Gospel Reflection – Wednesday, January 3, 2024 – John 1,29-34 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (1 John 2:29–3:6)

Reading from the First Letter of Saint John.

Beloved, if you consider that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so 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 shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him, there is no sin. No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gospel (John 1:29-34)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

On the next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, 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 before me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God!”

— The Gospel of the Lord.

— Praise to you, Lord.

Refletindo a Palavra de Deus

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, may the peace of the Lord be with you. Today, we gather here as a community of faith to reflect on the profound truths contained in the Holy Scriptures, in the First Reading taken from the First Letter of St. John, and in the Gospel according to John. May our hearts be open to the light of the divine Word, ready to be transformed by eternal wisdom.

My friends, we all seek truth in our lives. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by diverse information and opinions, how can we discern what is true and eternal? The Word of God, as found in the Bible, is the lamp to our feet, the light on our path. The First Reading reminds us: “If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him.”

This truth transcends intellectual knowledge; it is a truth manifested in our daily actions and relationships. True righteousness is the fruit of those born of God, of those committed to following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Believing in God is not just an act of mental faith but a transformation of the heart that reflects in our choices and the way we live.

At this point, we are directed to the Gospel of John, where we find the eloquent proclamation of John the Baptist: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” What power there is in these words! They invite us to contemplate the grandeur of divine love revealed in Jesus Christ, the Lamb who offers Himself for us.

Imagine the scene: John the Baptist, in the Jordan River, pointing to Jesus, acknowledging Him as the perfect sacrifice, the redeemer of humanity. It is a powerful and impactful image. In our lives, we are often immersed in the waters of challenges, sin, and repentance. However, the divine promise is that in Jesus, we find the Lamb who purifies, renews, and sets us free.

The First Reading continues with a call to responsibility: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God!” Here, we are invited to reflect on the immense love of the Heavenly Father, who adopts us as His own children. We are called to see each other as brothers and sisters, members of a heavenly family.

However, this divine filiation is not just a privilege; it is also a call to live according to the nature of the Father. “Everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.” This purification is a continuous process of conversion, of renouncing sin, and seeking holiness. Being called a child of God is not an empty title but a mission we embrace daily.

Yet, we know that the road to holiness is often steep and full of challenges. The First Reading warns us of the presence of sin: “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” Sin not only separates us from God but distorts the divine image we carry within us.

It is as if we carry an inner shadow that keeps us away from the light of grace. But the good news is that the light of Christ is more powerful than any darkness. If we turn sincerely to Him, the Lamb of God, we will find the strength to overcome our weaknesses and resist the temptations that assail us.

At this point, let’s return to the Gospel of John, where John the Baptist testifies: “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” The same promise of divine filiation that we find in the First Reading is now reinforced by the faithful witness of John the Baptist. Moreover, we are reminded of the presence of the Holy Spirit, descending like a dove upon Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Holy Trinity, and His presence in our lives is crucial for our spiritual journey. He is our Comforter, our Guide, and our inner strength. In our moments of weakness, it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to overcome. By repenting and surrendering to God, we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, shaping us into the image of Christ.

Here, I want to invite all of you to recall your own moments of Baptism. In Baptism, we are washed from our sins, receive God’s redeeming grace, and are incorporated into His family. Remember the day you were marked as sons and daughters of God. In that moment, the Holy Spirit descended upon you, just as it descended upon Jesus.

However, the grace received in Baptism is not an isolated event but a constant source of renewal. The Holy Spirit continues to act in our lives, empowering us to live worthy of our calling as children of God. This is a reminder that we are never alone in our spiritual journey. God is with us, guiding us every step of the way.

As children of God, we are called to practice justice in all areas of our lives. The First Reading tells us, “Whoever does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.” Justice here is not just an abstract concept but a tangible expression of divine love in action.

What does practicing justice in our daily lives mean? It means acting with compassion, showing mercy, forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God. It means seeking truth, integrity, and dignity in all our interactions. As children of God, we are called to be agents of transformation in a world often marked by injustice and sin.

My dear brothers and sisters, in this journey of faith, we face challenges, temptations, and struggles against sin. However, the hope offered to us in Christ is an anchor for our souls. When we feel weak, when the shadow of sin tries to envelop us, let us remember that we are children of God, redeemed by the sacrifice of the Lamb.

May hope in Christ be our daily motivation. As we look at the world around us, we often see news of despair and sadness. However, as children of God, we are called to be bearers of hope. We can be the light that shines in the darkness, the hope that transcends circumstances.

At this moment, I would like to challenge you to a deep and sincere reflection on the authenticity of our faith. As children of God, our lives should reflect the values of the Kingdom. May the way we live be a vivid testimony of our divine sonship. In the face of the challenges of the modern world, we are called to be authentic Christians, guided by truth, justice, and love.

We live in a time where words are often empty, but actions speak louder. May our faith be evidenced not only in our words but in our deeds. As we look at our lives, let us ask ourselves: Do our choices reflect the light of Christ? Do our relationships express the love of the Heavenly Father? Does our pursuit of justice reveal the divine sonship we have received?

Dear brothers and sisters, as we conclude our reflection on the biblical passages from the First Reading and the Gospel, let us remember the words of St. John: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” This is our identity, our source of hope and strength.

May we live our lives in response to this great gift of love. May the redeeming grace of the Lamb of God transform us daily. May the Holy Spirit guide us on our journey of faith. And may, as children of God, we be agents of His light, sharing the love and hope we find in Christ with the world around us.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and forever. Amen.