5th Sunday of Lent (Year A) – 29th March 2020

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS RAISES US FROM DEATH AND IN BAPTISM JESUS PREVENTS US FROM SIN AND DEATH WITH HIS GRACE SO THAT WE WILL NOT SIN AND DIE ANYMORE

  • Ezekiel 37:12-14;
  • Psalm 129 (130). R/ v. 7;
  • Romans 8:8-11
  • John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, verses 3-7. 17. 20-27. 33-45)

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent, and next Sunday will be Passion/Palm Sunday, and the Sunday after that will be Easter Sunday! Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night! Again, the readings today tell us about baptism. The readings today tell us about the great themes of baptism, namely, faith, resurrection, life, the Holy Spirit and repentance.

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and whoever believes in him even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in him will never die! The gospel tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the one who was to come into the world will be raised from death!

Again, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in him even though he dies he will live and whoever lives and believes in him will never die.

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will raise us up from the dead on the last day. But more than that, the gospel tells us that Jesus will raise us up from the dead here and now in the sacrament of baptism.

And more than that, the gospel tells us that Jesus will not only raise us up from the dead here and now, but he will also prevent us from sin and death here and now with the grace of baptism, so that we will not sin and die anymore!

Mary was prevented from sin and death by the grace of Jesus Christ! That is why we Catholics believe in the “Immaculate conception”, that is, Mary was conceived without sin to prepare her to be the Mother of God!

Again, in baptism, Jesus raises us up from death, here and now; and in baptism Jesus Christ also prevents us from sin and death by his grace, so that we will not sin and die anymore!

Thus we read in the gospel today:

“Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes Lord,’ Martha said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ Jesus cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out.” (Jn 11: 25-27. 43-44; SM)

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that Jesus Christ raises us from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit. The second reading tells us that just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will also raise us from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus we read in the second reading:

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through the Spirit living in you.” (Rm 8:11; SM)

The waters of baptism are not just holy water, but the waters of baptism are waters of the Holy Spirit! Only the Holy Spirit can destroy sin and death and give us new life! We enter and leave the church by signing ourselves with the sign of the cross and with holy water to remind ourselves of our baptism!

The first reading also follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that we are raised to life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The first reading is a prediction of the restoration of Israel from the Babylonian exile, but more importantly, for us Christians, it is a prophecy of the resurrection from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit! Thus we read in the first reading:

“You will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live.” (Ezk 37:13-14; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a penitential psalm. It is a prayer for pardon and mercy. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas.

The first stanza tells us that the psalmist cries to God (vv. 1-2). The second stanza tells us that the psalmist prays for God’s mercy and forgiveness (vv. 3-4). The third stanza tells us that the psalmist trusts in God’s mercy and forgiveness (vv. 5-6). The fourth stanza tells us that the whole community must trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness (vv. 7-8). (CSB)

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)

Again, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Particularly, Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the sacrament of baptism on Easter Vigil night. That is why during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor. A happy Lent to all of you! Amen!

3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A) – 15th March 2020

Theme: IN FAITH AND BAPTISM WE RECEIVE THE LIVING WATER OF  THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WE DIE AND RISE WITH JESUS CHRIST TO  THE NEW LIFE OF EASTER

  • Exodus 17:3-7;
  • Psalm 94:1-2. 6-9. R. v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8
  • John 4:5-16. 19-26. 39-42. (Shorter Form)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A. The readings today tell us that in faith and Baptism we receive the living water of the Holy Spirit and we die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

The first reading tells us that the people of Israel did not have faith in God and grumbled against Moses: ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die of thirst, and our children too and our cattle too?’ The place was called Meribah and Massah because the people of Israel quarreled with God and tested God saying: ‘Is the Lord with us, or not?’

The responsorial psalm is a call to praise and obedience. The first two stanzas is a call to praise God the Shepherd of Israel.

The third stanza follows the theme of the first reading, “O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

In other words, do not test God, do not try God; but trust God and have faith in God!

The gospel tells us that the Samaritan woman had faith in Jesus, but more than that the gospel tells us that her faith in Jesus grew from believing Jesus to be a man, to believing Jesus to be a prophet, and to believing Jesus to be the Messiah! And more than that she became a missionary of Jesus and she brought many Samaritans to Jesus and the Samaritans believed that Jesus is the savior of the world!

