HOMILY FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
THEME: THE MISSION OF EVERY CHRISTIAN.
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE.
Every Christian is on a mission that entails, first and foremost, discovering the Lord and cultivating a healthy relationship with Him; and then pointing Him out to those around us and leading them to the Lord. In a sense, a Christian has as part of his or her mission and identity that of a signpost. But more than and superior to a signpost, a Christian also embraces that to which he or she indicates. This mission is possible and fruitful when we truly know who we are and what we represent and the limits of our capacities. May the Light of God continue to shine in us and through us to those around us; Amen.
The Gospel Reading (John 1:29-34) presents us with the witness of John the Baptist about Jesus. It is easy to overlook the Mission of John and to underplay the natural and socio-cultural circumstances that could have constituted obstacles to John’s realization of His mission. Jesus is John’s cousin and John was the senior. They were of the same age grade and there is always the tendency not to acknowledge the superiority of someone of the same age with you, especially when the extent and content of superiority are not yet clear and known to the public. It is within this background that John bore witness to Christ with very deep and indicative words; “look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world… He ranks before me… I am the witness that He is the Chosen One of God.” The Mission and witness of John the Baptist are laden with indispensable lessons for anyone who wishes to be a true follower of Christ. He not only leads us to realise and contemplate God’s self-revelation in Christ, but he also teaches us with his words and actions about how to bear Him witness. His message was very direct; Jesus is the One whom God has promised and sent to stably and perennially restore our broken relationship with God; He is the One to pay the price of our redemption with His life and to offer us anew God’s gift of Salvation. In the words of the First Reading (Is 49:3, 5-6), He is God’s faithful Servant, the One whom God has made “the Light of the nations so that God’s salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” It was John’s Mission to lead people to appreciate and accept God’s manifestation in their midst in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Looking at the manner of John’s witness to Christ, we learn the importance of the humility to always recognise who we are and to live according to such identity. Whenever we refuse to recognise who we truly are, we begin to live a borrowed type and style of life; we become impostors. A borrowed type and style of life has no missionary value. A borrowed type and style of life is unsalvific. Likewise, we discover the wisdom to know that every task which the Lord has allocated to us is very important for the establishment of God’s reign. No task or part of the mission is insignificant. John’s mission was to identify the Christ and that he did exceptionally for which he is celebrated today. It is often distractive to negatively and jealously focus on others because of the seeming central position that their mission in life has accorded them. Further still, it is indispensable for success in life to know our limits. In the game of race, many people became great by engaging in the 100 meters race whereas others became great in the Marathon. Someone who is good at 100 meters race could be very weak and woeful at the Marathon. This is also true of the Spiritual Life and in our respective participations in the Mission of the Church and in other secular activities. John the Baptist knew his limits and this helped him in his mission. Also, it is God’s prerogative to reveal Himself to us. It is anti-God and anti-Christ to impose our imaginations and hallucinations on others as God’s revelation. John made it clear that the identity of Christ was revealed to him. He waited until it was revealed to him. He did not go about manufacturing visions in order to make Christ known. In fact, central to our ultimate mission is to direct people to God through our words and actions and not become obstacles for them on the path to encounter God. One of the great dangers of the life of witness is to direct people to ourselves and make them concentrate on our fragile strengths and gifts rather than on the Source of these gifts. It is a temptation that comes in different ways. It takes humility not to be such a witness, who leads people to himself or herself and who places himself or herself at the centre rather than the Lord. A true witness naturally belongs to the family of Light with the goal to become illumined and to be catalysts for the illumination of others. As illumined persons we are enlightened and empowered to detect darkness and the works of darkness. As people of the Light, we belong “to the Holy People of Jesus Christ, who are called to take their place among all the saints.” A true witness is a Light Bearer and a holy human person.
Lord Jesus, may every spiritual faculty within us be attuned to a deeper understanding of God’s Self-revelation to us through You by the power of the Holy Spirit, and may everyday of our lives be a living testimony of Your presence in our midst; Amen. Happy Sunday;
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