2nd.Sunday in Ordinary Time: -Year A.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“The Vocation Of The Christian”.
Today we celebrate the Servant of God who came to do the Father’s will in perfect obedience. Yet he was more than a servant. John the Baptist calls him the Lamb, the ‘Chosen One’ of God.
The first reading shows how even in the Old Testament, God chose for his mission of salvation a Servant who sought neither glory nor power.
In the second reading, Paul tells us that every Christian is called by God and therefore has a vocation to fulfil. In John’s Gospel the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus and then steps aside. This is a model of humble service. “He must increase and I must decrease”.
The Gospel is telling us that our Christian vocation must continue the vocation of Jesus, whom the Baptist calls the “Lamb of God”. Do our ‘Christian Practices’ include the necessary self-sacrifices, love and faith, so that we may truly call ourselves ‘His’ witnesses?
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“In the Old Testament the ‘New’ is hidden.
In the New Testament the ‘Old’ is laid open”.
Isaiah 49:3, 5-6.
The people of Israel are in Babylon, five centuries before the coming of Christ. Israel as a people has failed; all its dreams of glory and victory have crumbled. Yet, even in this disastrous situation, Israel is chosen to bring the ‘Light’ of salvation to all the nations. It may sound incredible, says the prophet, but it will be through Israel that the Lord “will manifest his glory”. Why is God always choosing the weak instruments for his great achievements? God chooses the weak and the humble because their lack of pride and willingness to do his will. This allows the Holy Spirit to achieve great things through them. The ‘servant’ of the reading of today is only the image of the true faithful Servant of the Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, who brought salvation to the whole world through what some people will consider his greatest defeat: death on a Cross.
In the first reading, the Lord speaks to Israel in these words: “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified”. God will be glorified as the Israelite exiles return to their homeland and there worship God more fully. That is not all. “It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as light to all the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” The early Christians soon came to realize that Jesus himself was the ‘Servant’ par excellence and the ‘Light’ of whom Isaiah spoke. He came to bring both Israel and all peoples of the world to ultimate fulfillment. Our Christian communities should be today the servants that bring ‘light and salvation’ to all people.
How do we carry out our mission? Do we truly represent the faithful Servant? Instead of keeping close to the poor, are we perhaps seeking friendship of the powerful of this world for their support and approval? The Servant carried out his mission through self-immolation. He chose to be with the poor, the weak, the defeated and the oppressed. What is our community’s attitude to all those poor and weak today? The reading emphasizes in particular two elements in the vocation of the ‘servant’: first he has received a personal call from God, and second, he is destined to carry out a mission in order to benefit other people. The call to this mission is being repeated in each one of us and in all our communities. How do we answer the call?
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10.
It is the task that God invites us to perform that counts, not that which we have chosen for ourselves. ‘You are not pleased with sacrifice and burnt offerings, but an open ear’. Then I said “Here I am – I have come; … to do your will is my delight, O God, and your Law is deep within me”.’ That attitude of choosing only what God chooses for us is, as dangerous and absurd though it may seem, is the only possible approach to our life, if we really want to be the people we have it in us to be.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3.
In the second reading Paul speaks of himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus”. As such he addresses members of the Church in Corinth, all of whom are called, as he said, “to be saints”. Theirs was a city no better and no worse than many others in that world, but they were called to holiness. He wishes them much more than conventional greetings, namely grace, which includes everything associated with God’s free gift in Christ, and peace, which is the reconciliation won by Christ between God and his people and themselves (Rom 5:1). As Christians we too, are called by God to join with his Son in witnessing to the world about God’s truth, the ‘Good News’.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist points to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He likewise attests, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him… and I myself have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ that takes way the sins of the world.
Jesus will replace all previous religious sacrifices. Lambs were sacrificed in expiation for sin. The lamb also recalls the blood sprinkled on the lintel and door to save the Hebrews in Egypt. The lamb, meek and gentle before the slaughter, represented the innocence and non-violence of Jesus, the suffering Servant, dying to save others.
