January 15: Three Missions

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January 15: Three Missions

Today we begin with one of the “servant songs” from the book of Isaiah, a song prophetic of Jesus’ ministry of service. Isaiah’s mission is not only to bring back the children of Jacob to gather in Israel; it is also to be “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). Jesus Christ, as servant, will be the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy and the basis of the new.
This Sunday we begin a series of readings from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Here Paul is identified by his mission: he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. The church at Corinth to whom he addresses this letter is also identified: it is part of the universal church of God. The Corinthians are called to holiness, as are all Christians.
Though the feast of the Baptism of the Lord was celebrated last Monday, today’s Gospel also alludes to the importance of that event. The reading emphasizes that Jesus “outranks” John: his baptism in the Spirit will eradicate sin. Jesus accepts John’s baptism, even though it is he himself who is the Lamb of God.

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