Sunday readings in brief: 2 Year A
Isaiah 49:3,5-6; Ps 39(40); 1 Cor 1:1-3 Jh 1:29-34
Whom shall I send?
Dear friends, today is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. After completing the 3-year cycle, we have returned to another cycle. Though the scripture readings and the celebration in the liturgical calendar are repetitive in the cycle, the message of salvation that they carry is ever-new. This is because the message of salvation speaks to every generation in a new and inspired way. Today also is the feast of St. Arnold Janssen the founder of Divine Word Missionaries. St Arnold was a German diocesan priest who started a mission house to train missionaries after realizing the grave need for a mission outside Europe. Today there are over 6000 Divine Word Missionaries working in 84 countries on all the continents.
The Ordinary Time in the Calendar of the Church is the time of learning about the kingdom of God. The liturgist has arranged the reading every Sunday and Weekday to communicate a certain theme. Today’s readings speak about the servant of the Lord who is being called to champion the course of bringing back together the people who had been scattered. In the First reading, the Lord calls Isaiah to make him the light of the remnants of Israel who had lost all hope in captivity. As the Divine Word Missionaries, our mission is to bring the light of the risen Christ to all peoples of all nations, cultures, and languages. The theme for our 2024 General chapter is derived from this sense of illuminating our baptismal light so that others may know and experience the presence of the Divine Word Present in the Church: “Your light must shine before others” (Mt. 5:16), faithful and creative disciples in a wounded world.
St. Arnold Janssen listened to the voice of God during a time when the Church in Germany was being persecuted and like the Psalmist today, responded: “Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will” (Ps 39:2). Without any backup but armed with faith and hard work, St. Arnold surrendered the fate of the new mission house in Style, Holland purely to God’s providence. Today, Divine Word Missionaries are spreading the light of the Word and dispersing the night of unbelief in both megacities of the world like Manila-Philippines to the remotest villages of Simanjiro-Tanzania.
St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians is reminding all of us today that the universal vocation for all those baptized in Christ, is to spread the message of the love of God and promote Justice and peace in all creation. We are called to bless one another with the blessings of God.
Like John the Baptist in today’s Gospel, we are supposed to be the herald of the light who is Christ. We ourselves are not the light but the light bearers. John was able to usher Christ and point him to the people without feeling jealous of him. He knew well that his mission was only to prepare the way for Jesus and when the time came he was gracious enough to point him out to the people.
Dear friends, many parts and aspects of our world today are being overshadowed by the darkness of war, crime, discrimination, poverty, and calamities of all kinds. Many people are held in myriad captivities and slavery. Some are suffering at the hands of family members, the rich, and the might of this world. All these people are yearning to see light. If every one of us lights a candle, the whole world will be illuminated. However, many of us keep on trampling in darkness and all we do is complain over and over again about the situation.
I invite all of us today to try lighting a candle wherever we are and make deliberate efforts to disperse all types of darkness surrounding us. There is no amount of complaining and blaming that can make any situation better. It is rather our desire to make things better and the positive energy that we employ that will make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. Make a choice today, whether to remain stuck in self-pity and lamentation or to start the journey toward a brighter tomorrow.
Have a blessed Sunday
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD