2nd Sun A
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
After the conclusion of the Prologue, the writer of this Gospel does not immediately introduce us to the person of Jesus. Rather, he gives a lengthy presentation of the ministry of John the Baptist. Structuring his material around a device of seven days, the writer shows how John understood Jesus, the call of the first disciples and the miracle of the wine at the wedding feast at Cana. This Sunday’s reading is the second of these days. While John the Baptist is not explicitly shown baptising Jesus, he plays a significant role in the early stages of this Gospel. The meaning that Jesus’ baptism had for John is extensively presented, not only here but later in chapter three where, after Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus, John is once again shown professing what he has come to understand about Jesus. Indeed in his constant reflection on the person of Jesus, he is shown to be the model disciple: one who has seen a sign and through prayer and reflection comes to an ever deeper understanding of who Jesus is and how he should relate to him.
In this second day, Jesus plays no active role, yet in coming towards John, he provides the catalyst for John’s proclamation of what he has come to believe about Jesus: that he is pre-existent, that he is the Lamb of God who will wake away the sin of the world, that he is the one on whom the Spirit descends, that he is the fulfilment of the divine promises, that he is the one who baptises with the Holy Spirit, that he is the Chosen One of God. Even with the density of this information, John is clear that it is to all this that he has been called to witness. The interesting thing is that this information, at this stage, is not directed to any character in the story but rather operates for the readers’ benefit. We, the readers, have been given all the pertinent information concerning Jesus before he even begins to act. That happens on the next day in the writer’s schema. But we are prepared. We have now to accept and appreciate the meaning of the signs that will now be unfolded through this Gospel.