Beatitudes

Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a
Notes: In the Gospel of Matthew the Beatitudes are the first teaching of Jesus. Up until that point there are references to repentance, healing the multitude and the announcement of the kingdom.

Up until Matthew chapter 5, Jesus’ teaching was inferred not explicit.

The Beatitudes are the first and highest of all the teachings of Jesus. A summary of all that is to come.

Like a concert piece it is the Overture or a Summary Statement. But much more than that. It is the basis by which we understand all teachings and disciplines and our mode of operation within a sinful world.

If the Ten Commandments are what we are to Do-Not Do, the Beatitudes are how we are to Be-Not Be.

2023

  • The Epiphany of the Lord – Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem (Where is the newborn king of the Jews?).
  • Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – John the Baptist’s Testimony to Jesus (Behold the Lamb of God!).
  • Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry (Selecting the Apostles).
  • Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Beatitudes (Overture).

First reading
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

Second reading
Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.

Alleluia Verse
Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.

Gospel Portion
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them.

Blessed are the poor in spirit.
Blessed are they who mourn.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are the clean of heart.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

White or Violet – Requite Love

Greetings on this the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Readings: Genesis 1:1—2:2; Psalm 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 11:33-36; Psalm 119:88; Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Notes: Readings from Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life

Mass For Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life (no. 48/1 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with white vestments, or the Mass For the Preservation of Peace and Justice (no. 30 of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions), celebrated with violet vestments.”

Since we are in an age of slogans as wisdom, then my slogan is: Love the Mother, Save the Child.

Some try to empty the meaning of the Incarnation to make Mary but a vessel and vassal, not a true Mother. This same reasoning makes the baby in the womb as if there is no Mother but a vessel and vassal. This is the real problem. It is an ancient problem with a new veneer.

If we reverse the order of presentation of the sacred scripture as it is presented not obviating the meaning at all but bringing a great fruitfulness of fulfillment of the Ten Commandments:

Gospel

  1. God wants to save everyone including the Mother.
  2. Everyone is a child including the Mother (shameful I have to type that out).
  3. Do not despise a human including the Mother.
  4. Angels are always helping including the Mother.
  5. Receive children as if receiving God himself including the Mother.
  6. Greatness is reception and reflection of holiness as a child does including the Mother.
    Alleluia Verse
  7. Mercy precedes obedience, precedes even life, including the Mother.
    Second Reading
  8. All riches and wisdom and knowledge are from God, including the Mother.
    Responsorial Psalm
  9. Children are crowned with glory and honor including the Mother.
    First reading
  10. Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness including the Mother.

First reading
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth – and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters – Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day. Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other. God made the dome, and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened. God called the dome “sky.” Evening came, and morning followed—the second day. Then God said: Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear. And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared. God called the dry land “earth,” and the basin of water he called “sea.” God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. And so it happened: the earth brought forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed—the third day. Then God said: Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the seasons, the days and the years, and serve as lights in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth. And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night, and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day. Then God said: Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky. God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of crawling living creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw that it was good, and God blessed them, saying: Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth. Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened: God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

Responsorial Psalm
O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place—What is man that you are mindful of him, and a son of man that you care for him?

R/ O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, put all things at his feet.

R/ O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.

R/ O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Second reading
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given him anything that he may be repaid?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Alleluia Verse
In your mercy, give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

Gospel Portion
At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.

What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Take Heart – Sparrow & Arrow Both!

Greetings on this the Optional Memorial of Saint Sebastian, martyr
Readings: 1 Pt 3:14-17; Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Mt 10:28-33
Notes: During Eucharistic Adoration this week my reflection (Stretch Out Your Hand) can be a particuarly challenging one when a person has a physical ailment or injury. For example, a man with a stroke paralysis in his right arm may find the reading to be both extreme in hope and extreme in disappointment. Stretch out my hand would be exactly what he would want to be given as a command and the receiving the blessing of the Synagogue that day! Instant Restoration!

It is difficult to imagine that Jesus’ miracles while extensive and superabundant were not the Lord’s final answer to our problems and woes. These are but examples and signs of the divine love and divine power.

All these things are preparation and anticipation of the final act of blessing – resurrection and eternal life.

It is our task to derive hope and encouragement from the saints and from the institutions and places that we have experienced joy and community. It is our task to read about the divine signs of the Gospel of John as proof and assurance not a particular gift to each and every one, all the time.

