It is 14th January 2024. We celebrate the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
We reflect on 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; and John 1:35-42.
A pastor who had financial difficulty running the parish on Sunday Mass gave an announcement before the offertory, “I would like to request all of you that anyone who has stolen the chicken from Mrs. Smith, the poor widow in our parish, refrain from the offertory. God does not want money from a thieving sinner.” Then the offertory box was passed around, and for the first time in months everybody gave.
We all are looking for something in life while God is looking for us. When our quest meets God’s search is called vocation. Longing to hear the voice of the Lord, and to have the vision of God is inner thirst not yet quenched in most of us. Yet, the voice of God is heard amidst the violent storms of life and our search for the Way, the Truth and the Light continues. The invitation from God is personal with the specification of growing in relationship with God. God does not stop calling us until God gets response from us. The waves and voice of calling never die even if we do not believe in God and God’s providence.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (Is.43:1)
The first reading is the episode of intense and spectacular call of Samuel in the temple. “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3:9). God called Samuel personally. Since he was not used to God’s call, he ran to Eli. A true parent, leader, and spiritual person lead others to God to experience the vocation God offers to them not keeping them for their selfish causes. Vocation to serve God has the intrinsic fabrics of serving the humanity at large. God is looking for someone to serve the suffering humanity every moment. Listening to God’s message happens when we treasure our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit. Recognising Jesus, the Lamb of God is the culmination of our vocation. Finding Him in His life-giving Word and in the world. Do we hear God calling us? Have we responded God’s call genuinely?
A New life in the Spirt and in the Sacraments of salvation would become a burden and monotonous endeavour for those who do not read the Word of God between lines and grasp the profound meaning beyond sensational satisfaction. St. Paul attempts to explain the mystical Body of Christ has the extension in each one of us that we need to dedicate our entire body for the service of God and of the Church. “You know, surely, that your bodies are members making up the body of Christ; You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.” (1 Cor.6:15,20).
The responsorial Psalm prays, “Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.” (Ps.40:8,9).
Come-and-see programmes are conducted as a strategy to recruit boys and girls who are willing to serve the Lord in the community and the Church. What are we looking for from those generous men and women? What do we see in them? Do we find what Jesus was looking in Peter? Most of the congregations looking for talented and gifted persons for their groups without knowing their deep love for the Lord. At times genuine persons are left out at the cost of future financial stability and sustainability. Without intense prayer and discernment, we might hear voices that pacify our choices of selection. Karl Rahner teaches us, “The will of God is not simply and completely conveyed through the objective structures of the world, the general validity of Christianity and the Church.” What seems right to me need not necessarily what is meant to be. The community, the traditional community of the Church, the holy scriptures, the words of the Lord, none of this is of course subject to my processes of discernment. Every vocation needs a quality time of unique and distinct prayer moments to develop and deepen the intention of the vocation. We cannot push God around without impatient and judgmental attitudes. Pope Francis encourages us to have the conversion and the transformation into a church that lives the faith, testifies, and proclaims instead of revolving around itself.
What do we seek? Is the question Jesus asks repeatedly in the Gospel and even to us today. What we do want exactly for ourselves, for our world from the Lord? Are we looking for worldly wealth and goods, position and power, freedom to do what it pleases? It is up to us answering Jesus. ‘And they said to him, ‘Rabbi (which means teacher) where are you staying?’ (John 1:38). The two disciples preferred to have a personal and intimate experience by staying with Jesus. In the ancient Jewish tradition calling someone a rock was the highest compliment. Peter was called through his brother Andrew. We each one of us are led to Jesus through someone. One who calls is greater than one who leads us to the truth.
A lady who was very much worried about her brother who wanted to leave the world and become a priest. He became so austere by reducing food, praying a lot and discipline himself every day. She shared her fear with her husband about losing her brother. Seeing the attitudes and behaviours of brother-in-law, the man told her not to worry about her brother that the brother would stay with her for a long time to come. Right after that he put on ragged clothes and knelt in front of his wife and told that here after he would consider every woman as mother and sister including her and left home seeking God as a wanderer.
John found what he was searching for in Jesus as the Lamb of God. the two disciples looked intensely in the life of Jesus and saw Him as the Messiah. Jesus looked into the eyes of Simon and recognised him as the rock, on which Jesus desired to build His Church. What are we looking for matters than all that we are looking around? Our looking for Jesus leads us to God while our looking around dissipates our focus on the Lord.
It is not enough we found the Messiah. We need to stay with Him and remain in Him. By now most of us know who Jesus is through readings and reflections. To know scripturally means to seek Him, love Him, and respond Him.
God calls us to do something. Do we know what it is?
Every vocation is a pure gift from God. Our readiness to respond is the way we value the gift. Our openness and generosity are so much required to notice that someone who is pointing out the Lamb of God in very many occasions and ways of our life.
May the Lord bless each one of us to respond to the vocation fruitfully. Have a lovely day. God bless you.