Fr Joe Burke reflects on the scriptures of the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
With the Christmas Season now behind us, we move into what is known in the Church as Ordinary Time. The priest will wear the colour green, the colour of life and growth—think of the leaves and grass growing—and that is what Ordinary Time is supposed to be all about: Growth. We will listen afresh to the scriptures we’ve heard many times before but there is supposed to be a difference. The growth referred to and expected of us is a growing in our knowledge and love of God, growing and deepening our faith, growing in our relationship with the Lord. We should try to listen to the scriptures as if it is the first time we’ve heard them. We endeavour to take their meaning to heart and put the teachings into practice every day. Only then are we truly taking that relationship with God seriously.
The theme for today’s readings is Vocation—being called by God. The first reading from the first book of Samuel has the beautiful passage where the Lord calls the young boy Samuel who is totally unaware who is calling his name. Three times Samuel runs to the priest Eli, thinking it is him, until Eli recognises it is God who is calling the boy. Eli teaches Samuel to listen and respond, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”. Samuel will grow up to become an extremely important Old Testament figure: it is Samuel who will give the people their first kings Saul and then David. He would never have done this had he not stopped to listen to what God was asking of him.
The Gospel passage from St John reminds us of Jesus calling his first Disciples. John the Baptist points out Jesus as the “Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world”. He tells his own disciples that Jesus is the one they have been waiting for and actively encourages his own followers to leave him and follow Jesus. These men will follow the Lord throughout their entire lives and into eternity, bringing many souls to a knowledge of the Good News. They would never have done this had they not listened to the call of the Lord to follow him.
For us today, the message is very clear and—the Lord is calling us, calling YOU to follow Him. He wants YOU to work for Him, to give witness to Him. He is calling YOU to grow in love and deepen your faith and trust in Him. What is He calling you to do? That is between you and Him. Is He calling you to witness to Him through carrying a cross of some kind? Is it in a family situation or in a workplace? Is it much more personal – something happening just now in your personal life? Only you can answer that. What we are absolutely certain of is the fact that the Lord is calling you as surely as He called His first Disciples. But like Samuel in the Old Testament or the Disciples in the New Testament, you will only find out if you stop and listen to Him speaking to you.
So, this week in our prayers, let’s make time to stop and allow God to talk to us. We pray the Holy Spirit will guide us to discern what we are being asked to do and also that we will have the courage to respond positively.