What do I want to be when I grow up?

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

The LORD said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.' I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel." John testified further, saying, "I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."

Do you remember when you were young? What were you like? What memories stood out for you? For me, I liked, and still do, wandering in my mind; or as my elderlies would say, day-dreaming. I often pondered on the question of “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Such a simple question but there’s simply no easy answer to it! A number of years later, my quest for self-discovery continues. It is not surprising that, over the years, I have found plenty of companions on the same quest of discovering who we really are and what we are called to do.

This week’s readings reassure us, pilgrims on earth, that we are “formed” by our loving God; “called to be saints”; and chosen to bring the Good News to all; so that we may testify for our Lord Jesus Christ. Like the prophet Isaiah, St. Paul, and John the Baptist, each one of us is lovingly “formed […] in the womb” and called to be a servant of God; to serve God and each other in unique ways (Is 49:5). Isaiah has been “called” and “named” by God even before he was born (ref. Is 49:1). His mission is not merely to “bring Jacob back … and that Israel might be gathered” but also to be given “as a light to the nations, that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Is 49:5-6). When God forms and names you, and me, in our mother’s womb, what is God’s plan for us?

Heavenly Father, the source of love and light, make every moment of my life a reflection of your eternal and glorious light, so that other people may get to know and love you.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he clearly explains that he is “called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (1Cor 1:1). His mission is to journey with all those who are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”; not just a selected few, but “together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor 1:2).

Lord Jesus Christ, humble and wounded servant of God, you willingly walked among us so that we may learn to journey with the poor, the ill, the lonely, and the oppressed. Strengthen us to be everyday saints among our fellow pilgrims on earth.

Finally, the figure of John the Baptist looms large in the Gospel stories. In the Gospel of John, we learn that John the Baptist’s greatness comes not from his grand gesture of baptizing Jesus and the multitudes who approach him looking for answers, nor from his heroic defiance against King Herod which results in his imprisonment and execution; his greatness comes from his willingness to be small. When he sees Jesus coming toward him, he proclaims Jesus as the Lamb of God and that Jesus “ranks ahead” of him (Jn 1:29). John’s job is to prepare the way so that Jesus “might be revealed to Israel” and to bear witness to the Son of God (John 1:31, 34). John “testified” that “the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and remain on [Jesus]” and also “testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:32,34).

Spirit of the Living God, empower us to be Christ’s witnesses on earth. When pain seems unbearable, let us not lose heart; when the world tells us to be indifferent and self-centered, let us not lose heart; when we hear God’s voice, let us be Christ for each other.
Posted: January 19, 2020

Susanna Mak

Susanna深信,信仰需要在日常生活中顯露出來,尤其是當與別人相處時,需要分擔對方所面對的困境、抉擇和挑戰。她有着很多不同的身份:女兒、姐姐、朋友、姨姨、妻子、老師、校牧、終身學習者和偶爾替《生命恩泉》寫作的作者。在每一個身份當中, 她努力為天主的愛和希望作見証。 她在多倫多擔任高中教師近二十年,擁有英語、學生讀寫能力、青年領袖活動、校牧組等經驗。 她是多倫多大學商業和英語學士,教育學士,亞省Athabasca大學綜合研究碩士,以及擁有多倫多大學Regis學院神學研究碩士證書。她對於成為《生命恩泉》寫作團隊的一份子, 深感榮幸。 Susanna has a deep conviction that faith needs to be manifested in daily life, particularly, in one’s encounters with others as well as amidst dilemmas, choices, and challenges. She strives to be a living sign of God’s love and hope as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, wife, teacher, chaplain, life-long learner, and occasional writer for FLL. She has been a high school teacher in Toronto for almost 20 years, with experiences in English and literacy, youth leadership initiatives, the Chaplaincy Team, to mention a few. She has a B. Comm, B.A. in English, and a B. Education from University of Toronto, an M.A. in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University, and a Graduate Certificate of Theological Studies from Regis College, U of T. She is humbled by the opportunity to be part of the FLL Writing Team.

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