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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Jan. 16, 2011

By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service

January 16, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10

2) 1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Gospel: John 1:29-34

I smiled at the photo Christmas card. Pictured on the front was a smiling little girl seated in a beautiful flower garden. Yet another pair of doting grandparents was showing us that the child of their child was the center of their universe. I soon found out she literally was. They had taken on parental responsibility for her.

Grandparents raising grandchildren isn't a unique situation, and my friends' story is not uncommon. The grandfather is in his mid-70s, the grandmother in her mid-60s. He continues to work as a college professor. She retired recently. The little girl, who is 7, brings enormous joy into their household -- along with enormous energy and not a few needs.

The girl's parents are separated. Her father has a mental disability that makes it impossible to adequately care for a growing child. Her mother has more severe problems. The grandparents have spent four years and several hundredthousand dollars to gain legal joint custody of their grandchild.

She lives with them and spends a couple of weekends each month with her mother. The grandparents care for her well with great love, including paying for and overseeing special schooling she needs. Their plans for a quiet, slow-paced retirement have evaporated. They are living the demanding child-rearing life more conducive to 30-year-olds.

They'd have it no other way.

This week's Gospel is about Jesus' saving grace entering into a sinful world. John the Baptist recognizes his divine power as revealed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism.

None of us has the power to bring salvation. But through our baptism we are joined to Christ in the Holy Spirit and receive his life-giving compassion and strength.

For a couple with inadequate life skills and social problems to have a baby is not an ideal situation. But too often it happens in this world. Christ's spirit enters when someone brings an act of sacrificial love -- as this child's grandparents did -- into troubled circumstances. Then it truly does take away some small part of the sin of the world.


When have you witnessed someone's Christ-like action diminishing the sin of the world? Into what present situations can you bring Jesus' spirit and light?


"John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world'" (John 1:29).


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