Lanie LeBlanc OP
Carol & Dennis Keller
Brian Gleeson CP
Paul O'Reilly SJ
reflection can be here!)
Sun. 2 B 2021
Our first and third readings are about "being called" by
God to work in the kingdom here on earth. Sometimes as with
Samuel, it takes a while to recognize that call. Other times
as with the apostles, it prompts an immediate reply and
We believe that God does the initiating of this call.
After that, most things around "the call" seem to get
complicated. I am reminded of the refrain from the hymn
"Anthem" and commend it to you for reflection on this
- We are called, we are chosen.
- We are Christ for one another.
- We are promised to tomorrow,
- while we are for him today.
- We are sign, we are wonder.
- We are sower, we are seed.
- We are harvest, we are hunger.
- We are question, we are creed.
It is still close enough to the new year and
"resolutions" to question if any spiritual resolutions might
be slipping away already, especially during the pandemic!
For me, reflecting on this refrain and the details of our
two scriptural stories, is a chance to review my efforts
toward doing the Lord's work. Checking in with other
reliable believers and "staying" with the Lord to listen to
him need to be a greater part of my regular routine.
Mentoring and bringing others closer to Jesus is also part
of the call.
Even though we wonder, question, and hunger ourselves,
each of us has been called. We have already been empowered
for our task through our Baptism. Let us pray for one
another that we may make the time to listen to the Lord. Let
us take small steps and larger ones, with one another as we
are able, on our journey of faith and action.
These are extraordinary times throughout the world right
now. The tension and unrest throughout the United States
where I live, for example, goes beyond words, especially
when we see even Christians so markedly divided. Calmness
and peacefulness are not beyond the power of prayer,
however. Our agenda must match the Lord's Plans for peace,
inclusion, and unity. Let us all remember the beatitudes and
to whom the heavenly kingdom ultimately belongs.
Second Sunday of Ordered Time January 17, 2021
1st Samuel 3:3-10 & 19; Responsorial Psalm 40; 1st
Corinthians 6:13-15 & 17-20; Gospel Acclamation John 1:41 &
17; John 1:35-42
It seems unfair that in this liturgical year of Matthew’s
gospel, in the very second week of Ordered Time liturgy
planners inserted a selection from the Gospel of John. It
seems like a disrespect of Matthew. What is so important
about this Sunday that we deviate?
The first Sunday of Ordered Time gave us the story of the
Baptism of Jesus. That baptism was not a baptism of
repentance. Those thousands of Jews who came to the river
Jordan to hear John the Baptist speak and to be washed
symbolically and sacramentally came because they were
looking for something. It was not that they had come seeking
power. John was the very image of humility. It was not that
they were looking for wealth. John wore animal skins cinched
with a leather belt. It was not that they came looking for
confirmation of slick beauty or examples of great grooming.
John had not had a haircut, or his nails done in forever.
What had they come looking for? Those who came to John and
stayed to be baptized as a sign and commitment of rejection
of sin there was a resolve to live according to a higher
standard. Their experience of John, his preaching, and his
baptism led them to a firm purpose of amending their lives
in accordance with their faith.
We know Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God/Son of Man
person not prone to sin. He came to John at a turning point
in his life. He had been moved in his heart to leave behind
carpentry and to start out on a mission that would be a more
complete answer to the reason thousands went into the desert
to hear John. This baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of
his ministry. Even the most insincere, the most ignorant,
the most unthinking, the least religious person among us
would judge Jesus as making this commitment for his own
benefit. It was not the lure of a stressless life, living
supported by contributions from faithful followers, having
no concerns for food, shelter, or health care. Jesus was not
seeking the adulations of crowds or the sycophant bowing and
scraping compliant disciples. Jesus was in this to reveal
God for us and who that God was and is. After this baptism
Jesus heads out to the desert to pray and to reflect on the
work he was about to engage. After many days and nights of
prayer, of fasting, and of review of Hebrew Scriptures he
came to understand the arc of his calling. He knew he was to
be the one who fulfilled the promises of Hebrew prophets and
the arc of the history of his people. How was he to achieve
this great awakening and revelation of God’s loving
kindness, God’s unbounded mercy, and the compassion of God’s
heart for his creation? The temptations compared the
achievement of God’s goal for him in the light of the ways
of the world. Those time proven ways of the world with which
the devil tempted Jesus was the use of power, of wealth, and
of fame that comes from entertainment, magic, and free food.
