Homily Second Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
· Isaiah 49:3, 5-6;
· Ps 40:2,4,7-9,10
· 1 Cor 1:1-3
· John 1:29-34
The Lamb of God, the Light to All Nations!
The focus of today’s Bible lessons is on universal salvation and on recognizing the agents or instruments of this salvation, called and sent by God, as the Lamb of God, the Son of God. When we look back at the history of our salvation we cannot but appreciate all that God has done for us from creation, through the experiences of wilderness and exiles. God not only constantly save humanity but does it through his agents: the angels, the prophets and eventually through his Son Jesus Christ, the one recognized by John in today’s Gospel as the Lamb of God, the source of freedom, the light of the world, the bearer of our sufferings, and the one who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
When the Israelites were in Egypt and in the wilderness we saw how God used Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Joshua to bring them salvation. The first reading of today (Isa 49:3, 5-6) paints the sorrowful and hopeful picture of Israel in Exile in Babylon. It is the 2nd Song of the Suffering Servant of Yhwh. It is a song of hope for salvation.
In this reading, although the servant is named “Israel” he has been called from the womb, and sent by God to preach, love, hope, forgiveness, justice, liberation and salvation to the suffering and exiled Israel. Surely the servant would come to represents God’s divine agent of successive prophetic mission fulfilled in Christ Jesus. In this reading, the servant is speaking. He says, “The Lord said to me…..” indicating that the Lord is the one who calls us. He is the one that initiates the call of each and every single of Israel’ prophets. None of them called themselves. It also indicates the willingness of the one called to listen, to respond and be able to say like Samuel or like the Psalmist in today’s responsorial Psalm: “Here I am Lord I come to do your will…” (Ps 40).
Even though this servant was originally sent by God to “to raise up the tribes of Jacob,” and “restore the survivors of Israel,” (Isaiah 49:6), the servant is now sent as “a light to the nations,” the lamb of God, so that God’s salvations might reach people of all walks of life.
We know of images of a Lamb in the book of Leviticus or in our various cultures. Lambs are humble creatures. They are willing to say yes. They are willing to go there or come here. They are used as sacrificial animals. Lamb was use in the Passover narratives in the book of Exodus. It makes sense that John sees Jesus as the Lamb of God, the victor on the cross, the source of freedom, hope, salvation and remission of our sins, above all the light of the world.
John the Baptist also witnessed the dove descend upon this lamb during his baptism which we celebrated last week. This is the spirit of Love to everyone including the poor and the rich, the homeless, the aged, the sick the needy and those in prisons. This is the spirit of hope and faith. This is the spirit of trust and the spirit to reach out to everyone with Christ’s love and message of universal salvation, especially in this New Year.
Saint Paul understood this so much as exemplified in all his missionary journeys. Although Jewish, he received baptism. Like other Israel’s prophets he said to God, “Here I am Lord I come to do your will,” I come to bear the light to all nations, Jews and Gentiles. Paul carried the mission and the Good News not only to the Corinthian Church, but to the Gentiles, to all of us. Paul said, to everyone who called upon the name of Jesus, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:1-3). We should be able to say this to everyone we meet on the way, Jews and Gentiles, males and females.
As part of the nations who receive this loving call and peace of Christ, may we in our own individual and collective ways continue to responsively recognize Christ, the Lamb of God, in our lives, serve as God’s agents and conduits of Christ's joy, peace, prosperity, faith, love and light to people of all walks of life, of every nation and of every culture.
1. What does the image of Christ as the Lamb of God or the Light of the world say to us?
2. Are we willing agent of salvation in our neighborhoods and to everyone, male and females, Jews and gentiles?
3. Under what circumstances can I truly say that I am the suffering servant of God (Isa 49) or the moral light to our nations?