Today’s reflection is for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 19, 2020, and the readings can be found by clicking here. This post continues the theme of “The Holy Family.”
Today John the Baptist again takes center stage and gives Jesus the greatest shout out a person can give. John tells his disciples, “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Of course, John had been waiting to announce the news of the Messiah’s arrival for his whole life! How exciting for him to finally witness the Son of God! He told his own disciples that Jesus was the very reason why he was baptizing in the first place! John “the Baptist” had a name and a mission, not for his own sake but so that Jesus might be known to Israel.
John’s mission, ministry, and purpose is so that others might know Jesus. His life was lived so that others could be saved by his proclamation. What a beautiful calling…his vocation. The root word for vocation is “vocare,” which in Latin means “to call.” John heard God’s calling to him, knew Jesus, and shared so that God’s first child, Israel, might be saved.
A holy family knows this of their own life and their children too. Parents must make it their mission to know Jesus so that they and their children can know Jesus, hear his voice, follow him, and be saved. As Catholic Christians we know of no other way to come to the sure knowledge of salvation outside of faith in Jesus Christ. (C.C.C. 1257, Acts 4:12)
For this reason, Marriage too is indeed a calling; a vocare; a vocation. God calls men and women to be married, to be open to life, and to teach their children about their Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. Like John, holy families know it’s not about them at all–it’s always about a parent saying to their child, “Behold, the lamb of God.” And holy families pray that, like John’s disciples, their own children, upon encountering Jesus, will follow him, their Savior and Savior of the world.
The holy family’s entire identity, mission, and ministry is that through their life, their love, and their witness to Jesus, their children might discern their own calling to follow and boldly proclaim the name Jesus.
Like John, if parents fulfill their vocation to “see” and “testify” then holy children will more clearly see beyond the visible and ordinary, to the invisible and extraordinary. John did such a good job with his disciples that they were able to see more than a man when they saw Jesus–they had eyes to see the savior.
And if holy parents do a good job with their children then when Christ is raised up by the priest at Mass and he says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” with wonder and awe and the faith of a centurion, they will boldly give witness to the presence of the extraordinary God under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine.
Therein lies the sole purpose of the family, namely, that their children will, with John, see and testify that Jesus is the Son of God and have life in his name. Through prayer, Mass, the Sacraments, and service, holy families teach our children, with John, angels, and saints, to boldly shout out and be saved. Amen.