Spirit of Christ vs. Spirit of Antichrist
Friday December 31, 2004 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Reading (1 John 2:18-21) Gospel (St. John 1:1-18)
As we come today to the last day of the calendar year, the Church gives to us readings that present the utter and absolute dichotomy. We have on the one hand the reading in the Gospel about Jesus, the Christ; and in the first reading from Saint John, we hear about the antichrist. In the first reading, we hear about the lies; and in the Gospel reading, we hear about the truth. In the first reading, we hear about darkness; in the Gospel reading, we hear about light.
The important thing to recognize in this is that the dichotomy is just that clear. The devil is a liar from the beginning and all of those who are going to be in his train are going to follow suit. The devil rejected the light. His name means “The Bearer of Light”, yet he rejected it and he became the bearer of darkness. He was created for truth, yet he rejected the truth.
We have to recognize that we all have the exact same capacity. Each and every one of us was made for the truth. Each one of us was made for God. We were made to be bearers of Christ, bearers of the light. We were made to bring Christ into the world. So we have that choice: Are we going to be obedient, or are we not? Are we going to be Christ-bearers, or are we in essence going to be an antichrist-bearer? That does not sound like a pleasant idea. Yet if we think about how we live our day-to-day lives, how often we choose lies over the truth, how often we choose darkness over the light; in so doing, then, how often we choose Satan over Jesus Christ because we choose sin over virtue, we choose selfishness instead of charity.
We begin to see just how easy it is for the lies to creep in. If you look at it on a black-and-white scale, they are on two opposite ends of the spectrum. But if you look at it in the way that the devil lays his lies, remember that they are nine parts truth to one part falsehood. Satan is a brilliant person. He knows exactly how to lie and he has done it for centuries. We need to make sure we are firmly rooted in truth so that we will recognize the lie. We need to make sure we are walking in the light so that when there is darkness it will be immediately perceptible. We need to make sure we are in Christ so that when there is something which is antichrist we will reject it without hesitation. That is what we have to be about.
The spirit of the antichrist, if it was in the world two thousand years ago as Saint John tells us it was when he says, There are many such antichrists – not the one that we are all still awaiting, the one who is going to come prior to the Second Coming of Christ, but many such antichrists that had gone out from their own number – just look around today and we see that things are far, far worse. The spirit of the antichrist is alive and doing very well. Therefore, the spirit of Christ must live within us so that we will be able to live according to the life we have professed, so that we can do what it is that God is calling us to.
It is that obvious. It is that black-and-white. But the choice, subjectively, is not quite so easy because we have to make the choice over and over and over again every single day. We are faced with various temptations and we have to make the choice each time. If we were to sit back and say, “Well, do I choose Jesus or do I choose Satan?” of course we know what we are going to choose. But when it comes down to the practical decisions in our lives, unfortunately, all too often we make the wrong choice. So that is what we need to make sure we are working at. Not just saying in a theoretical and objective way, “I choose Christ,” but in a practical and subjective way to really live the choice that we make, to acknowledge our belief in Jesus Christ, to reject anything that is antichrist, and to bring Jesus into the world.
That is our task, just like John the Baptist. He was not the light, but he came to testify to the light; he was not the truth, but he came to speak the truth; he was not the Christ, but he came to bring the Christ into the world. That is exactly the task of each and every one of us, to be bearers of Jesus Christ, bearers of the light, and to bring the truth and the light into this world of lies and darkness so that salvation – which can be found only in Jesus Christ – will be brought into the world, the truth will be heard through us, the light will be seen through us, and the life of Christ will be lived in us.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.