As lay associates, sisters and brothers of the Ireland England Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary, we are priviliged to be able to offer you some thoughts and reflections on our Sunday readings.  Many of our lay associates, sisters and brothers have contributed to putting together for the first time, homilies which cover every Sunday of the Liturgical year.  We hope that you will find this service to be of assistance to you in your ministry or just as an opportunity for you to reflect and to pray on the various themes that these reading have to offer us.

preach gospel always

3. Homilies - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary time to 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time  
Each week on a Monday, we will try to post the homily for the following w/e on this Homily Homepage.  (See previous homilies at the bottom of the page)   

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – YEAR A - Bro. Harry O'Gara, sscc

Before the Baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist was baptising with water. John was seen by many as a prophet, some thought he was the messiah, he lived a very austere life. The Pharisee were puzzled about one thing, What right had John to Baptise? If he had been the Messiah or one of the prophets he might have baptised. Isaiah had written, so shall he sprinkle many nations. Elijah had said: “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. On that day there shall be a fountain open for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse themselves from sin.” John replied: I am baptising only with water, but there is one among you, you don't recognise and I am not worthy to untie the straps of his scandals. To untie the straps of sandals was a slave’s work. The ‘Baptism,’ that John was performing was related to this act, as his was a baptism of ritual cleansing and repentance and unlike what Christian Baptism came to be: (with fire and the Holy Spirit.) John was suggesting that the chosen people had to be cleansed, so John said: One is coming that shows I am unfit to tie his sandals. John had recognised Jesus,so here he is saying again, the King is coming. John was only to prepare the way. Jesus, by being baptised by John entered into and became identified with the human condition. John saw Jesus coming towards him: “see the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Calling him the Lamb of God is a reference to the story of the Passover, where the blood of the slain lamb protected the houses of the Israelites the night they left Egypt. The blood of the lamb delivered them from destruction.

Paul had the understanding of Jesus as the Passover lamb. There is a deliverance that only Jesus Christ can win for us. The prophet Jeremiah wrote he was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter (Jeremiah 11:19) and Isaiah also mentions He was like a lamb led to slaughter. Both these prophets had the vision of one who by his sufferings and his sacrifices, meekly and lovingly borne, would redeem his people. The Prophets foretold of one who would suffer and die for his people. What John is saying is not that, he did not know who Jesus was but he did not know what Jesus was. It was suddenly revealed to him that Jesus was none other than the Son of God. John makes it clear that his only function was to point others to Christ. He was nothing and Christ is everything. He left Jesus occupying centre stage. 

In Palestine the dove was a sacred bird, it was not permitted to catch or kill them and they were tame. In Genesis, the spirit of God moved and hovered like a dove over creation breathing order and beauty. The picture of the dove was one that Jesus knew and loved. When John the Baptist spoke of the Spirit coming on Jesus he must have been thinking in Jewish terms. So John bore witness with his own eyes and saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove and it remaining on him. He said that He who had sent him to baptise with water had told him that the one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and remaining is the One. He saw it happen, and his witness shows He is the Son of God.

The Jewish meaning of spirit connotes wind, power and life. I will put my spirit within you. We may say that the spirit of God did three things for the one on whom he came. He brought us the truth of God and gave us the gift to recognise that truth when we saw it. He gave us the ability and the courage to preach truth to others. To the Jews the spirit of God coming into man's life at his baptism, the spirit came in a different way, from that in which he came upon any other person. Most people have just fleeting experiences of the Spirit and these moments come and go but in Jesus the Spirit took up permanent abode. In Baptism we are Baptised with water and cleansed of original sin. In Confirmation we receive the Spirit and the symbolism of a Dove is always associated with the Sacrament. In concluding let us make some resolutions as witnesses to the Spirit we received in Confirmation. Let us take a short time to reflect what these two Sacraments mean in our lives and make them active.

Come O Holy Spirit Fill our hearts with your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Help us to pray for this Spirit of God for strength and courage and stand up for Christian principles. Amen


1. All homilies for Advent can be accessed by clicking here.

2. Feasts of the Holy Family to the Baptism of Jesus - Year A.

3. Homilies - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary time to 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for HOMILIES - YEAR C