Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

THE DIVINE WORD

2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A

THEME: “CALLED TO WITNESS”

((Readings: 1st: Is 49:3.5-6; Ps: 39; 2nd1Cor 1:1-3; Gos: Jn 1:29-34)

Today is the 2nd Sunday in ordinary time and our mother church is inviting us to reflect on our divine call to witness to the lamb of God. God calls us individually and personally to this service just as he called prophets Isaiah, Paul, and John the Baptist. When called we need to accept and cooperate with God by witnessing him with words and deeds.

A witness is a statement of truth about something or someone or a public expression of a religious experience.  John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the Jews by pointing out that he was the Lamb of God (vv. 29, 36); a man who was before me (vs. 30); the one on whom the Holy Spirit remained (v. 33); and the Son of God (vs. 34).  John’s disciples called Jesus Rabbi (vs. 38).  Andrew called him the Messiah (vs. 41) and Nathaniel called Jesus Rabbi, Son of God, and King of Israel (v. 49).  Who, where and when do you testify Jesus in your life?

According to the Jewish understanding, the lamb was used for the atonement of sins. Placing his hands over its head, the high priest transferred all the sins of his people to it.  It was then sent into the forest to be killed by some wild animal. (Lev 16:20-22): By saying that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, we express our deepest understanding of the identity and purpose of Jesus Christ as our Lamb and Lord.  By his life of love and sacrifice, we believe and affirm that he is the one who came and continues to come into a broken world to take our sins upon himself. 

As baptized Christians, we are all called to be living witnesses to the lamb of God who has come to take away all the world’s burdens upon himself. Therefore, today we will talk about the 3 essential qualities of a good witness.

  • PERSONAL ENCOUNTER:

 In the modern world people like spreading rumors about things, they have heard as if they personally witnessed them with their own eyes. That is why we have so much misleading news and gossip. A good and reliable witness in every situation must have a personal encounter with the reality or the person he is witnessing. In order to witness to Christ, we need to have a personal encounter with God in our life. We need to have a “religious experience.”

St. Paul had a personal encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus and this makes him a reliable and credible witness to God. In his introduction to the letter to Corinthians, he presents himself as “appointed by God to be an apostle”. He gets his authority to witness to Christ from his personal encounter with God and therefore his words are from God who sent him. We have so many pastors in the world and I wonder where do they get their authority to speak from. Similarly, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to his disciples and Jews as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world only after having a personal encounter with him at River Jordan. He says “I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him…..Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that He is the Chosen One of God”. (Jn 1:30-34). Being a Christian means that we should first grow by faith to become witnesses to him. Let us always seek for this personal encounter with God, especially in prayer, silence, his word, and the Eucharist.

  • ABILITY TO SPEAK THE TRUTH

A good and credible witness must be a bearer of truth, able to remain faithful to the truth without any fear or favor. A Christian is a witness to Christ and must be a bearer of truth in all circumstances. In the first reading, we hear about the servant of Yahweh who will witness the truth. “I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth,” (Jn 49:6). People live in darkness because we do not allow our light to shine upon them. Even though we know the truth and what is right, Christians are afraid to speak the truth, hence we tolerate evil and sin. Let your light shine to the world so that all people may experience the salvation of God.

  • ABILITY TO BRING OTHERS TO GOD

It is not enough to become a Christian but with our life, we should be able to attract more people to God. The essence of our witnessing is to state what we have seen and believed and then to invite others to “come and see.” John the Baptist saw the lamb of God and therefore directed his disciple to follow him. When John directed two of his Disciple to Jesus, they asked Him “Rabi, where do you live?” Jesus invited them to come and see for themselves. After seeing and having a personal encounter with Jesus, Andrew narrated what he saw to his brother Simon and took Simon to Jesus. Our witnessing is never complete until we bring somebody back to church or attract somebody to follow Christ. St. Paul did it perfectly because by witnessing to Christ the church grew in faith and numbers.

In a nutshell, being a disciple of Jesus means that we grow by faith in him to become a living witness. We can never become good witnesses if we have no personal encounter with God in his word, prayer, and Sacraments. Witnessing to Christ is an active, not passive, lifetime enterprise. Our life should be a witness to Christ in the world. However, our witnessing is never complete until we inspire others to want to know Him and follow Him. Blessed are you when you bring others the gifts of love, peace, justice, tolerance, and mercy, thus becoming witnesses for the Lamb of God, who takes away the burdens of the world. Amen

Today 15th January is the Feast of St. Arnold Janssen, the founder of Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) and two other sisters’ congregations.  I am proud to be a member of the Arnoldus family. Happy Feast Day!

Prayer: May the heart of Jesus live in the heart of all people. Amen (By St. Arnold Janssen)

Fr. Antony Muchui, SVD

Happy Feast of St. Arnold Janssen!!  If you want to join us contact me on- ((Contact our vocation office on +255629269140 or +254792299140))

“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the word and the spirit of Grace; and may the heart of Jesus live in the heart of all the people. Amen” SVD Prayer

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