Speak, Lord

Frank Enderle
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time B
Reproduced with Permission

In the Readings of each Mass celebrated during these past Christmas holidays, we heard about the Birth of Jesus and about His life before He began His public ministry. This past week we commemorated His Baptism, carried out by Saint John the Baptist. Today we gather here to celebrate the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. When we say that these coming weeks are part of Ordinary Time we don't mean that in the sense of being commonplace or boring. During these weeks of Ordinary Time, we are asked to meditate on the marvelous things that happened during the course of Jesus' public life, during his "ordinary" life. As we do this, we should also think about the wondrous things that occur during the course of our own very "ordinary" daily lives.

Our Gospel Reading today is from the Gospel of John the Evangelist and it continues the story of Jesus' life after His immersion in the waters of the Jordan River. It tells us that soon after undergoing that ritual sign of purification, Jesus began to choose and call His first disciples. In Jesus' day, as today, there were many people trying to cope with everyday life, trying to find some meaning to their own lives, some way of expressing their own faith. Some of those people followed John the Baptist, because they saw in him a man of integrity and faith someone who could show them a way to live a better life. One day, John the Baptist was with two of his followers when he saw Jesus go by. As soon as John saw Jesus, he said: "This is the lamb of God." When the two disciples heard this, they left John and followed the Man who would become their Teacher and their Master. When Jesus observed that they were following Him, He turned and asked them: "What are you looking for?" They answered: "Rabbi..., where do you live?" And He said to them, "Come and you will see." And they stayed with Him, talking to Him and listening to what He had to say, the rest of the day.

Andrew was one of these two disciples. Until he came to know Jesus, he had been a follower of John the Baptist. After meeting Jesus, Andrew decided to speak to his brother, Simon, and tell him about the experience he had lived. So it happened that Andrew introduced his brother to Jesus. When Jesus saw Simon he said, "You are Simon, son of John, you will be called Cephas (which is translated as Peter)." A new name to signify a new life in Christ.

As we read about Jesus' life, we can't help but notice that whenever He chose someone to be His disciple, He always asked them to leave everything behind and follow Him. And that, my brothers and sisters, is what He asks of us. Each one of us has received a call from God, a vocation. We are all called to do different things in different ways but basically what God asks is that as we go through life we do live as best as we can, giving all our time, our talent, our resources, to fulfilling our vocation. We all have an obligation and a responsibility to listen for the call of God, to discern what He wants us to do with our lives, and to follow Him faithfully, as the first disciples did. To say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening," as we heard Samuel say in our First Reading.

In our Second Reading we heard Saint Paul tell the Christians in Corinth about the difficulties that following Christ can bring. He talks about the temptations that Satan places in our path when we try to live good Christian lives. Paul reminds all of us that the human body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He says that we should not allow the terrible vices linked to sexual immorality to take hold of us. In Paul's time, the city of Corinth was noted for its climate of corruption and sin. Many of the first Christians there were having a hard time leaving behind a life of sin because the society in which they lived made it hard for them to distinguish between good and evil. If that sounds familiar, it is because humanity has not changed much since Saint Paul preached in Corinth. Today, many people, including many Catholics, have difficulty seeing the difference between what is immoral and what is not. Yet Jesus asks the same of us today as He did of his apostles then. He calls on us to be beacons of light in a world darkened by sin.

For you see, my sisters and brothers, to be a Christian simply means to be a disciple, a follower, of Christ. It means following Him without hesitation, without allowing people or things to come between us and Him. It means not only showing courage and integrity in our own personal faith. It also means going beyond our own lives, striving by every peaceful means to overcome the callous disregard for innocent life, the contempt for God, the growing scandal of public immorality that we see all around us. That is the vocation that we all have in common. May we live it out faithfully.