2014/01/12 - Homily - 1st ord. Sunday

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With these readings, we are entering into the ordinary time of the Liturgical Year. After the great celebrations of Christmas, from the birth of Jesus, his epiphany, the revelation of his divinity for the whole of mankind to the wise men, Jesus is now baptized by John. Jesus is portrayed as a man, but his divinity comes from God.  In Jesus, God himself is coming for a special mission. And his special mission was firstly revealed by John.

Nowadays too, Jesus has many followers, showing that Christ still has a special mission. But WHAT IS that mission?

“seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said :
« There is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world »

The mission of Jesus-Christ is to take away the sins of the world. What a Great mission that is!  We are repeating this sentence three times during mass, just before receiving Holy Communion: the body and blood of Christ. This sentence reminds us that we are sinners, but, it ALSO reminds us that Christ is stronger than our sins…. Because he takes them away!   This phrase also reminds us of our mission.

When we hear and receive such great words, they are not only for us; so good news are also for the whole world and it is OUR mission to share them.

We’ve just heard it in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah.  And as it happens every time God has something to say to his people, the people of Israel, He « puts » his words into the mouths of prophets. In this, passage we read: « It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations, so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth »

The « Light of the nations » is the Messiah announced by Isaiah, as well as Christ’s disciples – which means us -  just as we are today with our faith, our doubts, our questioning, our lives and God, of course. We are witnesses to that, and we are called to be active witnesses, bringing this good news to all mankind. Salvation, by taking away the sins of the world, comes to us every day, and today too.  It is not only our job to understand that message for ourselves. We have to do something following the Bibles’ invitation to be disciples and witnesses.

We can do it in two ways. First by drawing inner strength from our Christian reality. For the Old Testament, the aim was to restore the tribes of Jacob, weakened by successive deportations and permanent conflicts. For us, this first aim is sharing the Church’s mission to develop communion between the different churches.

The second aim meanwhile is to bring the good news to those who don’t know Christ yet, Christ, the « Light of the nations »

 How? By remembering that God loves all men, even those who don’t know him. This means that the stranger is my brother, my friend, firstly in a spiritual, general way and secondly, in a very real, concrete way, as a consequence of the spiritual meaning.

In the Asian and Taoist cultures, there are three circles in which a relationship can be defined. The first circle includes the family, parents and children, grand-parents and grand children.  The second circle is made up of close friends. The third circle is made up of those who are not in the other two circles.  It is made up of those who don’t really exist for those who are in the first and the second circles. Even though they exist for themselves just as we exist, they aren’t members of family or friends.

The Christian mission is to reveal the light of the nations to everyone. We CAN do it, because everybody is invited to accept each other, as a spiritual friend.  This really is a great challenge for us every wherever we live. Following the Bible’s invitation, it is a great challenge to our mission.  Such is God’s desire for us.  God, who by his own unique Beloved Son takes away the sins of the World. 

And for that, we have to work as witnesses of such light, for the salvation of all. We know through the Christian faith that we have received such a call to become missionaries. And we also know that people who have never heard about the genuine Love of God and about his salvation, can also be saved through his own good will and his own right conscience (St Paul and Vat II)

Christ, light of the nations, saves in such a way.  But he is waiting for us to be his good, joyful and faithful witnesses and to accept him as The Lord and Savior.       

           AMEN !