Liturgical Colour : Green
Brethren in Christ, today we heard how every reading proclaimed the glory of God in Jesus, His Son, who came down upon us, incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who walked in this earth, and who went on a blessed ministry of healing and purification of the people of God, after He was baptised in the Jordan by John the Baptist.
John the Baptist, who was also the relative of Jesus, was sent ahead of Him, to be the one who was prophesied in the first reading today, in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied that the servant of God would come, and through him, prepared for such a ministry from the womb of his mother, the Lord would be known to everyone.
And that was precisely what John the Baptist did. He was prepared for a mission for the sake of the Lord ever since he was still in his mother’s womb. John the Baptist went on to live in the desert and became a great voice that shouted in the wilderness, calling the people of God to repent and forgo their old, sinful ways. He called for the repentance of peoples and for them to mark their repentance with the baptism of water at the Jordan.
John the Baptist baptised people and they came to him, seeking forgiveness for their sins. He therefore prepared the way straight for the Lord, who came immediately after him, Jesus, the Son of Mary, his relative. And John the Baptist, despite his popularity and his following, did not succumb to the usual weakness of human pride and arrogance. Instead, he did what he was supposed to do, that is to prepare and welcome the coming of the Lord the Saviour.
He proclaimed the Lord to his own followers and to the people after he baptised Jesus and witnessed the events which confirmed to him that Jesus was indeed the One he had been waiting for, and the One indeed whom John had done all those hard work for. John did not complain or hold any grudge against the Lord, for having received all the good fruits and benefits of his hard works. Instead, he joyfully proclaimed the Lord to all.
John the Baptist, as is often said, is a role model for all of us Christians who believed in the Lord. He humbly acknowledged the superiority of the Lord, who grew in glory and majesty, while he declined in importance. Even after his own disciples complained about the fact, he told them the truth about Jesus, who He was and what great things He would do, for the salvation of all mankind.
We should follow the examples of John the Baptist, that we also be humble before the Lord, especially in full awareness of our sins and our unworthiness, despite which our Lord and God Jesus Christ still came to save us. John the Baptist showed us how to lead a Christian life. We cannot be Christians if we do not proclaim Christ in our life, be it through our words, deeds, or actions. We should be always ever ready to confess that Christ is the Lord and the Saviour, that all will also believe in Him, much as how John convinced his followers that Jesus is the Christ and the Lord.
But today, there are even many more things we should talk about, because today is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, commemorating the many millions today who are refugees away from their homeland, because of war, because of hatred and injustice, and because of prejudice and lack of love among mankind. Also commemorated today are the migrants who had gone away from their homeland to a new land, often far far away, for many reasons, most important of which are for economic reasons and also to seek peaceful life away from warfare.
As mentioned in the prophesy of Isaiah in the first reading, the coming of the Messiah was also associated with the reunion of the people of God who had been scattered throughout the world in exile. The coming of Christ was supposed to bring forth the peace and harmony, which would see that mankind no longer hate or despise one another, but instead live in harmony and love.
Yes, that is what we expect will happen, when the Lord who had come in Jesus Christ and died for our sins, comes again for the second time, when He will come as a victorious and conquering king, to bring all those who are faithful to Him into His eternal kingdom, where there will be no more hatred, divisions, or violence. Nevertheless, for us who are in this world, who still live in this world before this time, unfortunately this world is still very much in a mess.
If you follow the world news, you will realise that in many parts of the world, if not most, there are still much hatred, violence, and prejudice which existed between mankind, between one person and another, and between peoples. The world is rife with rivalry between human interests, either for land, or for more natural resources, and for many other reasons, including greed.
People were driven from their homes and their land, because violence often still ruled the day. As we all know what had happened recently in places such as Libya and Syria, especially what is still happening now in Syria, where thousands upon thousands die because of the violence there, because of the disregard for human life, and hatred for the others, that is hatred against those considered to be different to one’s group and therefore abominable.
Men fought one another and slaughter the innocent, because love has yet to take root in them, and many parts of the world if not most are still subject to this evil. And the result was pain, sorrow, and death. Many had to be driven from their homes and the land which they had inherited from their forefathers, and which they had lived in so peacefully until recently.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is love, peace, and harmony, and He has given to us His peace and His love. While we await for His second coming in glory, it is actually our part to play, in order to bring peace and love to our brethren, especially to whom peace and love had been taken away, such as our migrant and refugee brethren. They need peace, as well as our love and care. For it is often that they lost everything when they were forced off their land, and they had nothing.
Therefore brethren, let us show our faith and dedication to the Lord who loves us all and wants us to be reunited to Him, by showing our love to the refugees and migrants of this world, especially if any of them are present in our societies. Let us not follow the trend of this world, that is to shun them and cast them out of our societies, making them into a ghetto of refugees and migrants. We should instead help them, and talk to them, and then we will understand better the difficulties they had faced.
Let us then not close our hearts to the plight of the migrants and refugees, and seek to welcome them as our fellow brothers and sisters, helping them in any way we can to help alleviate their sufferings. Let us proclaim the love of God to them and to all men, following in the footsteps of John the Baptist, who proclaimed Jesus as the Lord and Messiah to all people he taught.
May we all then proclaim the Lord as our God, as one people, and seek to heal any divisions, pains, or sufferings that exist among us, that we may let go of any hatred or negative feelings, and instead embrace the way of peace, the way of the Lord. May God bring us together, as fellow brothers and sisters in the unity of God’s loving family, and may we all be blessed forever. Amen!