17Jan January 17, 2021 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 17, 2021
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

(1) 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19

The call of young Samuel, one of the great vocation stories

Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.

Responsorial: from Psalm 39

Resp.: Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will

I waited, I waited for the Lord
and he stooped down to me; he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God. (R./)

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I. (R./)

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart. (R./)

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord. (R./)

(2) 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit; we should do all for the glory of God

The body is not meant for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

Whoever is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication. Every other sin one commits is outside the body; but to fornicate is to sin against one’s own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Gospel: John 1:35-42

Jesus invites disciples to “Come and see” and they followed him

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him an said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).


Called By Name

“I have called you by your name; you are mine.” Remembering people’s names — what a problem this can be; even with the best of intentions, even when we are really interested in someone and recall the actual person, the name eludes us. So many methods of mnemonic are advised and tried, just to avoid the disappointing admission, “Sorry, but I just can’t remember your name.” Every man and woman (and child!) likes to be recognised by name; when others forget, it is a blow to our person-hood.

God knows each individual by name totally, intimately, always. None of us is ever ignored by him; like the birds of the air, and all created things, we are forever in God’s mind, under his care (cf. Mat. 10:29.) Even the person of no particular significance in his neighbour’s eyes, the born loser who lives in the shadows of depression most of the time — even he (or she) is precious in the eyes of God, perhaps more precious than anyone can suspect.

Samuel stands for all the little, forgotten people. Just a boy, with no high illusions about himself, a servant and apprentice to the old man Eli; he slept at night in a little room like an altar-boys’ sacristy, at the religious shrine of Israel. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, he heard God calling him by name; eventually Samuel recognises that the call is from God, and not just from the priest, so he submits himself heart and soul to listen to God’s word. Only then did Samuel discover his own potential, his new identity, the role he was to fulfil in life.

Some of us may feel a strong, but quite false, sense of our own identity. Our self-understanding derives too exclusively from our own achievements, failures, efforts and ambitions; God’s plan for us hardly enters the picture at all or we dismiss it as too uncertain, too “spiritual” and remote from daily life. Biblical faith, on the contrary, insists that God calls us into relationship with himself on a day to day basis, always offering us life, and always making demands on us to live our life worthily in his sight. Called by name. For Christians, specifically, it is relationship with Christ our Lord that lies at the heart of our identity. Not only are we called by name to friendship with Jesus — we become “members of his body,” sharers in his spirit. Sometimes, in prayer we can taste the rich privilege of belonging to Christ. More often, it is in the darkness of faith that we simply believe in it. But always, and in ordinary details of behaviour, we are called to live up to the standard of love and truth set y the Spirit of Jesus. That is our real Christian vocation; and only by trying to live that vocation are we worthy of our name.

Later, we all hope, we will discover our full identity in God’s presence, when this life is over and he calls us by name into the next life. Like the two apostles who wanted to know Christ better, we will be invited to “Come and see.”

Opening doors in life

We can probably all think of people who opened doors for us in life. Perhaps at a crucial moment in our lives they pointed us in the right direction. They were an influence for good on us; maybe they shared with us some gift they possessed, or allowed us to benefit from an experience they had or some discovery they made. We appreciate these people because they had the freedom and the generosity to give something worthwhile away for the benefit of others, rather than keeping it to themselves.

That is how John Baptist is portrayed in the gospel reading this Sunday. He had come to recognise Jesus as a very special revelation of God’s love. Far from keeping that discovery to himself, he shared it with his own disciples, even though he knew that in doing so he was going to lose them to Jesus. He pointed two of his disciples in the direction of Jesus. He opened a door for them, even though it would mean a loss to himself. A short while later, one of those two disciples, Andrew, did for his brother, Simon, what John the Baptist had done for him. He led his brother to Jesus. In the first reading, Eli did something similar for Samuel, helping him to hear God’s call. The readings this Sunday put before us three people, Eli, John the Baptist and Andrew, each of whom, in different ways, pointed others in the right direction, led others to the one who is the source of life.

