Saturday, January 1, 2011

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

“Adoration of the Magi”
by Georges Lallemant,1624
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS 

Catechism Links [1]
CCC 151, 241, 291, 423, 445, 456-463, 504-505, 526, 1216, 2466, 2787: John’s Prologue
CCC 272, 295, 299, 474, 721, 1831: Christ the Wisdom of God
CCC 158, 283, 1303, 1831, 2500: God gives us wisdom

Readings for the Second Sunday After Christmas[2]

Readings from the Jerusalem Bible

Readings and Commentary:
[3]

FIRST READING
 
Sirach 24:1-2, 8-12

Wisdom sings her own praises and is honored in God,
before her own people she boasts;
in the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,
in the presence of his power she declares her worth,
in the midst of her people she is exalted,
in holy fullness she is admired;
in the multitude of the chosen she finds praise,
and among the blessed she is blessed.

"The Creator of all commanded and said to me,
and he who formed me chose the spot for my tent,
saying, 'In Jacob make your dwelling,
in Israel your inheritance,
and among my chosen put down your roots.'

"Before all ages, in the beginning, he created me,
and through all ages I shall not cease to be.
In the holy tent I ministered before him,
and in Zion I fixed my abode.
Thus in the chosen city I have rested,
in Jerusalem is my domain.
I have struck root among a glorious people,
in the portion of the LORD, his heritage;
and in the company of the holy ones do I linger."

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Commentary on
Sir 24:1-2, 8-12

“In this chapter Wisdom speaks in the first person, describing her origin, her dwelling place in Israel, and the reward she gives her followers. As in Proverbs 8 Wisdom is described as a being who comes from God and is distinct from him. While we do not say with certainty that this description applies to a personal being, it does foreshadow the beautiful doctrine of the Word of God later developed in St. John's Gospel (
John 1:1-14). In the liturgy this chapter is applied to the Blessed Virgin because of her constant and intimate association with Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom.”[4]
 
CCC: Sir 24 721
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

R. (John 1:14) The Word of God became man and lived among us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

 
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
 

R. The Word of God became man and lived among us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

 
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!

R. The Word of God became man and lived among us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

 
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
 

R. The Word of God became man and lived among us.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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Commentary on
Ps 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Psalm 147 is a hymn of praise. In these strophes the singer celebrates God’s gifts to his people, the gift of faith to the patriarch Jacob, and the gift of his presence in the holy city Jerusalem. These strophes are from the third section (each section offering praise for a different gift from God to his special people). This section focuses on the gift of the Promised Land with Jerusalem as its spiritual center. We see the call to praise Jerusalem, the Holy city because in it was revealed the Word of God and a call to holiness. The Lord is praised for sending food that sustains the people. The final strophe also rejoices that the Law was handed on to them through Jacob.

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SECOND READING
 
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through
Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus
and of your love for all the holy ones,
do not cease giving thanks for you,
remembering you in my prayers,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation
resulting in knowledge of him.
May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones.
 

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Commentary on
Eph 1:3-6, 15-18

Following his introductory remarks, St. Paul offers a blessing in thanksgiving for the salvation brought to the faithful through Christ’s forgiveness and redemptive actions. The Apostle speaks to the Ephesians about their adoption by God as His sons and daughters. He relates, in typical Pauline fashion, the omnipotence and timelessness of God’s knowledge and actions.

The inheritance given to his adopted children in faith is the “spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him,” the treasure of the faithful. Through this revelation comes hope in the salvation of Christ.


CCC: Eph 1:3-14 2627, 2641; Eph 1:3-6 381, 1077; Eph 1:3 492, 1671; Eph 1:4-5 52, 257; Eph 1:4 492, 796, 865, 1426, 2807; Eph 1:5-6 294; Eph 1:6 1083; Eph 1:16-23 2632; Eph 1:18 158
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GOSPEL
A Longer Form
 
John 1:1-18

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 to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but 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 to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.
 