But Jesus knew the ways of the world have no lasting effect
to satisfy the human heart. The human heart, the human mind
experiences brokenness. Jesus’ work is always about healing,
about enabling the person to grow into his/her potential.
Jesus work is always, always and forever about creating a
community where persons may flourish, may learn, may come to
understanding and wisdom because of the care, the love, and
support of that community. The truth of life is in his
mission. The way to achieving his mission is in his
methodology. The life of those who accept his mission is
living as the Creator included in each creature.
So why this gospel reading from John in the liturgical
year of Matthew? This selection from John’s gospel has to do
with us. It is no mere story, a nice rendering of an
encounter between Jesus and a couple of fishermen. The story
is about us and our encounter with Jesus. Each of us has
such an encounter when we come to wanting more than the
world has to give. When we have experienced the emptiness of
the way of the world, we are ready to seek the Lord who is
on watch to find us looking.
John sets the scene surrounding the Baptist. Two men had
come to John, attracted by his message. As they were
listening to John speak, John directed their attention to
Jesus who was walking by. "Behold the Lamb of God." That is
a strange statement for us these two thousand years later.
Lamb of God? What that means to us is wrapped up in images
from European artists and from the homilies of thousands of
preachers. Often it is an image of gentleness, of peace, and
often referring not so much to the lamb as to the shepherd.
For the faith-practicing Jew, it conjured an image of the
lamb slaughtered for its blood to be painted on the lintels
of the doors of the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt. It was that
blood that saved them from the angel of death: it was that
lamb’s flesh that became the nourishment for the escape of
those Hebrew tribes the day after the slaughter. It was,
however, even more than that. Once again when the Jews were
enslaved – this time in Babylon a thousand years after the
Exodus from Egypt – it was the prophet Isaiah who
preaches/writes of the lamb of God, the servant of God who
suffers for the sake of the people. The Hebrew word for lamb
is also the word used for servant. In Isaiah, it is this
suffering servant who effects the freedom of the nation. It
is through his suffering, though his work, through the
expending of his life, the pouring out of his blood that the
nation is freed. The stories of Hebrew enslavement and
release to freedom is essentially the experience of all
persons who hunger for more than the world has to give. How
easily we are enslaved by those who manipulate truth for
their own ends! How easily we are attracted by Madison
Avenue marketing to believe this or that thing will bring us
fulfillment and lasting happiness! How easily we are dragged
into believing that power and wealth are the great answers
to our deepest desires! How we envy those whose fame opens
doors to all the wonders of the world! The two great
liberations of the Hebrews, the Jews were precursors to the
greatest liberation of all nations and peoples and races and
traditions. That is ultimately what happens when Jesus
completes his mission. In every liberation humans
experience, it is God who initiates, it is God whose loving
kindness explodes in help to remove oppression, to eliminate
slavery. Hearts and minds are changed initiating life that
is more than dreams and myths springing from empty visions
and fantasies of hope. Again, in this liberation by Jesus,
it is the spilling of blood that happens when the very last
drop of energy, of effort, is expended, is poured out. It is
the work of the Cross so completely completed by Jesus that
makes possible the freedom of our hearts and minds. The way
of the world oppresses us, occupies us, and misleads us. So
very much like the tentacles of cancer spreading through a
body that chocks life out of our bodies and our spirits.
Even though we live in the world, achieve according to the
world, and use influence and power and wealth to achieve, we
have been freed from slavery to the ways of the world. The
message is that it is compassion, mercy, and unconditional
love that saves us from such slavery. It is pouring out our
lives that accomplishes the fulfillment of spirit that we
were created to achieve – through the intervention of that
Father, that Creator, that great lover of us all.
Listen carefully to John’s gospel! The two disciples of
John follow after Jesus, not knowing how to approach him.
Jesus turns to them, reaches out to them. Isn’t this what
God does for us? Aren’t we constantly hearing his call –
from liturgy, from family members, from our community, from
out nation, from our world, from the universe? He asks the
question: "What are you looking for?" What is our answer? We
all respond depending on where we are in our growth or decay
as persons. At first, we seek acceptance, then recognition,
then acquiring and amassing wealth, power, and fame. Is that
what we are looking for? Do any of those matters satisfy us
and allow us to settle down and grow? Which of these is so
lasting that we need not seek more? When we achieve that
emptiness, we, like those two disciples, ask where do you
live? Where are you, Jesus, where is your house? Then comes
that vague response, "Come and see."
