Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:4
Who Are You?
Who are you? This question addressed to John the Baptist, is a question all of us need to answer. When asked this question, we usually respond by offering our name but today's question to John is asking for more. It is asking for the essence of who we are.
It asks us to reveal the foundation of our identity and can be an uncomfortable question.
Perhaps we should answer, “ I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.” But how many of us willingly would identify as such?
In Paul’s letter we catch a glimpse of a community openly committed to Jesus Christ. Paul was so impressed by the Christians in Thessalonika that he used the word “brothers” a term of endearment more for this community than any other. Paul writes to affirm their faith, but he also offers a caution. Much of their faith was that Christ would return in their lifetime. As time went on and Christ did not return as expected they began to struggle to be faithful.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that it is the hallmark of Christians to be joyful and that joy comes from identifying with Jesus Christ.
Living our faith openly is not hard, especially if we have the joy felt by Isaiah. God is the God who wants not one hair on our head to be harmed. How many of us have with confidence talked about our faith with another person? With a friend or someone at work? Like the Thessalonians of Paul’s day, we too can get caught up in disappointment, disillusionment, and fear and fail to experience the joy that is the gift of faith. Many Catholics say they don’t make the sign of the cross in restaurants because they are afraid of the attention that it may bring. Who are you? Can we answer honestly that we are a Christian? A Catholic? If that is hard then do not despair, for the gift of Advent is that it helps us remember who we are.