Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Mark tells us that as Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit descended and a voice came from heaven saying, “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Today in the Book of Samuel, we are told that Samuel hears a voice calling his name. He does not recognize the voice and seeks advice from his elder Eli. Eli fails him twice. Eventually, Eli encourages Samuel to respond to the voice. He encourages him to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” This listening changed Samuel’s life.
In the Gospel reading, we hear that John the Baptist and two of his disciples recognize Jesus as he passes by. John the Baptist says, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” His two disciples follow Jesus and we hear Jesus invite them to, “Come and see.” The disciples follow Jesus and we are told they stay with him. One of them, Andrew makes a statement of faith, acknowledging that they have found the Messiah. He brings his brother Simon Peter to and encounter with the Lord.
In Paul’s letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul reminds the people to avoid sin. He tells them, that they were created for the Lord, that their body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul says, ‘You are meant to glorify the Lord in your body!’
At times our relationship with God is great and when it is we give thanks and praise to God. We bless others and we work for the Common Good. Sometimes we find ourselves successful, powerful, arrogant, rich and filled with pride. Sometimes we find ourselves lost, confused, hurting, sad, and filled with grief. When we are successful we think we have it made but we don’t really. When we are lost we should be looking for light. In both instances we should be asking deeper questions. We should wonder about the purpose of our life. We should wonder about and ponder how we are with God.
Sometimes we hear statements from government leaders, from family and friends, teachers and priests that we are in charge of our own bodies. We hear statements that suggest we can do with our bodies what we want. We hear statements that suggest we live and we die. These statements are true – but they are incomplete.
Today, sacred scripture challenges these statements and completes them. Yes, this is my body and I am responsible for it. We hear very clearly that this body comes from God; God calls us, God gives us life and God dwells within us. When we open our eyes, we can recognize the presence of God and we can recognize that there is something more to our life than what we can see with our physical eyes.
Today, these sacred texts invite us to pause and ask some questions:
What do I do when the voice of God calls to me? What is my response?
What do I do when I recognize the Lord present in my life and in the lives of those around me?
How do I respond to the Spirit who dwells within me? How do I honor the Spirit in my body? Can people recognize that the Spirit dwells within me?
At this time in our history we need people like Eli, who will invite us to stop and to listen to the Lord. The Lord speaks to each of us today!
At this time in our history we need people like John the Baptist who will point out to us the presence of God. The Lord walks among us today!
At this time in our history we need people who will follow Jesus, and who will stay with him. We are invited to be one with the Lord today!
At this time in our history we need people like Andrew, who will recognize Jesus and who will lead us to an encounter with Jesus that we might hear from him who we really are. Jesus seeks us today!
At this time in our history we need people like St. Paul to remind us that – within my body – the Holy Spirit dwells. We need people like St. Paul to encourage us to glorify God not only with the words we speak but with our actions. We need people like Paul who will encourage us to be our best selves. God needs us today!
We are good at many things. Let us become good at listening, at recognizing Jesus, at encouraging our brothers and sisters to encounter Jesus. Let us become good at recognizing our dignity as temples of the Holy Spirit. Let us become good at letting the Spirit direct our words and our actions.
As this week unfolds let us be a light, that our brothers and sisters might see their path more clearly and seeing might take one more step so as to stand with Jesus.
Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI