2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
January 12, 2017 by
David Jackson in
Reflections on Sunday Gospels
2nd Sunday “A”
Getting to know myself, getting to know Jesus is a process
We began our church year with the season of Advent our preparation
for Christmas. We then celebrated Christmas and the feasts which
followed: Holy Family, Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus. At this point
we turn to ordinary time. We hear the account of the Baptism of Jesus
according to St. John. For several Sundays we will be hearing of the Good
News according to Matthew. Then we will begin the season of Lent.
This Sunday’s Gospel is answering the question: John who do you say
that Jesus is? John gives a variety of answers to that question. But
in the Gospel account according to John, on the day previous people were
coming to John and asking him: Who are you? Quien eres?
John begins to answer the question: who are you by responding in a
negative manner, who he is not. He is not the Christ or Messiah, he is
not Elijah, he is not the prophet to come. Then he states: “I am the
voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the
Lord.” A first point of reflection for us this Sunday would be to ask
ourselves the question: who are you? It is too easy for us to have one
perception of ourselves that is untrue. Self knowledge is not easy. We
cling to certain perceptions of ourselves that are false. This is deadly
because the beginning of transformation is true self knowledge. In
our lives too we may have had to find out who we were not before
arriving at who we are.
But the emphasis of today’s Gospel is on who John says that Jesus
is. He states first that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin
of the world. The term the Lamb of God has different meanings in the
scriptures. Isaiah spoke of the suffering servant being led to the
slaughter as a Lamb. (Is. 53:7,10) Some would see in Jesus’ life, and
especially his being led to die, a fulfillment of this type.
We are familiar with the Pascal Lamb. (Ex. 12) The Jewish people
were to slaughter a lamb and sprinkle the door post with its blood and
the destroying angel would pass over their homes. By Jesus blood we are
In the book of Revelation there is another Lamb. (Rev. 5?7; 17,14)
This is the victorious apocalyptic Lamb who would destroy evil in the
world. In the background of the title Lamb of God we come to a fuller
understanding of who Jesus is.
Secondly John says, After me is to come a man who ranks ahead of me
because he was before me. John knows of the pre?existence of Jesus. He
also knows who is more important. The picture of John the Baptist in
the Gospel of John strains to make clear that John is not the Messiah,
John is less important than Jesus. One way the Gospel of John does this
is to omit saying that John actually baptized Jesus.
John says twice I did not recognize him. His own understanding of
who Jesus was developed and came about through his own special faith
Thirdly John states, “I saw the Spirit descend like a dove from the
sky, and it came to rest on him.” Jesus received the Spirit and the
Spirit remained with him. The verb in Greek for remain is often used in
John’s Gospel. cf. Chapter 15 also??vine and branches. The Spirit
remained with Jesus and we are to remain with Jesus. The Spirit gave a
particular character to Jesus’ life. We are to grow in that Spirit.
Fourthly John states: Now I have seen for myself and am the witness
that he is the Son of God. As John grew in his understanding of Jesus
so we are to grow in our understanding. The following day John points
out Jesus to his followers. They leave John to follow Jesus. We will
be hearing from the Gospel of Matthew this year. The next several
Sunday’s of ordinary time will be focused on the teaching of Jesus,
especially in the Sermon on the Mount. Who am I, who is Jesus for me?
In what does my following of Jesus consist?