2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
By: Rev. Fr. AMEH Sylvanus
Readings: Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; Psalm 40; I Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34
Theme: Living a life of purpose
It was Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher who once said/wrote: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” This statement is so true and so vast as it is applicable to every sphere of human life/endeavours. An unexamined life is one that is lived without purpose and as it is said, “When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” Yes, even concerning our very lives, if we do not know the purpose of our lives, then we will most likely abuse our existence. What then is the purpose of human life? And how can one live a life of purpose?
Question two in our petty catechism says “Why did God make you?” This question is a very important one for every human being, and more so for us Christians because in it lies the general description of the purpose of our existence. The answer to that question is, “God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in the next.” This tells us that God did not and does not just create people for the fun of it; this tells us that we are not products of accidents but of divine providence. God willed that we be here, and there is a reason why He created us. The question then is, “Are we living out the purpose of our creation?”
In the readings of today’s Mass, we see a presentation of purpose and a call to live a life of purpose. In the first reading, through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke to the people of Israel and now, to us, that He has called us and given us as light to the nations so that His salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Saint Paul, in our second reading, identified his purpose when he said he was “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.” Very glaringly in the gospel reading, John the Baptist, born to be the precursor of Jesus, lived out his purpose when he points out Jesus as the “Lamb of God.” Even the responsorial psalm is an invitation for us to live out our purpose in life. The psalmist says, and we ought to join him in saying, “See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.”
As mentioned earlier, the petty catechism says God created us to know, love and serve Him in this world (purpose) so that we will be happy with Him in the next world (reward). Anything outside of this is living outside of God’s purpose for us. So when we look at our lives, can we say we are living a life of purpose? What is the nature of our relationship with God (knowing God)? Do we love God (principally expressed in love of our neighbours)? How much of our time, energy and resources do we commit to serving God? Does our life point people to God? Do we commit to bringing God’s salvation to the ends of the earth? Do we realize the purpose of our lives and are we living it out? Isaiah did everything in his power to keep the people of God in right relationship with God; Paul was a zealous apostle of Jesus Christ from the very beginning to the very end; John openly declared Jesus as the Lamb of God to his disciples and the rest of the people. They lived a life of purpose. You and I therefore, must ask ourselves how well we are doing in living out the purpose for which God created us. We must always pray, like the psalmist, for God to help us do His will at all times. May the grace of God never permit us to live outside of God’s purpose for us. Amen.