Reflection for Sunday – January 14, 2024

Readings: 1 Samuel 3: 3b-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6: 13c-15a, 17-20; John: 1: 35-42 
Preacher: Irene Goodwin

Christmas is over, the trees have been taken down, lights turned off, and the kids are back to school.  Back to the ordinary.  In church we are also entering Ordinary Time.  As we go through Ordinary Time, we find that it really is not that ordinary. Ordinary Time covers much of salvation history.  As we begin this new time this week we read about calls. Calls can be wonderful or frightening but can also be times of transformation.

The first reading is the call of Samuel who would become the last judge and first prophet of Israel.  However, at the time of this call, he is a young and naive kid. Samuel did not understand that God was calling him. We wonder about Eli who was older and supposedly wise, yet it took him three times to realize that God was calling Samuel.  He must have been as surprised as Samuel. Why was God calling an inexperienced kid?  God is a surprise.  Something new was about to happen. Samuel was called and will be transformed.  He will go from hearing God’s Call to speaking God’s word.

In the Gospel we hear of two disciples following John the Baptist.  John points out Jesus to them.  One of those disciples we find out is Andrew who then goes and gets his brother Peter and brings him to Jesus.

Sometimes we think it is only really religious people that get called. We believe that this may only involve a call to a vocation in church. However, since Vatican II we have been told that we are all called to holiness. Yes, a call may involve a major decision we make in our lives such as a decision to marry or to change a profession. However, they do come at other times. An invitation may come from an inner call, a dream or inspiration, a particular interest or event. It may come in the innocence of a child or the wisdom of age.  It may be at a religious event or a time with family or friends. The ordinariness of an event may deceive us in misjudging the event.  We need to be attentive to the prompting of the heart. After all, God may surprise us.

When you have sung the hymn, “Here, I Am Lord, I Come to Do Your Will,” have you asked yourself, “what is it that God wills of my life?”  If we are at a time in our life where we may be wondering if God is asking something new of us, we may ask ourselves what are we looking for?

When the disciples asked Jesus where he was staying.  He says come and see.  We will hear later in John’s Gospel of Jesus giving sight to a blind man. The invitation to see and the restoration of sight to the blind man was an invitation to come and be with Jesus. Jesus was not talking about a place. He was inviting the disciples to spend time with him.  Do we take the time to be with Jesus?  Just some quiet time where the urging of our heart may come to us in our prayer.

Part of our call may be to ask if we have ever pointed the way to Jesus for someone else. In our Gospel today we hear that John was willing to give up the big role to point out Jesus.  When Andrew received the call, he could not just keep it to himself; he had to offer the same opportunity to his brother Peter.

As a young mother I went back to college and one of the courses I took was Anatomy and Physiology.  The professor was a strong no-nonsense but caring woman.  Imagine my surprise when I went to work at a church and found out she was a Roman Catholic Sister. She was not only Doctor, she was Sister. I wondered what a Roman Catholic Sister was doing teaching Anatomy and Physiology at a state college.  Some years later I was invited to her retirement dinner.  As I listened to scientist after scientist get up and say amazing things about her, I realized what she was doing at a state college.  She was bringing the Body of Christ to the college. Is it part the call we each receive—to live a life that invites others to join us on this journey to come, and see?

Irene Goodwin
Latest posts by Irene Goodwin (see all)