Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Light to the Nations

January 16, 2011
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time A
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

For now 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; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:5-6

I waited, waited for the LORD; who bent down and heard my cry, And put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and they shall trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:2,4

John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God." John 1:32-34

God loved us in our mother’s womb. He called us before we ever knew the meaning of his love for us. He gives us our vocation to be the presence of his son in all that we do. He gives us freedom to respond to Jesus and thus Jesus has become our strength. John the Baptist is servant of God from his womb. We have the love of God on our hearts from the day of our Baptism. We are able to recognize the Christ of the hearts of our friends by their love. We are called to look beyond our friends and to love our enemies just as much. It is a wonderful moment of our piety when we are able to say to a friend; “The Christ of my heart recognizes the Christ of your heart. Our piety makes us a light of Christ to the nations. How wonderful it is to get beyond appearances by recognizing the Christ in the love of our enemies. The salvation of Christ reaches to the ends of the earth through our responding to our calls to be Christ for one another. What I do for the least ones of my life is a good measure of how much love for Christ is in the love I have for my friends. Christ takes what we do for the least ones of our life as what we do for him.

Our piety teaches us how to be responsive to the commands of Christ. Our love for Christ calls us to be obedient to his commands. Our calling on the name of the Lord sanctifies us and opens us to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace comes to us through Christ from God the Father. Our study opens us up to God’s way of doing things. We are children of God by our study of the ways of Christ. The more contact we have with Christ in our prayer, the more we strive to be like him in all that we do. Prayer awakens us to our need to love even as Christ has loved us. We study how to give ourselves to the problems of our world. It is not enough that we be local in our outreach. We must reach to the ends of the world with the love of Christ in our hearts.

John pointed out Christ to the world. The baby John jumped in the womb of his mother at the presence of the baby Christ in Mary. What he did in the womb would be his vocation from God. John saw the Spirit come down on Jesus and recognized Christ for who he was. We have been given Christ by our baptisms. Christ lives in our hearts and Christ is freed to the world when we love one another. We are greater than John because Christ lives in our love for one another. John testified to Christ by pointing him out to his disciples. We testify about Christ by the goodness of our lives. The love we have for one another opens us up to the love of Christ in our world. We empower each other to do the best we can when we compliment the good each is doing. We become part of the work of Christ in others when our encouragement makes it possible for another to go beyond the limits of common sense to make Christ present in our world. When we see the Lord in another we can testify to how the Son of God is alive and well in the other. We live Christ by making Christ the meaning of our lives and by strengthening the work of Christ in others.