'A light to the nations...'
Reflections on the readings for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 19, 2020): IS 49:3,5-6; PS 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10; 1 COR 1:1-3; JN 1:29-34
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
On this Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, we contemplate Jesus in the early days of His mission to His fellow Jews – and the world.
The first reading from Isaiah refers to the Suffering Servant of God. This strong image of one who experiences immense pain and injustice, but who ultimately endures, is a way of describing the entire Jewish nation. However, Christians traditionally accept these verses as also specifically denoting Jesus Christ. “It is too little, the Lord says, for you to be My servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). It was the last part of this citation that Simeon mentioned in speaking to Mary and Joseph at the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
The entire life of Christ was dedicated to obedience to the will of His Father. The years He spent in His public ministry revealed our Holy Savior offering healing of body, mind, and soul to all who were open to Him. As we hear in today’s Gospel, St. John the Baptist knew this and came to recognize Jesus as the Son of God who baptizes, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. Almighty God always intended the whole world to be embraced by the Redemption offered through the passion and death of Christ. All are welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is up to us to hear and heed what our Lord asks of us – a humble, loving heart that we entrust to His mercy.