BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya

Isaiah 35:1-6. 10
Psalm 146: 7-10
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

When Nelson Mandela passed on 5th December 2013, comments were made, speeches were written and delivered at different memorial services held in his honour. But one comment that’s left me with a deep impression and as such influences my reflection for this Sunday was the comment of the former California governor and actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. “President Mandela’s life is the closest thing we have to proof of God.” He said.

From this comment and many more others about Mandela it dawns on me more that as we live out our life as Christians many are going to be observing us.

We say we are Christians. We openly and publicly bear the name of Christ… just few weeks ago we went all out in procession to proclaim that Christ is the king of the universe and we did it for all to see – we carry stickers on our cars, our brief cases, doors to our homes and offices. We identify ourselves as Catholics. We attend Mass… receive the Sacraments. As a result people are going to look at us… to examine our actions… to look into our lives. And they will ask us questions about why we are Christians or Catholics.

And so as Christians, as representatives of Christ, (since many of us openly live the Christian life) we will encounter people who will be asking: “Are you the one who is to come, or do we look for another?” Is your Faith real, is your Faith true and right, or do we look to another?

John the Baptist asked that question of Jesus too. Perhaps, not because he wasn’t so sure about Jesus, but for the sake of his disciples. Well, Jesus sent a reply back to John via John’s own messengers. Tell him, Jesus replied “what you see and hear: the blind see once again, the crippled can now walk, hopeless lepers have skin that is clean once again, people that couldn’t hear can now hear and speak again, dead men are raised back into living again, and men and women who were without hope now hear good news. And happy are they who are not disappointed in me!”

What, we must now ask is, what will be the message others receive about your life and mine?
We need to recognize today that although we have all been ransomed by Christ’s passion, there is still quite a lot of injustice and evil in the world, even though we can see signs of the kingdom in the action of others – great men and women of history like Nelson Mandela and hopefully ourselves. But we want the complete fulfilment of that kingdom of God. We want Christ to come again. And all this we are reminded of when we celebrate the first coming, and we prepare patiently for the remembrance of that event of the Incarnation in the celebration Christmas.


And again, how can we best prepare for that coming?
It is by finding ways to get out of ourselves and give ourselves to others; to do charitable works; to find ways to help others who are in need; to comfort those who have little or are alone.
Each one of us should be able to give the answer that Jesus gave. Perhaps, People that know us should be able to see in our lives what the meaning and purpose of human life is all about. They should be able to see the light of Christ in our lives, a light that shines in the darkness of our world, a light that points to hope, the hope of eventual victory… the hope of the triumph of good over evil… the hope of peace… a light that reveals the presence of salvation in our lives. The blind, the spiritually blind, in other words, ought to be able to see God’s presence in humanity because of us.

Then there are the crippled. Others can see in us, or ought to see, a person who is actively doing something about the downtrodden in our world. We have an opportunity to directly respond to the poor around us as ones who are giving them gifts from God.

The lepers? All around us are persons who live with self-hatred. There are those who have been ostracized by others, cast away and left to cater for themselves. They are the lonely, the socially underdeveloped and so on. Do we regard them as lepers and refuse to even get near them, or even breathe the air that they breathe? “

And there are the deaf… those who can’t communicate… those who listen but do not hear. There are those who don’t understand Christianity… or Jesus… who have never really heard about Jesus Christ… who haven’t studied His personality… His character… and who would like to. Can we be answers to their prayers? Can we reveal Jesus to them in who we are and what we do?

Having been marked with the signs of Baptism and Confirmation, and having been joined into Christ’s Mystical Body in Holy Communion, the Church now sends us into the world around us. With Jesus, we are the ones sent. We are his disciples today. The word “Mass” is derived from “missa” (mission), being sent. We come to Mass to receive in order to be sent, in order to share with others what we have received.

It means giving them hope… something to live for… a life full of beauty, wonder, awe, goodness, and all of those things that make life really worth living. It means giving good news to those who are near death and have nothing but bad news because they have lost hope.

And so, beloved in Christ, as Christmas comes to us once again – Happy are those who are not disappointed in you. You are the one sent by God into their lives so that they need not look for another!



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