At Holy Mass we profess our faith in Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ who takes away our sins. Like John the Baptist, we are called to witness in word and deed that Jesus is indeed the ‘Chosen One of God’. Through him and in him alone, can we find ultimate fulfillment and peace.
Jesus is the ‘Good News’ – that God loves us despite our unworthiness. By presenting Jesus as the Lamb, John wants to tell us that Jesus has come to give up his life and that his blood will free men and women from sin and from the forces of evil.
He is taking up once more the theme of the humiliated Servant of the first reading: ‘his defeat would bring light and salvation to all the people of the earth’. Jesus too, says John, has come into the world to carry out that same mission and will make use of the same means.
We can also use the figure of the Baptist and learn from him. The spiritual course followed by the precursor to discover the ‘Lamb of God’ is the same one that every Christian has to follow.
Will belief in his being the ‘Lamb of God’ not demand some radical change in the life of our communities and in our lives? What are the initiatives, which show clearly that we are Christians and are carrying on the mission begun by the Lamb of God? Who are those who expect help from us? How exactly must we carry our mission?
Each Christian, however, is unique. Each will witness to Jesus differently because of his or her particular character and gifts. We need to know that no matter what the world offers us now, God is offering us much more with the gift of eternal life.
The call of John the Baptist is to repent, to develop a new sense of what is more important, and that is to receive the ‘Good News’ of God’s everlasting and merciful love. All of us together are to be powerful signs that God’s love and compassion is at work in the world.
In John’s Gospel the Baptist always prepares for Jesus and then steps aside. This is a model of humble service. “He must increase and I must decrease”. A final question for us to reflect upon this coming week: What aspects of character or parts of my life must decrease so that likeness to Christ may be increasingly seen as I walk in the ‘Way’?
Do our ‘Christian Practices’ include the necessary self-sacrifices so that we may truly call ourselves ‘His’ witnesses?
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week:
Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following the
2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A, we reflect on …
Sun. … When all our hopes and dreams seem to have crumbled, God is still with us. In times of suffering when we persevere in Jesus’ name our resolve is strengthened and enables us to carry out God’s will and our purpose in life.
Mon. … The first reading emphasizes two elements in the vocation of the ‘servant’: first he has received a call from God, and second, he is destined to carry out a mission in order to benefit others. The call to this mission is being repeated in each one of us in our communities today. Let us today ask God for his graces to help us practice the way of obedience so that we will recognize ‘His’ voice from the many distracting voices in our lives.
Tue. … Do we truly represent the faithful Servant? Are we keeping close to the needs of the poor or are we rather seeking the friendship and approval of the trendsetters and the influential in our communities to further our own agendas? Are we simply serving ourselves or carrying out the will of God?
Wed. … The Psalm reminds us: It is the task that God invites us to perform that counts, not that which we have chosen for ourselves. “You are not pleased with sacrifice and burnt offerings, but an open ear. Then I said here I am – I have come; … to do your will is my delight. O God, your Law is deep within me”.
Thur. … In the second reading Paul tells us that every Christian is ‘called’ and therefore has a vocation. When we are open to God’s calling, the Spirit will guide us to our mission in life.
Frid. … Like John the Baptist, we are all called to witness in ‘word and deed’ that Jesus is indeed the ‘Chosen One of God’. Through him and in him alone, can we find ultimate fulfillment. The ‘Good News’ is that God loves us despite our unworthiness and sinfulness.
Sat. … God has a plan for each one of us and we need to know what our part is in his plan of salvation. When we talk to our “Father” today, let us say, “Father, please speak to me and guide me, for I come to do your will”. In humble submission we say, “He must increase and we must decrease”. Let us in faith and in trust wait for our Lord’s response.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, grant to us the ability to hear Your call; we pray for the wisdom to recognize Your voice and we ask that You strengthen our resolve to follow Your call. We pray that our faith may develop into a personal relationship with You as a child may have with a ‘father’ and as a ‘child of God’ may we always strive to do Your will.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Compliments: Bible Discussion Group.
Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.
“Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.