2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 1/15/2023

“Knowing Jesus and Knowing Ourselves.”

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

“Here I am Lord, I come to do your will!”

            Our first reading from Isaiah and the Psalm for today both indicate to us that we are primarily God’s servants, always open and willing to do His will – whatever that will might be for us. 

            Our baptismal call is to deepen our own understanding of who Jesus is and to make him known.  Like John, we go from not knowing, to seeing, to testifying.  More than likely, we aren’t called to testify to the Son of God by going out and baptizing or performing miracles.  We testify to Jesus’ identity by being faithful to the ordinary things in life, by doing God’s will through prayer and good works.  But occasionally in our prayer and in doing good works we really do discover our meaning and purpose in life.

            There is a wonderful series on FORMED called “The Search.” The series addresses the two most important days in a person’s life: “the day we are born and the day we discover why.”  That is our meaning and purpose. The Search explores all sorts of questions people may have about their lives, its direction, focus and the meaning and purpose of that life. I encourage you to watch it.

            We all know our birthday. Few of us, however, can name the day that we discovered our mission in life – our vocation.  Some, through time, seem to become very aware of their meaning and purpose in life.  At the other end of the spectrum, some fall into deep despair because they continually fail to discover a meaning and purpose for their lives.

            All of us, at one time or another, think we have figured other people out. But just when we think we know someone, they surprise us.  They do things – sometimes  good and sometimes not so good – that give us new insight into their identity or character.  It is in that rare moment that a spouse, after many years of marriage, will say, “After all of these years you still surprise me!”  The truth is that we can never completely exhaust our discovery of another person. 

            From Isaiah last week and this week we read from the “Suffering Servant Songs” which speak of Israel as being a “Suffering Servant,” but Isaiah also speaks as an individual.  There is more to Isaiah than just being a servant, however, he will be a “Light to All Nations!”  There is his meaning and purpose given him by the Lord.

            We must continually re-enter the mystery of Jesus.  We must stay in pursuit of the mystery because we will never discover who we are as a people of God or our meaning and purpose in life apart from knowing Jesus. If we are living our lives separated from the mystery of Jesus Christ, then we can never get to know Jesus intimately, thus we can never get to know who we are in the light of our baptismal call in Jesus Christ

            Once we get to know Jesus, then our own identity shines through and we can see clearly our own meaning and purpose in life and in what it means to be called a “Child of God.”

            Baptism is a sacrament of identity, commitment and mission.  Our sense of meaning and purpose is interwoven around our intimate attachment to Jesus, our commitment to His church and our mission to evangelize in the world.  The people of Corinth, to whom Paul writes, were anything but unified. Various groups had put themselves over others. It cannot be that way with us. St. Paul’s way of calling them back to their purpose was to call them to holiness, that is, an intimate attachment to Jesus through prayer and contemplation on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

            We must come to know Jesus at the table of His Word and Sacrament if we are to discover who we are as a church and what our purpose is, and our commitment to our Catholic faith is going to be.   Our church needs us to be committed and diligent in our search for who Jesus is to us.  Let us commit ourselves today, in this New Year, through prayer and works of mercy, find our meaning and purpose in Jesus Christ and in our church.