Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 15, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we see Jesus fully enrobed in the power of his mission and ready to embark on its accomplishment.
When I prayed with today’s readings, I pictured Jesus standing proudly before the Father saying, “I’m fully ready now to answer the call and become all that I am meant to be for the world.”
The image reminded me of a day long ago when I finally received the last little piece of the outfit I would wear as Mercy postulant. It was late August 1963, just a month before entrance, and very hot. Nevertheless, in a bit of girlish giddiness, I decided to don the entire regalia for the first time and see what my future would look like. After struggling into a few of the unfamiliar pieces, I ran down the stairs to my mother waiting in our living room.
I’ll never forget her face. It was an immense mix of pride, loss, hope, love and astonishment. Neither one of us said, nor had to say, a word. Everything that had been only a dream in my heart went forward – for real – from that moment. Mom knew I meant to do this thing. And, maybe for the first time, I knew it too.
I can picture God the Father looking on Jesus in somewhat the same way as Jesus now stands at the edge of a future he cannot yet imagine.
In our first reading, we see Jesus clothed in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s ancient prophecy:
The LORD said to me: You are my servant,Isaiah 49:3,5
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
In our Responsorial Psalm, we can hear Jesus exuding Messianic commitment:
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist stands as a witness to Christ’s messianic authority to execute the Redemptive Act promised in Isaiah:
It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant,Isaiah 9:6
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.
John testified further, saying,John 1:32-34
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
With today’s readings, Jesus begins the great journey to redeem us. We begin with him, praying that throughout this liturgical year, we may be ever more deepened in the grace of that Redemption.
Poetry: The Lamb – William Blake
Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee Gave thee life & bid thee feed. By the stream & o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing wooly bright; Gave thee such a tender voice, Making all the vales rejoice! Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee Little Lamb, I'll tell thee, Little Lamb, I'll tell thee! He is called by thy name, For he calls himself a Lamb: He is meek & he is mild, He became a little child: I a child & thou a lamb, We are called by his name. Little Lamb God bless thee. Little Lamb God bless thee.
Music: Here I Am, Lord – written by Dan Schutte, sung here by John Michael Talbot (lyrics below)
I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart
I, who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away
I will break their hearts of stone
Give them hearts for love alone
I will speak my words to them
Whom shall I send?