WITH ST. MARY'S
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Trust that God has given us the Church, prayers, and liturgy to experience growth in the spiritual life.
SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The Catholic Mass is both a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and a reliving of his entire public ministry, from the moment the priest processes up to the altar at the beginning to the reception of the Eucharist by the faithful. Because our intimate familiarity with the passion and death of Christ is learned through the Mass, it can be a beautiful thing to go back and read the Gospels and find elements of the Mass within the words of the text. In fact, many of the words that are used throughout the Mass are taken directly from the Gospels. In this Sunday’s gospel reading, we hear about one such example, when John the Baptist acknowledges Christ for the first time and utters the words we hear before we receive the Eucharist: Behold, the Lamb of God.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
This Sunday’s Gospel comes from the Gospel of John, which is much more unique than the other three. John decides to leave out certain scenes that can be found in the other Gospels in order to focus instead on other details that may have been overlooked. At the Baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father can be heard saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In the Gospel of John, however, it is John the Baptist who describes the scene instead of the Gospel writer: “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him.” If the Gospel of John is writing about the same moment that the other Gospels depict, then it was only Jesus and John the Baptist who saw the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, we ought to read this story in the Gospel and apply it to our experience with the working of the Holy Spirit in the context of Mass. Before the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ, the priest performs what is called the epiclesis, where he places his hands over the gifts of bread and wine and asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit down upon them so that they may be transubstantiated into the Blessed Sacrament. As the faithful, we do not see the Holy Spirit with the sense of sight. We do not hear the words of the Father with the sense of hearing. But the Holy Spirit is at work, and we acknowledge the changes He has brought about when the priest later on shows the body of Christ to us, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.” Our response, which is taken from the centurion later on in the Gospels, is a recognition that the Holy Spirit was among us. He changed our gifts, works of human hands, into the body and blood of Christ. John the Baptist’s followers trusted him when he said that Christ was the Lamb of God, though they may not have seen the Spirit. In the same way, we trust the Church and we trust the priest that the changes have occurred despite not seeing them. The Holy Spirit manifested among us in a truly mystical way, and we are blessed to be invited to participate in the Supper of the Lamb.
Family activity to do at home: Now that we have entered into the Ordinary Time season within the liturgical calendar, our active and persistent prayer life must be fostered continuously so that we can remain faithful and observant Catholics. This begins in the home with the family, the Domestic Church. A family that prays together is far more likely to remain faithful throughout the year and motivated to celebrate the Sacraments; the best way to incorporate simple prayers into family life is before and after family meals. Below, you can find an explanation of the importance of these prayers and a few prayers you can use. Let the Ordinary Time be an opportunity for your family to grow in prayer.