Gospel January 24, 2021

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Jonah. The purpose of the book of Jonah, written after the Israelites have returned from exile, is to teach the people that God loves all people, even Israel’s greatest enemies. Here we have the familiar story of Jonah who is commanded by God to preach to the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, which devastated the Kingdom of Judah and Israel, a message of repentance for their sinful ways. Repentance is the intentional decision to turn from evil and all things that could lead us to evil. So, the Ninevites got the message. They repented and did penance and they were saved. For this Sunday’s Mass, the Jonah reading is used to teach the kind of repentance that Jesus is calling people to as he begins his public ministry.

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Gospel January 10, 2021

The readings for today are all connected with the Baptism of Jesus. The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. This reading is the first of four of Isaiah’s four Suffering Servant songs. This first poem introduces the Messiah as the one who pleases God. He will work tirelessly for the dawning of justice and will not be discouraged. In verses six and seven, God is speaking directly to his servant and commissioning him to be a “light for the Gentiles.” This servant, governed by the Spirit, will be one to heal and overturn the evil of this world, such as giving sight to the blind, setting captives free, and illuminating the way of those trapped in darkness. This gentle Servant will be empowered by God to carry out his mission. In and through Baptism, each of us is called to imitate the Servant spoken about in this reading.

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Gospel January 3, 2021

 
In the solemnity of the Epiphany (an appearance or a showing) of Christ to all humanity, the First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. Because of the epiphany of the Lord within it, Israel would itself become the manifestation of God’s presence and goodness for the nations. What God did for the Israel of the old covenant, he has done for all of humankind, the new clouds, sin and separation have been dispelled. With Christ and with his church, light illuminates and warms an alienated world, so that all people can walk in the freedom and healing of that light.
 
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