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Thursday, January 2, 1997

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Sts. Basil & Gregory Nazianzen

1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98
John 1:19-28

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"I am 'a voice in the desert, crying out: Make straight the way of the Lord!' " —John 1:23

As we begin a new year, the Lord reminds us that people and even demons are lying in an attempt to deceive us (1 Jn 2:22, 26). If we fall for their deception, we will lose everything, that is, eternal life (see 1 Jn 2:25). This deception is focused on getting us to deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Because Jesus is the only Way to the Father (Jn 14:6) and the only One Who baptizes in the Spirit (Jn 1:33; Mk 1:8), we must believe in Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God. Otherwise, we don't rightly know God the Father (see 1 Jn 2:23) and the Spirit and thereby do not have eternal life (see Jn 17:3).

This means that Jews, Muslims, and people of other religions which do not accept Jesus as the Christ cannot know God the Father very well. These peoples walk in the darkness of a Christ-less life. This is not necessarily their fault. Pope Paul VI has taught: "It would be useful if every Christian and every evangelizer were to pray about the following thought: men can gain salvation also in other ways, by God's mercy, even though we do not preach the Gospel to them; but as for us, can we gain salvation if...we fail to preach it?" (On Evangelization, 80) Christians, especially Catholic Christians, have an awesome responsibility to share their faith in Jesus. If we fail to try and share our faith, billions of people are condemned to the misery of a Christ-less existence and have much less opportunity to receive salvation in Christ. "When much has been given a man, much will be required of him. More will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted" (Lk 12:48).

This year, share your faith in Jesus as never before. Ask the Lord to help you. He will send the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:  Come, Holy Spirit of love and evangelization!

Promise:  "His anointing teaches you about all things and is true — free from any lie." —1 Jn 2:27

Praise:  Gregory accepted the position of bishop even though he preferred solitude.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996