Excerpt from Take Time For Him: Some More
by Angela M Jendro
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2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Imagine what it must have been like for the apostles near the end of their lives, to remember back to the very beginning when they first met Jesus – before their zealous and arduous work as the leaders of Jesus’ Church, before they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, before Jesus’ astounding Resurrection, before His shocking suffering and death, before witnessing in amazement His teaching and miracles. Back when they lived ordinary lives, as ordinary men, waiting upon the Lord in His silence.
The Lord had spoken to His People through prophets since His first revelation to Abraham. They had enjoyed ongoing relationship with Him, even when they experienced the pain of God’s discipline. Eventually however, their obstinance toward God grew so hardened that it caused God to withdraw His immanent presence from the Temple. Without God’s help the people fell captive to foreign nations and lived in exile.
Years later, King Cyrus of Persia issued an edict allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and even contributed funds to aid in the rebuilding of the Temple which had been destroyed. Eventually some returned to Jerusalem, but God’s divine and immanent presence (which had remained upon the Ark of the Covenant from their time in the desert during the Exodus through its housing in the Temple until the Babylonian Exile), did not return to the Temple. Although God anointed prophets to mediate His Word through this time, afterward God didn’t speak again until the Incarnation of Christ.
In consequence, the Jews endured about 400 years of divine silence. During that time they clung to the words of God’s earlier prophets and to His Law given through Moses. They considered God’s promises and kept hope that one day He, who is always faithful, would fulfill them.
At long last, their hope for God’s Word and for renewed relationship enlivened with anticipation when John the Baptist appeared, as
“the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight’”
(Mark 1:3; Isaiah 40:3).
The long silence finally broken, and the power of John’s prophecy excited some to speculate whether John was in fact the Messiah.
Both Messiah and Christ mean “anointed one.” In the Old Testament, those God had appointed as either priest, prophet, or king would be anointed with oil. Each were called in some way to mediate between God and the People, bestowed with a measure of God’s authority. The priesthood of the Old Covenant foreshadowed the eternal priesthood of Jesus, who would offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. The prophets mediated God’s word, preparing us for the incarnation of the Word of God, and later the indwelling of that Word in our souls through Baptism. Finally, the role of king was to govern the people as a steward of God who is the true king. Jesus came as king to reign not as a steward, but with the authority of God Himself.
|“And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching!’” Mark 1:27 “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7|
John the Baptist answered the Messianic speculation directly, stating, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). He too was waiting patiently upon the Lord. He faithfully preached repentance, as God had asked of him, and baptized with water as a sign of readiness.
Finally, the Holy Spirit revealed the Messiah to John – it was Jesus. There, waiting expectantly, were St. Andrew and another disciple of John. Upon hearing his prophetic declaration, “Behold the Lamb of God,” they began following Jesus immediately, apparently without even saying a word. When Jesus turned to ask them what they wanted, they expressed their desire to remain with Him. They accepted Jesus’ invitation to come with Him, and in their encounter with the Person of Jesus, determined with conviction that He was in fact the Messiah. In consequence, Andrew hurried to his brother to share the unbelievable news.
That day had probably began like every other day: breakfast, work, prayer, routine. In that moment however, they dropped everything to find Jesus. Everything had changed. In that first encounter, Jesus called Simon by name, and gave him a new name indicating his new role in the New Covenant. Simon would leave the normalcy of the life he knew, to be Peter, “Rock”, upon which Christ would build His Church. Imagine the trust he must have had in the Lord to persevere in his discipleship through so many changes, so much confusion, and so much responsibility! So much took place over the course of their lives, but it all began with dropping what they were doing when the time came, and going to find the Messiah.
The Anointed One has come. He heals wounds of sin and strengthens us with grace through His sacrifice on the Cross mediated to us in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confession, and the Eucharist. Jesus is the Word of God, who reveals God’s plan for our lives, our purpose, and His constant care. Jesus is king. We enter His kingdom through Baptism and must work to allow His rule over our lives daily.
“We have found the Messiah.” There’s no more need to search, only to follow; to say yes to Jesus’ invitation “Come, and you will see.”
Christianity is not a consumer product, a happy drug, an interesting philosophy, or a social club. Christianity is following Christ, the Anointed One of God, and staying with Him. None of us can imagine where it will lead, only follow one step at a time, waiting during times of silence, and acting when He calls our name. Where it leads only the Lord knows, but it will certainly be an adventure and full of surprises.
- Spend a few minutes in silent prayer, just being in the presence of Christ.
- When have you felt excitement about your faith like the apostles?
- How has encountering Christ transformed you? In what ways has it changed the way you think, guided your actions, or changed your desires and priorities?
- Prayerfully consider what mission Christ has for you.
- Take one step toward Christ every day. Follow Him in Scripture reading, works of love, or the sacraments.
- Take 5 minutes of silence to rest in the Lord.
All Rights Reserved © 2020 Angela M Jendro