Christianity Reminds Us of Our True Identity
by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday November 19, 2023
Sooner or later, the wise person will ponder, “Who am I?” It’s a fantastic question. “Who am I?” How someone answers that question determines the course and direction of one’s life. It affects the decisions I make, what I do with my time, and by what values I strive to live. For example, If I say my deepest identity is that I am a loving husband and father, that will change how I spend my Friday nights. No longer can I simply go to the bar and get drunk or go to the nightclubs with my friends. I cannot simply spend my money without any thought of my responsibilities. As a husband and father, my duty first and foremost is my wife and children and their wellbeing. Friday nights revolve around them, the way the earth revolves around the sun.
So again, I must ask, “Who am I?” If I simply go along with what the godless world tells me, the answer to that question is nothing spectacular. I am simply, according to my high school biology teacher, an evolved primate. I am a smart monkey with an iPhone. I am a byproduct within a chaotic universe, devoid of meaning or forethought. At best, I am a cosmic accident that poofed into conscious existence. Who am I? I am nothing. If I answer this question in such a way, the purpose of life becomes myopic and wholly self-centered. It has no greater meaning than what I say it is. I dare say, with such a view of life, it will never satisfy the longing of the human heart. We are created for more and we know it.
“Who am I?” St. Paul, in our Second Reading at Mass this Sunday, gives us an alternative answer to this pivotal question: “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness…. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness.” (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3-6). He reminds us of our true identity. We are not smart monkeys, bereft of meaning. Rather, the truth of who we are is more radically extravagant than we can possibly imagine. We are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. This Father of ours created the entire universe. Now, he longs to give us something even greater, the Kingdom, the new Heavenly Jerusalem. He sent his very own Son to die for our sins, out of pure love for us, so that we may share eternal life with the Most Holy Trinity. When answering that question in this way, watch how it changes the course of our lives.