Sunday, 15 January 2023 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, as we have progressed from the season of Christmas into this time and season of the Ordinary Time. As we recall the words that we have just heard from our Scripture passages today, we are reminded that all of us are Christians because we believe in the salvation that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Saviour of all the whole world had brought upon us into our midst. He, the Divine Word of God Who has willingly embraced our humanity and descended down into our midst, to be with us as Emmanuel, God Who is with us, and He has shown us the Love of God manifested in the flesh, approachable and reachable by each one of us. This Sunday we are reminded of our faith in Him and then also what each one of us as Christians ought to do with our lives.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which the Lord spoke to Isaiah regarding the servant of God that God would send to His people in order to proclaim to them His salvation, gathering them from the nations, calling them back to His loving embrace once again. This can be interpreted as referring to the prophet Isaiah himself, whom God had sent into the people of Judah to help remind them to walk down the right path, turning away from their sinful past. But, this was also in fact a premonition and prediction of the coming of the One Whom God had proclaimed to His people throughout history, a promise renewed yet again and again through His many prophets, of the Messiah or Saviour Who will be the Shepherd and Guide of all of God’s beloved people.

The prophet Isaiah often spoke about the coming of the Messiah, and made many prophecies regarding Him as recorded throughout the Book of Isaiah, and hence, this would be yet another one of God’s renewed promises that He would send into the midst of His people the Deliverer, the Saviour of all, Who as the one and true Good Shepherd, would reassemble the body of the faithful people of God, gathering all the lost sheep of the Lord and bringing them all once again into the most loving embrace of God’s love. Through Christ, each and every one of us have been brought closer to the Lord, our Heavenly Father, as He offered on our behalf the perfect offering of love, the offering of Himself as the Lamb of God, the Paschal Lamb of Sacrifice, as well as being the High Priest Himself, and all these were highlighted in our Scripture passages today to remind us of this fact and truth.

As we heard in our Gospel passage today, St. John the Baptist proclaimed before his own disciples how the one Jesus of Nazareth Who had come to him at the River Jordan, and asked to be baptised was indeed the Messiah, the One Whom everyone had been long waiting for. St. John the Baptist also said that, there was the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, the One Whom St. John the Baptist had been labouring and working to prepare the coming for. He spoke also of what happened when the Lord Jesus was baptised, of how the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a Dove coming down from Heaven, and the Father’s voice being heard, proclaiming that Jesus is truly His Son, the Son of God manifested in this world, as the proof of God’s ever enduring Love for each and every one of us.

And as mentioned earlier, what St. John the Baptist spoke of, as the Herald of the Messiah, was in fact also a foreshadowing and premonition of what the Lord Jesus would do for our sake, as the Lamb of God Who would be sacrificed on the Altar of His Cross, with His Most Precious Body broken and His Most Precious Blood spilt and poured down upon us, for the atonement of all of our sins, and for our redemption. The Lord Jesus would gather us all to His heavenly Father’s presence, by giving Himself, bearing upon His own shoulders the whole burden, punishments and consequences due for our many and innumerable sins. He manifested therefore God’s most generous and selfless Love, by His own actions, as He reached out to all of us, even to the most marginalised and those ostracised and rejected by the society, and calling on us to turn away from our sins, and once again embracing God’s Love and grace to the fullest.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to these words of the Scriptures reminding us of the salvation which the Lord has brought into our midst through Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, we are all therefore presented with the need for us all to focus our lives and efforts to follow the Lord, Our Saviour and King, our Good Shepherd and Guide, Who has shown us the way to the Father, to eternal life and true joy through Him. As Christians we cannot be idle or ignorant of what we are all expected to do in our respective lives, in the many opportunities and moments that the Lord has presented and provided to us. Each and every one of us have been blessed and granted various unique gifts and talents, so that we may make good use of them to do good and to follow in the footsteps and examples of Christ Himself, in how He has reached out to us and loved even the least amongst us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through this Ordinary Time and season, we are constantly being reminded again and again, that we cannot be ‘ordinary’ in our living and we should not let the time and moments pass us by just like that, without us doing anything of merit and worthy of the Lord. Instead this ordinary here ought to refer to the fact that this is the time for us to settle down and get to work, that is for us to do what the Lord has told us to do, to do our responsibilities and parts, in proclaiming the truth and love of God in the midst of our various communities, and in being exemplary and good role models in how we live our lives so that everyone who witness our works and actions, heard our words and interactions, witnessed our lives and more may truly believe in God through us, because our lives and actions have become beacons of God’s Light and source of the same truth that Christ has brought into this world.

The question is, are we willing and able to commit ourselves to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, if we have not done so yet, in our daily living and in our every interactions and works? Are we able to commit ourselves to a life of virtue and Christian values, as we have been called and reminded to do, by the Church and by the Lord Himself? These are things that we should really spend time to ponder upon, while also reflecting and discerning on what we can do better going forward in our respective lives as Christians, all those whom God had called and chosen, and have chosen in our own ways, to respond to His call. Let us not let our faith be an empty and dead one, but let us seek to be always ever courageous in how we live our faith through our actions, words, deeds, interactions and more that we may inspire even more people to follow our path as well.

May the Lord, our most loving God and Father continue to guide us in our lives, and help us to persevere through the many challenges and trials that we may have to face and endure in life. May He strengthen and empower us all in our everyday moments, so that we may always be firm in our faith and that we may resist the temptations to disobey and sin against Him. May God bless our every actions, our every works and efforts, our every good endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 15 January 2023 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 1 : 29-34

At that time, the next day John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, “There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! It is He of Whom I said : A Man comes after me, Who is already ahead of me, for He was before me. I myself did not know Him, but I came baptising to prepare for Him, so that He might be revealed in Israel.”

And John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit coming down on Him like a dove from heaven, and resting on Him. I myself did not know Him, but God, Who sent me to baptise, told me, “You will see the Spirit coming down, and resting, on the One Who baptises with the Holy Spirit.’ Yes, I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God!”