Having completed the Advent/Christmas season, our Church year now moves to the Sundays in Ordinary Time. It is important that we do not look upon these Sundays as having lesser importance than the Sundays of the two great seasons of the year (Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter), since every Sunday celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. Ordinary Time started last Monday, so this Sunday is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. This year, in this first section of Ordinary Time, we will have eight Sundays.
Called, Consecrated, Commissioned
This Sunday, all three readings speak about how we are called, consecrated and commissioned to do God’s work.
Good and gracious God, you have called each of us by name from our mother’s womb, consecrated us and commissioned us to be a light to the nations. Help us to become more deeply aware and responsive to your call. This we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pause for a moment and listen to one of the songs:
ISA 49:3, 5-6
A light to the nations
When commenting on the Book of Isaiah, scholars speak of three Isaiahs. These verses are from second Isaiah (chs 40-55), a prophet during Israel’s time in exile. In the reading, the prophet may have been speaking of his own call or the call of Israel to be a light to the nations. Assuming the prophet is writing about himself, he states that he was chosen before his birth. He will be glorious before God and have God’s strength as his own. The message of the prophet will serve as a light to the nations. The last verse reminds us that God’s desire is to save all people and not just the chosen people.
Now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb…I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! — ISA 49:5 (NAB)
Church and public policy
“Called to be holy…a light to the nations…baptized as sons and daughters of God.” These themes, drawn from each of today’s readings, speak powerfully to us of our call as individuals and as a Church. Central to every vocation is the call to holiness. The name of the Second Vatican Council’s key document on the Church, “Lumen Gentium,” is taken from today’s first reading. It reminds us that we are a light, a beacon, to every people, primarily by the way we live, both in our private lives and in the way we conduct our activities and shape our policies as a Church and as a society.
Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will
The refrain to today’s responsorial psalm, “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will,” underlines the importance of obedience in the life of God’s servants.
“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!” — Ps 40:8-9 (NAB)
God’s will, not ours
The Responsorial Psalm 40:2-10 is based on a teaching from the First Book of Samuel (see I Samuel 15:22-23). The refrain comes from the Letter to the Hebrews (10:9) both referring to obedience to the will of God as being superior to all forms of exterior worship. We must keep in mind that our worship of our God must be in accord with His will, not ours.
We, in western culture, are repelled by any thought of subservience; and yet without realizing it, we have become addicted to sports, shopping, food, and sometimes to people with strange messages and objectives. This is a form of subservience. At this time, the beginning of a new year, let us examine the direction our lives have taken and see what adjustments need to be made. Keep in mind that God’s love for us calls us into a relationship where obedience and service are freeing and uplifting rather than restrictive or limiting. Something to think about during your prayer time this week!
1 COR 1:1-3
Doing the work of Jesus in Corinth
For the next seven weeks, the second reading will be from the first four chapters of Paul’s First Letter to the church at Corinth. The mixed community of Gentiles and Jews struggle greatly to integrate their new faith with their Greco-Roman surroundings. In these opening verses, Paul emphasizes how he and his readers and all the baptized have been called and sanctified by God to continue the work of Jesus.
“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.” — 1 Cor 1:2 (NAB)
Behold, the Lamb of God
On the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, the Gospel is from John.
Like the servant in the first reading and Paul in the second reading, John the Baptist is also called, consecrated and commissioned to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.
In this passage, John the Evangelist is addressing the disciples of John the Baptist who continue to believe that John the Baptist is superior to Jesus as he came before Jesus, and because Jesus submitted to being baptized by him (a matter which John the Evangelist has kept silent about). To respond to the faithful disciples of John who maintain their belief in his superiority, John the Evangelist has John the Baptist point to the superiority of Jesus.
He does this in several ways.
- John identifies Jesus as the “Lamb of God.”
- John proclaims that Jesus existed before him: “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.”
- He states that it is Jesus on whom the Spirit comes, the same Spirit who tells John the Baptist that Jesus is the Chosen Son of God.
In all of this, it is as if John the Evangelist is saying to the disciples of John the Baptist: “Look, it is John himself, your leader, who proclaims that Jesus is superior to him.”
“I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”. — Jn 1:31 (NAB)
Two animals of great spiritual value in the bible
This Gospel passage speaks of two animals of great spiritual value in the Bible: the lamb and the dove.
