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Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.
BY Tom and April Hoopes
10 is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Sunday, Jan. 17 is the Second
Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Jan. 10 Readings
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalms 29:1-4,
3, 9-10; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
All good things must end. After this
feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, the Christmas season is definitively over.
But this first feast of the adult
Jesus continues a lesson that started at Christmas.
The Catechism, No. 518, says, “All
Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his
Then, it goes a step forward. “When
Christ became incarnate and was made man,” it says, he “procured for us a
‘shortcut’ to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in
the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus. For this
reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with
God to all men.”
So, the answer to the question “Why
did Christ do that?” is, at one level, always the same: “to give us a
‘shortcut’ to salvation.”
He was baptized so we would know to
be baptized. He also, in the words of Peter in today’s second reading, “went
about doing good” so we would know to do that.
God has done the hard part. Our job:
Follow him through the shortcut he made. And as Isaiah’s reading points out, he
doesn’t even leave that to us: “I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of
justice,” it says. “I have grasped you by the hand.”
Jan. 17 Readings
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalms 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11;
As the new year — and Ordinary Time
— begin in earnest, the liturgy gives us a month of beginnings.
Christmas is over; soon will come
Lent and sacrifice. But in between, throughout January, the Church draws our
attention to the ways Christ began his public ministry.
In each case, Christ’s way of
beginning includes a shadow of the cross. At the Epiphany, it’s the threat of
Herod. At his baptism, it’s the beginning of his confrontation with the devil
in the desert. And as we’ll see later in the month, his prophecy about the
messiah — “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your midst” — will end with a
direct threat on his life.
Today’s “beginning” is the wedding
feast at Cana. John calls it “a beginning of his signs” and says he “revealed
In the text, Mary herself prompts
the miracle that makes Christ known as an extraordinary figure.
It starts when she points out the
wedding party has no more wine.
Christ’s response — “My hour has not
yet come” — is a reference to the fact, seemingly well known to both mother and
son, that to reveal his glory will lead to “his hour”: his death.
Her reply is to tell the servants to
“Do whatever he tells you,” which spiritual writers say is the counsel she
gives to everyone at all times.
Thus, at the beginning of Christ’s
ministry, the Father (via a voice at his baptism) and his Mother are present, just as they will be in the end when he
commits the Church to Mary and his spirit to his Father.
and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas.