Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 15, 2016
The calendar doesn’t always cooperate with the telling of The Story of Salvation. We celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany this past Sunday, and so our Gospel Readings during the Christmas Season were proclaimed in chronological order. That’s a good thing.
But this year, we missed the opportunity to celebrate the Feast of The Baptism of the Lord together at a Sunday liturgy. That’s not a good thing. It is an extremely important chapter in The Story of Salvation. Church historians tell us that the dramatic events in the Jordan River reported by Mark, Matthew, and Luke were considered by early Christians to be more significant than Christmas.
Certainly, Jesus submitting to baptism by John marked the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry. But, possibly of even greater significance is the fact that the heavenly Voice and the descent of the Dove served to identify Jesus as the Messiah. And so, in those parishes which even offered Mass this past Monday, we marked a “Feast of Light” with only the small gathering of weekday faithful. The majority of the Church missed the opportunity to rejoice in this great Feast of Light! That’s not a good thing.
However, we embark on this period of Ordinary Time, which links the Christmas Season with Lent, proclaiming John 1:29-34. That’s a good thing, because, although John does not offer the same kind of “real-time” description which the other three Gospels present, the key elements of recognition and introduction are there. This offers us a second chance to celebrate this Feast of Light on this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time.
We live in a period of history riddled with “false news,” “hacking into personal information,” and “identity theft.” That’s not a good thing! These are methods employed by dark forces in order to mislead and deceive people. We fully comprehend the importance of credible testimony and concrete proof of identity. John’s testimony provides that. In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist reaffirms what was seen and heard on the banks of the Jordan. This is the Good News! And there is nothing false about it. It is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Jesus is the Son of God.
Now it is our turn!
There is no need to “hack into Christ!” Through Baptism, the Lord has opened His life to us. He has freely shared His identity with us. That’s a good thing! Now, He asks that we share what we have been given. We are called to continue John’s work. Strangers to Christ should be able to recognize Him in the way we lead our lives. Those who do not know the Lord can be introduced to Him by what we say and by what we do and don’t do.
Everyone Baptized in Christ somehow authors a chapter in Salvation history. Some chapters are very short, maybe only a few lines…others are very lengthy. That’s a good thing!
During Advent, we “prepared.” During Christmas, we “celebrated.” Now it is Ordinary Time, and we “live it!”