HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
HOMILY: THE WILL OF GOD IN OUR LIVES…
The connection between Jesus and John the Baptist is one full of fascination. There are many aspects of the Christian life which are mirrored in the relationship between these two men, but for the purpose of this Sunday’s readings, we wish to dwell on the purpose and will of God in our lives.
One of the easiest questions children answer during Catechism classes is “who made you?”, “God made me”. The follow up question is “why did God make you?” There is always a common answer for everyone, “God made me to know him, love him, serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next”. How interesting it would have been to get particular answers from everyone to this question! It would have been interesting, because a lot of people have completely misconstrued the essence of their being and the essence of life itself. John the Baptist is one man who had a perfect knowledge of why he was made.
The readings of today point to God’s purposes for each. One of the things that Jesus and John had in common was a full knowledge of who they were and what their missions were. Both men existed in the same time frame, their destinies were tied and surely both in their various roles showed that in God there is no confusion.
In the first reading, Isaiah, almost a millennium before Jesus, fulfilled his mission of witnessing to the Christ. That part of Isaiah seems to have been written just at the beginning of Israel’s liberation from slavery, many Jews had become complacent in the land of slavery, rather than facing the uphill task of returning home to pick up their ruins. The prophet was faced with the task of gathering back a scattered nation. God was not yet done with Israel as he had appointed her to be his servant through whom his glory would be revealed. But Israel had given up on God! God thus appointed a servant who would raise up the fallen Israel. Thus, the first reading states the prophet’s awareness of God’s purpose for this appointment.
In the second reading, being the introduction of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, just a decade or two after Christ, Paul again shows full awareness of his calling to holiness by Christ himself.
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist exhibited a clear knowledge of his mission. He was sent to prepare the way for the Christ, to show who the Christ is and to lead people to him. He did not exaggerate his mission, nor did he arrogate to himself more knowledge than was revealed to him, thus he stated: “I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
In our world today, a lot of people have lost a sense of purpose. We don’t seem to be aware of why we were created. This could be as a result of the unbearable challenges we have faced in life. Like Israel, we might have been carted away into slavery, either of sin, of guilt, of unbridled desires of the flesh, or of worldliness, and more like Israel we might have chosen the fleeting comfort of our slavery to our eternal freedom. In that moment of disorientation, Israel had forgotten the marvels of the Lord in Egypt, their forty years of journeying with God in a barren land, and even their earlier cry of desire for freedom, “if I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand wither” (Psalm 137:5). And so have we!
However, no amount of problems can justify separation from God. John the Baptist, even though he lived in the time of the Saviour was not free from problems and in fact lost his life while fulfilling God’s will. And certainly, so was Christ, the Son of God himself!
Paul in his letter to the Romans (8:35) asks: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? And in verse 37, he responds: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!”
We must identify those things that cause us to lose our sense of purpose. One of the major reasons is sin. Many of us relapse in the momentary pleasures of sin, tormented by guilt, rather than fighting for our freedom. Today, John points out the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World! Shall we accept to meet him just like John’s disciples?
Many more while occupying the positions willed for them by God are completely disoriented. They are obsessed with themselves, therefore witnessing to themselves, rather than God. This is with special reference to the leaders of today and those who call themselves men and women of God. Many would not have pointed out the Christ lest they diminish in importance! What we see today in our society are leaders or men and women of God who scramble for numbers and for control, willing to do anything and breath Calumny of the highest level against one another and against God, claiming knowledge they were not given, and who they are not, in the bid to have more followership.
Of them were these words written: “Who is blind but my servant, or deaf like my messenger whom I send? Who is blind like my dedicated one, or blind like the servant of the LORD?” ( Isaiah 42:19).
Let us therefore rediscover God’s will and purpose in our lives. Let us serve Him and witness to him with all we have, so as to live with Him forever in the World to come, through Christ our Lord, amen.
Fr. Precious Ezeh