Our Christmas season has ended. We have entered Ordinary Time. There can be a tendency from the term “ordinary” to think of it as a time to lay back and relax. One might think that nothing special is going on. However, with God there is always something special. God is always at work in our lives.
The name “Ordinary Time” simply signifies that it is not one of the four other liturgical seasons; Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. The word “ordinary” has a root in the Latin word “ordinalis”, which means “numbered.” We number the weeks of Ordinary Time (there are 34 weeks in Ordinary Time).
The liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green. Here, one might think of spring when the grass turns green as it begins to grow. The leaves come out in green. As flowers begin to come up from the ground, they are green. Green is a color signifying growth. Ordinary Time may be “ordinary” but it is still a time for spiritual growth.
As we begin Ordinary Time, our readings for this Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) speak of God’s call for us to be his servants.
The readings begin with the second suffering servant passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, “The LORD said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.” God wants to work through us to reveal himself to the world. God knows what we have been called for as He formed us in our mother’s womb.
Israel had strayed from God’s will. They had sinned. Many were taken away in exile. God is bringing them back from their sin. God will bring us back from our sins if we had them over to him. He will gather back to himself all who have strayed. Jesus comes to bring us back to God.
When John the Baptist sees Jesus walking by, he points his disciples to Jesus as he says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John the Baptist does not identify Jesus by his name “Jesus”, or as king or the Messiah. John came to call people to repentance of their sins. Thus, John identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who comes to take away our sins.
As a humble and faithful servant, John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the one who ranks ahead of him. John claims no special knowledge of Jesus. In fact, he says, “I did not know him.” He knows Jesus is the one because he saw “the Spirit come down like a dove and remain upon him.”
John the Baptist may have no special knowledge of God but God still calls him to be his servant. God calls all of us to be his servants. There are many ways to serve the Lord. The question is what is God’s will for us. When we seek to do the Lord’s will for us, we find delight. God delights not in us offering sacrifices like those offered in the Old Testament. God delights in our obedience to him. Our obedience is not simply doing what God says. Our obedience is giving our lives to God in love. Do we do not do things for others because we love them? All the more, we do the same for God.
God delights when we seek him above all things.
John the Baptist came to make Jesus “known to Israel.” Paul was “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” God brings us to his glory when we seek to do his will. God is the source of our strength. God has great plans for us (see Jeremiah 29:11).
God’s will is what is good for us. God does not demand things of us for his gain. What could God can from us for himself? God is the source of all things. God’s will for us is what is good for us. Thus, to do God’s will brings us delight. When we seek to do God’s will, He makes us a light to the nations.
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.“