Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008 ~ Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 1: 29-34

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."


John believed. He proclaims in a confident voice that Jesus is the Son of God. Do I? How many times do I shy away from speaking about Christ or God's role in my life? Am I fearful of what others may think or say in response? In this Gospel passage, we are given the opportunity to renew our commitment to evangelization. This seems only proper in the secularized culture of today.

Jesus can and will take away the sins of the world. Our sins are great, but His power is greater. John the Baptist proclaimed this to all who would listen. He bore witness and baptized many to free them from their sins. This week is the 34th anniversary of our Supreme Court's horrendous decision to allow the murder of an unborn child at any time from conception until birth. Those who have cooperated in, supported, or been involved with the legal killing of more than 600,000,000 babies through chemical or surgical abortions in our country need Christ's mercy. Will you give it to them?

How often do I get a chance to subtly speak up for life? Do I speak properly to and about those women who are pregnant, speaking of the children as already living? These women are expecting the birth of their babies, but they already have a new family member! When I see pregnant women, do I remind my children there is a baby in their tummy, speaking loudly enough for those around me to hear? Do I encourage women to celebrate the closeness they share with their unborn child, in spite of her many discomforts?

Do I know anyone who has lost a baby due to miscarriage or stillbirth? Do I speak of and regard that family's loss with the same regard as one who has had an older child die? Most people agree it is a great tragedy for a parent to watch a child die, but we forget this applies to unborn children, as well. Holding a funeral and/or Mass for the children, sending cards of condolence, and offering prayers for the child and family are essential to healing these wounds. How do I minister to others who are in such pain?

Many thought John the Baptist was crazy. He wore a camel hair shirt and ate honey and locusts! What wild things do we do for our faith in Jesus Christ? Maybe some of our family or friends do think we are crazy for the unique way we live our lives, whether that be attending certain churches or Masses, catechizing our children, praying the family Rosary, or simply speaking of Christ in an easy way. Do I shy away from such skepticism? Or do I continue to shamelessly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and that He takes away even the worst sins? Do I love my neighbor enough to share Christ's mercy with him or her, regardless of the personal cost?