REFLECTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A), Week beginning 15TH JANUARY 2023
Last Sunday concluded the holy Christmas season with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. It always replaces the first Sunday of ‘Ordinary Time’ in the Church’s calendar. So, Ordinary Time began the next day, January 9th. This Sunday is therefore the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time which always accounts for 33 or 34 weeks each year, depending upon the date of Easter.
This coming Wednesday, January 18th, is the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Its 8 days (for it is an Octave) conclude on January 25th, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Certainly indeed, it greatly pains the Sacred Heart of Jesus that: a) the Church split into East and West in the 11th century b) there have historically emerged various Christian denominations, whereas He had founded One Church. The 4 Marks of the Church, as set out in the Nicene Creed, are: it is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC. It is ONE because God the Father and Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, are One – Jesus assured us that He Himself is the Bridegroom, the Church being His Bride. The Church is HOLY because it is the Body of Christ Who, being fully God, is All-Holy. It is CATHOLIC, meaning ‘Universal’, for Jesus is Universal King & His Church is all-embracing. Finally, the Church is APOSTOLIC in that it descends from the Apostles who were each commissioned by Jesus Himself.
At Mass, we use any one of four Eucharistic Prayers. Eucharistic Prayer 3 asks God the Father that we may “… become one body, one spirit in Christ” – these words are to be taken both on the collective level and on the single level. We recall Jesus’ impassioned plea to God the Father that His Church be One, just as He and the Father are One. At the same time, we need to be at one, body and spirit, within our individual selves. Our attentions cannot be overloaded to matters of the body, to the detriment of matters of the spirit for we are in the Image & Likeness of God Who is One.