Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
January 20, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
A reflection on today's Scripture:
It would seem that the party's overóour Christmas and New Year's parties, that is.
We've already begun the first four weeks of what the Church calls Ordinary Time. Certain words in the readings stand outówords like "servant" and "mission" and "follow me." How powerfully the Word of God underscores our personal responsibility to replenish the priesthood and religious life.
We see another side of John this week in his witnessing to the divinity of Jesus. After baptizing Jesus, and hearing thunderous approval from the heavens, John runs into Jesus the next day and calls Him the "Lamb of God." He is excited about what had happened when he poured water over Jesus' head, exclaiming that he saw the Spirit descend on Him and remain with Him.
Again, the following day, John the Baptist says the same thing to his followers, "Behold, the Lamb of God." By the way, "Lamb of God" connects Jesus with both the "suffering servant" of Isaiah and the paschal lamb of sacrifice. It's a major turning point in the story of our salvation as Andrew and his brother Simon became the first disciples of the Lord. How casual it all seemed. They ask Jesus where he lives, and Jesus simply says, "Come and you will see."
How attractive Jesus must have been to those seeking more from life. Older priests like me find it puzzling that today's young men do not seek Him out as Andrew did. Is it Jesus who fails to attract them? Or is it the life of the priest that doesn't appeal? Young people should come and see their pastor for information and advice.
Of course, the underlying attraction is love. Unless a young man falls in love with Jesus as Andrew and Simon did, he will never pursue a vocation. Only love can quiet the voices of protest from the world around them, as well as the attractions of lovely young women and a comfortable career.
Why should young men seriously consider priesthood as a lifetime commitment? Because priesthood leads not only to personal holiness and salvation, but because it prepares and officially commissions one to lead countless others to salvation through the sacraments of the Church.
There is no other calling in life to equal it. A priest's life is one of imitation of Jesus' life in his great love for people, his willingness to search out the lost, to counsel and encourage, bless and forgive sins by God's power, to be a part of every family, yet belonging to none.
What does it take to become a priest? Priesthood takes sacrifice, generosity, common sense, adequate intelligence, piety, and a sense of humor. Do you know anyone that has those qualities? Then give them a nudge, pray for them, and encourage them. The Holy Spirit will carry on from there!
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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