2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)

by | Jan 12, 2018

“Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, The main theme of today’s Scripture readings is Divine vocation – that everyone is called by God to be a witness for Christ by doing something for others with his or her life, using his or her unique gifts and blessings. Hence, today’s readings remind us of our personal and corporate call to become witnesses for Jesus, the Lamb of God, by leading lives of holiness and purity. And we stand today on the boundary between Christmas and the liturgical ordinary time. The Christmas crib and Christmas trees are gone, we are clothed in green for the cycle of ordinary time. But the readings, especially the Gospel, continue the grace and mystery of Christmas. Jesus was born as a child, came into the world, and was revealed to it. He showed himself to the world. He also spoke and still speaks to the world, in a particular way through his call, of which we hear in the readings and in the Gospel.

“Behold, the Lamb of God!” says John. These words, which we hear at ever Mass, are decisive words. John was a charismatic man, who excited and challenged people. Disciples gathered around him. But John does not want to remain his disciples. He points to Jesus! “Behold the Lamb of God!” With this pointing he fulfills the meaning of his own life. Every one of us seeks meaning in life, and find it in various ways. But very few recognize the meaning of their life so clearly as John. He lives, he exists for one thing alone, to point to Jesus. That is the high point of his life, with which he attains the greatest joy. Now it but remains for Jesus to grow; he, John, may diminish.

The first reading describes how Yahweh called Samuel to His service and how the boy Samuel responded to Him, saying, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.”  Hence, God blessed him in the mission entrusted to him, and Samuel became an illustrious figure, ranking with Moses and David as a man of God.  In the Responsorial Psalm (Ps 40), the psalmist sings, “Behold, I come to do Your will,” indicating   that his vocation is to obey, to do what God commands him to do. In the second reading, St. Paul explains to the Corinthians that their Divine call is a call to holiness.  Hence, they need to keep their bodies pure and souls holy because by Baptism they have become parts of Christ’s Body and the temples of the Holy Spirit.  In the Gospel, John the Baptist claims that his vocation is to introduce Jesus to two of his disciples as the “Lamb of God,” suggesting Jesus’ vocation to become a sacrificial lamb to atone for our sins. The disciples followed Jesus to his residence, accepting his invitation to “come and see.”  They stayed with him that day.  Then Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus, introducing Jesus to him as the Messiah.  Thus, today’s Gospel also describes the call or vocation of the first apostles and challenges us to invite others to Christ by our Christian witnessing

God calls everyone of us. But there are many forms that God’s call takes. It is few who are called as successors of the apostles. It is perhaps few who experience God’s call in as impressive a way as Samuel. But what is essential remains the same, that there is someone from whom we somehow hear, “See him! Listen to him! He is the one who fulfills your longing and your hope, who will make you happy!” and that we have the confidence to say this also to others. Or as in Samuel’s case, “Listen to these words, to this teaching, to these thought! Thus you will be led well!” And that we are seek to learn every more intimately who Jesus, to ask him anew “Where are you staying?”, and to experience his presence with us in the celebration of the Eucharist, and in our fellow men and women.

Our Christian vocation is to live and die like the Lamb of God.  (A) We live like the Lamb of God: 1) by leading pure, innocent, humble, selfless lives, obeying Christ’s commandment of love; 2) by appreciating the loving providence and protecting care of the Good Shepherd in his Church; 3) by partaking of the Body and Blood of the Good Shepherd in the Holy Eucharist and deriving spiritual strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the Sacraments.  (B) We are called to die like the Lamb of God: a) by sharing sacrificially our blessings of health, wealth and talents with others in the family, parish and community; b) by bearing witness to Christ in our illness, pain and suffering through our graceful acceptance of all of it; c) by offering our sufferings for God’s glory, as penance for our sins and for the conversion of sinners. In this Mass, let us pray that we, who have heard and followed his call to faith, may experience still more this longing to know him, and believe and experience ever more strongly his presence among us.

May God Bless us.

FR. S.Vinner HGN