“Now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us.”(1 John 2:18-19)
Finally, this year is set to pack and go. It is the last day. Whatever has a beginning must also have an end. As the year ends, St. John in today’s first reading draws our mind to the end of the world; the last hour. According to John, a sign of the last hour is the coming of the antichrist. Who is the antichrist?
In our Gospel passage, we read: “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not…” (John 1:9-11).
An antichrist is a person who is against Christ whether directly or indirectly, be it publicly or discreetly. An antichrist is opposed to Christ either by word, deed or thought. He or she is not just against Christ but against genuine followers of Christ. St. John makes us understand that contrary to assuming that there is only one antichrist, there are very many of them. We have antichrists both within and outside the church, even amongst the clergy and pious Christians who outwardly appear to love Christ.
In truth, if we are not careful, we could even be antichrists without knowing it. Yes, whenever we fail to let our shine, we become stumbling blocks preventing others from coming to Jesus; we become bad advertisements for Christianity. It is in the nature of an antichrist either to create a public scandal (one capable of making others lose their faith) or further publicise and broadcast the scandal even without prior investigations. Some people just take joy in spreading information (true or false) with the intention of pulling as many people away from Christianity, little did they realize they are being antichrists.
It is in the nature of an antichrist to boast about his or her Christian background. Usually, they begin their attacks on Christianity by telling us how their parents and grandparents were so devout and built churches. They tell us how they were baptised and confirmed, attended Christian schools and so on. They try to prove that they belong just so as to gain acceptance by more only to end up saying or doing things that would make their listeners question the faith.
St. John says: “They (the antichrists) went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19). They are wolves in sheep clothing; pretenders, fake Christians. (Cf. Matthew 7:15). You are either a Christian or an antichrist; there is no middle way. You are either bringing souls to Christ or destroying what is left of their Christian faith. If for instance, as a priest, I am not faithful to my vows or as a married man or woman, I continue to disregard the sixth commandment, I tell lies, steal and so on, then I am an antichrist.
Today is the last day of the year. Take your time to reflect; how well have I been a Christian this year? How many people have stopped coming to church or no longer believe God exists because of my immoral or evil behaviour? If today was to be your last day on earth, what would be your greatest regrets?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, into your hands I commend my spirit. Amen
Bible Study: 1st John 2:18-21, Psalm 96, John 1:1-18)