Challenging Questions for Catholic Christians

Sunday, January 15, 2023

READINGS: IS 49:3, 5-6; PS 40:2, 4, 7-10;1 COR 1:1-3; JN 1:29-34

As we return to the Sundays of Ordinary Time, our readings this Sunday provide clear and inspiring reminders of the most fundamental aspect of our identity — that of servants of our most high and holy God and His modern-day disciples.

John the Baptist recognized the holiness of Jesus and the response due to Him when he encountered Christ in person on the day they met at the Jordan River. His response, which we read in our Gospel passage from St. John was, “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.’”

What a powerful description of our Lord and the place He should rightfully have in each of our lives. He is truly our Savior, the only one who can free us from our sinfulness. We are utterly and completely dependent on His power, love, and mercy. Therefore, He truly does “rank ahead” of us; he deserves to be first, above all other priorities and plans in our lives. Let us examine our daily lives and encourage our children to do the same.

Does the way I spend my time reflect that God comes first? Does daily prayer, weekly Mass attendance, regular monthly confession, and time with our family “rank ahead” of everything else on our calendars? Do we use our talents, skills, and energy to serve our family, parish and community in thanksgiving and recognition that God’s kingdom ranks ahead of any other goals or ambitions?  Do we spend our money and use our material possessions to glorify God?

Challenging questions, to be sure. But questions worthy of our high calling as Catholic Christians and modern-day disciples where we are offered a glorious mission in service of our Lord and His kingdom. What must our response be to this divine invitation?