Second Sunday of Denha

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The Gospel passage for today, St. John 1:1-28 contains two parts: Verses 1 to 18 of the first chapter is called the Prologue of St. John. It is believed to be an adaptation of the Christological hymn in the Greek-speaking Church. In it Jesus Christ is presented as the Word (in Greek Logos). The pre-existence of Jesus before the Incarnation is celebrated here. This is the testimony of the early Church itself regarding the Divinity and eternity of Jesus Christ. The next section, verses19 to 34 records the testimony of John the Baptist (Yohannan Mamdana) regarding Jesus. Today’s reading considers only the portion till verse 28 from this section.

 

The pre-existence of Jesus expressed through the first 18 verses is very important in two ways: The first one is the mystery of the Holy Trinity in which the Second Person - Logos – is asserted as co-existent with the God of the Old Testament. This is intended to appeal to the Greek-speaking Jews to consider the Divinity of Jesus who is the source of Grace for which the Law of Moses was only an antecedent. The second importance is that the presentation of Jesus as Logos with a philosophical touch was appealing to the Greeks who had embraced Christianity.

 

Verses 19 to 28 record the testimony of John the Baptist regarding the heavenly provenance of Jesus. John is only the Voice crying in the desert heralding the coming of Jesus. John was preaching and baptizing people for repentance so that they might be prepared to receive Jesus Christ who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (verse 33). True testimony with the exact knowledge of things was very important in the Jewish religion. That is what the Baptist is giving here. The salvific thought about Christian Baptism as the source of Grace imparted by the Holy Spirit through regeneration is very important in the context of the season of Denha, commemorating the Baptism of Jesus.


The first Old Testament reading prescribed for today is Numbers 10:29-11:17. Here at first we see Moses seeking the help of Hobab, his brother-in-law, to be a guide to the Israelites marching to the Promised Land of Canaan. He promises Hobab that he would be inheriting all the blessings that the Lord would be giving to Israel. Next we see the people murmuring about their misfortunes and the Manna which had become monotonous. They craved for meat too. Moses complains to God about the burden of leading this people. On God’s advice Moses chooses 70 elders to whom God gives the spirit of Moses in order that they may share the burden of Moses.

 

The next Old Testament reading is Isaiah 45:11-17. It describes the affection of God the Creator for His people the Israelites.  The New Testament reading from the epistle to the Hebrews 3:1-4:7 makes a comparison between Moses and Jesus. Moses was like a servant in the house, but Jesus was Son. The people of Israel rebelled in the wilderness and that generation did not enter the Land of Promise. It was their children who inherited the Promised Land. The Christians are exhorted here not to rebel but to be faithful that they may inherit heaven which is their Promised Land.

 

 

Credits: Father Thomas Kalayil, CMI <thomas 'dot' kalayil 'at' cmi 'dot' in>

 

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