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Breaking Open the Word

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 

January 15, 2023

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God has a great desire for us to be happy with Him in eternity, and He given us a means by which He will fulfill that desire, the rest is left up to us. We are offered the power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit – and with that is the anticipation of amazing things occurring in our lives. John the Baptist brings to us word of the gift of the fulfillment of the prophesies of the Old Testament. When we are open to the gifts referenced by John the Baptist, we too will see amazing things happen in our lives – and Jesus has promised to deliver those great things with the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6

Psalm 40

1 Corinthians 1: 1-3

John 1: 29-34

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Gospel Explained

As soon as John the Baptist sees Jesus there are three things that he tells the people about Jesus. First thing is that Jesus is the Lamb of God. To a Jew this was significant. They knew that lambs were used as an ultimate sacrifice in the process of seeking forgiveness of their sins.  With John declaring that Jesus is that Lamb of God, John points to the sacrificial element of the mission of Jesus.

The second thing John establishes is that Jesus existed before John and Jesus ranks ahead of John. Again, this is of great significance for the Jews. John had been accepted as a great prophet which is why so many people had been coming to him declaring their repentance and seeking baptism. Declaring that Jesus existed before John is a declaration that Jesus was of more importance and higher stature than John.

The third thing that John the Baptist declares is Jesus is the Son of God on whom the Holy Spirit rests. Those words were integral to people beginning to pay more attention to Jesus. The Son of God is the one the Jews were awaiting, He would be the Messiah. This third declaration is adjoined to one of the enduring themes underscored in the gospel of John which is the Trinity. The Father has a Son, that Son is Jesus, and it is Jesus on whom the Holy Spirit rests.

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Today's Theme

God’s Gifts

The Holy Spirt was quite obviously alive and well and living in the life of John the Baptist. The words and actions of John the Baptist reveal Knowledge, Fortitude, Reverence, Counsel, Understanding, Awe, and especially Wisdom. John used those gifts to build on the scripture he learned as the son of a Jewish priest to share his great passion for Jesus and prepare the people for His coming. One can’t help but look at John the Baptist and see intense love for Jesus.

And how do we most clearly experience the love of Jesus? In the forgiveness of our sins. In our salvation. In his writings, the writer John, prepares us for that relationship as he moves us through the chapters of his gospel writings. Jesus is the one who came to save us, His very presence in this world was and is for our salvation. Each of the gospels point to Jesus as the great healer. He was and He is.

The forgiveness of sin is important for two critical reasons: it is a necessity for living with God for eternity; and it removes the obstacles from allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. That helps explain the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians in our second reading. Corinth was not a pleasant place, it was full of crime and ill-repute. So Paul reminds them of what he taught while he was with them – his great desire to have them be at peace.

Why is peace so necessary? Because of the words given to us by St. Paul in his letter to Titus can only be understood and unequivocally accepted when we are at peace. Then, and only then, can we see the gift given us by Jesus: “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

When we understand that gift is given to us freely and in abundance, then the Holy Spirit can act in our lives.

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Theme in our Life Today

The Gifts In Our Life Today

We are on the heels of the Christmas season. Many of us received gifts from people who genuinely care for our happiness. Now, we can leave those gifts wrapped in the paper in which they were received with a nice bow or ribbon to adorn the package. We can put them on the shelf and leave them there just taking a look at them from time to time over the course of the year, reminding us each time what a nice gesture someone did for us. Or preferably, we rip that present open and use it. After all, that is why the person gave us the gift in the first place.

This week’s gospel is one of three times in the New Testament when we hear the Father speak directly, the other two being at the Transfiguration and when Jesus is speaking of doing the will of the Father in Chapter 12 of John’s gospel. In each instance we hear the Father tell us that Jesus is His Son – listen to Him. Jesus is given to us by the Father as a gift – again, we did nothing to earn it.

The salvation Jesus has guaranteed us is His gift to us. Our openness to that gift is critical in receiving the gifts the Holy Spirit offers us. When we accept the gift offered from Jesus, and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit we are thanking the Father as we carry forth the mission on which He is sending us – bring others to relationship with Him.

Now, how we do that is up to us. No one, but no one, can force you to do it. God leaves that as our choice. God has an individual mission for each of us. What is your mission?

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Prepare for Sunday

To Prepare for this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word, consider the following:


  • Spend time at the Adoration Chapel this week and every week, then make a commitment to be there every week!

  • At Adoration, begin journaling as you listen to God, that is your conversation with God.

It is a beautiful day! It is going to be a beautiful year! Go smile at God!

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