Scripture reflections – Sunday January 16th

Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1: 29-34

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

There was a time in the history of the Church when a common thought among the laity ran something like this:  Bishops, priests, deacons and members of religious orders had Vocations.  The rest of us had jobs.  Communication with God was best left to the professionals.

This mindset  was a vestigial remnant of Fuedalism masquerading as piety.  What a refreshing wind it was, therefore, when the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church promulgated by the Vatican II Council (“Lumen Gentium”) proclaimed the “universal call (that is, vocation) to holiness” which all of the people of God share. The calls to holiness conveyed by the sacrament of   Holy Orders and  by the entrance into religious life are unique and noble vocations, necessary for the health and well being of the Church, but they are not the only ones.  Each and every believer has a personal and vital relationship with Christ, a relationship which shapes the texture and direction of their  lives. When the fruit of this relationship is brought forth into the community, as it  must be,  the texture and direction of the Church is influenced as well.

This idea of a universal call to holiness struck many at the time of its’ publication as a revolutionary thought.  How comforting and affirming, therefore, to find the exact same idea expressed by St. Paul in a letter that was written somewhere around 55 AD.   In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds each and every member of that church that they are “called to be holy.”

Do you believe in the depths of your heart that you are called to be holy? What does this call to holiness look like in your life at this time? 

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

(To read my book-length reflections on the scriptures, go to

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