Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)
Brethren, today we heard again about the one who was to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming, on the coming of St. John the Baptist, the messenger and proclaimer of the coming of God’s kingdom, as its herald. And as we approach Christmas, we come together again to remember what Christmas is truly about. Again I would like to reiterate that Christmas is really about Christ.
In Christmas we are all called to remember again what our faith is truly about, and what Christ had done for us, for the sake of all of us in this world, past, present, and the future. Christ the divine made Himself incarnate into humble man, and that was the true essence of Christmas and the true essence of our faith. For we are all Christians, and with Christ as part of our name, He is inseparable from all the aspects of our faith, as well as our lives.
St. John the Baptist, whose birth was told in the Gospel we read today, is the messenger of God proclaiming the coming of God’s salvation upon mankind. He proclaimed the coming of Jesus our Lord, who came as the Son of Man, born of the Virgin. Yet, despite his proclamations, his revelations, his hard and pious works, as well as the prophecies proclaimed by the numerous prophets of bygone ages, many refused to believe when the Lord came into this world in order to save it.
Just an example, when the Lord Himself was about to be born in Bethlehem, the City of David, how many inns must be there in that city, and yet none of them offered space for the Lord of all creations, who came in the form of the baby of a carpenter. Poor as he looked like, His was the kingdom of the entire universe, destined to be His, as the king of kings.
Yet, rejected Jesus was, and He had no other place to lay His head on, other than an animal’s stable, to be born among the animals in a small and dirty place not fit for human habitation. And yet, there He was born, and the Saviour of this world came. The prophecies of the past, and the calls of the prophets were fulfilled in perfection, and redemption finally came unto the world. And yet, He was rejected and cast out.
Many hardened their hearts against the Lord, just as their ancestors once hardened their hearts against Him during their journey in the desert. They constantly complained about the hardships they went through as they walked through the deserts of Sinai. The same too happened to them, and to us, brothers and sisters!
For this life, this life of ours as we journeyed through this world, is also a desert. And we are all walking this same journey, towards the Lord and His eternal glory, just as the people of Israel once marched through the desert towards the Promised Land of Canaan. Yet we, just like the Israelites, complained that life was easier back in the place of our slavery. The slavery of Israel in Egypt, and for us all, the slavery under sin and the power of death.
We may profess the Lord and profess our faith in Him, but in our dealings and our actions in this world, we actually prefer to deal with the forces of this world, with Satan! Yes, Satan instead of the Lord. We are often no different from those innkeepers who rejected the Lord in Bethlehem, and we are often like those Pharisees and Sadducees who mocked and ridiculed John the Baptist, as well as Lord Jesus Himself throughout their respective ministries.
Today, we celebrate the life of a saint, that is St. John of Kanty, who was a Polish priest living at the time of the early Renaissance Europe. St. John of Kanty was a devoted man, totally devoted to the Lord in great and deep humility and spirituality, and showing his dedication through his actions, by his teachings and his charitable works in the society where he worked at.
St. John of Kanty was also known for his great intellect and learning, and he established many works of faith in his writings, helping many to find their way to the Lord. He truly practiced his faith, and did not let the evils of this world to affect him. To him, only the Lord truly matters, and only the Lord deserved full and undivided attention.
It is often that we all are distracted by the numerous, and indeed, increasingly more and more numerous tempting offers from this world. Yes, all the goods and the amenities, the pleasures and joys that this world can give. What better example can be given than what we experience every Christmas? With evert gadgets and items, all the sales and discounted sales, all the advertisements and promotions. All these merely fuel our distractions, that indeed, Christmas is often no longer Christ-centred. And sadly, it is often that our lives too, as Christians, are also no longer Christ-centred.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we honour St. John of Kanty today, are we able to follow in his footsteps? In committing ourselves wholly and without reservations to the Lord? Are we able to say no to the distractions of this world, and stay truly faithful to God who came to us to save us? Remember that, He loved us so much that He gave us Jesus His own Son, that we may have life and new hope through Him.
May the Lord therefore renew and strengthen our faith, that we too may walk the same path and act in the same way as St. John of Kanty had done. May He guide us on our way, that we will be able to remain faithful to Him and stay on His paths. God bless us all. Amen.