Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 1-3-23

For the Christmas Weekday, Tuesday, 1-3-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading 1 Jn 2:29-3-6; Ps 98:1-, 3c-4,5-6; Gospel Jn 1:29-34
Option Memorial: The Most Holy Name of Jesus
Theme: Children of God

We, humans, are connected to each other. We are meant to be together, to belong with each other, and to be in service to each other. This connection is best defined in our families, which give us our sense of belonging, of being cared for, and needed. In God’s infinite wisdom, He designed our human relationships this way to be the best representation of His family.

This past Friday we celebrated The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. It is a family made up of parents who share a child together, one in blood and one in adoption. In a way, this example of Jesus being adopted by Joseph within The Holy Family, is a model for all of us as adopted sons and daughters of God our Father.

As Joseph is the adoptive father of Jesus through the Spirit, so God is the adoptive Father of all of us through the Spirit in our baptism. Jesus had His earthly family with Mary and Joseph and His heavenly family with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Similarly, we too have our earthly family with our parents and siblings and our heavenly family with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is ordained in heaven is re-created on Earth through God’s will. What beauty there is within a family of love.

Without The Holy Family, there would not be a Savior of the world. This is one of the reasons why the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They believed that the Messiah would come as a great king and leader, as Elijah returned, or a great prophet like Moses. In their eyes, the Messiah would never be an infant baby belonging to a common family with an adoptive father.

John the Baptist admits that his ministry was to be the one crying out in the desert to announce the coming of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” He was to be a witness to the truth of who Jesus was, and that God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, His heavenly family, revealed this to Him.

400 years later, St. Bernardine of Siena would resound that same announcement of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin world” by inscribing IHS on the doors of all within his town. The inscription, HIS, is the first three letters in Greek of “The Most Holy Name of Jesus.” St. Bernardine created a family of people who, united with their earthly family and that of Jesus’s Holy Family, would stand firm against any evil by their profession of faith in Jesus through this outward display of His name.

 May we, too, invoke The Most Holy Name of Jesus and call The Holy Family to our side to guard and protect us as their adopted sons and daughters.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL