Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
With Christmas time completed, we now encounter the adult Jesus as He is recognized by John the Baptist. He tells us that “I did not know him” until the Spirit of God descended upon him. However this descent of the Spirit upon a person is not limited to Jesus Christ. Each one of us receives that same Spirit coming upon us. The first reading tells us that Isaiah heard the Spirit telling him that “the Lord has spoken. Who formed me as his servant from the womb”. That very first breath which the newborn infant cries out is itself an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that God has known and loved us “from all eternity”. That eternal love ensures that we are continually prompted by the Holy Spirit. We receive a new and more powerful influx of the Holy Spirit when we are baptized and recognized as children of God. That influx of the Holy Spirit increases each time that we receive Holy Communion. It is intensified when we are Confirmed. Basically, each of the sacraments is a new outpouring of the Spirit, Who says of us: “This is my beloved son or daughter, in whom I am well pleased.”
But these words from the Spirit also come to us in more hidden ways, in the depths of our heart or from other people. Frequently it is difficult to recognize it as a Word of God. We may fight against it, But eventually we hear the voice of God saying: ”It is hard to kick against the goad.”
Even Jesus had a hard time accepting the Word of the Father regarding his Passion and death. He struggled with it to the point of sweating blood. But eventually He rose and said to his sleeping disciples: “Arise, let us go forth.” So likewise, He eventually says to us: “Peace, it is I.” In this way, as Paul tells us in the second reading, we are “called to be holy”. In this way we are called to recognize the Lamb of God, living and active on our own lives, and calling us to live and act as true children of God our Father, proclaiming that He who speaks to us, whether in the Scriptures or through authorities or in the depths of our heart is truly the Son of God. And once we heed this voice, we are called upon to proclaim it by our lives, just as John did.
So, as we leave the crib and the shepherds and magi, we are called by Jesus himself: “Follow Me!” We are called to bear His message of God’s Love for all peoples and His second message: that we are t0 love one another as He has loved us; to bear one another’s burdens, whether of body of spirit. We have an excellent program for all this in our Rule of St Benedict. Ch. 72 shows us how we can live in such a way that God can say: “This is my beloved son or daughter. In whom I am well pleased.”