We could probably all identify a John the Baptist or an Andrew or an Eli in our own lives, people who, in some way or another, brought us to the Lord, or helped us to recognise and receive the Lord who was present to us. We might think first of our own parents who brought us to the baptismal font as infants. As early as possible into our lives they wanted to say to us what John the Baptist said to his disciples, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God’. Then, in the following years, they may helped us to grow in our relationship the Lord into whom we had been baptised, bringing us to the church, praying with us, reading stories from the gospels to us, taking us to see the crib at Christmas, placing an image of the Lord or of one of the saints in our room, helping us to prepare for the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation. If we were fortunate, we might have had a good religion teacher at school who took us a step further in our relationship with the Lord, who enabled us to ‘come and see’, in the words of the gospel today. I went to secondary school in Beneavin College in Finglas, and one of the De La Salle brothers there brought us through the gospel of Luke in religion class. Looking back, he was sharing with us his own relationship with the Lord. It made a deep impression on me at the time.

Samuel who was led to the Lord by Eli is described in the first reading as a boy. In the gospel reading, the two disciples who were led to the Lord by John the Baptist and Simon who was led there by Andrew were all adults. It was as adults that they allowed themselves to be directed towards the person of Jesus. In our adult years, we too may have met people who helped us to grow in our relationship with the Lord. There can come a time in our adult life, when we are very open to a reawakening, a deepening, of our faith. We may find themselves searching for something more than we presently experience. The first words of Jesus to the disciples of John the Baptist took the form of the question, ‘What do you want?’, or, ‘What are you searching for?’ Jesus sought to engage with those who were searching. He enters our adult lives in response to our deepest longings. In our searching we can meet someone or some group who opens a door for us into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Through them the Lord can reach us and touch our lives in a way he had never done so before.

At any time in our adult life we can meet a John the Baptist who says to us, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God’, and that can happen to us over and over again, right up to the very end of our lives. The Lord never ceases to call us through others into a deeper relationship with himself. Indeed, there can come a time when the Lord asks any one of us to be a John the Baptist or an Andrew or an Eli for somebody else. He may call us to share our faith in some simple way, to open a door to the Lord for others. Our response to such a call can take many different forms. For Eli it took the form of helping the younger Samuel to find the right words for his prayer. For Andrew, it took the form of sharing a significant experience with his brother. The readings this Sunday invite us to be open to the many ways the Lord can draw us to himself, and also to the ways that he may be calling us to help him in drawing others to himself.

2 Responses

  1. Thara+Benedicta

    Key Message:

    God has tailored a unique plan for each one of us.
    He will be with us and make us understand His calling.

    Takeaway from first reading:

    1. The first reading tells us that Samuel was not aware of God’s calling. He kept looking at the people rather than wondering that it may be God. When God calls us to do something, we may be frightened or not think about the possibilities but think only about the hurdles and not obey Him.
    1 Samuel 15:22 says,
    “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice.”

    Obedience is better than sacrifice!!!
    How many miracles do we miss by not obeying God’s calling?

    Takeaway from second reading:

    One of the great hindrances to understand the excellent plan that God has for our life is the sin of fornication. Jesus is lovingly waiting to forgive everyone as He forgave the woman caught in adultery.

    Takeaway from Gospel reading:

    Our Almighty Father has a great plan for each one of us. The generic plan for all humanity is to know God and to have a close relationship with him. Apart from this, our Almighty Father has a specific plan for everyone, specifically tailored for each one of us. Whenever we face decisions we should always seek God to help us with His will (plan).
    Isaiah says: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
    When we are in constant fellowship with God, He will make us understand His plans for us.

    Tips to understand the plan of God:

    1. Why are we on earth? What is that we need to do while we dwell on earth?
    Jeremiah 29:11 says: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the LORD, “’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
    God has a good plan for each one of us. He will reveal the plan He has for us in due season. All of us can understand when God talks with us. He will not call it loudly like how He did for Samuel, but He will ensure that He reveals the plan He has for us either through the Holy Spirit speaking silently or through our circumstances. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we become the child of God. So we can keep doing what we know we need to do. God will reveal to us in due season what more we need to know.

