Homily – November 29, 2020

The Jewish people waited for centuries for their promised Messiah, their savior who would restore the Jewish nation to its past glory and Jerusalem would become the centre of the religious life of all nations. At times the prophets could use impressive descriptions of this longed for event. Isaiah pleas that God would tear opens the heavens and come down, the mountains would quake at such an event.

The promised Messiah would be a liberator. The Maccabee brothers have freed the Jews from the Greek occupation but then the Jewish political leaders made a pact with the Romans, trading their independence for Roman’s protection, a protection that became very oppressive. Again the notion that the Messiah would a liberator, a deliverer from oppression became part of the people’s imagination. The people had great expectations of their Messiah.

When Jesus came He was born in poverty in Bethlehem, raised in a little unknown town of Nazareth, trained as a carpenter, a no body. He died a disgraceful death as a common criminal. Death by crucifixion.

Those who followed Jesus and stayed faithful to him believed Jesus to be the Messiah, not the one who would deliver them from the oppression of a foreign power but the one who delivered them from sin and their estrangement from God. Jesus made our peace with God thru his blood on the cross.

The first followers of Jesus eagerly awaited the fulfillment of his promise, ’I shall return to take you with me so that where I am you may be too. We are still waiting. Maybe we expect him to come to us in a moment of prayer or in the practice of a favorite devotion. We look for him as he tears opens the heavens and come into our life blessing us with an intense awareness of his presence. Don’t hold your breathe.

Jesus, our savior, our messiah intrudes into our lives in every person who comes into our lives; the home-bound who long for a phone call. Jesus is that person who wants us to listen as they tell us about their aches and pains, or the person that wants to share with us their personal secret pains. Jesus is that man or woman who makes us face our bigotry or innate racism. Jesus is that homeless person, the street person, the man or woman looking for an ‘out of the cold’ place to spend the night.

All these men and women can be our Messiahs, our liberators, sent to free us from our mindsets of exclusion, bigotry, racism, homophobia, mindsets that hold us back from seeing the good, the bravery, the generosity of other people. They can liberate us to be true followers of our Messiah who liberated each of us and brought us into the family of the church.