The Second Sunday
in Ordinary Time
January 17, 2021, Cycle B
Fr. José Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today’s readings speak about vocation. God calls us by name so that we may do his will, which is the most important thing in life. As today’s refrain of the responsorial psalm says, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” In doing God’s will, we fulfill our lives: “To do your will, O my God, is my delight” (Ps 40:8).
God can call us in the middle of the night, as he did to Samuel, who heard a mysterious voice: “‘Samuel, Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Sam 3:10). God can call us at four in the afternoon, as he did to John and Andrew. John the Baptist told them to follow Jesus: “‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (Jn 1:36).
God calls us as he reveals his presence to us: “The LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, ‘Samuel, Samuel!’” (1 Sam 3:10). The wonder of God’s presence fills us with awe. In recognizing his presence, we discover who we are and what we are called to do.
In today’s second reading, St. Paul admonishes the Corinthians to be holy and renounce immorality. Corinth was a very immoral city even, for the pagan world.
We, too, are living in a very immoral world. In a world without God, everything is permitted. St. Paul’s words are more relevant than ever: “Avoid immorality” (1 Cor 6:18). St. Paul abhors immorality but not the body. He reminds us of the dignity of the human body. Through Baptism, our bodies became members of Christ and we became temples of the Holy Spirit. God calls us to holiness, to become his temples. St. Paul tells the Corinthians: “Glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20). The discovery of God and the knowledge of him conquer immorality. We need to rediscover God as the Creator. Our faith should lead us to perceive ourselves as coming from God’s hands. We are moral when we connect people and things with the mystery of God, when we recognize that everything belongs to Christ. Purity means to see God in all things, to see him as the source of all beauty: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). God is the Creator of the stars, the oceans, the mountains and the human body.
We need the mediation of the prophets in order to distinguish God’s voice from other voices. Eli tells Samuel that it was not he who had called him but God. In the Gospel, John the Baptist tells John and Andrew that Jesus is the Lamb of God, the one that they should follow.
In the first reading, God calls Samuel by name. That God calls us by name means that he knows and loves us. In the Gospel, Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter. Jesus not only knows us but he also gives us a new identity and mission. As today’s psalm says, “I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know” (Ps 40:9). In encountering Christ, we discover our identity and mission in the Church and the world: “We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace” (Jn 1:41,17).
Each one of us has a vocation. We are all called to participate in the fulfillment of God’s plan. Each of us is a small piece in the vast mosaic of God’s design. Like Mary, we enter into God’s plan when we say “yes” to his will. God calls us through the circumstances of our lives and the people he places in our paths. We are invited to say “yes” to his will and accept the mission he entrusts to us. Great or small, it does not matter.
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” Let us ask for the grace to do God’s will and be faithful to our vocations. Let us follow the example of Mary: “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Amen.