Take heart!

Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Today we celebrate Saint Sebastian.

Photo of Mom’s parish, Woodside, NYC. We laid her to rest at Calvery Cemetery, February, 2020.

From the ordinary weekday reading, the calling of the Apostles: Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. Jesus’ calling is a powerful attraction. The attraction of superabundant love even held, for a while, Judas Iscariot who later betrayed him. Sebastian did better.

Reflection

The fact that many of the early saints made such a tremendous impression on the Church—awakening widespread devotion and great praise from the greatest writers of the Church—is proof of the heroism of their lives. As has been said, legends may not be literally true. Yet they may express the very substance of the faith and courage evident in the lives of these heroes and heroines of Christ.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-sebastian/

First reading
Beloved: Even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34 is a highly regarded psalm of praise and trust in the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he saves them.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life.

Gospel Portion
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Press into Jesus!

Photo by Viajante Dibujero on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Heb 7:25—8:6; PS 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17; Mk 3:7-12
Notes: We continue with the theme of meeting Jesus.

Jesus is a Judean by birth and lineage.
Because he [Joseph] had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth. Nazareth was a Judean enclave in the region of Galilee. He was both Galilean and Judean, if you will allow.

Jesus was also acquainted with the Jewish diaspora in the Egyptian-Libyan area.
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Later in Jesus’ life we see relations and others who knew Jesus from his days in Egypt.

One can surmise that Jesus was both well acquainted with the ways of both communities: the elite of Judea and the poor of Galilee. Jesus was familiar with the Egyptian branch of the people as well.

Joseph a carpenter was an honest, hardworking lower level of the economic class. Joseph no doubt did business with every level of economic and social class. Jesus would also be exposed to the upper and well-educated classes of society. Jesus was instantly identifiable by so many in the Jewish society.

He was also identifiable by the nations in his simplicity and knowledge. For background on Joseph of Arimathea. See: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2019/01/06/mission-accomplished/

Given the things Jesus was doing and saying is it any wonder that:

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people [followed] from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.

  • Tyre and Sidon – North and West of Israel.
  • Galilee – top.
  • Judea – middle.
  • Jerusalem – Center of Jewish life.
  • Idumea – south of Judea.
  • Beyond the Jordan – East and South of the Jordan.

From all points of the compass.

They heard what he was doing in the synagogue of Capernaum.
The mystery of Jesus was being revealed in the beginning of the Galilean ministry (Following the Gospel of Mark flow).

  • The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
  • The Cure of a Demoniac.
  • The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law.
  • The Sabbath (mercy).
  • Other Healings.
  • The Cleansing of a Leper.
  • The Healing of a Paralytic.
  • A Man with a Withered Hand.
  • And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.

Those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.

So like yesterday’s homily – Stretch Out Your Hand!
And today I say – Press yourself into Jesus!!

First reading
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.
He [Jesus] is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.

Responsorial Psalm
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Alleluia Verse
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Portion
Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him.

Come!
Stretch yourself!
Come!
Press yourself into Jesus!

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

By the Power of Life – Stretch out your hand

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Heb 7:1-3, 15-17; Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4; Mk 3:1-6
Notes: Melchizedek: King of Salem, king of peace, Son of God, High Priest, and Eternal.

  • He greeted Abram.
  • He brought bread and wine in victory.
  • He blessed Abram.
  • He blessed God Most High.

The letter to the Hebrews makes this observation regarding Jesus:

Another priest is raised up after the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become so, not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.

This Jesus of Galilee is of the Order of Melchizedek.

First reading
Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High.
[Jesus,] You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm
You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Verse
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.

Gospel Portion
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”

  • By the Power of Life – Stretch out your hand.
  • By the Power of Life – He stretched it out and his hand was restored.

Are you stuck in judgment and law?

  • They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him.
  • But they remained silent.
  • Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart.
  • [My translation] They went out and immediately took counsel with others against him to put him to death.

Do you have difficulty in ascribing good to good? Do you sometimes ascribe good to evil?

Call Evil Good and Good Evil?

Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter! (ISA 5:20).

Crush the Bruised Person?

A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matt 12:20-21).

Misue of Good

Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (Matt 12:31).

Come to the Power of Life.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The promise and the oath

I picked this photo because my friend Bill loves it.
During Camino I ate that entire quiche over a 24-hour period.

