Homily: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A Jesus, the Messiah

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Homily: Second Sunday Ordinary Year A

Reading: There are three Suffering Servant Songs in Isaiah in which the prophet identifies the future Messiah. Last Sunday, the first reading was also from the Book of Isaiah, the prophet. The selection was the first of these three Suffering Servant songs. Today, we heard from the second Suffering servant Song. The prophet calls him a servant through whom God will show forth his glory. As a servant he will depend on God for the strength to accomplish his will.  Jesus said that he will glorify the Father. He did so by embracing the will of the Father even to the death of the cross.

This servant, Isaiah said, was formed in the womb. The Word of God, the Son of God, became flesh and dwelt with us. This servant, who is God become man, will not only bring salvation to Israel, the chosen people, but also will be a light to all nations, bringing them salvation as well. He is made glorious in God’s sight. God raised Jesus, his servant/son up from death and exalted him at his right hand, giving him the name above all names, so that at the name of Jesus all may bow down to the glory of the Father.

Gospel: Isaiah identified the future Messiah as a servant who would save his people through suffering death. John the Baptist identifies him as the Lamb of God who takes away sin. A lamb is sacrificed. As the chosen people in bondage sacrificed a lamb, ate it, and mark their doorposts with its blood, experienced freedom, so through Jesus’ blood on the cross freed us from the bondage of sin.

John identifies him further as existing before him. Even though in time John was conceived and born before Jesus, in eternity the Son of God existed before he became the son of man.

John knew him as his cousin, but did not know him as the Messiah. John was sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah by calling people into repentance and acknowledging their desire to repent by being baptized. The Spirit revealed to John that the Messiah would be identified by the coming of the Spirit upon one he would baptized.

When Jesus come to be baptized as a sign of his public commitment to the will of the Father, John at first refuses because he felt unworthy to do so. Jesus insisted and said it is the will of God.

After Jesus’ baptism, John saw the Spirit of God resting upon Jesus, confirming the message he had received. That is why he proclaimed afterwards “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold the Messiah.”

He said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ baptism is not a preparation but the fulfillment of God’s mercy. Our sins are forgiven and the Spirit of God dwells in us, sharing God’s divine life with us, calling us his adopted children.

Reading 2: Just as Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet, Paul says he had been called by God to be an apostle of Jesus. As John the Baptism was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah, Paul was sent to proclaim the Good News of salvation.

What should our response be to this Good News, both of John and Paul? As we commit our lives to Christ who takes away our sins, we are called to be holy, consecrated to Jesus. We have been consecrated in baptism and commissioned to share in the life of Jesus as priest, prophet and king. We have been made a temple of the Holy Spirit in baptism, anointed and empowered to be holy witnesses of Jesus to others in the power of the Holy Spirit. As Paul pointed Jesus out to others, so we are called to do the same.

How conscious are we of our vocation to be holy? How conscious are we pursuing holiness? How attentive are we to the daily, divine appointments from God to witness him to others?

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