BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE


HOMILY: Every expectation is often accompanied by some level of preparation. The depth of our preparation ordinarily signifies the quality and value we place on the object of our expectation. Just like the people of God prepared for the First Coming of Christ, so are we always invited to prepare for His Second Coming in glory, such that open and attentive to the directions and promptings of the Holy Spirit, we may remain on track and never fall short of God’s eternal plan for the salvation of all. May Your mercy Lord and Your saving help keep us always focused in our preparation; Amen.

The reality of intense preparation preceded the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. This was not only manifest in the many centuries in which the people of God prepared and awaited in salvific hope for the coming of the Saviour, but also in the entirety of their spiritual life and relationship with God. In all of these, the ministry of John the Baptist was the most concrete and the most proximate moment of preparation for the mission of the Messiah in the midst of God’s people. The Gospel Reading of today (Mark 1:1-8) summarily recaptured the ministry of John the Baptist and his call for preparation and conversion in view of the public manifestation of the Saviour; “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins… A voice cries in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord, make His paths straight… Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am.” John’s call for preparation and conversion was indeed indispensable when one views the density of the reality before us; the reality that God is concretely and palpably in our midst in human form, to initiate the process of the transformation of the whole human race, to launch the moment of humanity’s liberation from sin and shame, to offer God’s gratuitous gift of salvation to all men and women of good will and to inaugurate God’s reign. This specific mission of the Saviour is in line with God’s saving compassion for all men and women, who through disobedience had rendered themselves slaves to sin and shame and have grossly disfigured the robe of righteousness which God bestowed on all at Creation. It is a mission in which God concretely brought consolation to men and women in anguish and pain. This was in fulfilment of the ancient prophecies as we heard in the First Reading of today (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11), “console my people, console them says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for.” In the birth, life and mission of Christ, God’s consolation was made incarnate and His compassion made visible and palpable. In Christ, God became truly, really and concretely with us. In Christ, we were ennobled to become the temples of the Holy Spirit; “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is our Advocate and our Help on the Journey of Faith as we head onwards to our Father in Heaven and as we prepare for the coming of Christ in glory.

That Christ will come again in glory is certain and that we must steadily and constantly prepare to meet Him worthily is doubly indispensable. When He will come is not within the power of human calculation; it is purely a divine prerogative. Saint Peter made this clear in the Second Reading of today (2 Peter 3:8-14), “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief.” Any human attempt to surmise the date and time of the coming of the Lord in glory is only a product of human manipulation because “you must never forget: that with the Lord, a day can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.” Our duty is not to begin to speculate or hypothesize the time or the moment when the Lord will come. Our responsibility is to consciously make preparations for His coming so as never to be taken by surprise. He gives us the help we need to prepare and His mercy is superabundantly available for us to make progress in this regard. His Spirit is always there for us, acting in and through the Church and through all those who open their hearts to Him in sincerity and good purpose. Our preparation is focusless and impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit and the help the Holy Spirit offers us is wasted when we fail to cooperate with Him. It is this cooperation with the offer of help of the Holy Spirit that makes our preparation attentive to divine indication just like those of the people who heard the preaching of John the Baptist; “all Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.” Like them, we must make our way to God by positively responding to the many offers of grace He makes available to us.

Lord Jesus Christ, as we hope and look towards our future with You in glory, make us open to the biddings of the Holy Spirit so as to live eternally in the royal splendour of our Father in heaven; Amen.

Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE


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