Doing the Will of God As the Chosen One
Readings: (1st: Ish 49:3. 5-6; Ps 39: 2.4. 7-10; 2nd: I Cor 1:1-3; Gos: Jh 1:29-34)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans), Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the second Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Church’s liturgical calendar, Year A. This Sunday, the Church presents to us through the prophetic eyes and insights of Isaiah and John the Baptist, the: “Agnus Dei, qui tollit peccata mundi (Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world)”, and the “Chosen One.” One very remarkable lesson the Church wants us to learn from this Sunday’s readings and reflection is that, though this Lamb of God was a “Servant” of God, yet he was more than a “mere servant.” The simple reason being that, He carried out with utmost and perfect obedience, the Will of the Father with whom He and the Holy Spirit are One. What this portends is that to be the Chosen One is to be ready to do the Will of God. Then, we must pause to ask ourselves this Sunday, as one chosen by God, by virtue of my baptism: Am I making any effort to do the Will of God?
In the first reading of today from the prophet Isaiah, God honored his Servant, and sealed this honour with a promise and mission: “Thus says the Lord, I will make you a light to the nations.” Of course, there is a purpose for this promise, and this is: “So that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!” There are three basic suppositions that could be taken for granted here about this promise and mission of God to his Servant. The first is that, this Servant is a trusted and tested One. In other words, God has found him worthy and capable. Second, he has accepted the Lord’s message and salvation because one cannot give what one does not have. Third, this Servant will not keep this salvation to himself, He is not selfish. Rather, he will reach out to others in order to let them have a share in this salvation. In other words, he will do the will of Him who sent him as the Psalmist says today: “Here I am Lord I come to do your Will.” As Christians, we are all chosen and called for one purpose, to do the Will of God. This will is simply to make known the salvation of the Lord and to help establish the kingdom of God in men’s heart. It is to allow the light of Christ with which God endowed and decorated us to shine forth on others. So, today as the church celebrates Jesus Christ the Servant and Chosen One of God who came to do the Father’s Will in perfect obedience, we are equally called to toll his footsteps in doing God’s Will. But first, we must know and equip ourselves with this Will.
In the second reading of today, Paul affirms his call to be an apostle. In this reading, he equally proves the fact that having answered this call he bent down to do the will of God in obedience. Of course, it was not an easy task to do this. Furthermore, he highlights another very important element of doing God’s will, living a saintly life. Hence, he speaks of the call of the Corinthians thus: “…To the church of God in Corinth, to the holy people of Jesus Christ, who are called to take their place among all the saints everywhere…” In other words, one of the greatest missions entrusted to us on earth is to be holy, to work towards being among the saints of God. By so doing, we speak volumes to those to whom we are called to minister or evangelize. It is the Will of God for us to be holy because he says to us: “Be Holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (1Pet 1, 13-16).
In the gospel of today, John the Baptist identifies and vividly presents to the world the Saviour. By this act, he John has completed his mission. He has come to the apogee of doing the Will of God. It is for this reason he was called to be a prophet, to be the forerunner of he who was to be the Saviour of the world and this, he has perfectly and obediently completed according to the mind of God. John therefore is a perfect example to us of how we ought to approach the call and Will of God for us. What more does God expect from us than to lead others who have not known his son Jesus Christ to Him? We are therefore today reminded that as John the Baptist did the Will of God, we are also to continue from where he stopped by continually helping people find Christ, and by showing people the way of salvation. All we need do is to accept to do this and then, like in the days of John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit of God will confirm our efforts.
One question that we must ask ourselves today is, when Jesus appeared why did people not recognize him, were they physically blind? No! Instead they suffered from “spiritual Glaucoma” or blindness that prevented them from recognizing the Saviour whom they have waited for so long. It took the combination of an anointed prophet, and the confirmation and testimony of the Holy Spirit to identify him. Therefore, as children of God endowed with prophetic eyes and insights through our baptism, it is our call and duty to help the spiritually blind see and identify Christ. This is because, though Christ was in the midst of his people, yet they needed help in order to recognize him. The only difference that the presence of Jesus Christ will make in the life of the spiritually blind is US, our testimonies, our gestures, our verbal/vocal pronouncements of: “Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi (Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”). These point not to us, but to Jesus Christ especially, when like John the Baptist we insist and add: “Yes, I have seen, and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.” Jesus was a Servant and yet, much more than a servant, this informs the reason John the Baptist called him the Lamb, the Chosen One. He is chosen to do the Will of God the Father which is the establishment of the reign and kingdom of God in the world, and in particular in the hearts of men and women. John the Baptist kick started it through his testimony and witness. Both Christ and John the Baptist have played their roles as far as doing the will of God is concerned. So, the rest of the job is ours to continue to spread the kingdom already established. On us lies the onus to discover new territories, virgin and even barren regions in the hearts of men; develop and make them fruitful for Christ to reign as King and Lord.
Another important requirement for us to do the will of God perfectly is to be in tune with the Holy Spirit of God. God supplies the grace that we need to do his will while the Holy Spirit supplies the power and the foresight we need to fulfill our function. If we are in tune with the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist was, he will reveal to us all we need to know and the best way to communicate and make him known to others. Had the Spirit not revealed to John these hidden mysteries how could he have done the Will of God or accomplished his mission? Or put the other way round, had John the Baptist not aligned himself and obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit how could he have fulfilled the will of God for him? The Holy Spirit is operative in doing the Will of God, and in communicating the merits of salvation to those who of their own accord cannot identify Christ in their midst. It is pertinent to mention here that those who are not led by the Holy Spirit can only bear witness and testimony about Jesus only to the extent that He is “a great man”, an eloquent and authoritative teacher”, and perhaps “a master” or “a guru.” But like John the Baptist, to bear witness to Jesus Christ and see him as the Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi, the Chosen One, and Son of God, is only possible through the aid of the Holy Spirit, because: “No one” as the scripture tells us, “can say Jesus is Lord except by the power of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor 12, 3). It is the Spirit of God that helps us in doing the Will of God day by day because, He takes the things about Christ and the Kingdom of his Father and makes it known to us the adopted children of the Father for on ward transmission to our brethrens in real and dare need of salvation. Brethrens let us jubilantly shout out to our God and Father as the Psalmist teaches to say today: “Hear I am Lord! I come to do your Will.”
Peace be with you!