2nd Sunday of the Year (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 19th January: Second Sunday of the Year (a)
Today’s first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah (49:3.5-6). He talks of the servant God has chosen to bring Israel back to him, and not just Israel, but all people of all time.
The second reading is from the First letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (1:1-3). St. Paul reminds the early Christians at Corinth of their call to holiness.
The Gospel passage is from St. John (1:29-34). Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus. He is God’s chosen servant who takes away the sins of the people and baptises them with the Holy Spirit.
Monday 20th January: Monday of Week 2 of the Year.
Saul had a number of battles against the Philistines and the other enemies but he was not always a good king. Often, he interpreted Samuel’s words to suit himself. In this reading, he is challenged about not following out his orders to the full. Saul thought a good sacrifice was the answer to everything whereas Samuel insisted that obedience to God’s ways was what mattered.
Tuesday 21st January: Memorial of St. Agnes.
When she was twelve years old, Agnes suffered martyrdom in Rome probably at the beginning of the fourth century under the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. The Pope decorated her tomb with sacred verses and many of the early Church Fathers, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, spoke of her with great praise.
Wednesday 22nd January: Wednesday of Week 2 of the Year.
Saul did not know that David had been anointed as King-elect but took him on as one of his soldiers. David offered to fight Goliath and won, fighting in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel.
Jesus again shows his power. The Pharisees needed to know that Jesus promoted and obeyed the commandments and tried to catch him out. Jesus insists on faith as the essential characteristic.
Thursday 23rd January: Thursday of Week 2 of the Year.
As David’s popularity increased so did Saul’s jealousy of him. Eventually he plans to kill him. Saul’s son, Jonathan, persuaded his father not follow through on his plans.
Jesus is overwhelmed with the approach of all those looking for a cure. Again faith is stressed as the essential requirement.
Friday 24th January: Memorial of St. Francis of Sales.
Francis was born near Savoy, France, in 1567. As he grew up, he became very religious and wished to consecrate himself to God. His father was not keen on this but he persisted and after studying law at university, he began his studies for the priesthood and was ordained. He spent much of his time working as a missionary near Lake Geneva. At first, he met a lot of hostility but his determination and excellent preaching bought great numbers into the Church. Later he became a Bishop and was much in demand as a preacher all over France. He set himself to show that the lives of ordinary people who are not priests or religious could and should be made holy. He is patron saint of writers, editors and journalists.
Saturday 25th January: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Today we celebrate an event of great consequence for the life of the Church: the conversion of St. Paul. It was sudden and dramatic. From being a persecutor of the Church, he is transformed into an apostle of Christ. This was a turning point in the life of the early Christian community.