Reading 1 Is 49:3, 5-6
The LORD said to me: You are my servant,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Servant. A term with such a negative connotation. People would think that is derogatory and demeaning to be called a servant, but in this case, it is quite the contrary. The last shall be first, and Jesus showed us that in order to lead, you need to serve. Actually being called a servant is an honor to us because it means we can follow Jesus’ example, and how humbling that thought is. God’s glory is shown through us. Another humbling yet uplifting thought. How many of us have insecurities and flaws that hold us back or cause us to think poorly of ourselves. Since God’s glory is shown through us, we should think of ourselves in a more positive light. Take down the walls that block God’s glory from coming through.
God is my Strength. This statement gives me hope. I rely too much on my own strength, and that’s why I continue to fail. The mountains I am carrying were only meant for me to climb. What areas are you thinking are the source of your strength? Is it your beauty? muscles? economic class? status? power? These are facades that will only get us so far because one day the strength of those will run out. We are nothing without God, and we must rely on Him.
We are a light to the nations. We need to illuminate the hearts, souls, and minds that have never heard of God or that do not fully know His Love. Salvation will reach all the ends of the earth. This means every corner, crevice, and person can have salvation. Pondering the idea of how big God is amazes me. I like to think each person can be represented by the imagery of “all the ends of the earth.” If we are “earths,” what part of us is not being reached? Are we giving God our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls? There might be that bad habit or sin we are defensive of, but just how salvation must reach all the continents, it must be in every part of our beings.
Reading 2 1 Cor 1:1-3
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are made sacred and called to be holy. Sometimes people believe the lie that only priests, nuns, an those with leadership positions in the Church are called to be holy. In reality, we are all called to be holy. This is eye opening and humbling. Are we ignoring this call or not living up to this call fully enough? Certain parts of our lives may be holy, yet others may not. We need to take responsibility to answer the call, wherever it may lead. Holy means dedicated to God and what more purpose do we need to do things than to glorify God. This should be our main goal. We are sacred, set apart. You cannot change the world by being just like it.
Gospel Jn 1:29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
What would your reaction be to Jesus coming toward you? Shocked. Surprised. Overwhelmed. Emotional. Flustered. Joyful. To name a few. John was doing what he was doing (baptizing) in order that Jesus would be made known. I want to do the things in my life with the sole purpose of making Jesus known. John didn’t really know much about what was going on except for the fact that he was readying people for Christ. How many answers I seek and details I want before I commit to something. John, on the other hand, gave his life to God and the plan God had for him. John even listened to God’s message about Jesus being the One because the Spirit came upon Him. How many times does God tell us something and we question it? I am inspired by John’s trust in the Lord and willingness to give himself to Him. Faith should override feelings, and we should know that whatever God is doing is for our good. We must trust in His promises and truly believe He is going to do what He says. He created us and knows us better than anyone else, including our needs. Sometimes the path will be light, and sometimes the path will be dark. One thing for certain is that our Savior’s Hand will always be holding ours and we need to just surrender.