02Jan 2 January 2022 – Second Sunday of Christmas

2 January 2022 – Second Sunday of Christmas

Prayer (ICEL 1998)

God most high,
your only Son embraced the weakness of our flesh
to give us the power to become your children;
your eternal Word chose to dwell among us,
that we might live in your presence.
Grant us a spirit of wisdom
to know how rich is the glory you have made our own,
and how great the hope to which we are called
in Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light,
God for ever and ever.

First Reading: Sirach 24:1-2, 8-12

In praise of the wisdom that God has revealed to us

Wisdom praises herself,
and tells of her glory in the midst of her people.
In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,
and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory:
“Then the Creator of all things gave me a command,
and my Creator chose the place for my tent.
He said, “Make your dwelling in Jacob,
and in Israel receive your inheritance.”
Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me,
and for all the ages I shall not cease to be.
In the holy tent I ministered before him,
and so I was established in Zion.
Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place,
and in Jerusalem was my domain.
I took root in an honoured people,
in the portion of the Lord, his heritage.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18

We are God’s adopted children, through his only Son, Jesus

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.

He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.

Gospel: John 1:1-18

The eternal Son of God has become human for our sakes, full of grace and truth

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

May your words, O Lord, be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart. May they guide my life and keep me near to you.


The Word Became Flesh

In a scene called Christ in the House of His Parents, the 19th-century English painter John Everett Millais depicted Jesus as a boy of about eight or ten, helping  in Joseph’s carpentry workshop. In an accident, Jesus had gashed his finger so badly that his blood streamed down, while his mother tended to the wound. Though it’s an imaginary incident, it portrays well what John means in his Gospel today, that the Word truly became flesh.

The Fourth Gospel opens with a sublime statement about the origins of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God.” It goes on to affirm that the Word became flesh for us. By becoming one of ourselves we might expect the Incarnate Word of God to share the same emotions as ourselves, and indeed he did. In the stories that follow, we read how Jesus showed his love to various people, to Martha, Mary and Lazarus, to his disciple John and to the rich young man who wanted to follow him. Equally, he shared our experience of distress. He could shed tears at times of loss and crisis, such as when his friend Lazarus died and before he publicly entered Jerusalem, knowing that the city would reject and execute him. The Gospels also tell how Jesus enjoyed social occasions and was a guest at so many dinners that his critics called him a glutton and a drunkard. He felt a strong empathy for people who suffered, and when they were hungry he provided the food that they needed. Like all of us, he needed companionship with others, so on several occasions he took Peter, James and John into his special confidence. When exhausted he could fall asleep, even in the stern of a boat being tossed by the wind and waves. He felt intense fear just before his passion, and openly admitted to his followers how troubled he felt in his soul. In his agony he prayed “Father let his cup pass me by.” When the Word became flesh, he joined us on so many levels.

He dwelt among us, fully, passionately. He didn’t just come to live a quiet life. He “pitched his tent among us” and shared the full range of our human experience, in order to draw us near to God. He was so much in touch with outsiders that his critics called him a friend of tax-collectors and sinners. To show his compassion for lepers, he physically touched them, laid hands on them, even at the risk of becoming ritually impure. Because he was a man of the people he spent most of his time among those who needed him most, and they were welcome in his company.

This Word became flesh to make the Eternal Father known to all of us. He came to let us know the Father. Indeed, he is God’s personal message to us. How can we know the Father? Through Jesus who is “the way, the truth and the life.” He is our surest way to the Father. To know the invisible God, we must link up with Jesus, think of him often, and identify with him as children of God.

One Response

  1. Thara Benedicta

    Readings: 2 Jan 2022 – Second Sunday of Christmas…

    Key Message:
    God has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future!! So let us be happy in the Lord!!

    Homily:

    The Takeaway from the First Reading:
    The first reading tells clearly that we have wisdom. Isn’t it astonishing? Wisdom says “He (God our Abba Father) said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel, receive your inheritance.'” We are the new Israel, believers of our Lord Jesus Christ, and hence we have inherited wisdom. When we walk with God we will be filled with God’s wisdom.
    The nearer we are to our Lord Jesus Christ, the more wisdom we acquire.

    The Takeaway from the Second Reading:
    In the second reading we find that God adopts us as His own children. So God looks at us lovingly through Fatherly eyes. He does not want us to feel frustrated or condemned for our past mistakes. How ever many sins we have committed in the past years, let us ask forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We receive forgiveness by faith. So we should believe that our Lord Jesus Christ washes our sins and our Almighty Father throws our sins behind His back. Those are the true incidents that actually happen when we repent for our sins and ask for forgiveness. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not waste a minute in forgiving our sins. Like how He pardoned all the sins committed by the good thief throughout his life in a fraction of a second, He will beautifully forgive our sins also.
    God our Father always throws our sins behind His back!!

