sure it’s small beginnings, but with God’s blessing and inspiration, it is a powerful move in the right direction. I am called into that love by God’s own love and the light that is incarnate in the person of Jesus the Christ, my brother who first loves me mightily.