15 Jan 2023 – 2nd Sunday, (A)

15 Jan 2023 – 2nd Sunday, (A)

(1) Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

God is preparing his people Israel to become a light for all nations

The Lord said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength; he says,

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Responsorial: Psalm 39:2, 4, 7-10

R./: Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I waited, I waited for the Lord
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God. (R./)

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I. (R./)

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart. (R./)

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord. (R./)

(2) 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul greets his converts in Corinth, who are called to be saints

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel: John 1:29-34

John the Baptist announces the One who will baptise us with the Holy Spirit

John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” John also testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”


Taking stock of ourselves

Two particular thoughts are prompted by today’s readings. The first is John’s dramatic declaration, Behold the Lamb of God. the second is an invitation to do a personal stock-taking during this first month of the new year, and make some resolutions to improve the quality of our lives. The Baptist urges us to ask what are we fundamentally about and then seek to reset our lives. And St Paul reminds us that we are “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

An honest stock-taking of ourselves may unveil the selfish motives that often direct our actions. To rise above an ego-centric spirit we need to recognise something outside of and larger than ourselves, the God who cares for us and for the whole human community. Can we listen to John’s call to restore what is broken, and Jesus’ call, to bring light to the world? Do we see that it is with our cooperation that the Lamb can remove the “sin of the world?”

Facing our deepest personal truths is always difficult; it calls us to not just drift along with this world’s evil, always taking the line of least resistance. Discipleship is urgent and costly, but it is also possible and is the way towards the deeper joy and fulfilment that our soul is longing for. If we properly hear the Baptist as he witnesses to Christ, our response will be a stock-taking that goes to the root of our being. It may even reveal to us the truth that sets us free.


  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:
    The same Holy Spirit who was resting in the form of a dove on our Lord Jesus is resting within us!!

    In today’s Gospel, our Almighty Father reveals the identity of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ to John the Baptist “by the Holy Spirit resting on His head like a dove”. It is with the seal of the same Holy Spirit that our Almighty Father seals us as His own sons and daughters.
    Our Lord Jesus says in John 16:7: “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” Our Lord Jesus says in this verse that it is good for us that He goes away from us. How can it be good for us if our Lord Jesus Christ leaves us alone? The reason our Lord has quoted this in the same verse is “I will send you the Holy Spirit”. It is the Holy Spirit who can be with us always as close as a friend. Our Lord Jesus Christ is in body and flesh so He cannot be with all of us in all the places and at all times. But the Holy Spirit is always with us in Spirit. We do not need to worry that we do not have a good friend. We always have God the Holy Spirit as our friend who is happy to be with us. We can enjoy the secret friendship of the Holy Spirit!!

    We need to enjoy spending time with the Holy Spirit. We need to spend time developing an intimate relationship with Him. He is always with us. We can ask Him whatever help we need for Him.

    A working mother always prayed before she started to cook. She says she just takes a minute to pray before cooking and all those who eat are always overjoyed when they eat the food cooked after her simple prayer. Here the Holy Spirit did not cook for us but gave her the grace to cook well. Another busy office goer was once lamenting that he was not able to find time to exercise. I asked him to pray to God to enable him to exercise. He couldn’t agree to it. His idea was that God is only for taking care of big things. We cannot go to God with our little little needs. But in the Old Testament, the Almighty Father asked the Israelites when they were leaving Egypt, to ask and get the gold ornaments from the Egyptian ladies. It was their rightful possession since they had worked without wages for 400 years. Our Almighty Father did not say no to wearing nice gold ornaments. He was happy to see them richly dressed up. He wanted that wearing the gold ornaments should not be the longing of their heart.
    So say to the Holy Spirit whatever your concerns are. Be it big or small, openly talk with Him. He is the one person who will not judge you or condemn you based on whatever you are saying. We can ask His help for bible reading, cleaning the house or bigger challenges like getting out of our sick bed, getting out of our financial constraints, etc.
    Another good story in the Bible is God asking Isaac not to leave his land when others were leaving because of drought. Though it did not make any sense for Isaac to stay in the land, he obeyed because God had commanded him to stay. God blessed Him and he reaped a hundredfold and became very wealthy. Similarly, when we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, He will bless our riches too!!

    From the time we get up in the morning, we must talk with our God who is always with us. We should talk to God with our thoughts. Even if we do not feel His presence, He will still be there with us. He is not having any hearing impairment, so He can hear whatever we say to Him. So communicate with the most High God either with your thoughts or words. His eyes are continually looking at you to take care of you. He will definitely not despise you. Whether we think about Him or not, He continually thinks about us. He has promised that His thoughts for us are more than the sands of the sea. So why should we wait to talk with such a true loving God?

    Sometimes we are hesitant to talk with the Holy Spirit because of our sins. When God sees us, He sees us as those who are washed clean by the blood of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. We can be hesitant to talk to the devil, but we should never be hesitant to talk with God. All of us know even if Judas had asked pardon to Jesus, our Lord would have immediately washed him clean. So the main thing we should do is to go to God (pray). The Bible asks us to come boldly to the throne of grace. It does not say “Come hesitantly to the throne of grace”.
    Why did God our Almighty Father send His only Son to suffer such a cruel death for us on the cross? It is only to save us from our sins, so that we can enjoy the beautiful relationship with Him on earth too.

    When we are in Heaven, will the Holy Spirit secretly guide us? Whether we require his guidance in Heaven or not, we definitely require His sweet guidance when we are here on this earth. Some people address the Holy Spirit as “Jesus” and some are happy addressing Him as “Father”. Some fear addressing Him as “The Holy Spirit”. Once a child asked this kind of question to a priest – “Father, all the time we keep calling out Jesus, we do not call Father or the Holy Spirit as many times we call Jesus. Will ‘Our Father” and the ‘Holy Spirit’ feel bad about it?”
    The answer is “Call Him however you feel close with Him. If you feel close to Him when you call Him as “Jesus”, then call Him like that..”

    All we need is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We will need the guidance, comfort and the help of the Holy Spirit to fulfil the purpose of our life. The same Holy Spirit who was resting in the form of a dove on our Lord Jesus is resting within us now!!

    Our Lord Jesus accomplished the purpose of His life, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Let us also accomplish the purpose of our life with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!!

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