|SUNDAY HOMILIES FOR YEAR B|
|By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp|
|Homily for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time|
Letting God Find Us
|Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11||2 Peter 3:8-15||Mark 1:1-8|
A school principal called the house of one of his teachers to find out why he was not in school. He was greeted by a small child who whisper: “Hello?”
“Is your Daddy home?” asked the principal.
It would be pretty hard for the “rescuers” to find this child as long as the child keeps hiding from them. In today’s gospel we see John the Baptist in the desert calling out to the people of Judea to come out into the open desert and let God find them. You can liken it to the fireman calling out to the ”lost” child. The child has to leave his hiding place and come out into the open for the fireman to find him.
To go into the desert is to leave behind the normal props of life on which we tend to depend. Such life props we often find in our job, in relationships and in routine religious practices. God cannot do much with us as long as we hope and trust in these things as the first things that give meaning to our lives. When the heart is full no one can come into it, not even God. You have first to let go of what your heart is holding on to before you can embrace God. This letting go is symbolized by a journey into the barren desert.
In the Bible the desert has come to mean a place of encounter with God. It was in the desert that the people of Israel met God and learnt the ways of God. There they became God’s own people and the Lord became their God. But first they had to give up all the things that make for the good life that they were enjoying in Egypt: “the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Numbers 11:5). Jesus, before beginning his public ministry, spent forty days and nights in the desert. It was a time of discovering and deepening his personal relationship with God. By calling the people into the desert John was calling them to let go of their false hopes and securities and learn to hope and trust in God alone.
John lived what he preached. By his lifestyle, his dressing and eating habits, he showed that the meaning of life is not to be found in the abundance of material possessions but in relationship with God. Simplicity of life and detachment from unnecessary cares and worries of social life frees the heart for a personal relationship with God. To go into the desert is the first step in true repentance. It means abandoning our usual hiding places and putting ourselves in a situation where God can easily reach us. It is the levelling of those hills and the filling of those valleys that make it difficult for God to reach us and save us.
In the season of advent the church extends to us the call of John the Baptist to repent and confess our sins in preparation for the One who is to come. It is an opportunity to rediscover our total dependence on God. God has made us for Himself, as St Augustine discovered, and our hearts are restless till they rest in God. When we realize this and make room for God in our lives, then we are on the way to true repentance after the example of John the Baptist.
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