Dear OLPH Family and Friends,

We celebrated the Baptism of the Lord last week which was the First Sunday in Ordinary Time.   On this Second Sunday we find ourselves once again addressing the same event. As with last week, Isaiah says that it is too little for us to be God’s servants.   Today, God invites us through the Prophet Isiah, to be His Light to all Nations. It is a call to be true Apostles.   We may not have our names in the Bible as one of the Twelve but we can certainly make the primary mission of the Apostles our own; i.e. to proclaim the risen Lord.

These past weeks, we have been celebrating liturgically various stages of the relationship God has with us.  The initial introduction was to Mary through the “Annunciation.”  The material introduction was made at the “Nativity.”  The general introduction was made through the “Magi.” The official introduction was made last week through the “Baptism.”

With today’s readings, John the Baptist clearly states that he does not know who Jesus is prior to God’s disclosure. “I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me.”  This seems odd for when we remember Mary’s visit to John’s mother, Elizabeth and her mention John’s recognizing leap in her womb.  John later clarified that statement: “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”  This declaration puts John’s hesitancy to rest allowing him to complete his mission.  He declared Jesus as God’s son, the Messiah, and then with great enthusiasm announced his mission.

John teaches and learns a primary lesson of life – the time to let go.  Everyone from parents to popes faces the moment when another comes to fill their position.  Difficult as this is, John shows us how to do it well.  After calling Jesus the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” John admirably proclaims his new rank and place alongside Jesus.  “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.”  John will decrease as Jesus, God’s son, increases, taking his superior role as the Messiah, a role that comes with much suffering and agony.

As soon as we asked who Jesus is; i.e.” the Son of God” we now ask Why He came”?   Already the readings are pointing toward Passiontide. Believe it or not, Lent begins in five weeks.  Jesus came to take up His Cross so that his Life would give us eternal life.

May this short period of Ordinary Time be an extraordinary time of blessing and each and every one of us!   Praised be Jesus Christ!

Fr. Ron