Finally, the second reading tells us that we are justified by faith through Jesus Christ! Thus we read in the second reading: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory.” (5:1-2)

But more importantly, the readings today tell us that in faith and Baptism we receive the living water of the Holy Spirit and we die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

The first reading tells us that God gave the people of Israel water to drink in the desert so that the people of Israel will not die of thirst in the desert!

In Baptism God gives us the living water of the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, so that we will not die in our sins, but live a new life!

The gospel tells us that Jesus gave living water to the Samaritan woman who although has had five husbands was thirsting for the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love!

In Baptism God gives us the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love to forgive our sins and to give us new life!

Finally, the second reading tells us that the living water is the love of God poured into our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit!

Again, in Baptism God pours the living water of his love into our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins and to give us new life!

The readings today have been chosen by the Church to prepare our catechumens for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! These readings from Year A are read whenever there will be Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! During this time of Lent the Church has also asked our catechumens to pray, to fast, and to give alms, in order to prepare themselves for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

We will now celebrate the Rite of the First Scrutiny with our Catechumens and we will pray for them so that they will be prepared to receive the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil Night and die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A Happy Lent to all of you, especially to our Catechumens! Amen!

4th Sunday of Lent – 31st Mar 2019

Theme: JESUS CHRIST THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: THE LIGHT OF FAITH, LIFE AND GOODNESS

  • 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13;
  • Psalm 22 (23). R/ v. 1;
  • Ephesians 5:8-14
  • John 9:1-41 (Shorter Form, 9:1. 6-9. 13-17. 34-38.)

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. We use Liturgical Year A instead of Year C, because there will be baptisms on Easter Vigil Night! The readings of Year A are most suitable for baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the light of the world (v. 5b)! Light in the New Testament symbolizes 3 things (NIB; Jn 8:12b): (i) Light symbolizes faith as opposed to unbelief which is darkness. (ii) Light symbolizes life, contentment and joy as opposed to death, unhappiness and misery which is darkness. (iii) Light symbolizes good as opposed to evil which is darkness.

More importantly, the 3 themes are related, that is, faith in God gives us life and the life from God is a life of goodness!

Most importantly, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil!

This is because Jesus Christ the light of the world has overcome the devil the darkness of the world! And the Risen Lord continues to overcome the darkness of the devil through the power of the Holy Spirit until the end of time when all darkness will be overcome! That would be the end of the world, that is, the end of the evil world!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the light of faith. (CCB; Lefrois) The gospel tells us that Jesus cured the blind man so that he could see not only physically, but also spiritually, that is, with the eyes of faith!

The gospel tells us that the faith of the blind man grew! At first he saw Jesus to be a man, then he saw Jesus to be a prophet, and finally at the end, he worshipped Jesus as Lord! The faith of the Pharisees on the other hand got from bad to worse! At first they said that Jesus was not from God, and then they doubted that the miracle even happened, and finally they called Jesus a sinner!

We have to grow in our faith every year; otherwise our faith will decrease and disappear! That is why we renew our faith and baptism every year! That is why on Easter Vigil Night we have to answer 6 questions, 3 to reject Satan and 3 to profess our faith in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!

The gospel today also tells us about baptism. The gospel tells us that Jesus put a paste on the eyes of the blind man and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. After washing the blind man could see with the eyes of faith!

In baptism we will also be anointed with the oil of chrism. We will also be washed with the waters of baptism. We will also be able to see with the eyes of faith. That is why we will be given candles lighted from the big Easter candle! We will be given the light of faith, life and goodness!

The Gospel Acclamation tells us that Jesus is the light of life! Thus we read in the Gospel Acclamation:

“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12; SM) 

The second reading tells us that Jesus is the light of goodness! Thus we read in the second reading:

“You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” (Ep 5:8-9; SM) 

The first reading tells us that David was anointed king by the prophet Samuel and the spirit of the Lord seized on him from that day onwards! Thus we read in the first reading:

“Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.” (1 S 16:13; SM)  

In the Sacrament of Confirmation we will also be anointed with the oil of Chrism and we will also receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and we will be made strong witnesses of the Lord!

