Reflections on Sundays Readings
Link to Readings - http://www.usccb.org/nab/011010.shtml
Comments on the Readings
The running theme through this Sunday’s readings can be summarized in one line –
We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.
#1Let us first look at Peace and what the word of God tells us about peace in these verses.
Isaiah proclaims - Here is my servant whom I uphold…not making his voice heard in the street. a bruised reed he shall not break,
In the responsorial psalm we hear, "The Lord will bless his people with peace."
St. Peter tells us in Acts - You know the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
So Christ has come to bring us Peace.
#2Now, let us turn to a second theme in these readings – Freedom
Isaiah says - I have grasped you by the hand…to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
St. Peter tells us in Acts - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
So Christ has come to free us from the Devil and sin.
Finally, the third theme in these readings is that We have Peace and Freedom by being a Righteous Child of God.
To give some background - Now we know that God has a Son – Jesus Christ, yet these readings take us all the way back to Genesis – if you have Biblical ears to hear. When God made Adam and Eve, he made them after his Image and likeness. How are we in His image and likeness? Because we have His Spirit. When God made Adam it says that God breathed into Adam the breath of life. That breath that God gave to our first parents is God’s Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us children of God. Now it is God’s Spirit that Adam and Eve lost when they sinned in the garden, but as we will hear God has promised to restore His Holy Spirit through His Son.
Isaiah says…Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit
In the psalms we hear - Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and praise
We hear St. Peter say - God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.
In the Gospel St. Luke tell us - John said… "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." …After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
So once again these readings can be summarized in one sentence - We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.
When Jesus is baptized, He is instituting the way back to the Father which was lost from our first parents and which we all inherit through Original Sin. What was lost when they sinned was the Divine Life living inside of them through the Holy Spirit. They also became slaves of sin, and children no longer belonging to our Heavenly Father, but to the father of lies, the Devil. Yet God did not abandon them because of his great love for them and for us. God sent his only Son to atone for sin and reestablish our relationship once and for all with God the Father. We are once again God's children - Listen to what St. John tells us:
NAB 1 John 3:1 See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.
We aren't merely called children of God - this is a reality that we can stand on! Now keep in mind the theme of todays readings are "We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God."
With this in mind, listen to St. Paul in the 8th chapter of Romans:
Romans 8:2, 6, 13-17 For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death...The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Now today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Jesus went down into the water sinless and came back up sinless. But he did this to identify himself with sinful humanity. What happened when he came up out of the water? Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." This is exactly what happened when each and every one of you were Baptized. Now you are a child of God and are able to call him Abba - Daddy - Father, help me to carry my cross, die to sin, and live this life for our heavenly home.
Children, we need to live in the peace that only the Holy Spirit can give through prayer, fasting and giving alms. We have been freed from sin so that we could come here today to worship God. Now that we are a Child of God, we need to act like it and reject the ways of sin, and if we are in sin, God has provided a way back to him through the sacrament of Confession (mention confession times here).
Don't waste the sacrifice that Christ has made for you. Live a New life in Christ and remember We have Peace and Freedom by receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a Righteous Child of God.