Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
January 18 A.D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
A reflection on today's Scripture:
After a long festive season like Christmas which extends all the way to the Baptism of the Lord, we can easily experience a letdown as we return to our daily routine.
The readings for this Sunday make it quite clear that Jesus' mission is just beginning, and the Father is sending Him disciples. The first reading prepares us for this with a wonderful story about the call of Samuel who was to become the greatest judge in Israel. Hannah, his mother, had experienced stinging taunts from her rival to the father's affections, and goes to the temple at Shiloh, angry and upset. As she prays in her emotional distress, Eli, the priest, thinks she's drunk, and tries to send her away. Hannah wins him over to her side, and God blesses her with a son. This Samuel, whom later she dedicates to the service of the temple, is under the care of Eli, when, one night, God calls him from sleep three times. Eli instructs him to answer the next time with the words, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." This is good advice for all who are seeking to know what God wants them to do with their lives.
In the Gospel of John, the call comes to Andrew and others through the encouragement of John the Baptist, who dramatically points out Jesus to them with the words, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Andrew seeks out his brother, Simon, and together they seek out Jesus with the words, "Master, where do you live?" Jesus says simply, "Come and see." For a whole day, they follow Jesus around, listening to Him explain His mission. Only then, after some discernment, do they decide to leave their fishing and follow Jesus. In the synoptic gospels, we are told that the two fishermen, sons of Zebedee, James and John, make the same decision.
This Sunday gives us valuable advice about the vocation process. In another passage, Jesus tells his followers, "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." Even though God is the one who chooses, it is necessary for those whom He has chosen to have open minds and open hearts, to listen to the voice of the Master, to learn what "mission" is all about, and then, generously and deliberately, through prayer and counsel, to answer the call.
Why should young people today seriously consider the priesthood and religious life? Today's second reading provides a reason they might not have thought of as connected with "vocation." St. Paul tells the Corinthians that their bodies are "temples of the Holy Spirit" and should be used to glorify God. This all fits with another passage which tells us that we are "not our own," but belong to the Lord, body and spirit. What better way to use our bodies than by offering them totally in the Lord's service?
These are deep thoughts for all of us, particularly young people, to think about on this Sunday which is all about God's call to follow His Son. The message for the day is, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!"
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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