Reflections on the Readings
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 15, 2011 - Year B
By Dennis S. Hankins
His and His Alone
You are not your own; you were bought with a price. I Cor. 6:19-20
Tim Tebow loves football. But he loves Jesus first. Just ask him. He has captured the attention of football lovers by his talent and his testimony. This past Sunday night, 41.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the Jesus loving Tebow and the Broncos defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It's true that not everyone is comfortable with folks who are very public with their faith. It's also true that we need someone like Tim Tebow to remind us that maybe we need to be more expressive and robust about our faith. What could it hurt? Or, conversely, how much better might things be if we were?
In the first reading, Samuel is under the tutelage of Eli the Priest. Hannah, Samuel's mother, gave her son to the Lord, fulfilling a promise she made a few years back. Barren and heartbroken, Hannah begged the Lord for a son with the promise that if the Lord granted her request, she would give him back to the Lord. God revealed himself to Samuel at a very young age, showing us a God who does not waste what we give to him and that no one is too young to hear his voice. Our Father always brings to fruitfulness anyone's life given to him. This is not just for our Priests and Pastors or Nuns or Monks or Hermits. No matter what our calling in life may be, God invites everyone of us to give him our all - heart, soul, mind, body, and strength. God wastes no life that is lovingly surrendered to him.
The invitation to be his and his alone is for every one. We are not truly ourselves until we are aware that we have been bought with a price that remains incalculable. "Going once, Going twice," the evil auctioneer sneered. The wind in the Garden grew still. The leaves hung in dismay and the animals gaped. And then out of the Royal place came the voice of our Redeemer, "With my own love I'll purchase this lost and weary race. Come here all you sons of Adam and daughters of Eve." And in a scene that still causes Angels to look deeply into with awe-struck wonder, the Son of God became the Son of Man and now all the baptized children of Adam and Eve are clothed with Christ. We are his and his alone.
A closer relationship with the Lord happens by taking up the disciplines of prayer, confession, and a renewed consecration of ourselves, our time, our talents, and our treasures, to have Christ's presence in our very bodies. Paul asks whether we are aware that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. God pours into us his Spirit to effect the redemption and reconciliation we need so that we can truly be united to the Lord, to be one spirit with him. (1 Cor. 6:17)
We are sons and daughters of him who loves us. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven and by the Holy Spirit was made incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. In the Virgin Mary we sense how close God wants to be to us. Her humble and willing heart shows us the way to let God into our lives. Many hurtful and immoral substitutes entice us to forsake our first love for lesser loves and lovers. These denigrate the holiness of our high calling. It is you and me he has raised up by his power and through whom he desires to bring his presence into all the world. The ever Virgin Mary opened herself to the great gift of love and invited the love of heaven to fill her womb for nine months and her Sacred Heart forever. Dare we understand our role to be less or unnecessary or without consequence? St. Paul asks, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?"
We are bought with a price. It is the Crucifix that reminds us of the inestimable love of Jesus. We are not our own - nothing nor anyone nor anything else has the claim to our affections like Jesus. He is the 'Lamb of God.' Look at him and feel the pureness of his purpose - the wonder of his love - the majesty of his mercy - that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; the just for the unjust.
We are not our own for Christ has already spoken for us. Let us this Holy morning receive him with the anxious and heart throbbing anticipation of a bride adorned for her husband. We are the Church on which he has lavished his holy love. We take to our lips this sacred bread which is his Body and drink from this sacred Chalice his precious Blood. Let us do this not only for ourselves but also for the life of the world. May we re-enter the world this week with the life we have received and be temples of the Holy Spirit - people of God's love - his and his alone! The world needs more folks like you and Tim Tebow. Amen.
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is: www.dennishankins.com