A Servant of Many ~ Br. Michael Marshall, Novice



First Reading – Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

The LORD said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.  Now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength!  It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob,  and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10

(R.) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.
(R.) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, “Behold I come.”
(R.) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”
(R.) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
(R.) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel – John 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,”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.’  I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”  John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him.  I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

The term servant often has a negative “definition”, especially here in the United States because of our unfortunate history.  People often think of a servant being a slave to a master.  But that is not the only “definition” for a servant.  In fact, a servant does not have to be subject to a master, but a servant can be of assistance with positive results.  We find this theme being a servant in the Readings for today.

Despite all of the unfortunate circumstances that the Israelites faced, especially their exile and slavery, Isaiah comes to the people as a servant of the Lord to explain that God does have favor with the people even though they faced so much adversity.  In the response for the Psalm, we read, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”  David recognizes his purpose.  In the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul is addressing the people of Corinth, setting up the message which he has to share; as he states his mission is to spread the message of Jesus, called upon by Jesus to do so.  In the Gospel, John the Baptist had been going around speaking of the “coming of the Lord” in his ministry.  And so, along comes Jesus who John the Baptist acknowledges as the one who takes away the sins of the world.  John’s purpose was to prepare the way of the Lord.

This is where things get interesting though; because God takes on human flesh as Jesus, only to end up being crucified.  How does the death of Jesus present positive results, as I mentioned being a servant can be of assistance with positive results?  The answer is this.  Jesus knew his mission was to serve the Father, to spread God’s message; through parables and other methods of teaching.  The night before his death on the cross, he sat in the garden knowing that in order to be a “servant to save humanity from sin” he had to do God’s will.  So ultimately, John the Baptist was sharing with the people present at the baptism of Jesus who this servant was.

How do we apply all of this to our lives?  Each of us has been called by God to do something.  We are a servant with a mission and purpose.  It may take longer for some of us to know what that mission and purpose is than it takes others, but we have to accept the call once we understand what we have been called to do.  W all have various gifts and talents given to us, BUT we have to use them!  If we do not accept the call, then we are not going to reach those who need to hear the message of the Gospel.  We are servants of the Lord!

Father, may we come to recognize our gifts and talents in order to fulfill our mission and purpose you have asked of us, just as people before us have fulfilled their mission. This we ask through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


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