Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday after Epiphany

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday after Epiphany

Theme: Mission of John the Baptist

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Saturday January 8 2022

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday after Epiphany
Theme: Mission of John the Baptist
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Saturday January 8 2022
Jn 3:22-30
After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said [that] I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.”
A contemporary author, Matshona Dhliwayo, said: “Jealousy says, ‘Compete with each other.’ Envy says, ‘Destroy each other.’ Empathy says, ‘Help each other.’ Love says, ‘Empower each other.’”
Perhaps the disciples of John the Baptist are not on the same page with their master. They are bothered and alarmed at the appearance of Jesus on the scene, baptizing people. They see Him as a threat or a strong competition. Most likely, there is jealousy and insecurity on their part.
But John the Baptist is not interested in competition, but in empowerment. That is why jealousy and envy are not in his personality. From the very beginning he is fully aware of his role and mission. He is not the light; he comes to testify top the light. He is not the Word; he is just the voice crying in the wilderness. He is not the Bridegroom; he is just the best man. He is not the Messiah, but was sent before Him to prepare His way. And so, he concludes: “He must increase; I must decrease.”
For John, seeing Jesus starting to do His mission gives him joy and relief. Joy because the One whom he has been waiting for has finally arrived. And relief because this marks the accomplishment of his mission. So, now, he can slowly disappear, like the stars at night fading away at the onset of dawn and the coming of the sun.
The example of John the Baptist is a precious lesson for us. Each one of us has our own unique role to play and a mission to fulfill in this world. According to St. John Henry Newman, ʺGod has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission… He has not created me for naught.ʺ Thus, we should not compare ourselves with others.
The problem comes when we begin to compare with others. Then jealousy and pride come in and destroy our peace and contentment. Very soon, this leads to the destruction of relationships and communities. For, as the Apostle James wrote, “where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice” (Jas 3:16).
What many do not realize is that jealousy simply means we are counting the blessings of others, rather than our own. We are truly gifted by God with so many blessings that, unfortunately, many of us do not acknowledge or just take for granted mainly because we are more interested in the blessings of others. Learning to count our blessings is the key to overcome jealousy and to always have the spirit of joy and gratefulness in life.
We must not forget that God has given us all these blessings to help us fulfill our unique role and our particular mission in the world according to His plan. “For each one of us,” says Thomas Merton, “there is only one thing necessary: to fulfil our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.ʺ
May the example of John the Baptist encourage us to shun jealous competition and help empower one another to become better persons. As an anonymous author said, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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