SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
January 16, 2011
Today’s Gospel story takes place in Bethany, a village east of the Jordan River. The hill in the center of ancient Bethany was revered as a holy site because it marked the spot from which the Prophet Elijah ascended into heaven. John the Baptist is there baptizing people. Jesus is baptized, John witnesses the descent of the Spirit on him, later sees Jesus and calls him the “Lamb of God, ” and then directs his disciples to follow Jesus.
John’s Gospel is thick with scriptural references that point to Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. The exodus is re-enacted in the Jordan. Elijah heralds his coming as messiah, but he will be a messiah who is sacrificed for sin. The first of twelve disciples are called, convening the new Israel. Jesus’ public ministry begins.
We, too, begin our lives of discipleship in baptism. God’s plans for us will unfold in fulfillment of every promise made in Jesus.
Deacon Dick Folger