“I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.” On December 11, 1979, Mother Teresa, now a Saint, received the Nobel Peace Prize. During her acceptance speech, she said the following: “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there.” How very awesome and simple! Today in our First Reading, St. John makes the case even stronger as he writes to children, fathers, young men, and every member of the family. “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” Can you begin to imagine what kind of world this would be if every person we met was raised in a home like that? Amazing, simply amazing!
The Gospel crowns this notion with the figure of Anna, a prophetess from the tribe of Asher. (Asher is Hebrew for “Happy One.” Makes perfect sense.) She, very much like St. Teresa of Calcutta, anticipated her final and momentous encounter with the Lord and also gave thanks to God for such a gift for all families. Let us continue to love, continue to forgive, and continue to live in the Spirit of Love who is born at Christmas. If we decide to do so, this New Year almost upon us can be the very best of our lives. That will be because Jesus will grow in our hearts just as He did in His own family: “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” He will do the same for and with us if we let Him.
“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” Trenton Lee Stewart