THE TWO JOHNS: BAPTISM OF GUILT AND COMMITMENT TO BAPTISMAL VOWS
“To remain in Truth and sanctifying grace is to remain in God. To remain in falsehood and sin is to remain in the devil.”
(1 John 2:22-28; Psalm 98; John 1:19-28)
St. John the Baptist was questioned on who he is and why he is baptizing. St. John told the truth saying, “I am ‘the voice of the one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
The Gospel is very fitting for this second day of the year for it invites us to know who we are and what are we doing for God. St. John know what is his commitment and that is to preach and baptize in the desert of penance and suffering to all people as they acknowledge their sins. St. John is baptizing water for the admission of guilt or contrition while our Lord gives the Holy Spirit bestowing forgiveness of sins and adoption.
Just so, let us ask ourselves: in these first days of the year, does my ways made straight for this new year of the Lord? Do I know now what it means to be a Christian? Do I know now myself? Do I know now my obligations for God? For just as St. John the Baptist knows who he is and what is his obligation, so also must we. And as we acknowledge our sins, may we know or recognize that our Lord is the one who can forgive sins and the one who is offended and is wounded by our sins. The Gospel also teaches and reminds us to become prudent always, all throughout the year. Prudence is the habit of proper decision-making. This day, we must have a bird’s-eye view of what we must do this year. To be prudent is to have “the knowledge of what to seek and what to avoid” as St. Augustine had taught. So this second day of the year, we must be prudent always so as to be committed to our “New Year’s resolutions” for God and as children of God.
In St. John the Apostle’s first letter, we see here that to deny Christ is to be a liar and not to have the truth. To admit that our Lord is Christ is to have the truth and to have Jesus Christ who is the Truth Himself. If we are in mortal sin, we do not love the Lord for we denied Him when we acted on what is sinful and what will hurt God. It is not enough to admit the truth and to admit that Jesus is Christ who came to forgive sins and to sanctify us of His Holy Spirit. It is not enough for to admit the truth, it requires us to act on what we admit by our mouths. If we admit the truth by mouth but we act sinfully living in mortal sin, then we are lying and denying Christ and the truth is not in us. If we are in mortal sin, we do not have the Holy Spirit, and what we have in us is the spirit of the devil which is falsehood, deception, and sin. And for those who are in mortal sin, they are the antichrist. For to live in mortal sin is to be against Christ and to be against the Holy Spirit of Christ.
So what is St. John’s teaching as resolution? He wrote that we must have the truth in us so as to remain in God. In our anointing that we received from the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we received the Teacher of Truth and empowered in the Truth respectively. To remain in Truth is to live in sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit and God.
What we heard in preaching is the Truth, and what we received in the said Sacraments sanctifies the Truth that we have heard. If we have the Holy Spirit that we received in the two said Sacraments, we will know if the preaching is the Truth and if the preaching is falsehood. For the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of Truth. The anointing we received in the two said sacraments will remain in us even if we sinned. But if we fell into mortal sin, the Holy Spirit in us will leave us, but will return if we recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Sacrament of Confession. Again, to live in mortal sin is to cut-off oneself to the promised eternal life and to be admitted to eternal damnation. St. John instructs us to remain in sanctifying grace and Truth so as to be evident that we are prepared for the coming of the Lord.
“Jesus, I trust in You “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”
Mary H. Distributist