One of the most amazing but unfamed wonders of the world is our fingerprints. There are no two identical fingerprints in the world, even among identical twins who share the same DNA. Every one of us in the world has a unique fingerprint and they do not change even with all the processes of growth, development, and maturity.
For many years, most scientists have been battling with the mystery of fingerprints, and some have ended up with ideas about their formation from the tenth week after conception, information about its use for gripping things, and the three forms of fingerprints, namely the loop, whorl, and arch. However, there are no universally accepted and concrete findings on why no two individuals cannot share the same fingerprints.
The United Nations estimates, as of April 2019, that there are about 7.7 billion people in the world. If this demographic information stands, it means that there are about 7.7 billion distinct fingerprints. This information makes it plausible that each person in the world is uniquely endowed with an unchanging identity. The bible supports this uniqueness from the words of David in the Book of Psalms (139:13-14):
You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
The Testimony John the Baptist and the Identity of Jesus Christ
The Gospel Reading today (John 1:29-34), narrates John’s testimony about our Lord Jesus Christ as he makes his identity public. The Gospel Reading tells us that as John the Baptist was coming towards Jesus, he said among other things, “behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Furthermore, he reveals that Jesus Christ is the one who is coming after him and ranks above him. He further testifies that he knows that Jesus is the Christ through God’s revelation that on whomever he sees the Spirit descends and remains would be the one, and we observed this happening during the baptism of the Lord.
It is one thing to have an identity and yet another to activate that identity; that is, to put it into action. After John’s testimony and identification, we watch as the elements of the identity of our Lord Jesus Christ play out in his mission on earth which culminated in his death on the cross where he paid the debt of our sins (John 19:30).
Searching for our Christian Identity in a World of Multiple Identities
There is no doubt that the world runs on multiple identities, and most of them are false identities. With the rapid rising and spreading of modern means of communication, most people now find it easy to highlight and ascribe to themselves identities that are far from whom they are in reality; a tour through Instagram and Facebook and other social networking sites show the rising chaos in the search for identity.
Identity theft is not something new in and around us; in fact, falsehood rides on the wings of distorted identity. To tell a lie, one would need to add or remove something from an existing identity.
The Light Identity
The First Reading today (Isaiah 49:3, 5-6) tells us about one of the identities we have received from God and that is about our being “a light to the nations.” The power of light is not something we can negotiate. We depend on light from dawn to dusk for almost everything we do including seeing. To be a light for others means helping them to see, giving them warmth and hope.
We could recall this light identity from the sermon on the mount when our Lord Jesus Christ said, “you are the light of the world, a city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Here our Lord Jesus Christ is asking us to live by our identity. The primary duty of light is to shine, not for itself but others. In the First Reading God says I will make you a light for the nation. Furthermore, the sermon on the mount also says:
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Matthew 5:15).
The Holiness Identity
In the Second Reading (1 Cor. 1:1-3), St. Paul instructs the Corinthians who have received sanctification to live by that identity, namely, holiness. Holiness does not entail locking oneself out from the world and praying from morning to morning. It instead means making the right choices in our relationship with God and others.
Some time ago, while reflecting on the Holy family of Jesus Mary and Joseph, we said that the word HOLY is an acronym which means humility, obedience, loving, and yielding; we shall hold unto that in this reflection. There is no contention with the fact that without humility, obedience, love, and yielding to God, we cannot achieve the life of holiness.
When we acquire the holiness identity, we, at the same time, gain the grace of God that would produce the spiritual fruit of peace in us as St. Paul further said in the narrative.
Moving Forwards and Living by our Identity
When adults start behaving like children, there would be every reason to suspect that something is fundamentally wrong somewhere, at least attitudinally. In the same way, when we as Christians fail to live by our Christian identity, there would be every reason to conclude that something is spiritually wrong.
In the Gospel of John (4:23-24), our Lord Jesus Christ instructs that God is Spirit, and those who come to worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth. From the preceding passage, we understand that we fail to live by our Christian identity when we depend on the flesh and falsehood. Writing to the Galatians St. Paul says, “live in the spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. Regarding the truth, our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us to know the truth because only the truth would set us free (John 8:32), just as the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44).
As we march into a new week, may we resolve to live by our Christian identity by becoming the light in a dark world striving to be holy through humility, obedience to God, loving without limits and yielding positively to God and others in all things.
God bless you and have a wonderful week ahead.