Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 14 January 2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

As the Prophet Samuel and the Apostle Peter were both called by name, so we too have each been called by name on the day of our Baptism. In a universal Church of more than a billion people, in a diocese of more than 200,000 people, and in a parish of nearly 5,000 people, it is easy for us to think of ourselves as just faces in the crowd – anonymous persons whose presence or absence will not be noticed and who make little or no difference to others or to God. But that is a lie of the Enemy.

To be called is also to be sent. We have each been called by name and have therefore received a unique and personal mission to accomplish in this life. Every baptized Christian is a missionary, and all missionaries have as their sacred duty and high privilege the task of introducing others to friendship with the Lord Jesus. The Church does not grow by means of programs or bureaucratic initiatives; the Church grows when one disciple of Christ introduces another person to the Lord Jesus and helps him come to know, love, and serve the Lamb of God who frees us from our sins.

In the Gospel appointed for this Second Sunday of the Year, we see that Andrew performed just such a work of evangelization when he told his brother Peter: “We have found the Messiah!” But as the Gospel explains, Andrew didn’t simply tell Peter about Christ, he went further and brought Peter to Jesus. But how do we bring others to Jesus?

Bringing others to Jesus can be accomplished in many ways. We can invite others to join us at Mass, to study the Sacred Scriptures, to come for dinner with a group of Christian disciples, to attend a class, to participate in a recreational event with other Christians, or to share in some form of service to those in need. By the way we live, treat other people, and fulfill our duties in every part of life (home, marriage, parish, work, community, politics) we bear witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and if our lives reflect the fruits of the Holy Spirit, then those who do not yet know the freedom of the children of God will be drawn to walk with us in the Way of Christ if we invite them to do so and help them receive the Word of God with saving faith.

But for any of this to happen, we must first be living in keeping with the grace of our Baptism. Each year at Easter we are asked to renew the promises of our Baptism, because it is by means of this first sacrament of the New Covenant that we become children of God, members of Christ, and heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven. We have been called by name to serve the living God and be witnesses to the truth of his Gospel, and each one of us has a personal contribution to make in fulfilling the Great Commission. So find someone who does not yet know the Messiah, and bring him to Jesus.

Father Newman