Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. ~St. Augustine
(Gospel: Jn 1:19-28)
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."
So they asked him,
"What are you then? Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him,
"Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord,'
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
"Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
We begin this new year with the question: "Who are you?" (Jn 1:19). This is a good question. How can we be what the Lord wants us to be this year unless we know who we are? However, the question of our identity is most difficult. One voice says we are God's children (see Mt 3:17; Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:2). We are called "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own" (1 Pt 2:9). But we don't feel like God's children or look very royal, priestly, or holy. Another voice says we are merely human, in fact, just sophisticated animals. If we accept this, we can "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" (see Wis 2:6ff; 1 Cor 15:32). Although this second voice puts us down and degrades us, we feel like believing it and leading a self-indulgent life.
To answer the question, "Who are you?", we must first answer these two questions: "Who are the voices in my life?" and "Who is the liar?" (1 Jn 2:22). The first voice is the united voice of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The second voice is the voice of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The second voice is the liar. The first voice is the Truth (Jn 14:6).
Know yourself. Know God.