2nd Sunday Year A
Theme of the week: We are called to a personal encounter with Jesus; to be his messengers; and to receive his healing touch.
What is it like to be called by God? In the Scripture Readings this week, we hear the stories of three messengers of God – Isaiah in the Old Testament, Paul in the New Testament and John the Baptist in the Gospel. In our modern times, when we think of being “called by God”, we might think of priests, religious or perhaps someone holding a position in a religious organisation. But what about me? Am I numbered among the called? Absolutely! But … have I heard God’s call? If not, why? May be his voice is being drown out by the noise in my life? Or, if I have heard his call, what am I doing about it?
The First Reading recalls Isaiah’s calling to be an evangelist (verse 5). Given the mission even before he was born, Isaiah was asked to bring Israel back from its physical exile to Babylon. At a spiritual level, many today are in spiritual exile from God. This could be a person I meet on the street, a lapsed Christian at work or even the person sitting next to me in church. Like Isaiah, we are called to bring everyone to a personal encounter with Jesus. We are called to reach out to not just the lapsed Christian at work, but to “the ends of the earth” (verse 6). By our baptism, this is our calling. Have I heard it? Am I living it? If not, why not? Is it because my secular pursuits of wealth, power, fame is taking precedence over my spiritual pursuits? While I may come to church every Sunday and even serve in church ministries, could it be that I myself is living in spiritual exile? God is calling all of us to a personal encounter with Him. What is my response?
In the Second Reading, Paul recognises that he was “called to be an apostle” (verse 1). More broadly, Paul recognises that all are “called to be saints” (verse 2). When we think of saints, we may conjure up the image of someone clothed in a heavenly white gown with a halo over the head. Not so! Paul made the point that the Corinthians, who are non-Jews hence not the original chosen people, are “called to be saints” – for Jesus Christ is “both their Lord and ours” (verse 2). We are all called to be saints. Let us pause and reflect: God is calling me to an intimate personal encounter with him. What is stopping me? Perhaps it is my secular pursuits; perhaps I am carrying the hurt of a broken relationship; or perhaps I simply have been in spiritual exile for too long that it has become habitual. Whatever it may be, it takes courage to acknowledge our wounded nature and take that first step towards Christ.
In the Gospel, like Isaiah and Paul, John the Baptist recognises his role in ushering in the coming of Jesus Christ into the people’s hearts. In verse 29, John made the proclamation that Jesus is the Lamb of God. To Jewish ears, John’s proclamation immediately reminded them of the original Passover lamb from the time of Moses, who died so that the people may live. Jesus is the Lamb of God, not just for the Jews at the First Passover, but for all of humanity. He died so that all children of God may live – believers and non-believers alike. Jesus is waiting for me. Whatever the obstacles that is holding me back, let us pray for courage. Encounter Jesus in a personal way, let his healing grace touch my heart. May the Lord be with you.