Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how John, messenger of God and baptiser of the people proclaimed the Messiah and professed his faith to God and commitment to his vocation in front of the public and in front of the Pharisees and those sent by the chief priests to question him. The latter ones did not believe in John and tried what they could to discredit him and rein him in in his works.
They questioned him and his actions, for they failed to see in John the works of God, which He had revealed through John and what he had done. John called for the people of God still dwelling in the darkness to return to the Light of Christ. He had been sent as the messenger of God to preach to the stubborn men, dwelling in their state of sin, so that they might repent and be ready for the coming of the Lord.
He paved the way for Christ, and he is a role model for all of us in his dedication and humility. For he was famous and popular, flocks and throngs of people came to him to be baptised and countless more peoples listened to his words and urgings for their repentance. He could have seized all the glory to himself and received great praise and fame for that action, but he did not.
Instead, he assumed the attitude of a servant and a follower to the will of God. He did the works as was given to him from the time when he was conceived in his mother’s womb. He dedicated his whole life to the Lord, that through him the works of the Messiah would be made easier and as the extension of the reach of God’s love for His people.
In the first reading God also warned us through the other John, His Apostle, to be vigilant and careful against the devil who will try to seduce us and lead us astray by sweet lies and false promises, through the false prophets and the antichrists. If Christ the Saviour of all brought with Him the real promise of eternal life and eternal joy, then the antichrists are His antithesis, bringing us instead temporary joy and a false life, one that will likely end in death, and not just any death, but eternal death.
That is why God sent forth His servants and messengers, for the sole purpose of the guidance of all of us His people, so that amidst the darkness in the world, amidst the temptations, and all the distractions of the world, we may rediscover our focus, that should be on the Lord. There are too much noise and distractions in this world, and it is important for us to shut them out, so that we will not be distracted.
We have to remain focused on the Lord, His ways and teachings so that we may be delivered from the confusion caused by Satan and be freed from the bonds of sin he had imposed on us. And that is why those teachers of the Faith are so precious to us, as they help us to find our way as we progress on in our lives. And today we celebrate the feast of two of such teachers and saints, namely St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen.
St. Basil the Great was the bishop of Caesarea, during the time after the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea having affirmed the orthodox and standard teachings of the Faith. He was a well known theologian who defended the true faith against the perversions of heresies such as the Arian heresy that rejected the divinity of Christ, as well as many other syncretic and heterodox practices that compromises on the true faith.
He also cared greatly for the poor and the weak, the downtrodden and the unloved, practicing the faith he professed through his own actions and deeds. He did not let those who have been lost to the darkness through heresy to remain lost, and he did what he could, to bring them back to the Light. He worked together with many other saints of his time, and he worked hard to resist and fight the forces of heresy that was taking deep roots among the faithful at the time.
Meanwhile, St. Gregory Nazianzen was a contemporary of St. Basil the Great who was the Archbishop of Constantinople and also a great theologian who fought against the heresies of the faith and also teaching the true faith to many, keeping them on the right track against the lies of the devil. Together with his contemporaries, with St. Basil the Great and the other saints and great theologians, they worked hard to keep the truth of Christ alive amidst the forces of darkness that surround them.
From these holy men and devoted servants of God we can learn what we need to do, as what they have done is not just limited to them. We too are required to help one another to keep each other in the faith, and so that none would be lost to the darkness. Let us therefore follow in the examples of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, so that we may help keep each other in the grace of God.
May Almighty God bless us all and grant us the wisdom to discern the falsehoods of Satan, all of his lies so that we may find our way to our loving God and Father. God bless us all. Amen.
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