January 15, 2017
2nd Sun Ord Time
Sun 8 & 10 am
Isaiah 49 3, 5-6; 1 Cor 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
The Season of Christmas ended last Monday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. On Tuesday we began Ordinary Time for this Liturgical Year. Unlike Advent & Christmas or Lent & Easter which focus on a particular aspect of Christ, Ordinary Time throughout the year does not focus on 1 aspect but reveals the full mystery of Jesus…So what is the first thing the Church wants us to know as she begins to reveal the full mystery of Christ to us this Liturgical Year?
As always, for the answer we look to the readings. Our first reading is from Isaiah Chapter 49 which is 1 of 4 poems or “servant songs” that describe the mission of an unnamed “servant of the Lord”. This unnamed servant is God’s obedient instrument in bringing the people back to Him. The scripture said, “The Lord has spoken who formed me as His servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to Him and Israel gathered to Him.” Now there is debate whether Isaiah was talking about an individual or a community of people. But it is believed that he is talking about both: an individual servant and a servant people. This individual and this community were to be an ideal model of faith that truly served God, called from the womb or the beginning, whose mission it was to reveal God to the world and to be a light to the nations.
First let’s start out with the individual person who is this servant. In the Gospel it is revealed to us who this individual is: it is Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Lamb of God. Christ from the Greek means the “Anointed One”, who humbled Himself and came as Servant to reveal the Father to the world. The Gospel said the Spirit came down from heaven like a dove upon Him and remained upon Him. We celebrated His coming on Christmas a few weeks ago and on the Epiphany last Sunday when He was revealed to the nations. Jesus accepted the mission of making the Father known to the world, He accepted the will of the Father. It was of He who Isaiah prophesied, “You are my servant through whom I show my glory.”…Also important is the revelation that we are baptized into Christ, we are anointed by the Spirit also. In Baptism the Spirit comes down upon us like a dove and remains upon us if we allow it to. And like Jesus we are given the mission to live as servants of God to reveal the Father to the world. The Father wants to show His glory through us. But do we choose to accept this mission? Do we even know we have been given a mission? Do we choose in our daily lives to make the Father known and to allow the Father to show His glory through us?
Jesus’ main goal and purpose was to make the love of the Father known to all people. What is our main goal in life? What is our priority? Sure we all have goals and dreams in life. There is nothing wrong with that. We all want to be happy, we want good jobs to provide for ourselves and for our families, we want a nice home with nice things, we want good friends and good health, and on and on. But as Catholic Christians, baptized into Christ, our main goal in life, our top priority, above everything else, should be to make Jesus known to all the world by word and by deed (by our words and actions). This is our calling as servants united to Christ who came to be servant of the Father…As John the Baptist in the Gospel did not take any credit for himself but pointed to Christ, we too are to point to Christ Jesus by the way we live our lives…In the 2nd reading St. Paul tells the Church at Corinth and he tells us, “You have ben sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.” In other words, in Baptism we were made holy, filled with the Holy One, set apart for a special purpose, a special mission as priest, prophet and king in Christ. We are supposed to be set apart from the world, we are supposed to be different from those who are not yet in Christ. By the way we live our lives can people tell we are Catholic Christians? At home, at work, out in the world, can they tell that there is something different about us? Or do we just blend in with everyone else? As individuals which we heard about in Isaiah, as servants of God, as models of faith, we are called to make Jesus known to the world by being different, by being set apart by being holy. That is the mission given to each of us through Baptism.
Now let’s look at a servant people, a community of people, whose mission it is to reveal God to the world, to be a light to the nations. In his time Isaiah was speaking about the nation of Israel but the Church sees this prophecy fulfilled in itself. The Church, with Christ as its head, a community of believers, a servant people, is to be a model of faith whose mission it is to bring all people to God and into His Kingdom. Like the individual, the Church is called to be holy. And like the individual the Church is not perfect because it consists of imperfect people but it is made holy by the Holy One. The Church is to be separate from the ideals of the world, set apart, different than world no matter what modern thinking says, but standing firm in the Law and teachings of God…This is the universal Church with the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. But we look at our own community (or the visitors’ parish) as part of the Universal Church. Here at Resurrection our main mission as the servant people of God is to bring all to Christ, to make disciples, to make God known through our words and our deeds, through compassion and mercy, through service by the grateful sharing of our time, talent and treasure as a model of faith. We here at Resurrection are to be a light to the nations, to draw all to the knowledge of God’s love and salvation. We do this by our daily and weekly participation within the community. But one huge way we will be a light to the nations as community is the building of our new church. (Soon) The walls will go up and the tower will be raised high in the sky and will be lit for all to see from every direction. Our new church will draw attention to God and to His Church. It will be a permanent and constant invitation open to all people. And once the people accept the invitation to step inside, the beauty and the sacredness will no doubt draw them closer to Christ. The beauty of the new Church will draw them in but the beauty of the community of believers will keep them coming back…But to do this we cannot do it alone or with just a small percentage of the community. Even St. Paul needed help. In the 2nd reading he mentions Sosthenes who was with him. We know he had others working with him in ministry: Luke, Mark, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Silvanus, Aquila and his wife Priscilla to name just a few. To be a light to the nations as a community of believers we need each and every member to participate. It cannot be done alone. It has to be every individual in this parish and every family to come together as 1 community of believers drawing all people to God and His Kingdom by the sharing of our gifts: our time, our talents and our treasure.
So, in closing and to summarize, the first thing the Church wants us to know as she begins to reveal the full mystery of Christ to us at the beginning of this not-so Ordinary Time is that Jesus is the Servant and Lamb of God who came into the world to make the Father known and we as individuals and as community are called to be an ideal model of faith imitating Jesus, living in holiness separate from the ideals of the world, whose mission it is to reveal Christ to all, to be a light to the nations. The Father wants to show His glory through us as individuals and as community. Will we choose on a daily basis to accept this mission as our top priority and purpose?