Homily (2) 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A: Fr. Michael U. UdoekpoReadings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; 1 Cor 1:1-3 and John 1:29-34
I Call You to Make You a Light to the Nations
The focus of today’s Bible lessons is on universal salvation and on recognizing the agents or instruments of this salvation, called and sent by God. When we look back at the history of our salvation we cannot but appreciate all that God has done for us from creation, through the experiences of wilderness and exiles. God not only constantly save humanity but does it through his agents: the angels, the prophets and eventually through his Son Jesus Christ.
When the Israelites were in Egypt and in the wilderness we saw how God used Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Joshua to bring them salvation. The first reading of today (Isa 49:3, 5-6) paints the sorrowful and hopeful picture of Israel in Exile in Babylon. It is the 2nd Song of the Suffering Servant of Yhwh.
Although the servant is named “Israel” he has been called from the womb, and sent by God to preach, love, hope, forgiveness, justice, liberation and salvation to the suffering and exiled Israel. Surely the servant would come to represents God’s divine agent of successive prophetic mission fulfilled in Christ Jesus. One interesting thing we notice in this first reading of the call of this suffering servant is that the servant himself is speaking. He says, “The Lord said to me…..” indicating that the Lord is the one who calls us. He is the one that initiates the call of each and every single of Israel’ prophets. None of them called themselves. It also indicates the willingness of the one called to listen, to respond and be able to say like Samuel or like the Psalmist in today’s responsorial Psalm: “Here I am Lord I come to do your will…” (Ps 40).
Even though this servant was originally sent by God to “to raise up the tribes of Jacob,” and “restore the survivors of Israel,” (Isaiah 49:6), the servant is now sent as “a light to the nations,” so that God’s salvations might reach people of all walks of life.
John the Baptist in today’s Gospel recognized that the mission to bring salvation to the entire world would meet with challenges. It requires the Holy Spirit and its gifts, which descended upon Christ during his baptism. John bore witnessed to this. John recognized Christ as the “Lamb of God,” and testified, that he “saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him” (John 1:29-34).
This is the spirit of Love to everyone including the poor and the rich, the homeless, the aged, the sick the needy and those in prisons. This the spirit of hope and faith. This is the spirit of trust and the spirit to reach out to everyone with Christ’s love and message of universal salvation.
Saint Paul understood this so much. Although Jewish, he received baptism. Like other Israel’s prophets he said to God, “Here I am Lord I come to do your will,” I come to bear the light to all nations! Paul carried the mission and the Good News not only to the Corinthian Church, but to the Gentiles, to all of us. Paul said, to everyone who called upon the name of Jesus, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:1-3).
As part of the nations who receive this loving call and peace of Christ, may we in our only individual and collective ways continue to responsively recognize Christ, the Lamb of God, in our lives, serve as God’s agents and conduits of Christ's joy, peace, prosperity, faith, love and light to people of all walks of life, of every nation and of every culture.