1 John 2:22-28; John 1:19-28
For the first few decades of my life, I didn’t try too hard to live like a Christian. Although I went to Mass, attended Catholic school, and even sang in the choir as an adult, to me the faith was more something I had to do, not something I wanted to do.
It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I began asking myself a version of the question we heard the priests and Levites ask the Baptist in the gospel: Who are you (John 1:19)? For me the question was, “Who are you – the man who attends Mass every Sunday or the man who lives the rest of the week as if he never heard of God?” and perfectly summarized in 1 John with that simple but fateful question, Who is the liar (1 John 2:24)?
I am. I, the man who bowed to God but knelt to the world; who taught his children the virtues but rarely practiced them; who had no trouble looking in the mirror but couldn’t face himself; who never thought of himself as denying Christ or the Father but, with every sin, was doing exactly that.
Yet this faith I barely knew had taught me the virtue of hope and that hope is personified in the one the Baptist spoke of when he said, there is one among you whom you do not recognize… whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie (John 1:26-27).
No, I didn’t recognize him; I was lost. Thank God he found me, led me to the Confessional, and gave me the grace to listen as John said: Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father (1 John 2:24).
Vestiges of the old me are hard to shed but with the continued grace of God I remain in him, for I have to come to realize the incomparable worth of the promise that he made us: eternal life (1 John 2:25).