Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jan 14, 2018 Views 127 Listen 2 Downloads 1
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First Reading

A reading from the first Book of Samuel (3:3b-10, 19)

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am." Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me." "I did not call you", Eli said, "Go back to sleep." So he went back to sleep. Again the Lord called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. "Here I am", he said, "You called me." But Eli answered. "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet. The Lord called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me." Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply: Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the Lord came and revealed His presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10)


(R) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

I have waited, waited for the Lord, and He stooped toward me and heard my cry. And He put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. (R)

Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, "Behold I come." (R)

"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me: to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!" (R)

I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (6:13c-15a, 17-20)

Brothers and sisters: The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by His power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the Gospel according to John (1:35-42)

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi", which translated means Teacher, where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah", which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas", which is translated Peter.

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

While Jesus was yet to start his public ministry, John the Baptist was in the wilderness where he was calling people to pursue repentance and also baptizing them in the Jordan River. This was an outward sign of their inward commitment to welcome the coming Messiah and to receive forgiveness of sins and the baptism in the Spirit. Many people responded to John's preaching and were baptized. Thus, the people made the first step towards the forgiving mercy which was to be found in Christ. The Jewish leaders who thought John might be the Messiah whom they had been waiting for, as the prophets had foretold, sent emissaries to ask him if he was the Messiah. John declared that he was neither the Messiah nor Elijah whom the Jews believed would come to herald the coming of the Messiah nor the Prophet whom Moses had said that God would raise from among them, Deuteronomy (18:15). Rather, he told them that his function was only to prepare the way for the Messiah, John (1:19-28).

Meanwhile, Jesus who had been baptized by John, Mark (1:9-11), went to the desert for forty days where He was tempted by Satan, Matthew (4:1-11), Luke (4:2). After that, He returned to the area where John was baptizing. John's gospel states that Jesus came the day after John the Baptist was questioned by the Jews. This was followed by John the Baptist's public announcement to the crowds that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away sin of the world and that he had recognized Him at the time of His baptism when the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and God the Father's voice spoke from heaven, John (1:29-34).

On the next day, as Jesus walked by, John the Baptist again proclaimed, "Behold, the Lamb of God", John (1:35). But this time, John was with two of his disciples. It appears from the following verses that one of the disciples was Andrew by name and the other had no given name. Some scholars say he was probably John, the writer of the gospel of John. Like any devout Jews of the time, those two men would have been practicing all the prescribed rituals and sacrifices, and waiting for the Messiah. So, when John came preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, they too believed in John's message, received baptism after confessing their sins and became his disciples.

However, when they heard John the Baptist say that Jesus was the Lamb of God, they promptly followed Jesus. It may well be that they were too shy to approach Jesus directly and followed respectfully some distance behind. Then, Jesus turned and asked them what they were looking for. They were probably caught off guard by the question because they responded by asking Jesus where he was staying. Jesus, without saying much, invited them to "come and see". John, the Evangelist, specifies that it was four o'clock in the afternoon.

There are two views on the specified time.

  • It is to imply that the Lord Jesus was zealous to teach and instruct even at the end of a long day.
  • It is to make us understand that the disciples' meeting with Jesus did not end abruptly with sunset, but rather continued through the whole night.

After spending the rest of the day with Jesus, Andrew first sought out his brother Simon and told him that he had found the Messiah. In fact, Andrew also brought him to Jesus, who looked at him and said "You are Simon, the son of John; you will be called Cephas", John 1: (36-42).

What is the message for us?

  • God reveals Himself in a variety of ways to draw us all closer to Him, and He always makes the first move. Remember the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis? Once they yielded to the deception of the serpent and ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they felt guilt and fear for the first time in their lives. They were instantly ashamed and terrified. Hearing the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden they hid themselves from God. Then, the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?". He replied, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself", Genesis (3:8-10). Since then, God reached out to sinful mankind, through specially appointed messengers or prophets again and again, to have a right relationship with Him but they rejected Him.

    The Bible is full of stories about God making covenants with His people throughout history. Finally, after trying every possible way to save us, God came down in the person of Jesus Christ and died for our sins on the cross. He undid all the failures of the first human beings, and fulfilled all that the relationship needs to bring us back to harmony with Him. Indeed, God wants to save us and to have a wonderful personal relationship with Him. He has made it possible in love, grace and mercy through His Son Jesus. Now, only when we step forward in repentance and accept God's offer of redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ, does a restored relationship with Him happen.

  • The invitation is passed on so naturally from person to person. According to the New Testament, just as John the Baptist introduced Jesus to Andrew and others, Andrew introduced his brother Simon to the Lord Jesus, John (1:39-42). Then, he introduced the boy with five loaves and two fish, John (6:8-9). Finally, he introduced the Greeks who desired to see Jesus, John (12:20-22). Later and during his ministry, Andrew is believed to have travelled to the Caucasus mountains, i.e., the present-day Georgia in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia - and preached there.

    In other words, through his preaching and the miracles of healing he performed, in the name of Jesus, he brought many people to believe in Jesus Christ. The other apostles also obeyed Jesus' command, Matthew (4:18-20), and travelled to all parts of the known world to introduce the Lord Jesus, Matthew (16:15). Since then, people in every generation have passed down their faith in Jesus to others and to us. Today, as we have been introduced to Jesus by those who bore witness to Christ, such as the apostles, priests, missionaries, grandparents, parents, friends and relatives, each one of us is called to bear witness to Christ and to lead others to Him.

  • No special training or education or any other qualification is required to share or talk about Jesus to others. For the most part, the disciples were uneducated fishermen who had little or no formal religious education. They just shared what they knew about Jesus based on their personal interactions with Him. We may be very ordinary people, like Andrew and other apostles, but the Lord can use us in bringing others to know Him. Each of us have our own faith story that is different and special which only we can tell it. Sharing our stories helps us to deepen our own personal faith while hearing others' stories brings us into deeper understanding of, and relationship with, God and others.
  • Jesus invites us to "come and see" Him especially in the place where we, as a community of believers from many languages, cultures, and nations, gather to worship and give thanks, to read His Word and hear it preached to us, and to partake in the Holy Eucharist and be His people. "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification", Romans (14:19). Let us make regular church attendance our first priority and let it be a good habit that becomes a part of who we are. Everybody has their reasons for going to church. But please know that attending church can help us open our hearts and eyes to see the things we have and to remember what God has done for us. It can help to enhance our mood and improve our spiritual health. It provides an opportunity to worship, to listen, to give thanks, to ask forgiveness and to forgive others, to feel the pinch of reality just like everyone else.

Ultimately, it brings us inner peace.

(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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