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbott
Readings: Heb 6:10-20; PS 111:1-2, 4-5, 9 and 10c; Mk 2:23-28
Notes: Two immutable things: the promise and the oath.

Jesus’ commentary for us today during his life in Galilee:

The third commandment is also a promise: Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy.
The Lord is ever merciful, full of compassion and has ordered all things for our good.
The Sabbath is Holy because the Lord is holy.

The keeping and making of Sabbath is the Lord’s domain, not ours.

  • Mercy on the Sabbath.
  • Compassion on the Sabbath.
  • Good on the Sabbath.

Ritual is second to Holiness.
It does not replace holiness it is its representative only.
And representation is second to actions of holiness.

Law gets its meaning from holiness NOT holiness from law.

Promise
The seven promises to Abraham:
1 – 2. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you;
3 – 4. I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
5 – 6. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.

  1. All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.

Isaac is the Son of Promise.

Oath of Genesis 22
and said: “I swear by my very self—oracle of the LORD—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one (Gen 22:16).

Covenant of Genesis 17.
I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you (Gen 17:7).

Reflection

In an age that smiles at the notion of devils and angels, a person known for having power over evil spirits must at least make us pause. And in a day when people speak of life as a “rat race,” one who devotes a whole life to solitude and prayer points to an essential of the Christian life in all ages. Anthony’s hermit life reminds us of the absoluteness of our break with sin and the totality of our commitment to Christ. Even in God’s good world, there is another world whose false values constantly tempt us.

From https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-anthony-of-egypt/

First reading
This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Alleluia Verse
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

Gospel Portion

Mark 2 – Accusation
23 As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
24 At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”

Deuteronomy 23 – Fact of Law
25 When you go through your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you wish, until you are satisfied, but do not put them in your basket.
26 When you go through your neighbor’s grainfield, you may pluck some of the ears with your hand, but do not put a sickle to your neighbor’s grain.

Innocence – They did nothing wrong.

Going Further – Now, Jesus, leveraging the accusation to a higher degree of what is allowed or permitted.

From 1 Samuel 21 5, 7.

Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves, or whatever you can find.” But the priest replied to David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand, only holy bread; if the men have abstained from women, you may eat some of that.”

Comment: the test is one of worthiness to eat sacred bread by way of consecration (intention) not ordination (appointment). Need answered by mercy. The only prohibition is sacrilege (misuse of what is regarded as sacred), i.e., if you were to use the bread for bedding or some other inappropriate use. These men were famished to eat.

So the priest gave him holy bread, for no other bread was on hand except the showbread which had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by fresh bread when it was taken away.

Jesus gets us to the root, the beginning of the promise, again.

God’s gracious will.

God’s Sabbath love. His promise and his oath.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Feast on God’s Love

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Heb 5:1-10; Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4; Mk 2:18-22
Notes: Continuing the theme of John the Baptist: I myself did not know him.

Over the next weeks we will follow the life of Jesus. Christmas season is over, and Lent is another six weeks away. Let us take these weeks to reacquaint ourselves with the person of Jesus. His ministry has begun with his baptism and temptation in the desert certainly. We also can view him in the plain reading of the accounts of his life. Jesus taught and healed in Galilee. He reoriented us to faith and action.

I’d like you to meet my friend Jesus this week. He faced so many very human difficulties. In Galilee he moved about this agricultural and livestock-based community and economy. Fishermen, Shepherds, farms and freshwater springs. Money and education were not common as in the big city, Jerusalem. Those who were educated were revered and unquestioned. That had to change.

Jesus’ Challenges:

  • Ritual observance contested.
  • Sabbath understanding challenged.
  • Cried.
  • Anger.
  • Grief.
  • Withdral (prayer).
  • Withdral (protection).
  • Physical danger.
  • Suffering.
  • Even his family thought him crazy.

He reveals God in his action and teaching:

  • He is the bridegroom.
  • He is the Lord of Sabbath.
  • You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Monday Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins. Jesus is the new wine. It is the same grape of love but a new pressing of the grapes to bring forward even deeper and refreshing essence and aroma of God.

Tuesday – “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” Eating grain (by the handful) is not prohibitted at all as a matter of fact. But Jesus takes it further, Sabbath is made to help man not burden him.

Wednesday – Sabbath good. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored.

