1 John 2: 29 - 3:6
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
Psalm 98: 1, 3-6
O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
John 1: 29-34
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
As you read the Scriptures today, and ponder the beginning of a new year, reflect on these highlights from the readings and ask yourself these questions:
"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." What in my life is revealing a longing for closeness with God? Are there answers or a deeper purpose I am seeking?
"The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." John the Baptist recognized Jesus because he was already walking closely with God. He asked for direction, had faith that he would receive an answer, and was familiar with how the Lord would communicate with him. Have I been seeking answers and purpose in God, or away from God, the way the world seeks? When I am struggling, do I go to prayer and spiritual discipline, or do I let emotion and worldly wisdom draw me off course?
"No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him." St. John reminds us that sin is our greatest impediment toward the closeness with God that we all long for. But Jesus has come as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Is there unconfessed sin that is blocking my vision and keeping me from really knowing and walking with the Lord? Am I willing to turn from that sin and seek Jesus in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist?
There is no better New Years resolution you can make than to repent from sin and seek God more fully. Resolve today to pray more, to read God's Word, to lay sin aside and replace it with God's love. Trust that the Lord loves you, will meet you where you are, and lead you to where He desires you to be today and in the coming year.