The first reading from the book of Samuel tells us how we
start being disciples. We hear the voice of the Lord in the
night. Why in the night? Night is a time of quiet. Sometimes
it is the time of great fear as we cannot see what may be
lurking just outside our doors. Night is the time of
desperation. Many are the persons who die in the night –
physically as well as spiritually. In that darkness we are
called. But, like Samuel, we need someone to help us discern
the source of the voice. Is it the evil one? Is it the
Spirit of God? Who can help us? We have got to come and see
where Jesus dwells.
We are only in the second week of ordered time. In that
week, following Jesus’ commitment, we are called to share in
that ministry. There are those among us who are destined to
be leaders as was Simon, the one renamed Peter. His is the
role of being the rock, the center of faith where we moor
our life’s vessels. It is not Peter who is the rock, it is
the faith of Peter that is the rock that preserves us from
the storms and movements of the world.
On the feast of the Epiphany our nation experienced a
terrible truth. We saw an attempt to destroy the foundation
of our nation. That foundation is the Constitution which is
formed on the principle that all people are created equal.
Racism is often used to divide us and is contrary to "all
people are created equal." Racism, victimhood, haves verses
have nots are divisions that run contrary to the principles
of union and equality. That awful, organized mob was
divisive, destructive, and sought to murder our leadership
in the interests of installing a dictatorship. Despite great
efforts at promoting the truth of an election, the
dictator-in-waiting declared unsubstantiated fraud and theft
of an election. Yet every effort to achieve standing for
this lie was denied in the courts for lack of evidence.
What is most frightening to persons of faith is that this
violence and attempted coup were endorsed by persons
claiming to be persons of faith. A cross was erected near
the capitol claiming that Jesus saves. There were signs
declaring Jesus in support of the mob. Yet, not once in his
ministry has Jesus ever been presented as seeking violent
overthrow of Roman occupation. Such an effort on the part of
Jesus would have been antithetical to his mission of mercy,
compassion, and extending the loving kindness of the Father
to his creation. Yet many Catholics – including leadership –
endorsed a charlatan in his efforts to achieve an
authoritarian leadership. Evangelicals supported his
efforts, in large part because of the deal Jerry Falwell,
Sr. made with Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. That deal
was to use the issue of abortion as a way of unifying
Christian people into a cause that would bring political
leverage. Yet in forty years of this agreement, abortion has
not been eliminated.
In this time of terrible conflict, disruption of rational
thinking, and misleading commentary we must once again turn
to Jesus. In this year of Matthew, let us walk with him on
his journey and ministry. We are called not to be followers,
merely part of a crowd. We are called to be disciples –
students who learn so as to become masters of the words and
works of the Lord. In this Jesus, all nations will discover
justice and peace. Without seeking the Lord, we will
continually fumble, fume, and live in turmoil and violence.
This Sunday we are called to be disciples – not mere hearers
of the word but doers of the word. It is time once again to
"come and see" and learn of the Way, the Truth, and the
INTRODUCING OTHERS TO JESUS: 2ND SUNDAY B
- Jesus asks his followers today: ‘What are you
- What do you think he is calling you to be and to do?
The time is the 11th century before Christ. The place is
the shrine in the small town of Shiloh in ancient Israel. It
houses the ark of God containing the Ten Commandments. The
high priest is Eli, now very old and almost blind. A little
boy called Samuel is asleep in the shrine. His mother has
waited and prayed so long for his arrival, that in gratitude
she has given him to the service of the shrine. The child
helps with the religious services and looks after Eli, his
patron and protector.
Three times in one night the boy hears a voice calling
his name: ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ Three times he thinks it’s the
old priest calling out to him. Each time the high priest
tells him that he did not call him, and sends him back to
bed. But on the third occasion Eli instructs the child: ‘if
someone calls [you] say, "Speak Lord, your servant is
listening".’ This is exactly what Samuel says the fourth
time God calls his name.
What faith-filled words they are! In one short sentence
they recognise God as the Lord and Master of Samuel’s life,
that God is calling him both to be something and to do
something. So, in a word, it’s about vocation, a call to do
something special for God, or what Mother Teresa of Calcutta
has called ‘something beautiful for God’.
