The Second Sunday of the Year
Is 49:3 & 5-6; 1 Cor 1:1-3; Jn 1:29-34 (Year A)
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I shall be glorified.’ I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord; my God was my strength.”
The words of the prophet Isaiah present the reflections of the Suffering Servant, destined to become Israel’s salvation. There is a touching contrast between the humility of the Servant, who considered that thus far he had laboured in vain, and the glory conferred on him by God’s gracious call. “It is not enough for you to be my servant. I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”
The identity of the Servant rested not so much in himself, as in the power of the God who calls. What was true of the Servant was demonstrated throughout Israel’s long history. Her true dignity lay not in her own achievements, but in the enabling grace of God’s call. “It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you. It was because the Lord loves you and keeps the oath he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 7:7).
Through our baptism into Christ we have become that people chosen and loved by the Father. There will be times when we, like Isaiah’s servant, may feel we have laboured in vain, that so great a grace has borne little fruit in our lives. It is then that we, like John the Baptist, must look beyond ourselves. “Seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said: ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I spoke of when I said: A man is coming after me who ranks before me.’”
Alone our limited achievements and undoubted failures can never secure that place with the Father for which we long. With John the Baptist, we can only surrender to the Lord and the gift of his Spirit. “I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, ‘The man on you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.”
With John the Baptist, let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us afresh to Christ, in whom is the revelation that we are indeed the children of God, chosen and beloved.
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