We hear words from Saint Paul to the Church at Corinth that are a consoling reminder as we settle into this new civil year: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The scripture readings today seem simple. Certainly they are short.

But there is a strong and clear reference to Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. It is this Messiah who Paul is referring to, the one who is the source of that very gift of grace and peace. John the Baptist acknowledges Jesus being revealed as the Messiah.

The short excerpt from Isaiah is from the second of the suffering servant songs. Those songs are filled with beautiful language and imagery. Many of us are familiar with those songs because of their centrality to Holy Week liturgies, or, perhaps, from following along with Handel’s Messiah.

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