Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 15, 2023

by Linda Fitzgerald, Notre Dame Associate

Reading 1:  Isaiah 49:3, 5-6   The setting of the following verse is the time after the Babylonian Exile.  King Cyrus of Persia let the Judeans return to their homeland and rebuild their temple.  Can we even imagine their joy?  Some Judeans had a different view of life in Judea after the exile, so Isaiah is to change the hearts in the rest of Israel and in verse 49:5 God says “…I will make you a light to the nations (all) that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  Reference Luke 2:32: “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel….” This new Israel will shine like a lighthouse, inviting all to share in its light!  Thanks be to God.

Reading 2:  1 Corinthians 1:1-3 “Paul, called to be an apostle (one who is sent) of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Sosthenes our brother.  In brief:  Sosthenes, was a secretary/scribe (an amanuensis ) for Paul.  At first, he hated Paul, but Paul turned his heart and Sosthenes became Christian.  He even joined Paul on a trip.  ReflectionHatred may be turned into blessings.  When have you or I had such an experience?  In verse two, Paul not only calls the Corinthians to be holy, but “…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.”  Paul is reminding the Corinthians that they are a part of a larger community who serves one God and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Verse 1:3 closes with a spiritual blessing: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gospel:  John 1:29-34 “John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  This is most likely the Passover lamb.  Also, John recognizes Jesus as the Lamb of God/Son of God because the spirit (dove) descends and remains with Jesus.  In John 1:33 “…On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”  John’s baptism with water is not for the forgiveness of sins, but it is good to reflect that John sees and testifies that Jesus is the Son of God; that Jesus may be known to Israel; Jesus is the permanent bearer of the Spirit and the permanency of the relationship between Father and Son and between the Son and the Christian.  (Last sentences are from the notes of The New American Bible (a revised Saint Joseph Edition).  John’s testimony makes his disciples’ following of Jesus plausible.  Praise be to God!