31 December  
Jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

Today is the last day of the year, but the gospel reading begins with the words “In the beginning.…”  Yesterday, Anna, though she was at the end of her life, was “looking forward,” not back.  In the life of faith it is always the beginning.  There are no dead ends for a Christian; the end is always the beginning of something immense.

A monk from Thomas Merton’s abbey visited our priory, and I apologised to him for the many steps as we climbed the stairs.  “There are many steps in Gethsemani abbey, too,” he replied.  Then he added, “I count them as I climb…. This is how I count them: one, one, one…!”  In the spiritual life it is always the beginning. 

The Scriptures are deep beyond words, and I pray that I haven’t misused or trivialised them, or mangled them too badly.  I feel nothing but gratitude for having been allowed to accompany you: we were like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, as he walked with us.

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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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