Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 19, 2020
We hear in the Gospel the words of St. John the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
If we were first century Jewish people, we would most likely think of the lamb eaten at the Passover Meal. The lamb which stood in the place of the first born son redeemed by God. For us, this is Jesus who is God’s one lamb who was meant to be sacrificed and eaten so that the sin of the world may be taken away. Jesus is the Son of God but He is also the sacrifice. A sacrifice to be consumed in memory of when God saved his people from slavery. Isaiah helps us to understand this idea when he prophesies that the Son is not only the Lamb of God but is also the servant of the Lord. Through this servant God says: I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth. Scripture will also point to Jesus as the suffering servant.
Last week we remembered Jesus’ Baptism and we thought about what our own baptism means. When we were baptized we were baptized in the suffering and death of Jesus. We came out of the waters of baptism to a new life in him. At baptism we were marked with the sign of the cross to emphasize the union of Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross.
As individuals and as a church, we very often do not like to think about suffering and death and what that entails for each one of us. In one way or another, we try to avoid the cross and compensate with the things of this world. Jesus reminds us that if we are to be disciples of his we need to take up our cross and follow him.
As we prepare to link up with the parishes of Wilmington, AuSable Forks and Keeseville and we share a Pastor, we will be called to sacrifice for the welfare of the other parishes as they will be doing the same for us. In every parish, the Mass time will be changed and it will not be convenient. The time for convenience is passing away quickly all over our diocese.
I remember years ago when my classmate Father Doug Decker was a chaplain in the Air Force and I went out to visit him Arizona. We then heard about parishes where the priest travelled ninety miles to get to the parish and Mass was held once a month. In the mission countries, around the world, people walk to Mass many miles to get to Mass. There are countries were Mass cannot be held in public and people’s lives are danger if they are caught going to Mass.
We no longer have the luxury of thinking in terms of our parish but need to think about what is good for the Church and how we can serve the most people with the priests that we have.
We can easily take things for granted and Mass is one of them. Every good thing in life takes sacrifice whether it is family life, education, even sports, and our faith journey is no different. Without sacrifice nothing has value.
The question before us will be what do we value, what is worth sacrificing a few miles, a church building or a specific time out of our Sunday. Sometimes we hear people say that that particular time takes up our Sunday. Sunday is supposed to be devoted to God and Family. God comes first, family and everything else falls into place. Maybe we are called to waste our whole day on God. What better sacrifice is there!