Lectionary Reflections: Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, January 19, 2014

Engaging Faith | Fri, Jan 17, 2014

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary Reflection for Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, January 19, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time [a]

Jan. 19, 2014



Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

John 1:29-34



Jan. 16: Religious Freedom Day

Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Day Observed in the United States

Jan. 18-25: Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Jan. 23-24: National Prayer Vigil for Life in Washington, D.C.



“Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way.”

Pope Benedict XVI, “Spe Salvi,” 49


“What is being looked for is not simply the solution to one problem, but an entire shift of world view away from patterns of dominance toward mutually enhancing relationships.”

Elizabeth Johnson, “She Who Is,” p. 28


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


“The world needs God. It needs universal, shared ethical and spiritual values, and religion can offer a precious contribution to their pursuit, for the building of a just and peaceful social order at the national and international levels.”

 Pope Benedict XVI, January 1. 2011


“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'”

Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.

 “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”

Pope Francis, “Evangelii Gaudium,” 2


Thoughts for your consideration


The selection from Isaiah is a powerful statement about what God desires to do through human beings. God will show divine glory in those who serve God and God will even allow them to be a light to all nations. In the gospel reading, John the Baptist says that this power of the Spirit can be seen most clearly in Jesus, who is the very Son of God.


God’s spirit is available and wants to do great things!


In this time of war, in this era of violence and terror, in this generation that is struggling with issues around globalization, in this world economy with so many inequalities, in a time when millions of people are out of work in the United States, in the is time of strong political fighting in our governments, on this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, in this era where our nation incarcerates so many people of color, in this week of prayer for Christian Unity, during this week when people gather in Washington to pray and rally for life, in this era when many feel divided by ideological positions, we are called to believe that this spirit can bring together the diverse and divided people of our world. We are called to believe that we can make a difference and that God’s spirit creates “a light to the nations” and “a salvation that will reach to the ends of the earth.” God wants the light of justice and peace to shine in the world.




Today’s selection from Isaiah proclaims: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  God’s global vision is beginning to break through in these words from Isaiah. God does not care only for a special group of people. God’s love and God’s vision is global. God wants a certain type of “healthy globalization.” 

It seems that the increasingly globalized economy has lots of winners and lots of losers. It seems that many of the poor are losers in the system. Our social teaching reminds us that God calls us to work to include everyone, including the poor. 

Large corporations and economic interests have excessive power.  Ordinary people and even the governments of many nations seem to be left out. Our social teaching reminds us that God calls us to work to include everyone, including the poor. 

John the Baptist points to the light of Christ.  Christ calls us to a global concern – a concern for justice for all the people of our world, a call not to rest until all God’s people experience justice.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group


Which social problem would you most like to see the Spirit heal in our time?




John the Baptist points to Jesus. What do we point to? Who points us to God today?


The story of the Peacemaker:


Actions - Links


The King Holiday is observed Jan. 20.   

·    Information about Dr. King and efforts to keep his vision alive can be found at the King Center website: .  

·    The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Institute at Stanford University provides an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate’s life and the movements he inspired. Its site is at: You will find curriculum resources for teaching about Dr. King and even recordings of some of his speeches.

·    Prayers and other spiritual resources for celebrating the life of Dr. King can be found at



Information on the National Prayer Vigil for Life, to be held Jan. 23-24, can be found at


Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from Jan.18 to Jan. 25. It is promoted by the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. For more information go to and

January is Poverty Awareness Month. Get information at  Check out the calendar at



“Crazy Facts”

At the end of 2012, about 6.94 million people were supervised by adult correctional systems in the United States. This is about one in 35 adults. About 3.94 million offenders were supervised in the community on probation and 851,200 on parole. Around 1.35 million where incarcerated in state prisons, 217,800 in federal prisons and 744,500 in local jails.


Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world.… The natural rate of incarceration for countries comparable to the United States tends to stay


around 100 prisoners per 100,000 population. The U.S. rate is 500 prisoners per 100,000 residents, or about 1.6 million prisoners in 2010. Men make up 90 percent of the prison and local jail population, and they have an imprisonment rate 14 times higher than the rate for women. Incarceration rates are significantly higher for blacks and Latinos than for whites. In 2010, black men were incarcerated at a rate of 3,074 per 100,000 residents; Latinos were incarcerated at 1,258 per 100,000, and white men were incarcerated at 459 per 100,000.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Let us respect God’s gift of life.

For a deeper respect for human life from conception to natural death, we pray…

For all the people of the earth, especially the poor, we pray…

For those caught up in situations of war and violence, we pray…

For refugees and immigrants, we pray…

For those without access to medical care, we pray….

For children without access of quality education, we pray…

For women who find themselves excluded from power and influence, we pray…

For the environment with all is beauty and all its distress, we pray…


Basic necessities of life

We pray for the Church throughout the world,

that she may be a voice for those who lack even the basic necessities of life,

tirelessly serving them and calling for change.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer


We pray for the world’s leaders,

that they may not hide behind their power or abuse it,

but work for the good of all humanity,

particularly the poor throughout the world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer


We pray for our local community,

that we may show our love through our respect for each other

and for our environment, gladly sharing what we have with those in need.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer


Linda Jones of CAFOD,[]=prayer&_tag[]=on+your+own&_tag[]=poverty+and+wealth


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Prayers and other spiritual resources for celebrating the life of Dr. King can be found at






Copyright © 2014, Center of Concern

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