    2. All answers to our questions are there in Bible. The word is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. So read the Bible. Just by underlining the verses we may not have read the Bible, but only if we are doing what we have underlined, then there is use in reading the Bible. We can use technology too. This morning I was feeling tired because of some people who were making ‘much ado about nothing’. I had no energy left so I googled ‘bible verse for annoying people’. The third verse was – Proverbs 12:16: “The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” God’s word helped me to take the right direction. I ignored all that had happened, renewed my energy and resumed my duties.

    3. Samuel was not able to understand that it was God calling Him, but Eli was understood. Eli’s experience of God in His life enabled Him to understand that it was God calling. So He was able to guide Samuel correctly. We may see the elderly Eli in our priests, father, mother or anyone in our life. Please ensure that you are surrounded with the right people. God may distance us from some people, whom we would have been very close. We may wonder ‘why are these things are happening to me?’ But actually the relationship would have hindered us from growing in God, thereby achieving the plan He has for us. Since God sees the big picture, He removes the unnecessary, hindering relationships in our life.

    4. Are there any sins that prevents us from leading a Godly life? Since its very difficult to control our thoughts, our major area of sins will be thoughts. If we often remember the bad doings of others, thoughts of bitterness then we should focus on God more. We can learn new songs or new instruments or painting or any new stuff (most of the teaching is available freely through new apps which are free too). When we are involved in doing new stuff, then there will be no time for thoughts of bitterness to hang around. We need to pray to God to choose a happy hobby for us.

    5. There is still time for us to understand God’s calling for us and we can go ahead with Him. Even though many years would have been wasted in our life, God will certainly be happy with us, even if we start today. In reality, He is the happy Father of the Prodigal sons and daughters!!!

    6. Do not go and ask what you should do in life to some people, who may not even understand what they are doing in life. If you can ask yourself what God wants you to do, you will know that you have an answer already.

    7. Are you wondering what your calling is? Seek God and He will reveal it to you. Maybe through the Holy Spirit or some person as Eli or through circumstances.
    8. God will never ask us to do something outside His plan for us. He will give us the ability to implement his plan.

    God has prepared a perfect plan for our future. No we need not worry about our future.

  2. Daniel Gorman

    We all want to spend time with people who can bring light and hope into our lives.

    Two thousand years ago, the people of Israel were longing for the appearance of the Messiah – the messenger from God who would deliver their nation from gloom and darkness. In today’s gospel, Peter and Andrew see that Jesus radiates God’s presence. They recognise him as the Messiah. They have no intention of letting his light and hope disappear from their lives, so they ask Jesus where he lives.

    Jesus invites Andrew and Peter to ‘come and see’.

    He is still inviting us to ‘come and see’. In today’s Pandemic world, was there ever a time we needed the light and hope of Jesus more? People are afraid to go into shops. They are afraid to talk to one another. They may be working from home and trying to home school their children. Stress and anxiety, and sometimes discord, are the order of the day.

    Jesus is calling us out of that. We are not alone in this Pandemic. Jesus is with us. This should surely give us courage. Sometimes, like Samuel, in the first reading, we do not recognise his voice. God may be trying to speak to our hearts, but we won’t hear him unless we take a few moments to sit down, close our eyes, and say to him, ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening’.

    In prayer we will be drawn upwards and outwards to both God and neighbour, recognising each other’s dignity and worth.

    Jesus is in other people, too. He can speak to us in prayer, but also through others. Listen to God. Listen to people who love you. Keep in touch with your neighbours. Pray for other people. Help them in any way you can.

    If you are old, or unwell, you are very special to God, and he listens intently to you, so please pray for those who are younger. You will be giving them an immense gift.

    To each one of you I say: Jesus is with you. Ask him to speak to you. You are not alone. Listen.

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