Sisters and Brothers! We are here not as scientists but as people of faith. A parishioner of ours, whom we have buried recently, in her final years when speaking about her approaching death, kept saying: I will go when God calls me to himself. Her belief captures what people of faith treasure. We don’t live in a vacuum. We live in the world which is filled with the presence of God. He speaks to us constantly even if we don’t get what he says. Does it sound strange? Have a chat to a mother who talks to a newborn baby then. Is it weird what she does? After all, the child doesn’t understand her words. But it is not weird at all. She is not lecturing the baby; she is communicating her love and care for the child. It is what God does for us. What would be a point of knowing all the secrets of the Universe without knowing that we are loved? We are loved indeed by God. That’s the greatest discovery anyone can make. It will not get you the Noble Prize but it will make you say after the Prophet Isaiah: ‘I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.’ We say that because as St Paul wrote in the Bible: nothing and no one EVER ‘will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
That was the Good News which John the Baptist announced. In the Gospel reading we heard that ‘He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light.’ The light John came to speak for is Jesus Christ. In him you will discover how much God loves you.
God in his goodness has given to this beautiful planet of ours, which we call Earth, which we call our home, the Sun. Once the Sun dies our Earth will die too. The light coming from the Sun sustains and nurtures all life on Earth. God in his goodness has given to us his Son Jesus Christ who died out of love for us. When he died even the Sun grew dark. Not out of sorrow for the crucified God but because the light of Divine Love emanating from the Cross made the light of the Sun bleak. The Sun will expire at some stage but God’s love made visible in Jesus Christ will never expire. God will always speak to us like a mother speaks to her baby. Not to reason or lecture but to communicate love.
Isaiah, as we could hear in our First Reading, said of himself: ‘The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor.’ Isaiah was convinced that he had a mission because God told him to do so. When centuries later the Son of God, Jesus Christ, stood up in the Synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth he read the same words and he applied them to himself. Was Jesus lacking originality by copying words of an ancient prophet? Not at all. He took upon himself that mission of which Isaiah spoke because the mission wasn’t finished yet. There were, and there are still, people who live in darkness because they don’t know that they are loved by God. The poorest of the poor is the person who lives without enjoying God’s love.
Jesus came not only to tell them about that but to love them in their darkness. St Eugene de Mazenod with who we live this Advent season, at the very beginning of his ministry as a priest, chose the words: ‘He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor’ as his motto. When he founded a community of Missionaries he gave them this motto too. When he became a bishop the words appeared on his Coat of Arms. ‘He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor’ doesn’t simply identify the aim of the ministry but reveals that God has spoken and that those who have heard it, like Isaiah, John the Baptist, St Eugene or you and me, want to give their voice, their whole life so that people living in darkness of unbelief could find light.
We have just buried a fellow Catholic who did it splendidly. We now pray for more people who will let others know that we live in the Space which isn’t silent but filled with God who while gazing upon us keeps saying: I love you.