I cannot help wondering what my response to the question that Jesus asks His disciples would have been if I was there 2000 years ago. The fact that there are a few options seems to indicate that there are a few opinions around as to the identity of ‘that man’ who will later be crucified upon a cross. It is easy for us to pontificate regarding His identity from our privileged place of prior knowledge. Let us spare a moment of compassion for those who were honestly confused and troubled as to who ‘that man’ really was.

It is also very easy for us to give the right answer and not take into account whether or not our lives really reflect that this is what we believe. It is very easy to fall into a state of hypocrisy where we say one thing with our mouths and live a totally different reality with our lives. This is an unacceptable dichotomy that must be challenged on a regular basis.

It is important for us to be honest with ourselves regarding the way in which we conduct ourselves. There is no use trying to fool ourselves with pious platitudes concerning the identity of Jesus when our lives are full of sin. The only way that I know of trying to retain a good perspective on this issue is by making a daily examination of our conscience at the end of each day. If we cannot do it daily, then do it every second day!

When we do this we are attempting to place each day in the context of the Kingdom of God in which we should be trying to live our lives. The means by which we can judge our lives and conscience judgments are the commandments and truths that we find based in our knowledge of the human person, the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church. It can be good to do an overall evaluation of each day, but it is also help0ful every now and then to choose a particular aspect of the spiritual life and place it under special scrutiny.

I do not mean that we should become scrupulous, but we ought to be committed to rooting out the sin in our lives and growing in virtue on a daily basis!

What are the areas in my life of which I am immediately aware that there is room for improvement? What are some practical things that I can be committed to in order to grow in holiness in these areas?

Holy Spirit, help me to open up my life more deeply to your scrutiny and testing. Teach me how to live in the light of your truth. Help me to see the sin in my life and to repent. Help me to grow in virtue and become more like Christ each day.