God chooses us. Are we ready to respond, ‘Here I am, Lord?’
By: By Sharon Priester
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jan. 19
Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Psalm 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
Do you remember the times in school when teams were to be chosen — maybe for a game, a spelling bee or some other kind of competition?
I remember wanting to be chosen, hopefully for the winning team. But then fear took over. If it was for a baseball team, would I be able to take that skinny little bat and hit that fast moving little ball? It was important to be part of a team — but would I be able to keep up? I would need to complete certain tasks, like at least hitting the ball hard enough to get to first base. Finally, my name was called and I was part of a team. Yeah!
Later in life, as I looked over the lists of places where jobs were being offered, I selected a few and sent resumes off. A few days later, I was asked to come in for an interview. Again, anxiety entered the scene: Will I be chosen? At the interview, all goes well. I think I answered all the questions appropriately, especially about my responsibilities. Finally, I get the call, I have been chosen for the job.
The first reading this week is from Isaiah, who had been called by God to be a prophet, to communicate the will of God to the Israelites. Isaiah says to the Israelites, “The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.” (Isaiah 49:3) Not only has Isaiah been called, but also the Israelites.
As God’s servants, God wants them to “restore the survivors of Israel.” In order to do this, He will make them “a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
In the second reading, Paul, having been called by the will of God to be Christ’s apostle, addresses the Corinthians. Like Isaiah, he tells the people of Corinth who have been set apart and sanctified by God that they are to go out to others and through their words and actions be role models, sharing their relationship with Lord Jesus Christ with those they encounter.
MESSENGERS OF THE WORD
During the Advent season, we were reminded that John the Baptist was chosen to prepare the way of the Lord. (Matthew 1:1-12) He told others that he “came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.” (John 1:6) This week’s Gospel is that testimony.
As Jesus approaches him, John announces, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” (John 1:29) “who existed before me.” (John 1:31) Having seen the Spirit come down upon Jesus and remain with Him, he testifies that Jesus is the one “who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” He “is the Son of God.” (John 1:34) Nothing is going to stop John from sharing this Good News.
Isaiah, Paul and John, chosen by God, are messengers of the Word, proclaiming and reminding others that they, too, are called by God to be “light to the nations,” “to be holy,” (1 Corinthians 1:2) and to “Behold, the Lamb of God.” We also have been called by the Lord Jesus Christ to be a “child of God” with the task of sharing the Good News, being His servant, reaching out to others, sharing His Word not only with our words but with our actions, sharing how Jesus, the “Lamb of God” has made a difference in our lives.
God has chosen you and me to be on His team. If God asked you today, are you ready to go to others and “bear My light to them,” “speak My word to them,” and “give My life to them” (“Here I Am Lord” by James Kilbane), will you respond enthusiastically with the Responsorial Psalm, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will”?
SHARON PRIESTER has served as a parish catechist and director of religious education, Bible study leader, RCIA team member and coordinator, and regional director of religious education for the Diocese of Peoria. She is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington.