10 Dec 2016: The Immortal Hunger

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Saturday, 2nd Week of Advent

Reading 1. Sir. 48:1-4, 9-11; Ps 80:2-19; Gospel. Mt. 17:9A, 10-13

The need to be recognized is a hunger that is deep within the heart of every human being. It is a hunger which never dies rather it only deepens through life. The physical hunger dies when something is fed to the stomach, whereas the more you feed the hunger for recognition the more it increases. The hunger of recognition begins with the identity crisis. If a person’s identity is not clear, he finds himself confused and ignored by others which hurt the person. This crisis of one’s own identity leads one to the next stage that is the denial of his/her neighbour’s identity. This makes it difficult to accept the other as they are. It is always a mutual experience: the moment you realize that you are not recognised you fail to recognize the ‘other’. Sometimes that ‘other’ could be the one who has come to help you realize your own identity and make you recognised. In today’s gospel we very precisely see this identity crisis on the part of people of Israel and the rejection of the prophets and Messiah Himself.

Permit me now to pose few questions;

First, If John the Baptist or Jesus Himself were to come to this world and tell that the Messiah has come, what would be our reaction? Basing on the rationality and the spiritual knowledge that we have surely we would not believe that Messiah has come.

Secondly who do you think is Pope Francis is? Is he not John the Baptist or Elijah who is preparing the way for Messiah? Once again it’s our spiritual blindness that will prevent us from seeing the reality in that perspective.

In today’s gospel we see Jesus telling that Elijah has already come and that he was not recognised, by that he should have meant the spirit of Elijah in John the Baptist. And today we are invited to see the same spirit of Elijah in Pope Francis.

This recognition would surely become impossible if there is an identity crisis within us. In today’s world this failing in recognition has become so much  part of our life that we very naturally fail to see the goodness in people close to us  and we start criticising  each other even to the extent of destroying one’s reputation, which term- character assassination. Thus today’s gospel is inviting us for self-realization by identifying ourselves with Christ, through which we will be able to accept ourselves as we are and accept others as they are, and thus we can satiate the ever present hunger, the hunger of recognition.

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