CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
HOMILY THEME: CELEBRATING THE GREATEST, YET HUMBLEST MAN EVER BORN
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: ISAIAH 49:1-6, PSALM 139, ACTS 13:22-26, LUKE 1:57-66.80
Beloved friends, John the Baptist was destined from his mother’s womb to carry out a great mission (Lk. 1:15); indeed, all the great prophets and personalities of the Old and New Testaments were destined for great tasks from their mother’s wombs: Jeremiah (Jer. 1:15), and Paul (Gal. 1:15). There was a purpose for his birth, a mission to prepare the way for the Messiah’s coming – he was Jesus’ indefatigable advocate. All of us, called to be Christians were brought to this world for a purpose, to advance Christ before the nations even as we pursue eternity. John’s life was one of humble service and docile obedience to his master. Our lives here on earth, my brothers and sisters should be of COMPLETE SUBMISSION, SERVICE AND OBEDIENCE TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.
With the birth of John, a new era – the era of salvation dawned: the time of promises and waiting ended, the moment of fulfillment was ushered in for God kept his promise. His birth brought great joy to the house of Zachariah, with his birth, God showed Elizabeth, hitherto, barren, great mercy and many people rejoiced with her. His name, John is a shorter form of Jehohanan, which means Yahweh’s gift or God is gracious. The birth of children brings great joy to the parents and the children are ALWAYS God’s gift borne from his graciousness to parents. This celebration draws our attention to the gratitude expressed by Zachariah and his household at John’s birth: WE MAY NOT FORGET TO RETURN THANKS TO GOD FOR THE LITTLEST FAVOURS WE ENJOY.
John’s birth also teaches us a thing about God’s style: how he uses humble means to achieve wonderful effects. Zachariah was not the greatest priest of his time, his wife not certainly the most influential; yet God chose the saviour’s precursor from their household. This goes back to his choice of Israel: they weren’t chosen because of their greatness or size, in fact, they were the smallest of nations. God simply chose them because of his love for them (Deut. 7:7-8). OUR GREATNESS, POWER AND ACHIEVEMENTS ARE NEVER TO BE SEEN AS A CONSEQUENCE OF OUR MERITORIOUS SERVICE OR OUR EFFORTS or the likes; we may do well to see them as God’s selfless blessing and merciful interventions in our lives as undeserving as we are.
Moreover, according St. Augustine, Zachariah’s tongue which was tied because he exercised doubts at the angel Gabriel’s message was loosened because a voice was born. He admitted being only the ‘voice for a time’ of the ‘eternal Word’ and happily went about his duties as a forerunner never taking Jesus’ honour upon himself. Luke tells us that with the ensuing events after his birth, the people could only but wonder what the child would grow up to be. WE MAY ALSO DO WELL TO FURTHER JOHN’S VOICE AS WE GO ABOUT OUR DAILY ACTIVITIES.
May all who see us serve God marvel at his Brobdingnagian interventions in our lives through Christ our Lord…
TELL OF CHRIST, BE JESUS TO SOMEONE TODAY.