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Commentary

Sunday, 1/17/2021, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Listen to the Call

First Reading Commentary: 1 Samuel 3b-10, 19

Some people are really good at answering God’s call. But many of us don’t hear God’s call. How can we answer God’s call if we do not hear it? Of course, the answer is that we cannot. But in order to hear God’s call, we have to know how to listen and how to listen in faith.

In today’s first reading, young Samuel was called by God three times, but Samuel thought that it was his father Eli calling. So, after the third call, Eli told Samuel that it was the LORD calling and he told Samuel that when the LORD called again, to answer, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

Prayer, in whatever form, is having a conversation with God. When we pray, we want and we even expect God to listen to our petitions. But sometimes, God initiates prayer by speaking to us and sadly, we do not always listen. Most of us rarely think about God starting up a conversation with us and so when God does speak to us, His voice just passes us by without us even knowing that it was there.

God speaks to us in many ways and often when we least expect it. God speaks to us through other people. Sometimes, believe it or not, God speaks to us through the TV or the radio. God may even speak to us through the message on a billboard. God may even give us a message through an event that happens around us or in our lives. There is simply no telling how or when God will speak to us and it may very well be through something which is not in or from a spiritual setting at all.

For example, we could be watching a TV show and something happens in the show that touches us. That could be God calling us to do something in our lives. Maybe God will be asking us to be more accepting of others. Maybe God will be asking us to be more protective of our environment. Who knows? It may be anything.

God always speaks to us through Scripture and the more we meditate on a particular Scripture passage, the more God will say to us. All we have to do is be open and listen.

But for me, the setting in which God will speak the loudest and say the most profound things is when I am all alone and totally quiet and still. When I just sit still and block out the world and say, “Okay God, I’m listening” or ask God to please talk to me, His voice comes through loud and clear. He may allow my thoughts to wander because those are the things that He wants me to concentrate on in my life.

There are many accounts in Scripture of God talking to people, usually through an angel, in a dream or in their sleep. Think about it. When we are asleep, we are least affected by anything around us and God can have our undivided attention. That is what happened to Samuel.

But just as Samuel had to realize that it was the LORD calling him, we have to realize that God does call out to us. We never know when and we never know how but God does call out to us. In order to hear God’s call, we have to always be ready, willing and able to listen. Then we have to use our faith and follow what God calls us to do.

Don’t Get in God’s Way

1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Every part of our body has a purpose. We use our eyes to see, our ears to hear and our mouth to speak. Loose any part of the body and it becomes difficult for us to perform a task and some things become impossible.

Today, Paul tells us that each of us is a part of the Mystical Body of Christ and therefore, our bodies are temples and it is the Spirit who resides within us. Paul tells us that sins of the body are sins of immorality and sins against ourselves. When we sin against ourselves, we sin against the Spirit within us.

God is the Almighty and nothing is impossible for God but when we sin against ourselves and destroy the temples of our bodies, we make it impossible for God to carry out His plan for us. Not because God is incapable. That could never be because nothing is beyond God. The reason is because we refuse it.

Think of it this way. We use our eyes to see but if something blocks our vision, we cannot see even though we have not lost our sight. So it is, if we refuse God, He cannot carry out His plan for us even though He is the Almighty and capable of all things.

But if we remove the obstacle that is blocking our vision, we will be able to see. Repentance removes the obstacle. Paul tells us that we were purchased at a price. That price was the Blood of Christ on the cross. It is because of Christ going to the cross for our sake that we are able to have our sins washed away when we confess, repent and ask for God’s mercy. In this way, all obstacles are removed, the Mystical Body remains complete and truly, nothing can stop God’s plan because we are accepting God’s plan and not rejecting it by being in the way.

The First Disciples

Gospel Commentary: John 1: 35-42

The calling of the first disciples is accounted for in all four of the gospels. Each account is its own version of what happened that day. But the point which is consistent in all four Gospels is that the first disciples were called and they answered the call as did all of the other disciples.

Today’s Gospel comes from John who tells us that John the Baptist was with two of his disciples and as Jesus walked by, John said, “Behold the Lamb of God” and the two disciples followed Jesus. They did not ask questions and they did not hesitate. They just followed.

The two disciples did not understand what John was saying with the phrase, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Was John making reference to the lamb who; would destroy evil in the world? Was John saying that Jesus would be a savior by shedding His own blood? Was John making reference to Jesus as the one who would be sacrificed as a sin offering?

