John 1:19-28 The Truth Of The Matter
This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
Remarkable! Yesterday, I reflected on honesty and today’s readings are all about honesty!
“Beloved: Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well” (1Jn 2:22).
So, for St. John, the greatest liar in the world is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Right now I am in my office imagining the kind of reaction I would get from parishioners if I said something like that during my homily. I tremble at the thought of it.
Lord, I want to be an honest man. Increase my faith.
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted. Did you notice anything strange with this statement? Why such repetition? Why does St John insist that the Baptist “admitted” and “did not deny it”, but “admitted”, he was not the Christ? Doesn’t it sound like a forced confession? Doesn’t it sound like there may have been some hesitation on the Baptist’s part? I wouldn’t doubt it! Why should any of us doubt it? After all, isn’t it hard for us to admit (either in words or actions) that we are not the savior of the world? Isn’t it hard to tell others that we are not the One?
The truth of the matter is that you matter, but not like God matters. Moms and dads: Instead of trying to be the hero and savior of your child, start introducing your child to the Savior of the world! Be honest with them. You can’t protect them. You can’t even control them! But you can teach them about the One who is greater than you; the one who can forgive better than you and be more generous than you.
I am not the Christ. Listen up all you faithful followers and readers of my daily meditations: I am not the anointed one. Okay? I am not God. Got it? I, like all of you, am working out my salvation and God’s plan for me. I still have a long way to go. But let’s start by cutting the malarkey. On our journey towards sanctity, honesty is one giant leap!
It’s good to be honest; that is to admit that Jesus is the Christ. This honesty (admittance) forces us to go where we would never want to go and to do what we would prefer not to do. Honesty forces us to taste not only the sweetness of life but the bitterness as well. It forces me to come to terms with the fact that I am not God. Spiritual people who claim not to be religious people are simply not serious people, for they are like children in a ice cream store who sample a lot of flavors but only choose the flavors they like most. Honesty forces maturity. Religion, like God, is bitter-sweet; human and divine; love with sacrifice; honesty with humility; freedom with limits; actions with consequences.
“Spiritual” people take what they like. Religious people have acquired tastes. “Spiritual” people are close minded. Religious people are very open minded.
Yesterday, I went to visit a family. While I was there the husband and wife got into a little argument. It turns out the husband always goes to Church and that really bothers his wife. She never goes. So, at a certain moment in their conversation (argument) she called him a hypocrite as well as an awful husband and father. How silly! He remained silent. So I interjected and told her that she was a hypocrite as well, for she truly believes she can be a good person and not go to Church. Thank God I know them well. Whew!
If a hypocrite is a type of liar, and a liar is someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, well, then who should we call a hypocrite? What type of people did the Lord go searching for? Who did he die for? The sinner. So who should the sinner turn to? Their Savior. Now the question is: Who is my Savior? Who is my Christ?
We all fancy being God. We like it when people believe that we, Americans, (or America), can come to their rescue, solve all their problems and make the world a better place for them. And so we talk about ending poverty and ending child abuse. But how? Well, if we deny that Jesus is the Christ and believe that we are the anointed ones, then of course, everything goes, including murder. No wonder why we have so many people today that believe they can actually eliminate poverty and child abuse by eliminating unwanted children! Now isn’t that remarkable! Why didn’t the Lord think of that!
The truth of the matter is simple: In the past one hundred years, we’ve been trying to replace Jesus as the Christ. Yes, Rosetta believes that we can understand each other better if we would just learn the other’s language. Environmentalists believe we could unite together by hugging a tree together. Scientists believe that we could unite together if we would just study together. Atheists “believe” that we could live together if we would just think reasonably (as if being reasonable is not subject to interpretation).
But Christians believe that we could all live together if we would only accept Jesus; if we would only do what Jesus Christ did: lay down one’s life for the other.
Sacrifice is what unites people together, for there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another.
Let’s be honest. Let’s accept Jesus as the Christ. He knows life better than we do. He is the solution. He even admitted it and did not deny it, but admitted it when he said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
No other spiritual leader ever said it, which is remarkable.
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