- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 15, 2017

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 49: 5-6; 1 Corinthians 1: 1-3; John 1: 29-34

I hope you were paying attention when the first reading was proclaimed. Did you hear what the Lord had to say through the Prophet Isaiah? “You are my servant, through whom I show my glory… I will make you a light to the nations.” Through the mystery of the Incarnation, my brothers and sisters, the Light of Christ has come into the world. It is in His light that we truly see light. Through our baptism we have been conformed to this Light and been called to be light to the nations. As ambassadors of hope we make the Light of Christ tangible to people who are dwelling in darkness and despair. God enlightens all people and brings us, one and all, to the fullness of life in Christ.

Pondering the words of the Isaiah, it is important to keep in mind that the Lord trusts us even though we doubt ourselves. God is strong enough to help the weakest of us and gracious enough to reconcile the wayward. Our weaknesses become the opportunity for God to reveal his mercy and loving-kindness through us. The Lord has a task for each of us. Are we willing to place ourselves at His disposal? After all, we prayed with the Psalmist, “Here I am Lord, I am willing to do your will.” Did we mean it? OR — Have we allowed the Liturgy to become lifeless and irrelevant words? Have we become so traumatized by the pessimistic judgment of the world that we have lost all hope of ever being made whole again?

At some point, when we get sick and tired of being ground down by our own efforts and failures, we need to make a decision to let God transform us into the people we were created to be. This is where the fun begins, because despite what the world thinks of us, God loved us and has sought us out to be His very own. In Christ, God manifested His love for the human race, as we read in the Letter to the Romans: “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He send Christ to die for us” (Rom. 5:8). Having made us sons and daughters in the Son, God sees in us the image of His beloved Son. He sees what we do not see, and tells us so! “I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine” (Is. 43:1). Because of His infinite love for us, God has called us to be heirs of the kingdom and purchased us to be His own through the self-sacrificing love of his Son. Because we have been purchased at such a great price, we are precious in God’s sight. This grace is not personal possession to be kept safe and hidden. Having been brought to life in Christ, we are called to bring the Good News of saved humanity to the world.

Because the world is wrapped in darkness and noise, we who are members of the household of God need to call attention to the Light of Christ that shines upon us. Christ came into our darkness, not to sympathize with us, but to bring us to the Light. In His victory over darkness is our hope and the anchor for our souls. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the lamb without spot or stain of sin, who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus takes away the sin the clouds our vision, the sin that plugs our ears and impedes our hearing, the sin that silences our tongue. By so doing, Jesus becomes our Vision, our Word and our Message. God shows His love for the world through us.

Remembering that we have been created in the image of the Beloved Son, our lives should radiate the love of God for the world. Belief in the gospel message draws us into newness of life. The more Jesus Christ becomes our all-in-all, He uses us as his messengers of the Father’s infinite love and mercy. I would like to close with a prayer many of my friends in AA say:

God, I offer myself to You –
to build with me
and to do with me as You will.

Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Your will.

Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help

of Your Power,
Your Love,
and Your Way of life.

May I do Your will always!

(A.A. Third Step Prayer)