YEAR B: HOMILY FOR NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
HOMILY THEME: NOT A CARBON COPY
BY: Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare
(Is 49:1-6/Ps 139/Acts 13:22-26/Lk 1:57-66, 80)
We celebrate someone who reflects all of us. Like us, he is a unique person that God gave to humanity as a blessing to do a specific function for humanity. We celebrate John, nicknamed the Baptist. He is not the only one who baptized in Biblical history but he is the only one with that description. He got this name because he baptized the Lord. Straightaway, we discover that true and permanent identity is obtained only when we act purposely for the Lord. The lives we touch may be forgotten, but when we touch them for the Lord, we will leave a permanent legacy for ourselves. John’s birth is celebrated today, on a Sunday solely dedicated to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is given a “Sunday” privilege not because he is related to Jesus (Elizabeth and Mary are relatives) for Jesus has other disciples who related to him (some are called his brothers and sisters). Again, the Sunday privilege is not because of Zachariah, a priest and father of John the Baptist. Jesus is the reason why we celebrate John today. He was born to herald the birth of Jesus; he came as the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant.
Isaiah, in the first reading, talks about birth as vocation and not merely a family wish or desire. A child is born because God has a mission to at hand; a mission that the child must freely accept and embrace in order to become what God desires for him. The element of freedom and readiness to embrace the mission brings the difference between effective or otherwise personalities.
Like John, God knows each one by name; and from the womb to the tomb (Responsorial Psalm). We are born unique. We may share culture, physical features, language, etc. but we remain unique from birth. Our lives are not photocopies of the society or family. Let us bravely do what we are inspired to do even when no one has ever attempted it. At the end, we should remember what God told Jeremiah at his calling, "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to protect you.
~Give us the courage to remain uniquely us
~For the grace to seek only to please God
~That we will not be hindrance to God's will in the lives of those around us
(Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare of the Catholic Diocese of Obuasi)