than you may have first thought. Or, perhaps even more important, have you ever thought you knew, you understood yourself? And then (with either delight or dismay, you discovered, again, there was far more “you” than you had realized?
Our Bible readings, this start of Ordinary Time, all share insights and experiences where this process of discovery is taking place. And it is in the ordinary, not just the extra-ordinary times and places of life these discoveries occur. We can learn that we all are created for this very journey of life. It is a journey of DISCOVERY as we learn we each are DESIGNED by our Creator-Savior for a DESTINY of God’s will and purpose.
This discovery process is illustrated in our Old Testament reading and the Gospel. In the book of Isaiah we observe the prophet, as he listens to God in his heart, discovers that he was planned by God. Even in his mother’s womb God well knew the hopes, paths and destiny for which this human soul was made. Isaiah is not an exception. Careful listening to God and hearing of His word will show that each soul is designed by God for a life of fulfillment, blessing and yes, trials. Isaiah reminds us that as we pray the refrain from our Psalm, “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will” that we discover that with God nothing in our life is wasted or that we are a mistake in His eyes. We discover that our own very distinct heart is called to love God, and others, as no other soul can.
It is in our Gospel we see the process of discovery as John the Baptist, in obedience baptizing Jesus, grows in his discovery of who is this Christ. John the Baptist had “known” Jesus at least to some degree. From the pre-natal encounter when Mary came to Elizabeth after the Annunciation, to probable encounters at the large family gatherings John and Jesus must have known each other to some degree even as cousins. But it would not be until that destined day in the river Jordan that John truly discovered whom his cousin truly is, and, in that process discover and understand his own design, his own destiny more clearly.
Both of these events help us understand the message of St. Paul we read in his letter to the Corinthian faithful, to all the faithful. He writes, how, by the will of God, we have been sanctified, that is set apart IN Christ Jesus, called to be holy. Christians these many years later are often tempted to place this sanctification to some time after death, to those saints with which we pray. But Paul is writing, not in a future tense nor to a group of people known for their apparent sanctity. The faithful in the city of Corinth were, a flock fraught with human failure, ignorance, failing and sin. Although they faithfully loved their Savior and God they were deeply flawed. But that did not diminish or negate their design or destiny IN CHRIST. St Paul (himself profoundly human) was very clear they were set apart, designed by and for God there in the midst of their very human ordinary lives. They were created to proclaim, by lives of the forgiven and mercy-filled, the exquisite beauty of holiness found in Christ and His Kingdom.
It is in that same letter Paul wrote ( I Corinthians 13) , it is in the life of the prophet Isaiah and in John the Baptist we Discover another aspect of our Destiny for which we are Designed. We are created, redeemed, set apart, to discover and share the boundless power and beauty of love.
As we begin another year, as we enter into the ordinary times of life may we journey with the hope and anticipation that regardless of what may lie ahead, that in Christ we may Discover our Design and grow in the Destiny of His holy love.