Sunday, January 20, 2013

2nd Sunday of Ordinary TIme

Here we are at the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time ... still at the beginning of this new year.  Christmas seems to me to be as far away as the most recent July 4th celebrations.  The readings for this particular Sunday remind us that if we take the time to look around, we can come upon very clear instances that call forth from us the need, yes, the need to rejoice in the Lord.  We hear that command often but I ask, "Is it a reality your life, my life?   Do we daily stop and 'rejoice in the Lord.'"

Folks, Isaiah puts before us his conviction that the Lord will restore Jerusalem.  From 'forsaken' the holy city "shall be a glorious crown in the hands of the Lord.  Isaiah feels that the relationship between God and Jerusalem can be likened to the delight, the joy, the confidence a bridegroom has in and for his bride.  Furthermore, God will rejoice in Jerusalem with the same expectations.  How often do parents have the joy and honor to rejoice in the successes of a child?  Just visit a campus on graduation day:  you will see the reality of rejoicing in another person.  Earlier this morning, it was so evident in the family of Vice President Biden as he was sworn in as the Vice President for a second time.  They were rejoicing in my husband, Dad, Grandpop, uncle etc.  This is the message of today's readings, I say  again, "rejoice in the Lord."

St. Paul reminds the Corinthians as well as all humankind that God has entrusted to us, to each and every person, the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Please give your undivided attention to the following words.  "... (God) who produces all of them (the gifts) in everyone."  This, too, is a reason for joy, for rejoicing in the Lord.  And note in the text of Paul's letter that these gifts are given to each of us not as gifts for our own closet but as gift to "benefit" others.  Now read with care and attention the gifts that the Apostle lists for the Corinthians.  These are the Spirit's gifts to YOU.  And consider this today:  which of these gifts is the strongest in your character?  Don't be afraid to consider your greatness.  This is what the Spirit wants of each of us so that we know well what we can do to follow the directions expressed by the great King David in the 96th Psalm.  This is what it means to "rejoice in the Lord:

Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

A keen insight from a 3rd year med student at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska:  If you ever feel uncertain about the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God wishes you to use to the fullest of your capabilities, consider what happened at the Cana wedding feast.  Near embarrassment, the bridegroom was almost out of wine and reception was hardly underway.  What to do?  Oh, Mary, the mother of Jesus is here with her son. Ask her help in getting her son to do something.  And what were those words of direction from the mother of the Son of God?  Five simple words should never be forgotten by us: "Do whatever he tells you."  Words so clear and to the point:  if we have doubts, turn to the Lord and Jesus will give a road map to the Holy Spirit.  In bringing your needs to Jesus in prayer, you will find over time that the answer you seek will be given to you.  I honestly believe it will not take much time if you spend some time with Jesus in prayer because God want us to fulfill our mission that is clearly typed in blue above:  Announce his salvation.  If you and I make known, make evident to others  our ability to rejoice in the Lord, only God knows what successes we can have in spreading the Kingdom.