Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 17, 2021
I remember being confused about the difference between “Apostles” and “disciples.” What I can’t recall is who I consulted for clarification. It was either my mother, grandmother, or teacher in the Catholic elementary school I attended. Even back then, I tended to check my sources, so I suspect that all three weighed in.
In any event, early on and based on what I was taught, I formed the impression that Apostles were the VIPs — which, of course, they were! But, by contrast, I somehow came to see disciples as little more than groupies. In my mind, disciples were merely the spectators viewing the life and ministry of Jesus from the bleacher seats. In fact, I carried that image well into my adult years.
This might seem a naive or childish view, but, before Vatican II explored the role of the laity in the work of salvation, the job description for “discipleship” tended to be limited to PRAY…PAY…AND OBEY! Certainly, all three elements are important parts of Christian discipleship. But we have grown into an appreciation for the rights and privileges, as well as the duties and obligations, of disciples.
Obviously, the Apostles were in a league of their own; nevertheless, the original disciples were far more than spectators. Those who remained faithful to the Lord enjoyed an intimate relationship with Him. They patterned their life after His example. They also shared what they learned and experienced, calling forward subsequent generations of disciples of Jesus Christ.
The fact is all Baptized are disciples. By virtue of Baptism, all disciples should see themselves as VIPs. We are not merely spectators, but we are each actively involved in passing on what has been given to us. Through Scripture, our Sacraments, and our traditions, we can get up close and personal with Jesus Christ.
But this great privilege brings with it a great responsibility. Discipleship involves the obligation of passing on our faith. We are, indeed, VIPs…very important people to the work of salvation.
Returning to Ordinary Time this Sunday, we look forward to a long season of listening to Jesus teach and preach and observing His miracle-making. Appreciating that we, as students, must, in turn, become teachers, should inspire us to be more attentive to the experience of Ordinary Time.
We begin this great adventure with a cautionary lesson. Our First Reading reminds us of the importance of “checking our sources.” Almost daily, we are invited to become disciples of someone or something. The “dark web” for example, is full of opportunities to apprentice ourselves to a teacher. But the lessons and experiences offered there are the antithesis of salvific. It is important to question just exactly who it is that is calling to us. Not every voice is of The Spirit.
Our Second Reading reminds us of our frail and vulnerable nature. At the same time, however, there is a note of encouragement. When we fully commit to the work of discipleship, God places within us the power to make a true and lasting contribution to our world. St. Paul stresses our importance. When we appreciate our importance, we tend to behave like VIPs.
Finally, it is important to notice the seamless transfer of power between John and Jesus. John does not try to hold onto his disciples; quite the contrary. John directs their attention to their next step on the path to total enlightenment. He actively passes them over to Christ.
While still “in the body,” we should look for, and take full advantage of, every opportunity to sit with, listen to, learn from, and experience Jesus. These powerful experiences enable us to do the most important work of discipleship…passing on what we have been given.
So, we begin our great adventure through Ordinary Time…keeping in mind we are VIPs with some very important work to do.
Our Sr. Laurene began her wedding with eternity yesterday, January 16, 2021. Please keep her in your prayers and us as well.
Srs. Dianne and Laura