Click here to read the full bulletin for January 15, 2017
Dear Followers of Jesus,
We listen to today’s gospel (John 1:29-34) and it seems we are back to the beginning of Advent. John is pointing again into the direction of Jesus and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” His gesture and words point out to us who Jesus really is- the Lamb who will be slain for our sins. He is God who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
The point of these gospels in the early weeks of Ordinary Time is to establish Jesus’ authority in his ministry. We are back to the beginning of his adult life and his ministry needs to be put into a context of what will happen. His entire ministry as an adult leads him and us to his passion, death and resurrection.
Our own baptism enables us to know Jesus. Our connection to Jesus does not get washed away in our memory from when we were baptized. Our identity does not fade away. Our connection does not get lost even though we move on to other things such as greed, power or lust as the primary source of our identity. Our connection to the Holy Spirit always finds a way to refresh us even though we get lost in our denial or self-sufficiency. Our life in the Holy Spirit is real even when we believe that God must have abandoned us years ago. Our future remains tightly in the bonds of the Holy Spirit even when we have not prayed in the years since we were children.
Perhaps this year we can renew our lives in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we can pick up the scriptures again and pray. Perhaps we can learn a new dependence on God even in the center of our aches and pains and our anger about being lost and alone. Perhaps this is the year that we can recognize Jesus as John did—that He is the Lamb of God who takes away my sin and loves me for who I really am.
Here are some questions to ponder this week and beyond:
Jesus, how do I learn to trust you again? Help me Jesus, to have the gumption of John, to truly recognize you, to call your name out loud and find my place within your life.
Jesus, how do I learn to pray again? Help me Jesus, with my lonely heart, and show me again how to pray in the silence. Sustain me when I feel so abandoned and lost. Give me the grace to get out of my head and into my heart.
Jesus, how do I learn to live with a greater love in the world? Help me Jesus and show me the real needs of people so I may learn to offer your love to people.