Eli’s place in the scheme of things is to introduce
others to the Lord and to their new vocation and role.
Samuel will grow up to be the last of the great judges in
Israel and the first of the king-makers.
In today’s gospel, we see John the Baptist introducing
two of his own disciples to Jesus. In doing this, he
introduces them to their new future. That future is being
with Jesus as his companions and co-workers, and going with
him wherever he goes. So John the Baptist has pointed away
from himself to Jesus, and is running the first introduction
agency for those on the lookout for the Messiah.
One of the two disciples is Andrew. He leaves his leader,
John the Baptist, to walk with Jesus, his new leader. But to
make this new start he needs the Baptist to point him in the
right direction. And what the Baptist does for Andrew,
Andrew in turn does for his brother, Simon. He shares his
experience with Simon, convinces him that he has just met
the Messiah, and introduces Simon to Jesus.
None of us goes on our own to Our Lord. Access to him is
always through other people. When we reflect on the
beginnings of our own faith in Jesus the Christ, and of our
own particular personal relationship with him, we remember
the people who introduced us to him. Most of us can think of
a particular person, e.g., our mother or father, who enabled
us to begin our journey of faith. As a group of Christians
we all come to him by way of generations of Christians who
have shared their experiences of Jesus. In their turn, they
were introduced to him by others. As a popular song puts it:
‘We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came
before us. They are saints and they are humans, they are
angels, they are friends.’ The story of Christianity, in
fact, is a story of a great chain of witnesses linked back
to the beginning, to Jesus himself.
Of course we have to play our part in introducing others
to Jesus. If we believe that Jesus is worth knowing, we will
bring others into his presence by our quiet personal
witness. In that way the Christian faith will keep growing.
Because somewhere, someone like the apostle Andrew, someone
like you, will be bringing another person to meet Jesus of
Nazareth, the Saviour of the World, and to enjoy a lifelong
friendship with him.
What an appealing and heart-warming responsibility and
Gleeson CP" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Year B: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
"Come and See."
One of the nice things about being a GP is that, most of
the time, people walk in, sit down and tell you what is
wrong with them. Sometimes I grant you, they don’t entirely
get the jargon correct, or find the right level of concern.
Most will call things by the wrong name. Some will underplay
serious life-threatening disease; others will make mountains
out of spots. But fundamentally, they are doing their level
best, according to their lights, to communicate the truths
of their physical and mental state.
Not so in children’s casualty. Not so! There, terrible,
terrible things can go wrong very, very quickly. And most
often, the only reliable sign that something may be about to
go dreadfully wrong is that the patient simply stops
communicating. So I well remember my six months in the job,
now 20 years ago and some of those moments are as vivid in
the memory as the sound of this morning’s alarm clock.
One in particular – he was an 11-year-old boy brought in,
grey, floppy, silent and miserable and allocated by the
senior consultant to my inexpert care.
I took the story from the parents – it revealed little
beyond their own level of fear which rendered them almost as
inarticulate as their child. I examined every relevant bit,
which informed me that I was in the presence of a seriously
ill child, but told me nothing about what was making him so
ill, or what exactly I should be doing about it. I sent off
some blood tests, ordered an x-ray and hoped for
enlightenment. An hour later, I was no wiser and no better
informed. The parents were near frantic with worry and I was
little better myself. All I still knew was that I was
responsible for a very sick young man and had no idea what
was wrong with him, or what exactly I should be doing about
At last, having done – I thought – all that could
reasonably be expected of me, I went to my consultant in
exactly that hesitant, sideways, crabwise manner that a
guilty penitent approaches the confessional. I was just
steeling myself to confess my complete failure, ignorance
and confusion, when she looked up, saw me coming and asked,
"so how are you getting on with that lad with the
And I realized that what I had been unable to identify in
an hour of intense questioning, comprehensive examination
and excessive investigation, she had seen, recognised and
understood in a casual glance from forty feet away.
That, of course, was the product of her two decades of
study, training and experience. And maybe – I wonder - that
is also why John the Baptist can see things that others
cannot. Many years of love, prayer and experience went in to
his ability to see, from the other side of the Jordan, Jesus
as the presence and goodness of God in the world.
Let us pray that we too may discover that ability – to
see the eyes of faith where God is truly present in the
world, to see ourselves as we truly are and to know our
place in the kingdom, God’s plans for this world.
O'Reilly, SJ <email@example.com>
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