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Back The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Thursday, January 16, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron……
It is very natural for people who are suffering some misfortune to look for someone who will save them and restore to them back to their original state of life, before the unfortunate event, that was the cause of their misfortune.
A significant occurrence in the life and history of the Jewish people, was the conquering of the land of Judea by Babylon 605BCE. The temple in Jerusalem was looted and destroyed. People were exiled into a land with different culture, traditions and most importantly religious beliefs. From this experience grew the hope for a “Messiah.”
“According to both the Hebrew Bible and Jewish oral tradition, a Messiah is a king, a warrior, a political figure or a revolutionary whose mission is divine and specific to the Jews…..This leader’s job is to facilitate the return of the Jews to the land of Israel thus a liberation from exile and a return to self-rule in Israel. One doesn’t need to be Jewish to be a Messiah. The Persian King Cyrus is one among many who is referred to as a “Messiah” in the Hebrew Bible, because he allowed the Jews to return to the land of Israel, signaling the end of what is known as the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century BCE.”
Many prophecies concerning the desire for a Messiah evolved in different collections of writings, including the book of the prophet Isaiah. This weekend’s passage enlarges the role of the Messiah to one that includes others as well as Jews. “It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6). This wider role indicates that the Messiah will be for all people.
Although, we will be studying the Gospel of Matthew much of this Liturgical Year, our passage for this 2nd Sunday of our Church year following the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus which includes a passage from the Gospel of John. In it John the Baptist gives a witness to his followers that Jesus is “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” (John 1:34).
As I mentioned, the longing for a Jewish Messiah was originally one of a military leader and indeed King Cyrus fulfilled that role in regard to the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. But, the Messianic hope continued when Israel was occupied by the Romans approximately in the year 63BCE. Thus, the desire for a Messiah continued. With the ministry of Jesus this messianic expectation changed again to one who would free us from our sins and restore to us the original perfection of creation.
John the Baptizer recognizes the Messiah in Jesus and with his testimony many of his followers begin to follow Jesus. Many of our Evangelical sisters and brothers often ask the question: “Do you know Jesus?” This is a valid question for every Christian. As Catholics we often study and know much about Jesus but the question is “Do we know Jesus?” If Jesus is Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, shouldn’t we too be able to recognize Him as John the Baptist did?
As John did, shouldn’t we be able to give testimony into how Jesus continues to save us from our sins, assist us in recognizing God’s unconditional love for us, and be able to speak about that to others. Lord God Almighty, give us the gifts to recognize and witnesses to Jesus who is our Messiah and Lord. Behold the Lamb of God.
PARISH GATHERING OF REFLECTION ON THE BOOK: Letter to a Suffering Church will be held on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00PM in our school’s cafeteria. Come and share your insights and together let us bring healing, strength and a sense of recommitment to our church.
AN EVENING OF PRAYER FOR HEALING will be held on Friday, January 24th from 7-8:30PM at St. Amelia Parish Church, 2999 Eggert Rd, Tonawanda, NY. It is being sponsored by the Northern Erie Vicariate Parishes to which Nitivity belongs. We will pray for victims and all who are affected by the abuse crisis. The evening will include adoration, music, communal prayer, and a presentation by Catholic Therapist Dan Lawson LMHC, as we pray for strength and grace as we journey through this challenging time in our Church. All are welcome.
A MAJOR CAPITAL EXPENSE occurred for us at Nativity just before Christmas week, when we had discovered a leak within the heating system of our Church. After the leak was detected and identified the solution required a few days in which a portion of our main isle needed to be broken into, a repair to the pipes laid beneath the floor, and then a resealing and re-carpeting of the site. Needless to say, this could not occur during Christmas week. We experienced two blessings: warmer than normal temperatures for the end of December and beginning of January, and the fact that our air conditioning system operates with heat pump capacity as well. These factors kept the internal temperatures acceptable until we could correct this difficulty. Thank you Lord.