There are three homily notes here. May the Lord bless his word in our hearts as you read.
Fr . Daniel Evbotokhai
📢 In the first reading Isaiah said “I am your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel”. In the gospel Christ practically redeemed the image of John the Baptist. For the Pharisee John has a demon but for Christ ” truly I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Beloved, if go about with what men and women say about you, you will be frustrated. The most important thing is what Christ is saying about you.
On the other hand Christ said “And yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he was.” The dignity conferred on us by baptism is a challenge to live up to. God bless his word in our hearts.
Fr. Dennis ADIGWE
“…the kingdom of God has suffered violence,and men of violence take it by force”(Mat11:12)This is one of the passages in the scripture that has formed the bases for justifying some religious actions. However,Jesus is not calling us to mirror violence with violence or to acquiesce when being attacked. Friends,Jesus is introducing a new form of violence. Through His beatitudes we find another weapon that addresses the violence of earthly kingdoms. That is the new kingdom we are called to live,that has placed us higher than John the Baptist, a kingdom that mirrors violence with love.
Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Love is Perfect in Heaven
In the gospel reading of yesterday, Jesus invited us to himself for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. In our reflection, we saw that the yoke and burden of Christ are the persecutions we encounter on account of the faith we profess. Persecutions are temptations to abandon our Christian faith. When we resist, we are expressing our desire to remain with the Lord. Every effort we make to do God’s will is an act of love.
John Baptist is a very good example. The gospel reading of today says that he is the greatest of all those born of women. The source of John’s greatness was his love for God which manifested in the great sufferings he endured. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was a prophet, he preached God’s word boldly, he was holy, he was prayerful, he fasted a lot and when he was not fasting, he ate only locusts and wild honey. Finally, he experienced martyrdom. What a great sign of love!
Yet, John cannot stand the least in the kingdom of heaven. Who is this least, and what greater things could he/she had done than John? Well, the greatness of the least of the kingdom of heaven is not on account of what the person had done but where the person is. The person is greater than John the Baptist simply because the person is in heaven. Invariably, Jesus was figuratively saying that love will be perfected in heaven. So, for John who has loved so much, he will reap the perfection of this love when he comes to behold the beatific vision.
The kingdom of God suffers violence because without showing great love by enduring persecution, we will not be making our way towards it. God desires the salvations of all but then heaven is not an all-comers affairs. To belong to heaven, we must first love like John the Baptist.
What does this mean for us? It means that the greatest reward for repentance is heaven. The reward of repentance is not a life that is free of troubles and difficulties. It is not irreconcilable for a Christian to suffer but it is irreconcilable for a Christian to miss heaven.
Therefore, as advent continues to invite us to return to the Lord, it is also inviting us to enter heaven. It is the ultimate desire for heaven that will help strengthen the resolutions we make at advent. The goal is not Christmas but heaven. So after advent, we will not return to our sins but continue to aspire towards that state of true greatness. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Never stop expecting the Lord. God Bless You!