The responsorial psalm is on the good Shepherd! The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas are on the good Shepherd. The third and fourth stanzas are on the host of the messianic banquet.

The messianic banquet is a prefigure of the Eucharist! (CCB) And the Eucharist is an anticipation of the heavenly banquet! Thus we read in the third and fourth stanzas of the psalm:

“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” (Ps 22 (23): 5-6; SM)

On Easter Vigil Night some of our catechumens will be receiving the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, namely, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist! In Baptism they will be born again in the Holy Spirit, in Confirmation they will be made strong in the Holy Spirit and in the Eucharist they will continue to grow in the Holy Spirit! That is why it is important that after Baptism and Confirmation they continue to come to Mass every Sunday!

During this time of Lent the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor to prepare us to receive the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation, and for those of us who are baptized to prepare us to renew our baptism so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent. Today is Rejoice Sunday or Joyful Sunday because we are more than half way through to Easter! That is why we use pink/rose vestment! A happy and joyful Sunday to all of you! Amen!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 3rd February 2019

Theme: JESUS THE PROPHET OF GOD SPEAKS GOD’S WORD OF SALVATION

  • Jeremiah 1:4-5. 17-19;
  • Psalm 70 (71):1-6. 15. 17. R/ v. 15;
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
  • Luke 4:21-30

Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year C. The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the prophet of God who speaks God’s word of salvation! Thus we read in the gospel today, “the gracious words that came from his lips”. “Gracious words”, that is, words of salvation. “Came from his lips” (Dt 8:3), that is, word of God. (NJBC)

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that like the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who ministered not only to the Jews but also to the pagans, not only to man (Naaman) but also to woman (widow); Jesus came to save not only the Jews but also the pagans, not only man but also woman!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus and they wanted to throw him down the cliff, but Jesus slipped through them. This points to the future rejection of Jesus by the Jews and to the “Easter victory” of Jesus! (NJBC)

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah prefigures Jesus the prophet! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to all the nations, not only to the Jews! Like Jesus, Jeremiah was also rejected by the Jews. The second part of today’s first reading (vv. 17-19) tells us that the kings, princes, priests and people of Judah will fight against Jeremiah. And like Jesus, the Lord was with Jeremiah to deliver him!

The responsorial psalm is a prayer of an old man, but in the context of today’s readings, it is a prayer of a persecuted prophet. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. Stanzas one, two and three is a prayer for deliverance (vv. 1-6). Stanza four is a vow to praise and thank God for deliverance (vv. 15. 17). (NJBC) Thus the response which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“My lips will tell of your help”. (Ps 70 (71): 15; SM)

We are all called to be prophets because of our baptism! The readings today tell us about being prophets:

(i) We must speak God’s word of salvation. (Gospel)

(ii) We must speak to all the nations. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iii) We must expect rejection. (Gospel and First Reading)

(iv) God is with us to deliver us. (Gospel and First reading)

(v) We must pray for deliverance. (Responsorial Psalm)

(vi) We must prophesy with love. (Second Reading)

The second reading today tells us to be ambitious for the higher gifts, that is, the gifts of faith, hope and love. In fact the second reading tells us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love! In heaven we do not need faith and hope anymore! In heaven we find only love and love gives life and happiness! Thus in heaven we find only three things, that is, love, life and happiness! Thus the second reading concludes:

“In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Co 13:13; SM)

The second reading today tells us that

“Love is always patient and kind: it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” (1 Co 13:4-7; SM)

The quotation above can serve as a checklist to see if you have love or to see if others have love. We have only to substitute the word love with our name or with the name of others. But first substitute the word love with the name Jesus because Jesus is love!

Today in this Mass we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ the prophet par excellence and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we may become the prophets of God to speak God’s word of salvation to all the nations!

Today in this Mass we also thank God for the many spiritual gifts and charisms and we ask God to help us to be ambitious for the highest gift, that is, the gift of love, so that we can love God, neighbor and our own very selves! A Happy and Blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!

