Christ Blessing the Children, Nicolas Maes, 1652-53
This Sunday, 16 January 2011, is the Feast of the Sto Niño (Holy Child) in the Philippines. Elsewhere it is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.
The readings for the Feast of the Sto Niño are:
Isaiah 9:1-6; Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18; Matthew 18:1-5, 10.
Gospel (Mt 18:1-5, 10; New American Bible, used in the Lectionary in the Philippines)
At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
Holy Family Home, Bacolod City
In the context of the gospel above you might like to read A Safe Haven by Fr Gary Walker that appeared in Misyon in January-February 2009. The video version is here. Read also A Child Redeemed is a Generation Saved by Richelle Verdeprado, from Misyon July-August 2008. The video version is here.
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
The Preaching of St John the Baptist, Alessandro Allori, 1601-03
Gospel (John 1:29-34, New American Bible)
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Recognizing Agnus Dei, Agna Dei and Martyrdom
Biblical Reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time A
By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
TORONTO, JAN. 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- In today's Gospel passage (John 1:29-34), the figure of John the Baptist appears once again almost as if to send us back to Advent to look carefully at the evidence of the Baptizer and of Jesus, and to make some decisions about our own lives.
The evangelist John’s account of the Baptism of Jesus is very different from the other three evangelists, and the historical situation explains why. John’s gospel text shows no knowledge of the tradition (Luke 1) about the kinship of Jesus and John the Baptist. In the Fourth Gospel, John's baptism is not connected with forgiveness of sins; its purpose is revelatory, that Jesus may be made known to Israel. For John, a simple chronicle of events is never enough; the important thing is that events excite a personal testimony about Jesus.
The evangelist John is very intent on counteracting a movement that regarded John the Baptist as superior to Jesus. He does not narrate the baptism event; instead, he puts the meaning of the baptism into John the Baptist's testimony. He has the Baptizer publicly profess his raison d’être: "The reason why I came...was that he [Jesus] might be made known."
Full text here.