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Monday, January 3, 2005

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1 John 3:22—4:6
Psalm 2
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

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the antichrist

"This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, while every spirit that fails to acknowledge Him does not belong to God. Such is the spirit of the antichrist." —1 John 4:2-3

The antichrist "will appear as part of the workings of Satan, accompanied by all the power and signs and wonders at the disposal of falsehood — by every seduction the wicked can devise" (2 Thes 2:9-10). Thus it is humanly impossible to recognize the deceptions of the antichrist who will come at the end of the world and of the spirit of the antichrist which "is in the world already" (1 Jn 4:3). However, the Lord has provided a way to prevent us from being deceived. The spirit of the antichrist is recognizable because it refuses to acknowledge Jesus in the flesh.

Jesus is in the flesh in His physical body, His eucharistic body (see Jn 6:51ff), and in the members of His body the Church. The spirit of the antichrist will deny or de-emphasize Jesus' Incarnation. This can be done by proclaiming Jesus' divinity to the exclusion of His humanity or by denying Jesus' divinity, thereby making Jesus' conception and birth no different than that of anyone else. The spirit of the antichrist may also ignore Jesus' eucharistic presence. It would make Holy Communion just a symbol and not central to Christianity. Finally, the spirit of the antichrist relegates the Church to being just a human organization. The antichrist promotes a churchless, individualized Christianity. Because it pretends that the Church is Christ's body only figuratively and not really, the spirit of the antichrist will not submit itself to the authority of the Church. "Such is the spirit of the antichrist" (1 Jn 4:3). "Thus do we distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of deception" (1 Jn 4:6).

Prayer:  Father, by my obedience to You in Your word in Your Church, may 2005 be a year of truth and not of deception.

Promise:  "This is how we know that He remains in us: from the Spirit that He gave us." —1 Jn 3:24

Praise:  Siva converted from Buddhism to Christianity.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004