Catechism Conection
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2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A 2017

Catechism Connections
 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time  Cycle A
Isaiah 40:3, 5-6; Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 
John 1:29-34 
This weekend we begin anew one more year of Ordinary time.  The Christmas season ended not with baby Jesus stories, but with the Baptism of Our Lord, a feast that inaugurated Jesus public life.  He graced the waters of baptism with his presence, cleansing them and opening them to the power of the Holy Spirit, so that all future baptisms might cleanse us of our sinfulness.  In today’s readings, the story continues after John baptizes Jesus, when John begins to fully recognize who Jesus really is.  He is the one “hoped for,” the Messiah, the Lamb of God who would free the people from all sins.  He is the Suffering Servant and the Paschal Lamb, the long awaited one promised for the redemption of Israel.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 608 pulls together all these titles.  We learn from these titles the “work” Jesus came to do.  He came to be our savior, to plunge into the deep waters and meet our parents, Adam and Eve, and raise them up to the renewed life in his kingdom.  The beginning of Ordinary Time signals a new rebirth.  Once again, we start afresh.  People are making New Year’s resolutions and embarking on new learning in the New Year.  Each year, the Church invites us to consider again with fresh eyes not only the mysteries of the Incarnation, but the mysteries of our own baptisms, and what the Incarnation is really about: Redemption is at hand.  Jesus has come to save us.  Praise God! 
From the Catechism:
608         After agreeing to baptize him along with sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the Suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sins of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.  Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Today’s first reading from Isaiah (49:3, 5-6) describes how God has fashioned us in the womb for this task: to spread the Good News to all the nations!
The LORD said to me: You are my servant, 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!  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.
The Gospel from John (1:29-34) is John the Baptist’s response after he recognizes that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.  When he baptized him in the Jordon, the skies had opened, the Spirit descended and God declared: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” 
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.  He is the one of whom I said, ‘A Man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’  I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”  John testified further, saying, “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.”
The second reading is from 1 Corinthians (1:1-3) and since it is the beginning of the letter, it employs the standard letter introduction used in Greek society when one was writing a letter to another person or community.  Paul modifies it a bit in that he always adds how both the addresser and addressee stand before Christ.
Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the Church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 40 is a wonderful hymn that brings together the beginning impulses of redemption: the Messiah has come; his work of redemption is beginning; God is asking that we come forward to do his will and enter the realm of the Holy.  “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will!”
The refrain is taken from verse seven of the psalm: 
 “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”
verses 2 & 4:
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
verses 7-8:
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
Then I said, “behold I come.”
verses 8-9
In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
verse 10:
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.