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Commentary on
Jn 1:1-18

The introduction of St. John’s Gospel first provides the description of the relationship of God and Jesus who is the Logos – or word of God. The Word is light to the world and all things are subordinate to the Word because they were created by and through the Word.

St. John then introduces John the Baptist as one who came to testify to the light (now homologous above with the Word). His message, like that of Jesus was not accepted by the very people created by the Lord. He goes on to say that those who accept Christ are adopted by God.

Concluding this selection, the Evangelist makes his own profession as he speaks of the incarnation of the eternal as “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” His divinity is once more established as he says “…we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son.” This was the message St. John tells us he was sent to bring. He then reestablishes himself as messenger and servant of the one who sent him, Jesus. He says that while Moses brought the Law, Christ came and revealed God himself.


CCC: Jn 1:1-3 291; Jn 1:1 241, 454, 2780; Jn 1:3 268; Jn 1:4 612; Jn 1:6 717; Jn 1:7 719; Jn 1:9 1216; Jn 1:11 530; Jn 1:12-18 1996; Jn 1:12-13 706; Jn 1:12 526, 1692; Jn 1:13 496, 505, 526; Jn 1:14 423, 445, 454, 461, 594, 705, 2466; Jn 1:16 423, 504; Jn 1:17 2787; Jn 1:18 151, 454, 473
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OR

B Shorter Form 
John1:1-5, 9-14

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 to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
 

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Commentary on
Jn1:1-5, 9-14

In the shorter form, reference to St. John the Baptist is omitted.  The focus is on the introduction of St. John’s Gospel which first provides the description of the relationship of God and Jesus who is the Logos – or word of God. The Word is light to the world and all things are subordinate to the Word because they were created by and through the Word.

Concluding this selection, the Evangelist makes his own profession as he speaks of the incarnation of the eternal as “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” His divinity is once more established as he says “…we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son”. This was the message St. John tells us he was sent to bring. He then reestablishes himself as messenger and servant of the one who sent him, Jesus. He says that while Moses brought the Law, Christ came and revealed God himself.


CCC: Jn 1:1-3 291; Jn 1:1 241, 454, 2780; Jn 1:3 268; Jn 1:4 612; Jn 1:9 1216; Jn 1:11 530; Jn 1:12-18 1996; Jn 1:12-13 706; Jn 1:12 526, 1692; Jn 1:13 496, 505, 526; Jn 1:14 423, 445, 454, 461, 594, 705, 2466
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Reflection:

 
The gift of the Savior, celebrated in this festival season, frequently focuses upon the initial giving of God’s gift in the Nativity. Yet this Christmas season also reminds us that, with salvation through the forgiveness of our sins, there is  great hope for this life and the inheritance that comes from our own adoption as children of God.

In revealing himself to us as eternal Father and eternal Word, we realize the Kingdom of the Most High is the inheritance of his adopted children. This season serves to remind us that it is in humility and mercy God makes this offer, presenting us with an infant child, born in a stable. God became man so that we would see his plan for us! He came so that we would understand the depth of his love for us. He presented us with a child, born of a virgin, fulfilling all of the foretellings of the Prophets and Sacred Scripture. He offered the babe that was God as a sacrifice that would break that virgin’s heart.

Our joy in this season is strengthened by the knowledge that, from the beginning, God loved us. His love was echoed by Eleazar, author of Sirach, as he speaks for God’s Wisdom telling us: “I have struck root among a glorious people, in the portion of the LORD, his heritage; and in the company of the holy ones do I linger.” Emmanuel, God with us, comes once more in this holy season to recreate the adoption that makes us one with Him forever.

Pax


[1] Catechism links are taken from the Homiletic Directory, Published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 29 June 2014
[2] The picture is “Adoration of the Magi” by Georges Lallemant,1624
[3] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only. 
[4] See NAB footnote on Sirach 24:1-27

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