for Sunday, January 15, 2017
Jesus is our Lord! John the Baptist gives this testimony but it also reflects the testimony of the whole of Jewish Scripture, which we call our Old Testament. Jesus is God with us, Emmanuel. Jesus comes to take the burden of our sins on Himself and becomes the Paschal Lamb. All of this simply reflects the fact that God loves us and give Himself to us and for us. And we can respond: Thanks be to God.
Our first reading today comes from the Prophet Isaiah. We could think of this reading as the Lord calling for a people to serve Him. We are used to vocations as individuals. Some of us are called to be married, some single, some consecrated religious, some parish priests, some are called to work for social justice, some are called to seek out and serve the poor, and so on. In our history, however, God has called the Jewish people to play a very special and particular role in the salvation of all of us humans. The Prophet Isaiah sees that God has called the Jewish people to be messengers of salvation for all of humanity. It is through the Jewish people that light has come into the world.
The second reading is from the First Letter to the Corinthians and is about the call of Saint Paul. Here Paul tells us that he has been called to be an apostle. He also tells us that the people of Corinth are called to be holy. This holiness is about serving god just as the call of the Jewish people is to serve the Lord God.
The Gospel of Saint John speaks to us today about John the Baptist once more, but in a special way. John the Baptist is called to point to the Lord, the Messiah. Today John the Baptist is so clear: Jesus is the One that I have been proclaiming. Listen to Him.
Just as Jesus is called to fulfill the will of the Father, so also we are called to live in our personal lives the call that God has put within us. Holiness is not about doing things but about responding to God because God has called us. Jesus is also called, even as He is the one who calls. Jesus always leads us to our Father.
What we must always remember is that the path which we are called to walk is always a path of suffering. We must die to ourselves in order to live more in God and in Christ Jesus. Most of are not happy about suffering and so we often do not embrace the Lord. May this New Year help us all embrace the Lord fully and walk with Him on the way to salvation.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: