Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

A PRECIOUS GIFT

By Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

The readings of this week are all about introductions and offerings. In our first reading Isaiah introduces us to the servant of the Lord. The Lord says to the servant, “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” The Lord’s servant will restore the relationship between the people of Israel and the Lord. This restoration will enable the people of Israel to be a light for all nations. What a precious gift to receive a calling from the Lord; a call to go out into the world and bring people to God through word and deed.

In our second reading we are introduced to Saint Paul who is writing to the people of Corinth and presenting them with a precious gift. The purpose of Paul’s letter is to guide the people of Corinth away from sinful practices and once again form one body united in Christ Jesus. In his introduction, Paul reminds the people of Corinth that they are “called to be saints.” By being “sanctified in Christ Jesus” everyone has received the love and grace of Jesus Christ: a beautiful gift that calls the people of Corinth to share that love with the world.

Finally, we are presented with the greatest introduction and gift of all in the gospel. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time we are presented with an extraordinary gift. John the Baptist announces that Jesus is the Lamb of God who existed before all things and now dwells on earth as the Son of God who will redeem all of humanity. The incarnation of Jesus Christ ensures that all of humanity will receive the gift of salvation that can only be found through his death and resurrection.

These three readings have great meaning for our lives today. Through the waters of baptism, we have received the grace of Jesus Christ. Each time we accept the gift of the Eucharist we also accept that we are “called to be saints” and “a light to the nations.” We are called to bring Christ’s message out into the world. It is not unreasonable to say that we are the servants that Isaiah speaks of in his writings. As we enter the season of ordinary time let each of us be thankful for the gifts we have received through Jesus Christ and be mindful of our baptismal call to serve others and bring Christ’s love to all people.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 49.3, 5-6 1

Corinthians 1.1-3

John 1.29-34