By: Father Boby John, C.S.C. on January 3rd, 2023
A Simple Act of Faith Inspires – Family Reflection Video
“What does God look like?” asked Johnny in Sunday school. By now, the catechist knew the precocious boy for his unusual questions and thought it was time to make him search for his answers. So she replied, "Why don't you open your heart to everyone? Perhaps you will also catch a glimpse of God today?”
As he walked from the church through the park that Sunday morning, his groaning tummy begged him to sit on the nearest bench. An elderly woman, calmly seated on its other end, smiled at him as he pulled out his snacks from his knapsack. The boy smiled back; they talked, broke his sandwich, and offered her the other half.
When Johnny reached home, his mom asked, as usual: “What did you learn in catechism class today?” the son exclaimed: “Oh, what a friendly smile and Voice God has! I did not expect Him to be a woman like you….” At another home, an elderly lady walked in as a family gathered at the table for a noon meal. “So, grandma,” asked the smallest child, “How was your stroll in the park?” She exclaimed, “Oh, I had a delicious morning snack with God. I did not expect Him to be as young as you….”
“Where else can God be known more surely than in the Temple?” asked the high priest as they wondered at how many Jews were leaving Jerusalem to hear a bizarre hermit preach and baptize by the Jordan. They sent Mosaic Law experts to question him about being the Messiah.
"I'm not," said the baptizer. "He who has been promised of old has already come, was his answer. If despite your erudite minds, your eyes fail to recognize Him, it is time to open your hearts!” John remained faithful to the truth of his identity as the "voice in the wilderness", not the Messiah, and his mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah. As a witness to the Messiah, he never wavered from being that Voice in the wilderness.
Saint Augustine contrasts John's role with Jesus' by emphasizing his humility:
"John is the Voice, but Jesus is the Word from the beginning. John is the Voice that lasts for a time, but Christ from the beginning is the Word who lives forever. Take away the Word, the meaning, and what is the Voice? The Voice without the Word is empty; it reaches the ear but does not strengthen the heart. When you hear the Word, does the Voice not seem to say: The Word must grow, and I must diminish? The sound of the Voice was heard in the service of the Word and has gone away, as though it were saying: ‘My joy is complete. Hold on to the Word; not lose the Word conceived inwardly in our hearts.'”
The readings today are a call to witness and to give testimony like John's. To inspire people or proclaim your faith doesn't take much. Powerful even when silent. A smile, a little conversation, a little sharing like the boy and woman at the park. A simple act of faith inspires. A sincere sign of the cross can awaken an awareness of God and a sensitivity to the Divine.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's short literary classic, The Little Prince, said, "only with the heart does one see a right." At Christmas, we celebrated the 'One among us - yet unknown to us' (John 1:26), who reveals himself to us in unlikely places and times. Only a compassionate heart recognizes Emmanuel, the lamb of God, the God hidden among us.
- Father Boby's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
- To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live, please visit our Facebook page at 11:30 am EDT, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
About Father Boby John, C.S.C.
Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.