At the time that this happened, any one of those descriptions of the Lamb might have been the perception of the two disciples. Little did they know that Jesus was in fact all, three. Little did they know that Jesus would defeat the evil one with His victory over, death. Little did they know that Jesus would be the Savior of the world by shedding His blood on the cross. Little did they know that Jesus would be the Sacrificial Lamb that would take the sins of the world to the cross.

The only thing that the two disciples knew was what John the Baptist said and in faith, they followed Jesus. Therein lies; the first message of this Gospel: We are called by God to follow Him in faith.

Jesus asked the disciples, “What are you looking for?” They answered, “Rabbi” which means: teacher. This tells us that the two disciples had a thirst for knowledge. They wanted to have a better understanding of God and they had faith that they could learn much from Jesus. They had never met Jesus, but they were open to hearing His Word. Message two in this Gospel: Be open to the Word of God no matter when, where, why, or how it comes to you or who the preacher is that is delivering it.

 John does not call himself by name when giving an account of anything which is specific to him in his Gospels, but it is believed that he is one of the two who listened to John the Baptist and followed Jesus that day. The other disciple was Andrew who went and told his brother, Simon, that they had found the Messiah which means Christ.

How did Andrew know that they had found the Christ? Once again, they only knew what John the Baptist had said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” They did not have a full understanding of what that meant. But John did proclaim that there was one coming who; was greater than he. Obviously, that was enough for Andrew to have faith.

How much does it take for us to put our faith in God? In our humanity, we are always looking for physical and tangible proof. Creation in and of itself should be all of the proof that we need. But we constantly need to be reminded.

That’s why we have Scripture and one of the reasons why all religions have a place to gather and worship. When we visit our place of worship, we should have our thirst for God’s knowledge quenched, our appetites satisfied with the Word of God and we should have an increase in faith.

If we do not experience these things when we go to our place of worship, something is wrong. Either there is something wrong with that church’s teaching or we are not listening which means that we are not attending for the right reason.

John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Christ. John and Andrew listened and their faith was strong enough for them to follow Christ as soon as they saw Him. Message three in this Gospel: Listen to the Word of God. Don’t just hear the words…listen to the Word.

When Andrew brought his brother Simon to meet Jesus, Jesus said to Simon, “You are Simon…you will be called Cephas which means Peter. There is no account in any of the Gospels of Peter questioning or taking issue with Jesus changing his name. Think about it. How many of us would allow someone to change our name the very first time we meet them?

Such was Peter’s faith before he even met Jesus and such was his humility toward Jesus. Message four in this Gospel: God has a plan and each of us has a part in that plan. Allow God to carry out His plan through you.

We know that John was the only Apostle to be with Jesus at the cross and that Peter was the Rock. Was it by chance that they would be among the first three disciples? Or was it all part of God’s plan? If you know that God does not take chances, you know that it was His plan. With faith, we can be confident that we are not taking a chance when we answer God’s call and follow Him. Instead, we are making ourselves available to being a part of His plan.

Reading 1          1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, “ Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, “ he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading 2          1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Brothers and sisters: The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

We have found the Messiah:
Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel          John 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and 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 you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

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Saint of the Day

Saint Anthony of Egypt
(Saint Anthony the Abbot)

(251 – 356)
Patron Saint of: Butchers,
Gravediggers, Skin Diseases

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore worth more than can be measured because we were bought with the Blood of Christ on the cross. Sins of imorality are sins against the temple of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus said, "Come and you will see" to John and Andrew, He was not talking about a physical place on earth. He was taling about His Father's house.

John was the only Apostle who was with Jesus at the cross.

It was Andrew who brought Simon to Jesus.

Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter, gave him the keys to the Kingdom and made him the Rock of the Church.

Saints of the Week

Saint Charles of Sezze
1/18/2021
(10/19/1613 – 1/6/1670)

Saint Fabian
1/19/2021
(c. 200 – 1/20/250)

Saint Sebastian
1/20/2021
(c. 256 –  1/20/287)
Patron Saint of: Athletes

St Agnes
1/21/2021
(d.c.258)
Patron Saint of:
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St Vincent of Zaragossa
1/22/2021
(d. c. 304)

Day of Prayer for the
Legal Protection of
Unborn Children

St Marianne Cope
1/23/2021
(1/23/1838 - 8/9/1918)

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