What do you want most in the world? I imagine that perhaps in years past you would have given a different answer than what you’d say today. But at any point in the timeline of humanity, if you asked God that question, there would be only one answer: I want you! God desires a relationship with each and every one of us, and the readings today speak into just how far God is willing to go to create the space for us to answer His invitation.
The first reading shows us the scale on which God makes plans. The prophet Isaiah writes while the Jewish people languish in exile hoping for restoration back to their homeland, and yet for God the scale of this restoration is too small. God’s servant will not only carry out the restoration of the children of Israel, but the salvation of all people of all nations!
The Gospel shows us the method by which God will accomplish this. John the Baptist says upon seeing Jesus that He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. That is a huge statement! To baptize, especially in the time of Christ, meant ‘to immerse fully,’ and God’s plan of salvation is to immerse each of us into the Holy Spirit: the personified love of God.
And Paul’s words to the community at Corinth reveal God’s plan working and active. The city of Corinth is not a Jewish settlement, nor is Sosthenes a Jewish name. Rather the Gospel is a message for “all those in who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul’s introduction to the letter is testament to both the universality of God’s plan and to the mission enjoined on all of us to share the Good News that God has revealed!
The readings this week impress upon us how much God desires to bring all people to Himself and the lengths to which He will go to accomplish that. But the question falls upon us: How far are we willing to go to aid Him? As many of you might know from attending Mass or reading the bulletin, we are on the cusp of a new Alpha course starting up in our parish. Alpha is a way in which the Gospel message is shared anew and reinvigorated in its universality. But like the Gospel it can only go as far as it is shared, and like Paul, we must be invitational to all; so, if you haven’t attended before, come and see, and consider who in your life might need an invitation to join us!
Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator