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Monday, January 5, 2004

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St. John Neumann

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

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a christian christmas

"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 which, as you have heard, is to come; in fact, it is in the world already." —1 John 4:2-3

Most of us are Christians. That means that we do things not primarily because they are good but because they are ways of imitating Christ. For example, we heal the sick not primarily to help the sick but to imitate Christ, for He heals the sick (see Mt 4:23ff). We pray not primarily because it's a good thing to do but because Jesus prayed, and we want to be like Him. Christians are baptized into Jesus (Rm 6:3). We are immersed in Him and are preoccupied with producing His life in our lives (Gal 2:20).

Therefore, to become one of the antichrists we don't have to deny Christ or do bad things. Antichrists simply fail to acknowledge Christ (see 1 Jn 4:2-3) and fail to make the imitation of Christ the main meaning of their lives.

In this last week of the Christmas season, let us give Christ the birthday present of deciding to be His disciples, that is, to imitate Him so closely that we could rightly be called Christians. Give Christ the Christmas gift of making more Christians, acknowledging Him constantly by imitating Him closely.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit, the true Christmas Spirit, to teach me the meaning of Christianity.

Promise:  "A people living in darkness has seen a great light. On those who inhabit a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen." —Mt 4:16

Praise:  St. John Neumann helped others to imitate Christ by spending time and energy encouraging them to lead lives of hidden sanctity.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Calling Christian Leaders on audio AV 60-3 or video V-60.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003