Today is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The first reading, Isaiah 49:3, 5-6, speaks of God raising up Israel as His servant. “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
The Gospel reading is from the first chapter of the Gospel According to John (Jn 1:29-34). The Gospel tells the story of St. John the Baptist seeing Jesus for the first time. He saw the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus, and this is how he knew that the Lamb of God was before him. “… he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
God did not raise up Israel only for Israel’s sake. Rather, he raised up Israel that Israel might serve as a light to the nations, a light pointing to the Lord. Israel was chosen, not merely that Israel might be saved, but that all nations might come to know God and be saved.
Just so, God did not call St. John the Baptist to his particular, and rather peculiar, mission just so that St. John might be saved. No, the Baptist was to bear witness to what he saw: that Jesus is the Lamb of God who came into the world to save the world from sin.
We’re given this same call to be a light to others, to bear witness to what God has done in our lives through Christ. We’re called to holiness, to a life that reflects the grace of God and the priorities of the gospel. We need to stay vigilant at every moment. We never know who might be watching! Our children, certainly. But, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our fellow parishioners, our extended family, too. Even the clerk behind the counter, the bus driver or the person in line at the restaurant. All of these, and others, ought to be able to look to us to see a consistent, shining example of the joy the gospel brings, whether or not they ever realize that it is God’s grace and love that motivates and compels us.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.