The Baptism of The Lord (Year C) – 13th Jan 2019

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD

  • Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
  • Psalm 103 (104): 1-2. 3-4. 24-25. 27-30. R/ v. 1;
  • Titus 2:11-14. 3:4-7
  • Luke 3:15-16. 21-22

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Liturgical Year C. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord. At Christmas, the Lord revealed himself to shepherds, that is, to the poor, the humble, the lowly, and to sinners! At Epiphany, the Lord revealed himself to the wise men from the east, that is, to all the nations, not only to the Jews, but to the whole world! At the Baptism of the Lord, the Lord revealed himself as Son and Suffering-Servant of God!

The gospel today tells us that when Jesus was baptized and was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him and a voice from heaven said,

“You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you”. (Lk 3:22; SM; CSB)

That is, Jesus is the Son and Suffering-Servant of God! (NJBC; Is 42:1) As Son, Jesus is to love God, as Servant, Jesus is to serve God, and as Suffering-Servant, Jesus is to suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world!

The gospel also tells us that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire! That is, he will baptize us with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Pentecost! (Acts 2) The fire of God’s love! The fire of God’s love will burn away our sins and make us into sons and servants of God! As sons of God we will love God and neighbor, as servants of God, we will serve God and neighbor, and as suffering-servants of God we will suffer and sacrifice for the sanctification and salvation of the world!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the revelation of the Lord. The first reading tells us that the glory of the Lord will be revealed to all the nations!

The first reading was originally about the return from exile from Babylon to Jerusalem, the new and second exodus; but the New Testament sees it as a prophecy on John the Baptist and Jesus Christ! (CSB; Mt 3:3) Thus we read in the first reading:

“A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Is 40: 3-5; SM)

More importantly, the first reading tells us that when the Lord is revealed he will be revealed as the Good Shepherd! (NJB; Jr 23:1-6; Ezk 34; Mt 18: 12-14; Jn 10:11-18) Thus the first reading concludes:

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord does not only reveal himself in the glory of salvation, but the Lord also reveals himself in “the glories of creation”! (NJB)

The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-4) tell us about the creation of the heavens. The third stanza (vv. 24-25) tells us about the creation of the many and various creatures of the land and sea!

And most importantly, the fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 27-30) tell us that all creatures depend on God! (HCSB) God does not only create the universe, but God also sustains the universe! Ongoing creation! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord God, how great you are.” (Ps 103 (104): 1; SM)

The second reading also tells us of the revelation of the Lord. The second reading tells us that God has revealed his grace for our salvation and this he did through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ who purified us from sins so that we will do good. This happens to us in the Sacrament of Baptism where we receive the Holy Spirit who renews us and justifies us with the grace of God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race. …. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.” (Tt 2:11. 14; SM) ….

“He saved us by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our savior. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.” (Tt 3:5-7; SM) 

Today in this Mass, we thank God for the revelation of his Son Jesus Christ and we thank God for the gift of Baptism. And we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will grow as sons and servants of the Lord; and so that as sons we will love the Lord and love one another, and so that as servants we will serve the Lord and serve one another. And so that as suffering servants we will suffer and sacrifice in order to sanctify and save the world! A happy feast day to all of you!

Amen!

5th Sunday of Lent (Year B) – 18th March 2018

Theme: JESUS IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE; WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NEVER DIE

  • Ezekiel 37:12-14;
  • Psalm 129 (130). R/ v. 7;
  • Romans 8:8-11
  • John 11:1-45 (Shorter Form, verses 3-7. 20-27. 33-45)

Today is the 5th Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year B, but again, we are using the readings of Year A, because there will be Baptisms on Easter Vigil Night! Two Sundays ago, the readings told us about the “waters” of Baptism. Last Sunday the readings told us about the “Light” of Baptism. This Sunday the readings tell us about the “life” of Baptism!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life and that whoever believes in him, even though he dies, he will live, and whoever lives and believes in him will never die!

That is, Jesus is the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in him even though he dies in his sins will live, and whoever lives and continues to believe in him will never die in his sins!

More importantly, the gospel tells us that Martha believed in Jesus. Martha believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world!