Thursday Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. So overwhelming was the positive response to Jesus, his message and his healing power, that a boat was needed to prevent a crushing onrush.

Friday Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. Jesus’ calling is a powerful attraction. The attraction of supperabunbant love even held, for a while, Judas Iscariot who later betrayed him.

Saturday When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Clearly, Jesus’ radical engagement with others unsettled everyone, including his family. In a sense he failed to do a task we always remember to do – reserve something for himself.

First reading
Brothers and sisters: Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

In the days when he was in the Flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Responsorial Psalm
You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Verse
The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

Gospel Portion
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

Feast on God’s love today.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction

Mr. James Kolar, Director, wanted me to get these photos of my serving the Altar back in December, 2022.

I served again at Miracle House this weekend, January 14th, 2023. Having just come back from Guatemala and seeing the Eucharistic Adoration in every Church I visited there it was so comforting to know in every place and everywhere the Lord is glorified by our love. Including at home. Including as I noted in the Saturday reflection at the Chapel, anywhere where Jesus deems, he wants to go.

“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time. Mk 2:16b-17a.

Let Jesus, The word of God, living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrate even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of your heart. So you may be healed.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

I myself did not know him

Greetings on this the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Is 49:3, 5-6; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Cor 1:1-3; Jn 1:29-34
Notes: John said this twice in the account of the baptism of the Lord.

I myself did not know him.

There is a mystery in this statment worthy of today’s consideration.

John did know Jesus certainly.
Elizabeth was visited Mary and John leapt in the womb at the sound of Mary’s voice.
Mary helped Elizabeth birth John (sympathetic reading of the scripture).

Taking a step back.

The baptism of the Lord is accounted for in each of the four Gospels.

We celebrated the Baptism of the Lord in Guatemala City on Sunday and in the USA on Monday past.
On this second Sunday of Ordinary Time we encounter the Gospel of John’s account of the baptism.

There are slight variations between the accounts each giving a more profound accounting theologically than the one written before. Using progressive elaboration is a common theme in the divine-human exchange and most delightful when seeing the process play out over the development of the gospel accounts themselves.

One example to illustrate. ok?

Spirit

  • Gospel of Mark – the first of the gospels – the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.
  • Gospel of Matthew – the second gospel – the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighted on him.
  • Gospel of Luke – the third gospel – the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove.
  • Gospel of John – the last gospel – I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.

There are many such examples in this very brief but impactful sacred scripture.

Trinity

  • All four indicate the Trinity by the Father’s voice, the Sonship and the Spirit.
  • This is my beoved Son, with whom I am well pleased (three accounts, slight and important differences).
  • The Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit.

This is why we can make summary statements about the baptism taking into account the totality of the baptism accounts provided. For today, let us look at just one more and it will be the basis of the homily.

Where From?

  • Gospel of Mark – the first of the gospels – Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee.
  • Gospel of Matthew – the second gospel – Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordon to John.
  • Gospel of Luke – the third gospel – Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized.
  • Gospel of John – the last gospel – After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me (eternal).

The gospel of John adds:

  • Lamb of God.
  • Son of God.
  • Witness to divinity (preexistence).
  • Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit.
  • I did not know him.

What follows?

  • Mark – Tempation of Jesus.
  • Matthew – Temptation of Jesus.
  • Luke – Genealogy of Jesus and the temptation of Jesus.
  • John – Calling of the disciples and the ‘conclusion’ of the temptation Heavens open and Angels (See Jn 1:51)

First reading
The Servant of the Lord (Salvation for the Jew and Gentile alike)

It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of and restore the survivors of Israel;

AND

I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”

Second reading
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia Verse
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God.

Gospel Portion
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I did not know him.
I did not know him.

the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.

Just like Simeon in the Gospel of Luke, John received insight as to how to know him.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

God reveals.

  • John knew Jesus as man and as Lamb of God – though he wondered what that meant.
  • John knew Jesus as Suffering Servant, The Ideal Davidic King, and Messiah after his visitation.

There are seven weeks in Ordinary Time before we begin Lent Season.

Now is the perfect time to come to know Jesus:

  • Know him as a man walking the Earth.
  • Know him as friend and join his pilgrimage.
  • Know him as Lamb.
  • Know him as King.
  • Know him as Messiah.
  • Know him as suffering.

Let the Lord speak to you of him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry