SECOND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
”Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers,
Do we still have true witnesses of Christ (and the faith) in our contemporary age and time? Certainly arguable.
The challenges of the 21st century seem to have unnerved many Christians, influencing them to play ”hide and seek” games with their beliefs and faith. Many have compromised their belief system on the basis of excuses. Others have adulterated the principles of their faith on the grounds of justifications.
Still, for the most part, living a double standard lifestyle seems to be an option for modern-day Christians. But our world today needs true witnesses; an obligation for every Christian.
It is at the backdrop of this that our first reading continues the ”Suffering Servant” prophecies of Isaiah. This prophecy was uttered during the Babylonian exile to encourage the Jewish exiles to persevere in their trust in Yahweh; who would soon liberate them from their situations and eventually send them the long-expected Messiah, promised to Abraham.
As Christians, regardless of difficulties heckling us, we still have to be resilient witnesses through perseverance and endurance; hoping against hope for the days of salvation. We do not have to be bashful or afraid of living the principles of our beliefs in the midst of persecutions.
Paul’s expositions in the second reading brings into focus the fulfillment of this prophecy amongst the pagans as he emphasized the purpose of the Messiah’s coming: the sanctification and the true enlightenment of all nations.
The reception of our baptismal grace has sanctified us to embolden us to stand erect to the test of time as true witnesses of Christ - the Messiah. Also, the reception of his body and blood must enlighten us to stand up in defense of our faith - the mark of a gallant witness (soldier) of Christ.
In conclusion, the gospel reading gives us a model of true witnessing as John the Baptist proves himself as Christ’s excellent and exemplary witness as he faced persecution.
His pre-eminent witnessing was affirmed through his fearless testimony and innovative style. He courageously proclaimed Jesus Christ as the ”Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John 1:29-30
By this, he anticipated Jesus’ Messianic and salvific roles. He becomes an authoritative witness who knows Jesus’ exact identity and why he came amongst men.
As Christians, in our time and age, we need to remind ourselves that we are the JOHN BAPTISTS of our milieu. We have to give authentic witnessing to Christ in every circumstance.
Our words, thoughts, actions, desires, planning, choices and decisions must reflect who (Christ) we are authentic witnesses to. This is what the modern world needs from us as Christians. Be a true witness of your faith, but not your fate! Make Christ known to the world.
Let's join the Psalmist to say with confidence, ”Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” Ps 40:8-9
Let's meet in church. Stay safe on the roads and stay warm.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.