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Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10 (8a, 9a)
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
John 1:29-34
January 19, 2020

To prepare us for Christmas as the First Coming of the Lord, we first celebrated the season of Advent.

Who was the one who prepared the way of the Lord just before Jesus started his ministry?

John the Baptist. 

Thus, some of our Advent readings told us about John the Baptist and the ministry he did.

Last week we again heard of John the Baptist as we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord.  This is fitting since John was the one who baptized Jesus.

Now, we have returned to Ordinary Time.  As we begin Ordinary Time, our gospel readings come from the beginningof Jesus’ public ministry.  As we do this, our gospel reading again refers to John the Baptist.

Why?

Because there is overlap between their ministries.  Jesus picks up where John leaves off.  Remember John is all about pointing people to Jesus. 

That is why when John “saw Jesus coming toward him” he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” 

John does not try to keep his disciples to himself.  He doesn’t look to have fame and notoriety.  He points to Jesus as the one “who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.

One might suppose that since John was all about pointing people to Jesus, he knew a lot about Jesus and shared this with the people.

However, while the reason John came was to make Jesus “known to Israel”, John admits, “I did not know him.

We don’t have to know everything about Jesus to tell others about him.  We don’t have to know everything about Jesus to come to do his will.

Coming to do the Lord’s Will is not simply a matter of having human knowledge about him.  We need human knowledge of Jesus to know what He has done for us.  We need some human knowledge to help us know how He calls us to live but ultimately the knowledge leads us to the Lord’s Law that is within our hearts.

Thus, in faith and love, we surrender ourselves to God’s Will, saying, “Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.

In surrendering ourselves to God’s Will, we recognize that there is and will be suffering in this world.  Our reading from Isaiah today comes from what is known as the second of four passages about a “suffering servant.” 

This servant suffers that the God’s glory may be shown through him.  Who is this “suffering servant”?

Some say it is Isaiah himself.  Some say it is the nation of Israel.  Ultimately, for us as Christians, it is fulfilled in Jesus as He suffers on the Cross for us.

However, it is also fulfilled in each of us whom God himself has formed in the womb such that He knows us better than we know ourselves.  It is the Lord, who “by the will of God” called Paul to be an apostle, also calls us to be his servants.

How do you pick the career you choose for yourself?

To answer this people normally speak of how they pick a career that involves something they enjoy.  I think this is often true.  I know I decided to study engineering because my favorite subjects were math and science.  Engineering let me use both.

If that is all there is to, why do some people pick careers that they do not have experience with?  Could this not be the Lord leading us to what He has planned for us since He formed us in his mother’s womb?

John the Baptist knew what purpose God called him to, to lead people to Jesus.

God calls all of us to do the same. 

Often people respond to the idea that they are to lead people to Jesus with answers like “I don’t know enough about Jesus” or “I am not worthy.  Who am I to do this?”

To the first, not knowing enough, I point back to John’s words, “I did not know him.”  John did not know Jesus but that didn’t stop him from telling others what he did know.  It starts with telling people that Jesus loves them.  Then, we can tell them how life is better with Jesus in it.

As to feeling unworthy or having what we need, I turn to the words from Isaiah, “my God is now my strength” and the Lord’s own words, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

It’s time to stop making excuses.  In the early days of the Church, it was a growing church.  We can read in the Acts of the Apostles of thousands being baptized.

Unfortunately, the Church today is a shrinking church.  We need to change that.  People don’t know about Jesus. 

Why?  Because we don’t talk about him.  We need to talk about Jesus.  Please notice that I said “we” not I.  It is for all of us to share our love for Jesus.

I am not talking about big theological discourses.  I’m talking about telling people that we have proof that Jesus loves us when we see him on the Cross.  Tell them why you come to church. 

Some of you might think you only come because it is what you have been taught you are supposed to do.  But people today don’t always do something just because they are supposed to.  Even if you don’t know what it is, the fact that you are here says there is something in your heart that brings you here.

Don’t worry about big theological words to use.  Trust in the Lord to give you the words for we hear in the psalm “And he put a new song into my mouth.”

When I preach, I do not want the words I preach to be my own.  I pray I preach what the Lord wants said. 

The Lord will give you the words, the Lord will give you the strength to be a light to the nations so that his kingdom is made known to all the world.

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