January 2nd, 2023

The Gospel according to John (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?” He said: “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.

Reflection: Who are you? Sometimes these 3 words could be intimidating, threatening, and frightening. Has anyone ever asked you that question? Who are you? Or who do you think you are? How do you answer that question? Let’s say for an example that you are at an interview and the employer walks in doesn’t introduce herself and just says those 3 words. Or another scenario could be that your Pastor who you really don’t know ask you, who are you? Do you know the answer? Are you prepared. This answer is something taught to us in college but in our current life, is that answer the same? My guess is no, it has changed many times over especially for an old guy like me.

Our culture teaches us to be unique and to separate yourself from others, so you become your own self. In many cases that is a very good thing but in other cases it isn’t. Our society today teaches narcissism and really don’t care about loving your neighbor. Our society teaches us about winning over our neighbor and not caring about who we hurt or the losers. Our society teaches us to be the “Top Dog” without recognizing who helped you along the way. The truth is that you really can’t do any of this on your own. You need people to help you along your journey to reach your goals. But don’t forget your roots, your foundation, or where you came from.

In 1972, my parents moved the family and took me out of growing up in Boyle Heights because he saw all the bad things that could happen to me and my brothers while living there. I knew why he was doing it at the age of 12 and I am grateful. But by the same token, I left behind some real good people therefore some really good memories. To this day, I enjoy driving back into the old neighborhood, the old parish, and let’s not forget the old eateries!

On the other hand, you have people in your life that are not about themselves. I write this statement because I just learned that a good family friend passed away and she was always about everyone around her. Rose was always about making people around her feel comfortable and welcomed. 

Often, it’s by what we do and not what we say we do. It is our duty to ourselves and our companions to define our duties and responsibilities with the best definition of who we are TODAY? Maybe what we do doesn’t define who we are, but who we are defines what we do!

So, who am I? Well, here we go ….

I am a family man, a man of service, a man of love, a man who puts everyone first, a man of joy and happiness. I am a man that recognizes the beauty in people, my surroundings and in nature. I am a man that won’t quit if I believe in something. I’m a man that loves to be around friends and break bread together. I am man that is not even close to perfect. I am weak in patience and sometimes stubborn and I am sinful. I am a person that demands respect to everyone because we all deserve it. But most of all, I am a man of faith. I am trying my best to be a child of God with no judgement. I am here to serve Jesus however and whenever He sees fit to do so. All He has to do is ask or give me a sign. I am here to embrace His people, not only the people I know but especially the people I don’t know. I have good qualities only because they are lessons and experiences that I learned through life and through sin because sin is my redemption. The very life that God put before me is now up to me to use it as required by the Word of God because that Word is with God.

Action of the Day: You guessed it, sit down, and write down “Who you are”.

Audio Reflection:

Hot Creek, Eastern Sierras

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