La cuesta de enero! Every year round about this time it can definitely feel like we’re in a vacuum. The lights are gone, the music is gone, the three-parties-a-day are no more, and it can even seem like the good cheer has left with all of that. There is one thing, however, that always remains: Our heavenly Father Who this Sunday is reminding us of our call to Himself.
Our faithful prophet, Isaiah, returns this Sunday in our First Reading to tell us that the Lord calls us. Isaiah says that the Lord said that to him personally (Isaiah representing Israel): “The Lord said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, / in whom I shall be glorified’; / I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, / my God was my strength.” Isaiah was clearly elated to be called a servant of the most high, but as is usually the case with our loving Father, He does us one better. “And now the Lord has spoken… / ‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,… / I will make you the light of the nations…” How great the plans God has for us!
Aptly, in our Responsorial Psalm, we will respond fervently: “Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.” We do not come to ask Him to help us do our own wills. We ask Him for help to accomplish His. God is the only one who will satisfy our burning hearts, or maybe our burnt-out hearts. He is the all-consuming fire wherein both numbness and passion find their fulfilment and are truly quenched or re-ignited.
Jesus Christ, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), has shown what it’s all about — coming to do the will of the Father, just like St Paul tells us that he is also called to do in our Second Reading. St John the Baptist returns this Sunday to hail Jesus as “the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
Jesus is the suffering servant that is spoken of throughout the prophets. He is the servant that Isaiah is really talking about. But He is also the servant that the Lord is talking about a few verses later. Jesus is not just a servant — He is so much more! He is a Son; the Son of the most high God. By our participation in Him through the grace of the Sacraments; this is exactly what we are called to also! Not just servants, but sons in the Son.
This Sunday, as we approach once again the table of the Lord, let us be reminded that it is through His body that we become what we eat — we become Christ! We are elevated from strangers straight through to sons and “fellow heirs with Christ.” Only note the clause that follows: “… provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17). It’s not optional.
But where there is a Cross, there is a resurrection.