Monday, January 12, 2015

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 18, 2015

First Reading Commentary
This Reading may seem unfinished because the Lord’s reason for calling Samuel is not revealed here.  The purpose of this Reading is not the Lord’s message to Samuel but more about the calling.  Whatever our individual callings may be, we learn from this Reading that God keeps calling and never gives up on our often inattentive ears and hearts.  This is a very noisy world we live in and our own conviction to set aside time daily for silence is extremely beneficial not only to ourselves but also for others. 

It is Eli who recognizes the Voice of God calling Samuel.  Since that very first day Christ instituted the priesthood, how many men over history have been ordained because someone else recognized that God was calling these men to that vocation?   The love of God for us is quite evident.  Even when we get tangled into our own busy and complex lives, our Lord does not give up on us and will attempt to get our attention even if it means using someone else who is more attentive to His gentle whisper.  This is yet another piece of evidence to support that we are the body of Christ, we are all connected.  God never stops calling as evidenced in this Reading by His repeated attempts at getting Samuel to recognize Him as the Caller. 

God calls all of us to greatness.  The trouble is our own lack of attentiveness and the influences of the culture often obscure our perspective of what greatness is.  It has nothing to do with the size of our wallets or bank accounts. 

In this Reading God’s Voice is heard in the quiet of the night.  For other biblical figures, His Voice is heard while alone on a mountain.  Even Jesus would break away from time-to-time to be alone with His heavenly Father.  The determination to seek daily a quiet place not only makes us more attentive to God’s Voice but will eventually discipline us to hear Him even in our own busy-ness as Moses was able to do in that very chaotic scene of the crossing of the Red Sea (cf. Exodus 14:10-31).

Second Reading Commentary
Saint Paul here is urging the Corinthians to abandon their pagan practices and give themselves completely to the Lord. 

Human beings consist of a body and a soul.  By baptism we are made members of that mystical body, the Church, of which Christ is the Head.  In baptism both the soul and the body are consecrated to God; they are made the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Christ redeemed both our souls and bodies, both of which He desires to sanctify and glorify hereafter in heaven.  Therefore, it is necessary to look upon both body and soul as belonging to Christ, and not as our own.  To “glorify God in your body” means to employ your body for the service of God and to bear Him in your body by being obedient to His will.  When Saint Paul writes “glorify God in your body,” he doesn’t mean glorify Him in your body only but glorify Him in your body as well or also.   We know and believe that we carry about Jesus Christ in our bodies, but how sad it would be to bear the title of “Christian” and live as if we did not believe it.

Gospel Commentary
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. CCC 608) teaches us that when Saint John refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” he is pointing Jesus out as the One Who takes away the sin of the world.  By doing so, he is revealing at the same time the suffering Servant Who silently allows Himself to be led to the slaughter and Who bears the sin of the multitudes; Jesus is also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover. 

When John says, “Behold the Lamb of God,” John’s two disciples followed Jesus.  At Mass when the priest proclaims during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, “Behold the Lamb of God . . . ,” moments later we leave our pews and begin walking towards our Eucharistic Lord to receive Him.  Consider our distinct advantage here: John’s disciples walk towards Jesus to ask questions and learn something about Him.  Jesus has already revealed Himself to us, and so, in our faith we walk towards Him not for interrogational purposes, but instead to receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. 

“What are you looking for?”  This question from Jesus is meant for all of us.  He wants to know what is important to us; or perhaps better stated He wants us to see for ourselves what is important to us.  This kind of personal reflection prompts us to examine ourselves to see where we are in our walk with Jesus. 

“Where are You staying?”  Hopefully our desire is to always be with Jesus in the presence of His everlasting peace.  And then what follows is that blessed invitation from Jesus, “Come, and you will see” or “Follow me.”  With the Arms of Jesus forever opened, His response is not surprising.  But this personal reflection of ours continues with the question, “Where are You staying?”  Is there indisputable evidence that Christ dwells within you?  Is His Indwelling something that is very real to you or is it merely an abstract notion; or something that might be true but doesn’t really influence how you present yourself to others? 

“You are Simon the son of John”; Jesus, Who knows all things, of course, would know Simon’s name; and at that first meeting told him he should hereafter be called Cephas, or Peter, a rock, designing to make him the head of the whole Church.  Cephas is a Syriac word meaning “rock” or “stone”.  Saint Cyril explains that our Savior, by foretelling that his name should no longer be Simon, but Peter, by the word itself aptly signifies that on Peter, as on a firm rock, Jesus would build His Church.