- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

December 29, 2015

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

5th Day of Christmas Octave
1 John 2: 3 – 11: Ps 96; Luke 2: 22 – 35

As we journey into this Holy Year of Mercy, we are aware that this grace of mercy is at least a twofold process – there are our own intentions and actions of mercy and there is, of course, the most important and essential part, our God revealing His mercy and gifting us with His Spirit.

In the first reading from the Letter of St. John, there is a revelation of Divine Mercy that touches upon our lives and that of all believers. St. John writes: “The way we can be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments.” Of course, this type of knowledge is personal knowledge, knowledge that exceeds information, the knowledge of the heart speaking to the heart.

“The way we can be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments” I believe that in this brief sentence there is a revelation of the mercy of God. We will never have comprehensive knowledge of the Lord Jesus because of the mystery of His divinity and humanity but the knowledge that we do have can be and is sure, certain through our obedience of faith. Sure knowledge, knowledge with certainty, knowledge without doubt, fear, anxiety flows from the merciful love of our God. God desires for us His peace; Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…Be at peace…My peace I give to you.”

Through obedience to Lord’s commandments we are truly gifted with a knowledge of the Lord Jesus that opens our hearts to trust, to confidence, to love, to steadfast discipleship. As St. John puts it: “This is the way we may know that we are in union with Him (the Lord): whoever claims to abide in Him ought to walk just as He walked.”

It is the gift of sure knowledge, the gift of the mercy of God, that draws us, impels us, frees us to walk, live, act as Jesus did. So keeping His commandments is not a matter of mere compliance, rather it is an act of personal love, of authentic belief.

In the Gospel St. Luke gives us an example, a witness of loving, devoted, steadfast obedience. Moved by the Spirit, Simeon took the child into his arms and with sure knowledge confessed of this Infant “salvation…a light of revelation…the glory of Your people.” By our obedience of faith may we grow into such sure knowledge – as it was for Simeon, so for us – always the experience of God’s mercy.