JANUARY 14TH, 2018: SECOND SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you, " Eli said. "Go back to sleep."
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
"Here I am, " he said. "You called me."
But Eli answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me."
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect
Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.
John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
"What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" — which translated means Teacher —,
"where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
"We have found the Messiah" — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
"You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas" — which is translated Peter.
Nothing creates more interest for Scripture’s original readers than the “call narratives” many of our sacred authors include in their writings. When Yahweh or the gospel Jesus asks someone to be a disciple, everyone listens carefully to the details. Their interest isn’t hard to understand. Those original readers feel called in a similar way. Though times and circumstances differ, several elements are always the same.
First, the divine caller usually demands the person who is called “move.” Neither Jesus nor Yahweh says, “Stay there! Don’t move a muscle! Just keep doing what you’re doing!” Movement is always entailed, either physical or psychological or both. No one responds to such a call without experiencing change.
Second, the individual who’s called is expected to follow not some intellectual ideals or principles, but a real person. When we deal with any person, there’s always something new to learn about him or her. Nothing stays the same. Those not open to the person aren’t open to the call.
Third, whoever is called is now expected to put his or her security in the person doing the calling. Whatever or whoever they consistently fell back on before they now push into the background. They trust only Yahweh or Jesus. Their personal strength shifts from former places, people and ideas to someone completely “other.”
Samuel discovers in today’s first reading, when God calls there’s no hesitation, no thinking it over. Eli correctly instructs the boy, “. . . If you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Yahweh, for your servant is listening.’” In a very deep sense, if he’s not already listening for a call, he’ll probably pull a “Sgt. Schultz” and hear nothing even though the call is coming loud and clear.” Eli and Samuel’s misunderstanding tells us we can easily mistake the actual caller for someone else. We’d better know whom and what to listen for, else we’ll think it’s just a figment of our imagination; something we can sluff off at will.
The call might even come through someone with whom we’re already familiar but are now looking at from a different perspective. That seems to be what happens in today’s gospel pericope. Along with Andrew and Simon, Jesus already appears to be one of the Baptizer’s followers when John points to him and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
Now because of John’s leadership and authority, whatever this Galilean carpenter says and does takes on a deeper meaning. When he, for instance, asks, “What are you looking for?” he’s referring not just to an immediate need; in this context, he’s asking the pair, “What do you want out of life?”
The two eventually discover Jesus’ “Come” is an invitation to become a new person. He calls them to go beyond their here and now and uncover a part of themselves they’ve never before noticed. That’s why he quickly changes Simon’s name to “Rock.” Those who respond to God’s call not only uncover more and more about God, they also uncover more and more about themselves.
That’s exactly what happened when Paul responded to the risen Jesus’ call on the Damascus Road. He not only discovered the Christ was present in those he was persecuting, he also discovered he/she was also present in him. No longer did he, as a good Jew, have to regularly visit the Jerusalem temple. Once he answers Christ’s call and moves to a new frame of mind, he discovers his own body “. . . is a temple of the Holy Spirit . . . .” What he thought outside himself is actually inside himself.
Hard to convince someone of such a wonder who’s never said “Yes!” to the risen Jesus. But, on the other hand . . . .