Most importantly, the gospel tells us that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, though Lazarus was dead for four days and smelled!

Like Martha we too believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world. That is, Jesus is Savior, he is God and he is God become man! And we profess this faith on Easter Vigil Night by answering “I do” to the fifth of the six questions of faith; and like Lazarus, we will be raised from the dead by Jesus in the sacrament of Baptism!

But unlike the raising of Lazarus which was a resuscitation and a sign of the resurrection, Jesus will raise us from the dead through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! It is the Holy Spirit of Jesus that raises us from the dead!

Thus the first reading tells us that the Lord will open our graves and raise us from our graves, and the Lord will put his spirit in us and we will live!

Thus the second reading tells us that if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit living in us!

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!

Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)

The responsorial psalm is a prayer for forgiveness and a prayer of trust in God. The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a prayer for forgiveness from God. The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer of trust in God. Thus again, the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the fourth stanza:

“With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.” (Ps 129 (130): 7; SM)

Again, during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us grow in faith, so that we may profess our faith on Easter Vigil Night, and so that the Lord may raise us from the dead in the sacrament of Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS BECAME THE SON OF GOD, THE SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD, AND THE LAMB OF GOD

  • Isaiah 49:3. 5-6
  • Psalm 39:2. 4. 7-10. R. v. 8. 9
  • 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
  • John 1:29-34

Today is the Second Sunday of the Year. Last Sunday we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the last day of Christmastide. Today too the gospel tells us about the Baptism of the Lord and the beginning of the Lord’s mission and ministry.

The gospel tells us that when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and he became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, the Sacrificial Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world! In this way he was to baptize with the Holy Spirit!

After his baptism, and after receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus not only became “the Chosen One of God”, the Son of God, but he also became the Servant of God, the Suffering Servant of God, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! In this way, that is, in the way of his life of service, suffering, death, and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he baptized with the Holy Spirit!

The first reading is from Isaiah. It is the second of 4 songs of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh (God). Though the word suffering is not mentioned in this reading, it is important to remember that Jesus was not only a servant of God, but he was also a suffering servant and lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

The first reading tells us that the suffering servant of God suffers and sacrifices not only for the salvation of Israel, but also for the salvation of the whole world! “It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”! (Is 49:6)

Why all the nations? Because all the nations, irrespective of nationality, race, religion, culture, color, etc., need the salvation of God, that is, his love, mercy, and forgiveness!

The responsorial psalm today is a thanksgiving psalm. The responsorial psalm tells us that we do not thank God only by worship and animal sacrifice, but we also thank God by being obedient to him and doing his will! And the will of God is that we proclaim his saving justice (NJB), that we do not close our mouths, but that we open our mouths and proclaim his salvation! (CSB/NAB)

“Your justice I have proclaimed in the great assembly. My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord”! (Ps 39:10)

Again, it is important to note that the word “justice” is not to be understood only as “fair play” or “legal equity”, but also as saving justice and salvation!

 

The second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. The second reading tells us that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ send us grace and peace! Again, it is all grace, favor, and blessing! We have heard it all in the gospel, the first reading, and the responsorial psalm! It is all grace! How can it be otherwise! It is not the Law! It is grace! We do not deserve it!

Peace! Again, as we have been told in the gospel of Luke at Christmas Midnight Mass, that it is not the peace of Caesar Augustus, who brought peace (absence of war) to the Roman Empire through political, economic, and military power, but the peace of Jesus Christ, who brought peace to the world by becoming the servant of God, the suffering servant of God, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

  Jesus Christ brought peace to the world through his service, suffering, death and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins! The peace of Jesus Christ is not only an “absence of war”, but it is also the love, mercy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation of God!

 In Baptism, we also received the Holy Spirit, and like Jesus Christ, we also became the sons/daughters of God, the servants of God, the suffering servants of God, the lambs of God who take away the sin of the world!

In Eucharist, we celebrate his death and resurrection, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will continue to give us his Holy Spirit, so that we will grow as sons and daughters of God, as servants of God, as suffering servants of God, and as lambs of God who take away the sin of the world, so that we will grow in the Holy Spirit and “baptize with the Holy Spirit”!

Amen!