Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B

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Alvin D. Paligutan, O.S.A.
Church of Our Mother of Good Counsel
Los Angeles, California

Readings
1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19
Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20
Jn 1:35-42

“Here I Am. Speak, Your Servant is Listening”

God does not only call holy people like the prophet Samuel and the two disciples, as we hear in our readings today. Our Savior calls each one of us in faith, hope and love, to be his messengers of salvation and eternal life. Our suffering world right now during this devastating COVID-19 pandemic needs to hear this – the Good News of salvation in Christ; the peace that only God’s kingdom can offer. We are all called to participate in that kingdom; to be holy, loving and forgiving. Somehow, we must be attentive to God’s presence in prayer, Scripture readings, the sacraments, in our interactions with others and outreach to the poor and those in need, in the beauty of creation. We are to grow in willingness to respond, to live as God’s people in the daily circumstances of our lives.

From our first reading from the First Book of Samuel, the prophet Eli’s guidance to Samuel is for us as well: with an open heart and mind, we do well to say to God, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” In the 2012 TV movie Mary of Nazareth (Ignatius Press), when Jesus after his resurrection reunites with his mother and calls out to her, “Mother,” Mary responds “Here I Am.” By this time, Mary not only recognizes Jesus as her son, but also as her Risen Lord and Savior, as she has known all her life. Like our Mother Mary and the two disciples in John’s Gospel today, we must be ready to set aside whatever might stand in the way of our relationship with Christ and our Christian living. It was more than Simon’s name that changed to Peter. The disciples discovered in Jesus a new way of life, and they shared the good news of this life with all.

In our Gospel, John the Baptist’s introduction was a simple declaration: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples immediately responded. Jesus sensed their willing hearts and invited them to follow him. Do we sometimes wish that recognizing the Lord would be so straightforward in our own lives? Would it not be wonderful if a friend of ours could point to Jesus Christ with certainty? While we do not always have such a clear sense of God’s presence with and within us, we do have a regular opportunity to encounter Christ, in the celebration of Mass for example. Like the disciples, we too hear, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

After the consecration, just before we receive Holy Communion, the priest raises the host, the Body of Christ, and says, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.” It is like having a friend point the way of the Redeemer for us. Here is Christ, ready for us to receive his Body and Blood, to enter into deep communion with him and to live our lives as his disciples. Nourished in word and sacrament, we are called to point the way to our Savior as witnesses of Christ’s love. Like our Responsorial Psalm, we can say, “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.”