2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6 Corinthians 1 1:1-3 John 1:29-3
The movie industry often calls for extras to give life to scenes in a story. If today's Gospel passage were to be filmed, the extras would be called to a well-positioned river for a shoot. The main characters, Jesus and John, would have carefully chosen attire, well-rehearsed movements, and expressions, and dialogue with a crowd of onlookers. All this for a scene which is a very significant event in salvation history.
John, the last prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures, proclaims he no longer is the one who is a spiritual director. He is stepping down and telling his faithful followers to now proclaim allegiance to someone else. For all this to happen smoothly, both leaders and the faithful must shift gears quickly, and this is never done without emotional strain. Loyalty has deep ramifications. The hopes and fears that accompany this change result in many conversations with self and others.
Is it a coïncidence that this reading is before the people of our country as the inauguration of a new president takes place, or is it the Holy Spirit appearing for a teaching moment? Barack steps down, and Donald assumes the role, just as John and Jesus in a moment of time transition their roles.
Change can be very emotional creating unity and division. It was difficult for the people of Jesus' time to move with their hopes and anxieties from one leader to another. It is the same for anyone of us who attempts to scale the hurdles of small and large changes in our life.
In all this, the Spirit is leading us to find the God of compassion and truth in the people and events facing us today. Consider the human and divine circumstances that change creates. These two factors could influence how peaceful transitions could be processed. If only all leaders could exercise leadership as Jesus modeled for us, how different the world would be. Our role is to encourage leaders and those we journey with to place the common good as a non-negotiable in every decision.
Prayer: May the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit be manifested in our world, church, personal and collective lives as this new year, the new government and any change affects each and all our lives. At this time we also ask for prayers as the Blauvelt Dominicans prepare to elect a new leadership team in April.
Sister Dorothy Maxwell, OP