Who Am I?

First Reading: 1 John 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God 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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 3CD-4, 5-6

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Gospel: John 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”



In the silent stillness before dawn, I slowly opened my eyes, reluctant to survey the aftermath of the previous night’s activities. There were empty junk food wrappers strewn about the small room, as well as myriad red cups offering up their remaining contents to the already-stained carpet. The sickly sweet smells of alcohol, incense, and smoke clung to my hoodie and jeans and clouded my memory. As I slowly sat up, I noticed about ten or eleven other teens—male and female—still sleeping in whichever spot they found themselves when they eventually passed out.

As I finally came to, my thoughts came clearly and rapidly: What am I doing here? Is this all there is to life? Is this what my future holds? Who have I become?

Somehow, in that moment on the floor of an unknown residence, after a long cycle of endless partying, I had what I can only describe as an epiphany: I had forgotten who I was, and it frightened me.

Sure, I was a daughter, friend, girlfriend, student—albeit I’d become pretty lousy at all of those things—but in my aching desire to be known and loved, I’d gone searching for acceptance far beyond the bounds of the identity with which I was sealed at my Baptism. I had forgotten that I was a beloved daughter of the Most High God.

In today’s First Reading, Saint John tells us that we are called the children of God simply because of the Father’s love for us. In this love, we find our identity, our reason for being, and our future. Indeed, as Saint John writes, we are children now, yet what we will become is to be revealed. The promise is that when these things are revealed, we will be like God, for we shall see Him as He is.

What an incomparable identity we possess, sisters! What a glorious promise! How could we ever, ever turn away from or forget these priceless truths?

It all goes back to the Garden of Eden, doesn’t it? When our original parents failed to trust that God’s Providence was sufficient, we suffered the aftermath, with our intellects darkened to know the truth and our wills weakened to abide there.  And so even if we—thanks be to God—turned from an overtly sinful lifestyle decades or months or days ago, we may still seek affirmation beyond our original identity, with degrees, careers, accolades, social media hits, material possessions, status in the church and communities, etc. The list goes on and on.

The good news is that, no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve strayed, we will always be His daughters. He awaits our return with arms opened wide with love and mercy.

[Tweet “The Lord awaits our return with arms opened wide with love and mercy. // @realcatholicmom”]

Let’s take some time today to remember who we are, and to Whom we belong, sisters. Let’s ask our Heavenly Father to help us acknowledge, accept, and abide in the truth; that we are known, we are wanted, and we are loved.

Heather Renshaw is an on-fire revert, writer and speaker on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the unchurched Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.

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