Christ is our salvation
The Baptist had the task of pointing out in Jesus «the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world». The proclamation of the Gospel, the word of Jesus Christ, is as essential and indispensable today as it was yesterday. We never cease to need liberation and salvation. Proclaiming the Gospel does not mean communicating theoretical truths nor is it a collection of moral teachings. Rather, it means allowing people to experience Jesus Christ, who came into the world – according to John’s witness – to save humankind from sin, evil and death. So we cannot transmit the Gospel and at the same time not pay attention to the daily needs and expectations of people. To speak of faith in Jesus, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, means to speak to people of our time, first asking ourselves what do they seek in the depths of their hearts.
Lamb of God
The following questions are designed for small faith sharing groups where time may be limited.
1. Turn to the person next to you and share what word/s or image/s in the readings caught your attention? Did they comfort or challenge you or touch you in some way?
2. “Called, consecrated and commissioned by God to do God’s work.” This is pretty awesome! What might help each of us have a greater sense of how we are called, consecrated and commissioned by God to do his work?
3. Can you relate to the first stanza of the Psalm? If so, in what way?
4. “Ears open to obedience you gave me.” What kind of spiritual practices might help us to develop inner ears to hear and respond to God’s Word?
5. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.
Responding to the Word
Suggestion on ways to act: Go into the coming days and weeks with a greater sense that God has truly called, consecrated and commissioned you to do his work on earth.
Having listened to God’s Word and listened to others’ reflections on it, take a quiet moment to reflect on what you are hearing God say to you. Your response will be what you bring to Eucharist on Sunday, asking Jesus to help you respond as he asks of you. When ready, jot down your reflections.
Praying with the Word
Jesus, all too often, I look at others who are holier than me as the called, the consecrated and the commissioned by God. Help me to see myself as one called to be a light, your light in my environment.
Loving God, You formed me in my mother’s womb, and in Baptism anointed me to be your servant. May I respond to your love each day by the ways in which I seek your will and then live it, even when that is difficult. Amen.
from Homiletic Directory
Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away sins of all
mission of the Son and Holy Spirit
NOTE: The above paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church resonate with this week’s biblical readings. They have been chosen because they cite or allude to the specific readings, or because they treat topics found in the readings. TIP: Increase the font size of catechism text by adjusting your browser’s settings for the mobile friendly website. Once you do this it will keep your settings whenever you visit the catechism website.
The Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism, confirmation and Eucharist in the Catholic Church are considered sacraments of initiation. We are introduced into the community of the disciples of Jesus Christ through these three sacraments. It takes all three to be fully initiated and to participate fully in all the dimensions of the Church’s life.
By baptism, we die to sin and rise again to share in the life of the Risen Christ. We are granted fellowship with all who are baptized. We have our first access to membership in the Church. Joined to the Risen One at the very depth of our being, we stand before God with the dignity of the redeemed, with the stature of his priestly people. We have the right and the power to intercede for ourselves and for others before the throne of God in our identification with Christ.In confirmation, the gift of the Holy Spirit comes to seal the baptized person in the power of God for life everlasting. The anointing with sacred chrism evokes the anointing of Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit for the mission given him by the Father.
Confirmation allows the baptized to take up a ministry in the Church so that the works of salvation begun by Jesus may be continued in this world.The Eucharist gathers the members of the Church at the table of spiritual fellowship with Christ and with one another, to be fed for the journey of life in anticipation of the eternal banquet in the heavenly kingdom. This feeding with the Bread of Life completes the sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ begun in baptism. The Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist applies the one sacrifice of Christ to this Christian and to all his/her brothers and sisters in the faith.
Eucharist is the goal and the summit of spiritual sharing here on earth, a sign of the ultimate sharing with God in heaven.
God has called each one of us to encounter Jesus Christ in the community of the Church so that we might be saved. In the Church, we continue the ministries begun by Jesus in his earthly life. We share through the power of the Holy Spirit in the works of Christ for the people of our times in the places where we live. The Church as Body of Christ living in the world today functions as the Christ bringing Good News and salvation to all men and women.
© 2017Rev. Clement D. Thibodeau, 12 St. Anne Ave C-6, Caribou, ME 04736. All rights reserved.
THIS WEEK’S DOCTRINAL HOMILY OUTLINE
Ascension Catholic – PDF Index (Fr. Eamon Tobin)
Carmelite Order – PDF Index (iBook/Kindle also available)
Portland Diocese – PDF Index (Rev. Clement D. Thibodeau)
St. Clare Parish – PDF Index