    The Takeaway from the Gospel Reading:
    The Gospel reading says, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”
    To earn a degree we need to study in a University. To build a house or to buy a car we need to work hard and earn. But to become children of our Almighty God, the creator of the whole universe, there is ONLY ONE criterion – “We need to believe in our loving Lord Jesus Christ”. Isn’t it amazing?

    At the beginning of the New Year, all the Readings emphasise that we are children of the Almighty God. Is there anything better than this? Better than being children of Almighty God? In the second reading we read that God bestows on us every spiritual blessings in Heavenly places.

    We need to be happy in the Lord to enjoy the year. We cannot experience real happiness if we are not happy in the Lord. Material things cannot give us real happiness. If we are happy in the Lord, then though we are facing challenging situations, we will have peace and joy inside us (a peace that surpasses all understanding will fill us). If we are not happy in the Lord, even though we get success, we will not have a feeling of joy and fulfilment.

    Tips for us to enjoy this New Year:
    1. As we discussed, our top priority will be to focus on being happy with the Lord. Philippians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say, Rejoice”. What should we do to Rejoice in the Lord?
    (Have taken the answers also from Philippians 4 only).

    a. Think according to the Word of God: Think about true, pure, noble, and lovely things only. It means training our minds to focus on God and things that are dear to Him. As we have an inclination to sin, unless and otherwise we intentionally focus on pure, noble thoughts, we have huge chances of drifting away to sinful thoughts. As Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”, in order to live a life closer with God, we should focus our mind on God and pure things.

    b. Do according to the word of God: Putting into practice all that we read or listen from the Word of God gives us His peace on earth and treasures in Heaven. During this pandemic season, some of us do not have anything to give others. But we can pray for others. As said in the Holy Bible, “The prayer of the righteous person pierces the clouds and reaches the Heaven”, our prayer will reach Heaven and bring blessings not only for those for whom we pray but also for us. (Job was blessed when he prayed for his friends). We can share what we can, and pray for all.

    2. Starting our day with the Lord: When an infant wakes up, as soon as he sees the face of his mother, he laughs happily. Psalm 3:5 – “I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.” As this verse says, our Heavenly Father is watching over us when we sleep. Let us wake up smiling and see His Holy Face with joy. Let us thank Him for being with us all night long!!

    3. Morning Prayer: It is the morning pill that strengthens us throughout the day. If we are planning to start our Morning Prayer routine newly then we may face challenges like children waking up early, someone arriving at the door, some electric equipment not working… (the devil knows that he cannot attack us when we pray in the morning). So we should get the help of our Heavenly Army even before we sit for prayer, even before we rise from our bed. Call the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the help of our Mamma Mary, intercessions of all Archangels, Angels, our Guardian Angel, and Saints.

    4. Reading the Word of God. Read, and when a verse(s) speaks to you, meditate on it, try to take notes on how you are planning to apply the verse in your daily life. If you are new to reading the Holy Bible, then better to stop with that passage and notes for that day because you may forget that point or you may feel tired to think about the upcoming verses.

    5. Practising mental prayers like just saying “Thank You Jesus” repeatedly.

    6. We should never feel lonely in this life, because God is close to the broken heart. If we feel lonely then that is the indication that we do not have faith that the Lord is always with us. We should read scriptures on the love of our Lord and focus on the truth that our Lord Jesus Christ ‘Never leaves us nor forsakes us’.

    7. God never reminds us of how far we have fallen. He always reminds us of how far we have come up. He also considers our growth in holiness only, not our fall. He keeps calling us His own children and keeps repeating in the Bible that He always loves us. So whenever we feel guilty we need to ask for forgiveness and start our life with joy over again.

    8. In today’s second reading we see that St. Paul thanks God for the people God has given him. Are we thanking God for the people God has blessed us with? None of the disciples of Jesus was perfect. But our Lord Jesus thanked them also. God has bestowed on us people, for us to be Ambassadors of His love to them. God did not want to provide us with a family of angels to show our love. But He wanted us to be His angel to His children. Whenever we feel frustrated because of the people around us, we need to think about Jesus thanking God for His disciples and thank Him for people around us.

    9. Like how we always remember our little children, God always remembers us. We may forget our children for some period of time because of focus on work, but God our Father always has us in His mind. His thoughts for each one of us are more than the sands of the sea. God our Father has plans for us to prosper. We may bite our nails over how to solve our problem but God our Father does not bite His nails or scratch His head over how to solve our problems. He has a solution already in place for us. When it is time He will show it. So we can just relax in the midst of our ongoing problems leaving it all to God.

    Our Lord Jesus is always with us. So let us not fear and face the year boldly!!