FIRST READING (Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.)
A reading from the first Book of 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. —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10)
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will. (Ps 40:8a, 9a)
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)
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)
“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)
I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you , O Lord, know. (R)
SECOND READING (Your bodies are members of Christ.)
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the 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. —The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (Jn 1:41, 17b)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us
truth and grace. (R)
GOSPEL (They saw where he was staying and they stayed with him.)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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. —The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
“Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.”
As we enter now more deeply into Ordinary Time, we begin a journey hearing God’s WORD given to us about discipleship and about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Thus, the theme of CALL and RESPONSE permeates our readings today.
In the first reading, we hear the description of God calling the young boy Samuel in the middle of the night, and in the Gospel, we are introduced to the call of Andrew and his response to the invitation, “Come and see!” Andrew then brings his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus for the first time. In both stories, we see some of the dynamics of discipleship that occur even today.
Some feel the CALL coming directly from God; others respond to the CALL through the eyes and faith of someone else. Some respond firmly, unwaveringly, “Here I am Lord, I have heard you calling in the night.” However, for most of us, the dynamics in the Gospel are more familiar. As infants or children our parents brought us to the church for baptism; or as teens and adults friends introduced us to the Lord through the Church. In our studies preparing adults for catechism, the central theme for the catechumens is, “Come and see!” Come and see and hear about the Lord, his life, his teaching and his ministry. Yes, “Come and see!”
For almost all of us, the Lord has called us through others just as he called Samuel and then as he called Andrew, and for the majority there has been an “Andrew” in our life who accompanied us, encouraged us on our journey to the Lord. And through Baptism, each of us is called to be an “Andrew” to someone. What a privilege and responsibility it is to sponsor someone for baptism, and through this we see some of the dynamics of discipleship.
Another wonderful aspect of discipleship can be summed up in the word dignity. What did Jesus see in Andrew, or in Peter and the other disciples? Jesus saw them as they were, certainly, but He also saw what they could become. When we look at people or meet new people, we often see them only for what they are right now standing before us. Jesus sees more – always – He sees their potential.
Show a land developer an empty or abandoned piece of city property and he sees a future apartment complex, or mall, or sports arena, or a vision of how a neighborhood can become something greater. Show a sculptor a stone, and he visualizes the image of what can be carved from it. That’s how the Lord looks at us. He looks at us through the eyes of the Church and shows us what we can become. That is the dignity of discipleship.
In our Gospel. John the Baptist knows who Jesus is and informs his own disciples of Jesus’ hidden identity: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Jesus turns and asks the two who begin to following him, “What are you looking for?” – a question for any man or woman who begins the journey, the quest to find Christ. They respond, “Rabbi,” but that is not enough. The Lord invites them to stay – to abide – with him, and the very next day, one of them, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, rushes to tell his brother, “We have found the Messiah!” After these two men spend a day with Jesus, they realize how extraordinary he is. CALL and RESPONSE.
Perhaps the scene that Paul describes in his Letter to the Corinthians is the most startling example of the extraordinary hidden within the ordinary, and a CALL and RESPONSE. Paul argues that ordinary human beings by means of faith, are members of Christ. Their human bodies, thought weak and limited, are temples of the Holy Spirit. He further teaches that since God raised Jesus from the dead, God will also raise all those who are joined to Jesus. Paul insists here on the dignity of the ordinary human body because he is condemning the licentious lives of many of the Corinthians at that time. He is trying to show them that their immoral behavior is violating the very bodies purchased by Christ at the price of his own blood. He CALLS them to a higher standard, and they are invited TO RESPOND.
In the readings today we also learn that it takes eyes of faith to recognize the Lord. Both Samuel and Eli initially misunderstood the voice of God, but when they realized it was God calling in the night, they accepted its message. Paul rebuked the Corinthian Christians who had lost sight of the dignity of their bodies and were participating in illicit practices. Those who accepted his words glorified God through the morality of their lives. And initially the disciples of John saw nothing unusual in Jesus. However, they listened to John’s advice, spent a day with Jesus and eventually became his disciples. At first, all these people saw only the ordinary, the obvious. In each instance, however, God called them to a deeper insight though the agency of another.
We are not so different from these biblical people. We often fail to look beneath the surface, and so we often miss the extraordinary in what appears quite ordinary. We do not hear the voice of God in the voices of others calling us to great things, to sacrifice ourselves for our children, to give ourselves to aging parents, to show mercy and compassion and forgiveness to those closest to us as well as to our friends and neighbors. We do not recognize Christ in the thoughtful people with whom we work, the honest people with whom we do business, the understanding people who help us in simple ways, the ordinary people with whom we live. Those around us who show hope when we are discouraged, compassion when we are hurt.
It takes only a little effort to attune our ears to the voice of God, to adjust our sight to recognize Christ in our midst. As members of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. This same Spirit urges us to reach out to others. What we eventually accomplish may not be as impressive as what was accomplished by Samuel, or as great as the first disciples of Jesus, or of Paul. Results are up to GOD. All we have to be concerned about is that we recognize the CALL of God in the ordinary, daily events of life, and we RESPOND: “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.”
Celebrant: God calls his chosen ones to fulfill his ill. Let us pray confidently to our Father, knowing that he wishes his people to intercede for the world.
READER: For our Holy Father and our apostolic administrator as they lead us with apostolic service and authority, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: That God’s justice may be announced in the vast assembly of the nations, so that morality and respect for life may re-emerge and prevail, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For vocations to the priesthood and religious life in our diocese: that from the midst of families sensitive to God’s will, young people may emerge who recognize they are seeking Jesus, and who stay strong with Him and follow His call, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For final perseverance when Christ calls us ult9mately “to himself,”, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
READER: For our faithful departed that God may purify them and reward their devotion, and for all those who have asked for our prayers, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.
CELEBRANT: Almighty God, as we make these prayers, we come to do your will. Accept us in your beloved Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN.