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!

6th Sunday of Easter (C) – 1st May 2016

Theme: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP US UNDERSTAND THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE

  • Acts 15:1-2. 22-29;
  • Psalm 66 (67): 2-3. 5-6. 8. R/ v. 4;
  • Apocalypse 21:10-14. 22-23
  • John 14:23-29

Today is the 6th Sunday of Easter, Liturgical year C. Next Sunday will be “The Ascension of the Lord”, and the Sunday after that will be “Pentecost Sunday”. Easter is the most important feast in the Church. It is more important than Christmas.

The Church started to celebrate Christmas only in the 4th century, but Easter was celebrated in the very first centuries. In fact, in the first three centuries there were no other celebrations except Easter! Easter is the most important feast, because at Easter we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the whole world!

The gospel today tells us that the Father will send us the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit will teach us everything and remind us all that Jesus taught us. That is, the Holy Spirit will help us understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice! (BM, Opening Prayer 2)

The gospel also tells us that Jesus will give us peace through the Holy Spirit. Peace, shalom, salvation! Peace is not just the absence of war, but peace is shalom (Hebrew), that is, wholeness, well-being, completeness, soundness, lacking nothing, etc., that is salvation!

That is why the gospel tells us not to be afraid! There is nothing to fear, not even sin and death, because there is resurrection and life! A life better than the life before sin and death! In short, there is salvation!

 

The first reading also tells us about the Holy Spirit. The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit is with the Church and in the Church, and that the Church teaches in and with the Holy Spirit! (Magisterium)

The first reading tells us that the Holy Spirit and the apostles taught that the Gentile Christians need not follow the Mosaic Law of the Jewish Christians, particularly the law of circumcision; but that as a compromise they have to follow the dietary laws, that is, they are not to eat food offered to idols and they are not to eat meat with blood in them; because they live with the Jewish Christians and eat with them and celebrate the Eucharist with them! They are also to avoid fornication. But for us Christians today the dietary laws symbolize the capital sins of idolatry and murder.

More importantly, the Holy Spirit does not only teach us what laws to keep or not to keep, but the Holy Spirit also helps us to do good, and to avoid evil and to overcome sin!    

 

The responsorial psalm is a petition to God to bless Israel with a good and rich harvest, so that the nations of the world will see the blessings of God on Israel and will worship the God of Israel! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

But in the context of today’s liturgy and readings, we ask God to bless us with the Holy Spirit and with salvation, so that all the nations may see the blessings of the Holy Spirit and of salvation and worship our God! Thus the response:

“Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.” (Ps 66 (67): 4)

 

The second reading tells us about the New Jerusalem, that is, the Church. The second reading tells us that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven and God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will dwell in it. And we will not need the Temple anymore, nor the sun and the moon to light up the day and the night, because the radiant glory of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit will light up the Church and the world!

That is why today in the Church we have the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and the Sacrament of Sacraments, that is, the Eucharist/Mass! Every Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a celebration of Easter and Pentecost! Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told the youths in one of the World Youth Days that the Sunday Eucharist/Mass is a perpetual Pentecost! In the Sunday Eucharist/Mass, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! That is why it is most urgent and most important to come to Mass every Sunday!   

 

Today, we thank God our Father for Easter, that is, for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world; and we ask God to continue to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will understand the teachings of Jesus and put them into practice; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will proclaim the good news of the resurrection, so that all may hear and believe and be saved; and so that like Paul and Barnabas in the first reading, we will build Christian communities of love and unity, so that all may see and believe and be saved; and so that our Church may be a communion of communities of love and unity, and a sign and sacrament of salvation for the whole world! A happy Easter Season to all of you! Amen!