Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 15, 2017)

Today we begin the cycle of ordinary Sundays of the year - a time when the Church once again focuses our attention on the reality of God’s kingdom present among us in the life and ministry of Jesus.

In the Gospel passage we just heard, John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “God’s Chosen One,” the servant spoken about by the prophet Isaiah. He is the One who is “a light to the nations” so that the salvation planned by our God may reach the ends of the earth.

Through our baptism, you and I have been incorporated into God’s saving plan. As St. Paul tells us, we are “called to be a holy people, consecrated in Christ Jesus.”

We are members of his Church and therefore part of Jesus’ continuing presence in the world. We share in his prophetic mission to be “a light to the nations,” announcing the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth.

It’s very easy to forget that you and I have an obligation to be light to the nations, even though most of us have little contact with “the ends of the earth.” We have to remind ourselves frequently that we are essential parts of the body of Christ.

While we may not be able to reach very far physically, we can give strength to those who do. The power of our prayer for those who minister the good news and for their people is invaluable. How often have Oblates who minister in Africa

or South America or India or Haiti have thanked us for our prayers which give them the strength they need to carry on their efforts for the Church?

Today might be a good time to renew our efforts of prayer on their behalf. We might even take a few minutes this week to write to one of them, reminding him (and ourselves) of our prayer for him and his people. As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Francis de Sales next week, we might offer a day of fidelity in our practice of the Directory for our brother Oblates who serve the Church far from home. In this way, we can stir up in our own hearts a sense of connection with the mission of the Church and, in the process, assist others in coming to know Jesus as God’s Chosen One.