Homily for 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B

“Come and See!” Responding to God’s Call with all our Faculties

Rdgs: (1st: 1Sam 3, 3-10. 19: Ps 39, 2-10; 2nd: 1 Cor 6, 13-15, 17-20: Gos: Jn 1, 35-42)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

Today is the second Sunday of ordinary time, year B. In it, we hear the voice of the Lord our God re-echoing louder as ever before inviting us not only to: “Come and see,” but also, to be his disciples. Today the Holy Mother Church, the good counselor, reminds us that God’s call is real. She equally helps each one of us to discern what God wants us to do. God calls us personally by our names and expects us to respond because he wishes to use us for the purpose of his glory and for the good of our brethrens. To respond effectively, our Body, Soul and Spirit must be fully involved because, they belong to God.

Once a Jewish father brought this complain about his son to a Rabi: “I brought Benjamin up in the faith, gave him a very expensive bar Mitzvah. It cost me a fortune to educate him, then he tells me last week he has decided to be a Christian, Rabbi where did I go wrong?” Then, the Rabi responded: “It is funny, that you should come to me. Like you, I too, brought my boy up in the faith, put him through university that cost me a fortune, and then one day he too, tells me he has decided to become a Christian.” So what did you do, asked the Jewish Father. I turned to God for the answer, replied the Rabbi. Again, the Jewish father curiously asked: “So what did God say?  The Rabi responded, God said: “You should come to me!” (Courtesy: guy-sports.com/jokes). Indeed, like both men, we hear God’s obvious call (you should come to me) every day in different ways, but do we respond?

Our first reading from the first book of Samuel recounts the dramatic call of Samuel. In fact, it reminds us of our own call. Many times, some brethrens have asked me: “How does God speak to one, when and where does he speak, and, how can I respond to God’s call? These are very interesting questions which reflect our confusions as we see in the young Samuel today. My simple response to these questions have always been: Life is full of voices of God. As a father, he speaks to and calls us to his service every day. However, the only problem is that sometimes we lack the spiritual faculty to discern them. We need to be in the right place all the time as Samuel was, and we need to be disposed all times to listen to God. In other words, though we live in a very noisy world, we can still hear God if only we can discipline ourselves against spiritual and biological noise.  Like Samuel, we must always be ready to say: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Let us ask ourselves these very important questions: Do we still have time to listen to God? When was the last time we spent up to ten minutes in silence listening to God? How many of us will be patient if I say let us do a simple exercise now by sitting quietly and listening to God. I assure you that many will start looking at their watches and counting the minutes. Probably too, half the people in this church would have left by the time we open our eyes. We are getting too busy that we hardly have time to listen to our Father. Yet, “In God We Trust!” How can we trust in a God whom we do not listen to anymore? Instead, we prefer to listen to astrologers, star gazers, voodoos, and fortune tellers. We pay more attention to the predictions of Nostradamus more than we do to God and his prophets. We listen more to our watches ticking and calling us to the next action than we do to the voice of God which calls us to action towards our brothers and sisters in need. What an irony! We must wake up, listen to God, and answer His call. It is urgent!

The second reading of this Sunday sounds like “Paul’s Moral Theology.” This is because it touches a very important moral issue that has almost defiled solutions in our modern day society. In fact, as we I speak, it keeps developing more tentacles. This issue is immorality which Paul simply narrowed down to fornication. Of what relevance is this to responding to God’s Call? This vice is a sin against our body as well as against the Spirit of God who lives in us. Though a moral issue, it slows down our spiritual growth and consequently, our ability to respond effectively to God’s call. This reading simply shows the relationship between morality and spirituality. It shows how the spiritual is affected by the physical, and how important it is that we preserve our bodies solely for the work and glory of God. Paul and the church are simply reminding us that we must use every aspect and faculty of our lives to respond to God’s invitation. The spirit of God who is the principal agent of mission cannot live in a corrupt Body or Soul: “Your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God.” In addition to fornication, there are so many other vices like drug addiction, drunkenness, and lots more that obstruct our effective response to God’s call. It is true that these are moral issues and matters of the body. Yet, they retard spiritual growth seriously and prevent one from responding adequately to God’s call. This was why God destroyed Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas: “…and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting…the Lord has said…both of them shall die on the same day….” (I Sam 2, 22-34). 

The Gospel of this Sunday presents us with the early ministry of Jesus. Testimonies about him continues especially from John the Baptist who accepted God’s call and is coming to the end of his ministry. His role today is worthy of mention. Most especially, he is fulfilling his own prophecy: “I am not he who is to come…! Surely, he was not the messiah that was why he directed even his own disciples thus: “Behold the Lamb of God!” Hence, he had no problems about his own disciples deserting him to follow Jesus. He fulfilled his call by showing others the way to salvation. Most importantly, this gospel challenges us to reflect on our response to the call of Jesus. Today, He says to us as he said to his first disciples, “come and see!” This is an invitation to follow him. Likewise, Andrew invited his brother Peter using the Lord’s own words: “come and see the messiah,” and Peter responded immediately, by leaving everything. Also, when the Samaritan woman encountered Christ she used the same words to invite her kinsmen: “…come and see…” (Jn 4, 29). Of course, they responded by following her. Responding to Jesus’ invitation should be a daily business and requires the whole of our being (Body, Soul and Spirit). When we respond to it, we must also help others do so.

At times we need help to discern God’s call, what he wants us to do, and where he wants us to be. There are some whose call it is to help others. This was the role Eli played in the call of Samuel. This is equally the role John the Baptist played in the history of our salvation and most importantly in the life of his own disciples today. Therefore, in humility, we must seek the help of these brethren whenever we are confused about the voice we hear and the way we must follow in life. This is important because, none should be left out. This is why everyday God calls us by our names and says to us: “come and see.” Therefore, our response should always be: “Speak Lord for your servant is listening,” and like the Psalmist: “Here I am Lord I have come to do your will.”

Peace be with You!

Maranatha!!

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