Second Sunday of the Year January 18, 2009

1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42
The readings of today tell us about the call or vocation. It is an invitation to be with the Lord to do his work. In the Gospel of today we see Jesus coming out with a mission, the work of his Father. John the Baptist does notice the man on a mission and indicates him to his disciples and the young man reach out to him surprisingly Jesus stops and asks them what their heart desires. Then he invites them to come and see where he is staying. What they saw we do not know but they got to know him and were willing to spend their time with him. Something must have taken place and they were transformed persons. This is the story of a vocation, to be touched by the Lord and be transformed. Hence we have the theme of about vocation, about God’s call. Vocation is not just for a few chosen people or those who live a consecrated life. Again, to say there are no vocations now, is simply not true. Everyone is called by God to be something, to do something for others with their life and with their unique gifts. Vocation is to answer God’s call in each one’s life and do something for him well.
In the first reading we heard that the Lord God calling Samuel a young man who did not recognise God’s call at first. At that time, Samuel was not too enlightened about spiritual matters. Being worldly minded, he believed that Eli was calling him and went to him. Each time, Eli told Samuel that he had not called him. As we heard, God had to call Samuel three times before Eli was spiritually enlightened enough to realize that it was the Lord God who was calling Samuel and asks him to say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’. When the Lord called the fourth time, Samuel was ready, ready to listen to God.” We see in his life Samuel continued to listen carefully to what God was saying, to listen to God’s call. And, in turn, he passed on what he had heard to others. God’s Word is never to be kept just for ourselves. A person has to hear, understand, accept and assimilate, and share with others by word and action. In our life God calls us. Are we ready to listen to him? The life of Samuel is a living example to each and every one of us. As Samuel grew in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, we too are called to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord. For it is through spiritual growth that we are sanctified in Christ.
In the second reading we heard St Paul telling us that our bodies are meant to serve the Lord. They are not meant to be used for worldly desires and pleasures that do not glorify God. Our bodies are members of the mystical Body of Christ. We are as branches attached to the vine. We are called upon to remain holy and pure. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we became Temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. Because we have become Temples of the Holy Spirit, we do not own our bodies. Although we have a free will, we no longer have a right to choose what is unholy. Having been bought with a price, by the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God, we are called to glorify God in our body. Having received God’s new creation within us, we have become “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.”
The gospel of today is also telling us about calling, in fact, about a second calling. It is about two men who are already disciples of John the Baptist. John points Jesus out to them, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” The ‘Lamb of God’ is one of several titles John the evangelist gives to Jesus in this first chapter. It both links Jesus with the salvation history of the Jewish people and points to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of his life in love for all of us. The disciples begin perhaps out of curiosity to go after Jesus. Soon their confrontation with Jesus turns into admiration so much so they are able invite others too to be with them to share their experiences. Jesus asks them: “What do you want?” Hear Jesus ask you that question today. Generally we tend to think that we should be asking, what God wants us to do. But no, it is something different; he also wants to know what we want. The answer to that question is less for his benefit than for ours. Our answer will tell us what our real priorities are with regard both to God and the people and the world around us. What do we really want from life, from God? It is not such an easy question to answer but it tells us where we really are. And it is a question we will have to answer at different stages in our life as circumstances change.
The disciples ask him a simple question: “Teacher where do you stay?” In other words they are asking, “Jesus, where are you to be found? Where are we to go to find you, to be with you? Where in our lives do we encounter you?” Jesus answers their question: “Come and see.” Knowing Jesus and where he stays is not primarily a matter of intellectual knowledge. It is not a matter of information. It is not a question of knowing all theology; Knowing Jesus is a matter of experience. To know him in the Gospel sense is to seek, find and respond to his loving presence in the fabric of our daily lives. It is a leap into his glorious presence to love unconditionally, to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to carry one’s cross after Jesus, to suffer abuse and persecution for being follower and be close to him.
The two disciples accept the invitation. They do go and stay where Jesus stays and do so for the rest of that day. And the result of staying with Jesus was a change in their person and an urge to spread the message to others. Andrew goes away in great excitement and gets his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” And thus Simon became Peter and also a follower, an apostle and the leader of the new community. John goes and gets his brother too. The call of Jesus spreads to all. Each time we receive the Eucharist we are answering the invitation, to come and see. As Jesus invites us to come closer we have to make open to him out heart’s desires. Together we make our journey to the place where he lives. Particularly as we begin the church unity octave we pray the Lord graces that we may truly hear our call and respond to him It is important to note that Peter, in spite of his future important role, was not called directly by Jesus but through his brother. And that happens again and again. Everyone, including the greatest saints, were called by another, often lesser, person and brought to Christ. Each one of us here was led to Jesus by other people.
A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge. The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter, “Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.” The little girl said, “No, Dad. You hold my hand.” “What’s the difference?” Asked the puzzled father. “there’s a big difference,” replied the little girl. “If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.”

One Response to “Second Sunday of the Year January 18, 2009”

  1. Nathan Simoneaux Says:

    I stumbled onto your web by accident last week looking for information.
    I’m a newly ordained (December 2008) deacon from New Orleans and I used the story about the little girl and her father today in my first Sunday homily since ordination. I used the story as a life image and linked it to the first reading and the gospel.
    Thanks!

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