A HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 1/19/14 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum!
Most likely, very few of us have had the opportunity or the necessity of testifying at a trial. We know about it. We’ve all seen it in the movies and on TV. But to actually take the witness stand, to place our hand on a Bible and promise to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, to have a personal accountability to speak and bear witness to the truth for the sake of justice, that’s not an experience that too many of us have had before. Sure, we’ve all seen movies like My Cousin Vinny and A Few Good Men, and TV shows like Law and Order and CSI and Criminal Minds. But watching someone give witness is NOT the same as actually giving witness yourself. Testifying to the truth is a serious business. It brings with it a great responsibility.
St. John the Baptist had a great sense of responsibility to testify to the truth. We can only imagine how important it must have been for Jesus’ cousin, to get it right! The courage that St. John the Baptist had! And believe me, it takes courage to testify. St. John the Baptist testified with every ounce of his being to the coming of Jesus Christ. He used his life to clearly point to Jesus as the Messiah, and then did everything that he could to get out of the way! John knew that he wasn’t the Messiah. And in the first days of Jesus’ ministry, following His Baptism, this was a real issue for the people of God. Many had followed John the Baptist. In our Gospel today, John himself makes it perfectly clear that Jesus is the Lamb of God, and that all of us, should be following Him!
The Gospel today doesn’t tell us who the Baptist is addressing when he is giving his testimony about Jesus. Maybe that’s because he is talking to all of us! John begins by telling us that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The image of “lamb” here was a very important, very rich image for the Jewish people. It reminded the people of the paschal lamb that was sacrificed at Passover, and that became the main part of the Passover Dinner, when the Jewish people celebrated their liberation from slavery and their special covenant with God. It, of course, also refers to the servant of God that Isaiah wrote about who was led like a lamb to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers in his passion. Both of these images, these concepts, point directly to Jesus! He is our salvation. He is our Savior!
Before we can testify to this, each one of us needs to have some deep sense of what this means. We could talk for days about this, but the main point is that the only hope that we have to have our sins washed away, can only be found in Jesus Christ. Jesus is offering each one of us something that no one else can offer us today. Wal-Mart can’t do it. And CNN can’t do it. And Katy Perry can’t do it. Our salvation can only come from Jesus Christ! That’s incredible news, by the way. And now, like St. John the Baptist, we must bear witness to this same Jesus Christ that he did! Now is our time to testify! We need to be bringing Him to others, and showing Him to others, and leading others to Him! Are we? Are we testifying to Jesus Christ, or are we testifying to ourselves? Sometimes, we can be better at testifying to the Colts, or our favorite basketball team, or to our favorite Rock Group, than what we are to the Lord!
Think of the people who have shown you Jesus in your lifetime. Our parents, our grandparents, our teachers, the priests, and sisters, and deacons, our godparents, there have been so many faithful witness to Jesus Christ. Who are we doing that for? We need to lead one another to Christ by our testimonies and witness.
So today, we pray to be good witness. May we testify to Jesus and to His truth with every part, every aspect of our lives. We don’t need to use words. We don’t need to get preachy. All we need to do is live out our Faith. May the Sacraments give us the strength and courage to do that!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!