Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)*
The most common song on the lips of many in our society today is: “this country is hard; things are difficult, our leaders are not doing well, there is corruption everywhere, this and that, and so on.” When anyone is caught doing evil, the first thing you hear is “the country is hard.” We fail to realize that the so-called hardness of the country is nothing more than the hardness of our hearts – our refusal to live righteously.
I saw a comedy skit where a man deliberately dropped his phone while asking passers-by for directions. When he came back to ask for the phone, they denied picking up the phone not knowing there was a cameraman recording them. He said nothing and walked away only for him to turn on the shock in the phone and the same person who denied seeing any phone dropped it and ran away.
The country is hard. Yes, but every one of us is contributing to the hardness of this country. We may point fingers at our leaders but the fact is that these leaders do not come from another planet, they are humans like us who would steal someone’s phone and deny seeing it within seconds. If given the opportunity, some of us would do worse than those currently in power and still blame it on poverty.
A lot of us today have become slaves to the world, slaves to our desires, and slaves to money. We listen to God’s word on a daily basis but somehow, we don’t believe it is even possible to live a righteous life. We have become conditioned by our world. How do we escape from this bondage of slavery? St. John provides an answer in today’s first reading. He says “anyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world.” What does this mean?
To believe in Jesus goes beyond singing and dancing to worship songs. It goes beyond reciting the “I-believe-in-God prayer.” To believe in Jesus is to welcome Jesus into your heart and allow Him to affect your daily choices. To believe in Jesus is to make Him your topmost priority; consulting Him every step of the way. To believe in Jesus is to rise above the corrupt standards of the world such that regardless of any amount mentioned, you dare not do anything that Jesus Himself would not be happy with.
John the Baptist had not seen Jesus yet but he already believed so much that he literally separated himself from society. He wore Carmel’s hair and fed on locusts and wild honey. Like John the Baptist, our faith should separate us from the world. We should be people of truth, honesty, purity of heart, integrity, kindness, and so on. Rather than compete for money, we should compete for practical holiness.
John the Baptist’s prophecy came to pass when Jesus eventually came to be baptised. He saw the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. He heard the voice from heaven: “You are my Beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.” There is a reward for righteousness. There is a reward for separating oneself from the rest of the world.
Rise above the world; do not be conditioned by it. Yes, we all are victims of poverty, we are all struggling to survive harsh conditions but it doesn’t mean we can be bought. Be that person who would not move even if he or she was offered all the money in the world. Let your faith in Jesus go beyond lips service.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, deepen my faith in you, and may my faith become translated into my daily actions. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 John 5:5-13, Ps. 147:12-15,19-20, Mark 1:6-11).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu