2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 15 January 2023 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6; Responsorial: Psalm 40; II: I Corinthians 1:1-3; Gospel: John 1: 29-34
What are your plans for the year ahead? What are your hopes, worries, dreams, or fears? Some of us perhaps have made (and maybe already broken) resolutions by this second Sunday of Ordinary Time. It has been wisely said that to fail to plan is to plan to fail. We are rational, thinking creatures and it is part of the gift of who we are to plan, purpose, prepare and seek that which is good. Our post-modern culture is particularly obsessed with the assumed freedom to choose. The access to information (however accurate or inaccurate it may be) has so infected our mindsets that hearts, minds, and eyes are focused on devices and screens many believe will show them the way, the truth, and the life they seek.
But is there anyone among us fully in charge of their life? Whether a child, a young adult, or a collector of many years can any of us honestly say that “I am in control!”? The liberating truth is that while we may have degrees of choice and control in our life we never know what may lie ahead. Nor can we choose the influences of people and events in years past. We can plan, prepare, and hope for what we deem best. But we simply cannot dictate all life may bring. But our creator does give us complete freedom to choose how we will respond to whatever or whomever life may bring us to experience. With circumstances, or people we cannot always choose or control how we may live or in which we may see our lives immersed. Yet, our God gives freedom in Whom our lives may abide, or be immersed.
This Monday past we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord. This holy feast helps us to enter the second of the great Epiphanies in which the earthly ministry of Jesus began. And it is as Jesus was baptized, immersed, in the waters of the Jordan river that the three-fold witness of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was made manifest. This great Epiphany truth gives us an exciting, realistic, and holy perspective in which to live this year of our Lord, 2023. This perspective is gracefully given to us in the ancient prayer from the twelfth century, the Anima Christi. [This prayer is also attributed to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola].
This Holy Spirit-infused prayer can powerfully bring us to grow to abide in and to be immersed in God. We may live in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Regardless of what the days, weeks, and months ahead may bring in circumstances we can freely choose to be immersed in God.
We can choose to allow the Soul of Christ to sanctify us, to set us apart for God and the Kingdom of Christ.
We can grow in the graces of knowing the Body of Christ saving us. As we seek and share in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, growing in that Holy Communion with God and God’s people we can grow in our salvation.
It will be at the pierced side of Christ that we can be immersed in His holy Blood that will inebriate, or as St. John Cardinal Newman translated, will fill all my veins.
And at God’s Son’s same pierced side we will be washed by the holy waters that flowed from his pierced heart. The cleansing water from His side will wash us of the sin, sorrows, and wounds that the world brings.
There at the side of God, we discover the passion of Christ which can infuse our being with holy strength to match whatever challenge our days may bring. It will be with this holy passion the Holy Spirit will guide and lead us in the same fearless love that is God. And as we walk with God that Jesus will hear us as we pray, as we listen to the Living Word, the Logos of the Father.
And when the inevitable wounds of this world occur, as we wonder and ask where we are to go or where we may belong that the kind hands of the Holy Spirit will bring us to hide in the sacred wounds of our Savior. It is within His holy wounds of love we are taught and brought to allow Him to enter within and heal our wounds.
It is there we grow free from the fear of being separated from God. It is within the wounds of God we find protection from the cruel evil one. For it is by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our witness that the evil one is vanquished.
Then, at the threshold of eternity, at the time of our death, we hear God calling our name to come, to Him and to fully dwell with Him and His saints forever.
As we enter into eternity we discover welling from our souls the praises and worship of God forever and ever. Amen.
The words for this reflection are not many. But please take the time to quietly listen, reflect and respond to this call to be immersed in God.