2 KGS 4:8-11,14-16A PS 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19 ROM 6:3-4, 8-11 1 PT 2:9 MT 10:37-42 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. “ 1PT 2:9
The Gospel acclamation/alleluia verse of today’s liturgy is too important to pass by, blithely. It almost seems like a question has been answered. Someone has asked, “Who are we?” The response: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” In most translations of this verse, there is another line which refers to us as God’s possession. It is unfortunate that it was omitted in the verse we see because doesn’t it provide the most complete answer to the question? Perhaps it is all we really need to know. We belong to God! The verse makes reference to large numbers of people, but on a more personal level, each of us, individually, is a chosen person. Just as the Apostles were especially chosen, one by one, to share in his ministry and spread the good news of Jesus, so, all his followers are chosen. Most of us were baptized as infants, but, at some point in our life we made a conscious choice to follow Jesus. This may lead us to think that we chose God, but, in fact, we were chosen by God before time began. Being chosen means that we are distinct from others in the world. In the eyes of our creator, we are precious and we have an obligation to the one who has chosen us. The obligation is to…”announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
We know that Baptism brings us from the darkness of sin into a new light. We are sanctified by the Spirit of God. We are given a share in the life of Christ. The light only becomes brighter as we are graced by the joy of the gospel; the good news. We are chosen to become witnesses to God’s goodness and mercy. We are charged to live our lives in a way that allows others to see God in us. It is not sufficient for people to read or hear about the goodness of God, it must be reflected in each of us as we go about our daily lives. We must be Jesus to others. We must be holy as God is holy. We must draw everyone we meet closer to God.
So, we can see that being a chosen person brings with it significant responsibilities. We may, at times, fall down on the job…there are many such instances related in scripture… but we can always make our way back. The light may temporarily dim but it is never extinguished. Forgiveness is always offered and hope always compels us forward. The promise to the chosen people is that God is always with us. He never abandons us. Being chosen is much the same as being called. A popular, contemporary hymn makes clear our responsibility: “We are called to be light for the kingdom… to act with justice… to serve one another, and to walk humbly with God…” (David Haas, 1988, GIA Publications) Let us pray that the light always overcomes the darkness and that all the people of God live in that light. Amen!
Pat O’Malley, Associate