Saturday, January 18, 2014

A New Song

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2014 A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

It is too little, the LORD 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 49:6

John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven 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

Piety is the response to the call of God to be holy.  Our piety is the sum of the responses that we make to the call of the Lord up to this moment in our lives.  The prayer of: “Speak Lord!  Your servant is listening” is replaced with the prayer of each moment.  “Here I am Lord; your servant has come to do your will.”  Piety is the best response we can make to what the Lord is asking of us.  Our piety allows us to imitate John who is pointing out Christ to his disciples.  Piety allows us to recognize the good actions of others.  It also opens us up to the recognition of the good actions of our lives being recognized as Christ working in us.  We live our lives in Christ. Our piety is the constant growing that takes place as we put on the mind and the heart of Christ.  We strive to be able to say to one another that the Christ of our heart recognizes the Christ of your heart.  Piety allows us to live the Christ of our hearts more openly.  We stop apologizing for Christ using us. We become his willing disciples.

We study how we have been called to be Apostles of Jesus Christ by God.  Our journey begins when we are young.  It has many twists and turns before we find the plan God has prepared for us.  It seems Christ writes straight with crooked lines.  God gives us freedom.  Our true choices come in the freedom of God’s plan.  How we embrace the call in this day and age is the story of a vocation.  There is a personal love of God that we are hopefully all responding to by our lives.  God makes us free.  Freedom is God’s greatest gift to us.  How we return our freedom to God is the result of much prayer.  Discernment allows us to uncover the nudges and the leanings of God’s love in our hearts.  We will find the truth of ourselves when we find ourselves in Christ.  Study allows us to wake up to who we really are in God’s love for us.

Actions show our faith and love of God better than anything we say.  We, too, like St. Francis, try to preach always and occasionally use words.  The spirit falls on us in our involvements with the needs of neighbors.  We show our faith and our piety by our actions.  It is true that God rewards our intentions.  But every year is enriched when we make a reasonable number of improvement in how we face life as the face of Christ.  The Examen of our lives can be one of the great prayers of our lives if we hold ourselves to downs for what our heart tell us we should be doing.  The spirit descends on us every time we take an honest look at our lives.  When we focus in our minds and hearts how Christ would have us act, we increase the chances that we will do the same good the next day.  Few changes in our lives happen without our allowing the work of the Spirit to take place.  What would Christ do?  That needs to be the spirit of our actions and our reflections on our actions.  By letting how Christ would have us act be the norm of our lives, we can see the Spirit coming upon us through our prayer. 

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