So how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? This is about the time when a lot of people have already given up on that commitment to diet, exercise, learn a new language, stop gossiping and so on.
So, just in time for the dropoff in resolve about resolutions, this Sunday and the next focus on the call of the Lord, which is an ideal starting point to make a lasting positive change to our spiritual lives, to recommit to discipleship that came with our baptism.
There is a universal call to holiness. Sometimes we still don’t realize that we are called not to just be religiously observant – go to Mass, keep the commandments, partake in the sacraments – but we also have an inner life, a spiritual life, and we are called to actively tend to it.
When the Apostle Paul says in our second reading, “to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,” we interpret that to mean each and every one of us here today, not just priests, monks, religious, parish leaders, but everyone.
In our Psalm today, we responded, “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will” and hopefully we can resolve to really mean it, not just today, but every day. We have to be open and receptive, “here I am, Lord” and we’ve got to be responsive, “I come to do your will.”
The servant in today’s first reading is the one who will make God known to the ends of the earth. That servant is you and me. And in the Gospel, just as John the Baptist sees his ministry as connected to that of Jesus, the Lamb of God, we, too are connected by the same Spirit to Jesus, and we are also commissioned to do the same work.
This Monday we mark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a civic holiday that nevertheless reminds people of faith of the uneasy path of working for justice that our baptism has called us into. Some of Dr. King’s struggles are still not complete; in fact at times it feels like we have relapsed in the last few years. New variations of struggles have emerged, and there is much uncertainty of what the near future will bring in the United States. But with a stance of “here I am, Lord, I come to do your will” and our reservoir of Catholic social doctrine, we can face that struggle and face that future, faithfully and forcefully.