As we enter Ordinary Time, following the Christmas season, our readings suggest that some- thing extraordinary is going on. In the passage from Isaiah, during the time of their exile the people of Israel are terribly confused and lost, and they long desperately for the healing and renewing presence of God. A servant is chosen, called to remind God’s people that God’s promises to them will be fulfilled. In the Gospel, as we move to the ministry of John the Baptist, Israel is again aching for God to be present among them. John proclaims that Jesus is the real deal, the Lamb of God, the fulfillment of God’s promises. The Holy Spirit remains with Jesus. And as John testifies, when Jesus baptizes with the Spirit, this is God healing and renewing the people.
CALLED TO TESTIFY. All four Gospels speak of the baptism of Jesus, but the Gospel of John does so in a distinct way. The evangelist does not narrate the story, but instead provides the testimony of John the Baptist about the event. John simply reports the descent of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s continued presence in Jesus.
John the Baptist is thus shown as an exemplary disciple of Jesus; one who not only does great deeds, but also always points to Jesus. John testifies to Jesus; he proclaims him as the Christ and his entire life gives evidence of the lordship of Jesus. We too are invited to testify in daily life, to give testimony and to be evidence of God’s reign in our world.
LIGHT TO THE NATIONS. From the beginning, the people of Israel understood themselves as a people who are gathered by God with a distinct purpose: to be so united with their God and with each other that they form a society filled with justice and mercy, and generously share with others. Imbued with God’s graciousness and compassion, they are to be “a light to the nations,” an example to all for how to live in community, and how to live in peace with all peoples.
Our passage from Isaiah speaks to us today because all our parishes and Christian communities are similarly called to be such a light, to our neighbors and to our world. Every society struggles to find ways to live peaceably together. Bitterness in conflict and suspicion of strangers are all too common. The quality of our life together in Christian community thus matters a great deal. How we address conflict, how we forgive each other, and how we welcome strangers can be a source of light to our world. Put another way, as Paul wrote to the community in Corinth, we are called to holiness, to testify to God’s graciousness in our life together.
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“Be a Part of the Dream: Together We Build”. I am calling all who pledged to give monthly contributions to start fulfilling their commitments and sacrificial giving. You may use the white envelopes labeled “St. Michael Parish Be a Part of the Dream—Together We Build” which may be found in the vestibule or in the pews. Please make check payable to St. Michael Church Capital Campaign, or write on the Memo line “For Capital Campaign”. You may drop the envelope in the offertory basket during Mass, or bring it to the parish office. You may also participate online at www.stmichaelsandiego.org; register for online giving and click on the “Capital Campaign”.
To those who have not yet participated, will you consider making a pledge today? Will you be able to share $25 or $50 or $75, or $100 monthly contributions for 40 months for our new multi- purpose parish center? Please, call the parish office at 619-470-1977 for questions.
Thank you for your support and participation.
May God reward you for your generosity.
Fr. Manny Ediza