Homily Second Sunday Ordinary time year A - 15th January, 2017
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 49:3. 5-6
Psalm: Ps 39:2. 4. 7-10. “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Gospel: John 1:29-34
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There is a truly superb line in the first reading that jumps out and really hits me this weekend….
“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.”
So, God is wonderfully saying… I am not happy with just some being saved… not just the chosen few……. I want my invitation to go out to people all over the world… I desire that all people become my family……
The second reading reinforces this: -- Saint Paul writes with great love and affection to the community of believers in Corinth. He rejoices in the fact that we are all united with each-other, and not even distance or time or culture separates us from our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world.. Like Saint Paul, we are united in prayer and in the Spirit with people everywhere and with the Heavenly community. The grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ stays with us and binds us together in good times and bad.
In the Gospel, Saint John the Baptist declares… “look! There is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This is the one who will take the offences of all of us on his shoulders and offer himself up in atonement for it all. In the time of Jesus, every day in the temple of Jerusalem, twice a day, (once in daytime the other in the evening) an unblemished lamb would be killed and the blood sprinkled over the altar of the Lord as a sacrifice for the sins of others….. John first used this term that has become so central to the Christian understanding of Christ… Jesus was the spotless lamb who sacrificed his life to pay for the transgressions of the world… //His once and for all sacrifice ends the shadow of moral failure that clouds aspects human life….
John also says, twice in this Gospel, a very odd thing: He says “I myself did not know him, but this is the one I was preparing for.” What does he mean??? Well, John,….. and the disciples of Jesus who come after this… all have a lot to learn and understand about God’s ways and God’s Kingdom… I reckon we are lucky that the Apostles all took a long time to comprehend the message and Kingdom that Jesus had come to establish…. They often ‘didn’t get it’ when Our Lord taught them and showed them, time and again, the different ways of God.
“This Lamb of God even showed us how God preferred to erase our sin by taking the burden on God’s-self; and sparing his people in love… renewing them and unburdening them…. rather than adding to the suffering and mess created by our own mistakes….
The world needed this lamb because the world had many sins….
This need has not changed, these many centuries later.
We need Jesus. We all need saving.. Us humans have been given many gifts and graces ….. but we are not the final authority over everything. We cannot “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” -- We are not the complete masters of all we survey (and that can be quite unsettling to admit; because who doesn’t like to have a large measure of control over our lives?)-- It is a natural instinct for self-preservation to have clarity, predictability and control over what happens around us). And certainly God has not made us helpless…. We can do many extraordinary things… (with God’s help)….. But at the same time, it is also reassuring to acknowledge that we are not “all-powerful,” and that we NEED God. We are really ‘”all-at-sea” without God’s saving guidance and help. John the Baptist invites us all to accept… that we all need of the “Lamb of God”….
There were people in John the Baptist’s day who did not recognize that Jesus was the Christ (the Lamb of God)….There are people in this day and age who also do not recognize what it means for Jesus to be the “Anointed one”…..“It is no coincidence that the first people to understand and flock to Jesus, were the sinners, the outcasts, the needy…… Others did not recognize Christ because they did not recognize themselves as sinners. ”If I am not a wrong-doer, then I have no need for Christ. (Why do I need Saviour if I have no need of being saved? – IF I AM SELF-SUFFICIENT?). Will a person truly celebrate the mystery of Christ in profound gratitude and joy, if they do not first recognize in sorrow that they too are a sinner who needs a saviour? But, the real focus is not REALLY on sin, but on Christ who loves us and reaches out to bring us back into the fold and to restore us.” (##) It is a mistake for us to ever hide our weaknesses from God… to try to pretend we have no faults ….. //or if we only show ourselves to God when we think we have disguised the flaws….. //We would be hiding from God a long time and failing to understand God’s parental love and compassion; which spurred God to go looking for us in the first place…… wanting us safe and sound again in his care.
God came into the world//// not when everything had finally started to go right. ///God didn’t become flesh because everyone was doing just fine… // If God had waited to become one-of-us until everything was going wonderfully, he would have waited forever! ….. No, our God entered into the world because things were going very badly; and we all needed God’s grace……. God wanted to help “from within”...... as one….
Daily, we keep following Jesus, even though we do not yet fully understand his ways….(but we definitely want to… more and more with each passing day)……We believe in Our Lord’s Good news ……even if our perception is fledgling…. We follow him into the unknown…..….. trusting in his guidance along the unfamiliar paths on which he leads us…….because he promises to be with us always as we walk along…..….. with (as today’s psalm says so beautifully)… “a new song on our lips”… // a song of praise….// And thanksgiving… //a song of trust and hope.
Fr Paul W. Kelly
##Mark Link , quoting Killian McDOnnelL (adapted), who is also quoted inhttp://saintagnescathedral.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/January-16-2011.pdf
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Second Sunday Ordinary time year A
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you call your people to turn away from sin: Lord, have mercy//You teach us wisdom, and write your truth in our inmost heart: Christ, have mercy//You forgive sins through the ministry of reconciliation: Lord, have mercy//
Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
1. We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.
2. When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.
3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.
Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God for ever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
Sundays Ordinary I p.28
Eucharistic Prayer One p.49
Go forth, the Mass is ended.