The words of the gospel reading for the end of the year and the first days of the next year speak much about knowing oneself in the relationship with the Son of God, the Word made flesh. Evangelist John's famous first chapter, verses 1-18 go well with words written by Saint Hippolytus. This bishop of the 2nd and 3rd centuries himself became a heretic but was brought back to the Church for which he became a martyr. The quotes used in this blog today are taken from the breviary for the 30th day of December.
Hippolytus referred to God first speaking to the people through the words of the prophets. However, he sees the writings as using "obscure language." To assist the people better understand his will, the Father "sent the Word in person, commanding him to show himself openly so that the would coud see him and be saved.
The Word, Jesus, "wanted us to see himself as no different from ourselves ..." Jesus endured the same humanity we endure so as to give us the strength to prevent our losing heart when challenged by sufferings. Likewise he was so much like us in order to help us expect the same reward he received. It is the reward of his kingdom of heaven. There we shall be free from "any affliction of body or soul, for we shall have become divine."
As we consider serious resolves for a new year, perhaps the saying "Know yourself" sshould be the basis for our actions in each new year. What we should know about ourselves is this: the need to "recognize and acknowledge in ourselves the God who made us in his own image." If we know this about ourselves, God will recognize us.
Hippolytus calls us to avoid being "at enmity with ourselves." He urges those of us living in ways that put us at odds with out Creator should take the time to know ourselves well and to change tourway of life. From John's words we are assured that "God made man in his image." If we obey his commands and "learn to imitate his goodness," we will share his divinity.