HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT YEAR B.
HOMILY THEME: BUT THAT IS YOUR IDENTITY, THAT IS WHAT
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11 Second reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel – John 1:6-8, 19-28
Among the first philosophical principles I got during my early days in school are what we called the principle of identity and the principle of non contradiction. The former states that a thing is what it is and nothing else, while the later states that something cannot be and not be at the same time. One would imagine why we are beginning with these philosophical principles today. The reason is that unless we accept the veracity of these statements, we may find it difficult accepting who we are or what we are at the moment. John the Baptist humbly demonstrated this today.
In the gospel of today, we note how the Jews sent the message to John the Baptist to reveal his identity to them. For want of respect, John could have presented himself as the Messiah or Elijah – those the Jews were longing to see. But instead of that, we are told “he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ’ (Jn. 1:20).The quest for fame or the like has led many into claiming what they are not. People live inauthentic lives just to have respect accorded them. But the question is: how long would it take before you are discovered? There is a great joy in accepting the person you are. It is better for people to despise you because of who you are than for them to honour you because of what you are not, which you have claimed to be. The truth remains, to claim that you are what you are not cannot make you become that which you are not. There is a great rewarding humility in accepting who we are. For John the Baptist, the reward was that Jesus Himself proclaimed him (John) the greatest – “of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen…” Matt. 11:11. Perhaps, John’s greatness also included his ability to willingly accept who he was.
Do you accept the fact that you are a man and not a woman? Do you accept the fact that you are a priest and not a lay person? Do you accept the fact that you did not study medicine and surgery, and so, you are not a medical doctor? Do you accept the fact that you are a baptized Christian and not a native doctor? Are you ashamed of what you are or who you are? The earlier we stop claiming what we are not and living a fake life the better for us. Let us first accept who and what God has made us to be and then pray to God to take us up from there.