1 John 3:22–4:6
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.
Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.
Do I belong to the world or do I belong to God? This week we celebrated the Epiphany on Sunday. Epiphany means manifestation – Jesus is seen as the Son of God, not just a human infant. He is completely divine and human. This whole week we will be hearing Gospel stories that show how Jesus is revealed as the Son of God through miracles and other revelations.
At the Epiphany, the three pagan kings risked a treacherous journey across the desert, over mountains and through valleys, just to follow the star to see Jesus. The star was simply reflecting the light of Jesus, who is the Light of the World. In a similar way, stars only reflect the light of the son. We are called to reflect Jesus to the world. We don’t have light in and of ourselves; we receive the Light of Christ through baptism and other Sacraments.
Are people attracted to me because they see Jesus in me?
Do I reflect the light of Christ to others?
Do I bask in the Light of Christ through prayer and study so that He can transform my heart?
The three kings persevered through a difficult journey because something inside of them told them that Jesus was worth everything. They teach us that we are to persevere through the trials of our life too, by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. Alone we want to give up, but Jesus always gives us the grace to continue on…
Finally, the three kings gave Jesus their most precious gifts. They didn’t give Him their leftovers – they gave Him everything.
Do we do the same with our gifts?
Are we selfish with the gifts with which God has blessed us?
After spending a few days with almost 10,000 young adults on fire for the Lord, I am very excited for the future of our Church. These people have encountered Christ through the wonderful ministry of FOCUS and their lives will never be the same. I am going to be reflecting on this week and its focus (pun intentional) on intentional discipleship. Their mission is one-on-one discipleship and then teaching others to share the gospel with others. As the faith gets passed on, hearts are lit on fire because of personal encounters with Jesus Christ. Pope Francis is emphasizing this in his preaching and teaching as well.
Dear Lord, as we celebrate this week of the Epiphany, increase my faith in you. Help me to see your presence all around me. I know in my head that you are God. I know in my heart that you came into this world to die for me. You were born in a manger to die on the cross. “This is my body, given up for you.” Help us to lay down our lives for you, to give you our very best, to lay down our lives for others. For it only in giving that we receive. It is only in laying down our lives for us that we find life.
Have a blessed day!