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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

January 14, 2018
1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42

The earthly ministry of Jesus was launched at his Baptism, which the church celebrated last Monday. Isaiah tells us that Jesus was sent to bring good news to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to captives and prisoners, and to announce the forgiveness of debts. I recall Peter’s words in the Acts of the Apostles when he says, “Jesus went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil.” Our mission as Christians has to be the same as his. Most of us do not remember our baptism or the mission associated with it, so it is good for us each year to renew our Christian mission to advance the kingdom. So, I have two questions. What are you going to do? The possibilities for doing good are endless. How are you going to do it? That is the more interesting question.

In this passage by John, we focus our attention on the intriguing encounter and conversation between Jesus and the two former disciples of John the Baptist. We also notice Simon, who is renamed Peter, the central figure around whom the church will be built. It is easy to overlook the initiatives of an unsung hero, Andrew, who set up the meeting between Jesus and Simon, but his importance cannot be overstated. He was the one who first declared, “We have found the Messiah.”

Not many of us will be like Peter, the one who was selected to lead the church, but each of us can imitate the mission of Andrew. Like him, we have to be the ones who are curious enough to ask questions that are a bit risky. We have to take big risks too. Andrew made a dramatic decision to no longer be a disciple of the larger-than-life John the Baptist to follow this unknown Jesus. Making decisions about one’s faith is very weighty and the consequences are large. He left the mainstream route behind him and stepped into a less secure, uncertain future. Try explaining your life choices to friends and family. Many will not accept your choices because you are leaving them behind as you step forward into a world they do not understand.

Andrew was able to notice something secure in his discernment. He felt confident enough to tell his brother, Simon, that he should come meet this man, who is the Christ. He followed through on his convictions. How many times have we been inspired to do something good, but we let the opportunity pass? Andrew connected his brother to Jesus. We need to respect the private space of others, but also be willing enough to ask people about their faith and their beliefs. It certainly cannot hurt, and only good can come out of it.

As children, our culture taught us not to get involved in someone else’s fight, so we learned how to be silent in the face of force and injustice. We were told to offer it up when someone called us names and to ignore the person with bad manners. We were told the world’s problems are too big and you cannot do anything about them, and we passively let others govern us. We were told, “Don’t bring up that subject. It will make him or her angry.” The list goes on and on and it might be time for us to relearn some of our lessons. We cannot let others silence our voices. We cannot let others thwart our good actions.

Be like Andrew, who connected and formed bridges. Be like Andrew, who did not stay settled in the comfortable status quo, but chose what was best for his soul. Be like Andrew, who asked questions to be intellectually enriched. Be like Andrew, who recognized the divine presence in daily life. Be bold enough to bring others to Christ, even if they do not want to hear about Him. Your voice and the Word of God will not be silenced. What are you going to do? How are you going to do it?

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (1 Samuel 15) Samuel said to Saul: Because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he, too, has rejected you as ruler."
Tuesday: (1 Samuel 16) The LORD said to Samuel: "How long will you grieve for Saul,
whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons."
Wednesday: (1 Samuel 17) David spoke to Saul: "Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine." But Saul answered David, "You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth." David continued: "The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine." Saul answered David, "Go! the LORD will be with you."
Thursday: (1 Samuel 18) The women played and sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
"They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship." And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.
Friday (1 Samuel 24) David's servants said to him, "This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; do with him as you see fit.'" So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul's mantle. Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off an end of Saul's mantle.
Saturday (2 Samuel 1) "Saul and Jonathan, beloved and cherished, separated neither in life nor in death, swifter than eagles, stronger than lions! Women of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and in finery, who decked your attire with ornaments of gold.

Monday: (Mark 2) "Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
Tuesday: (Mark 2) As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the Sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."
Wednesday (Mark 3) Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath
so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand,Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
Thursday (Mark 3) A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.
Friday (Mark 3) Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Saturday (Mark 3) Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered,
making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 

Saints of the Week

January 14: Hilary, bishop and doctor (315-367), was born in Gaul and received the faith as an adult. He was made bishop of Poitiers and defended the church against the Arian heresy. He was exiled to the Eastern Church where his orthodox rigidity made him too much to handle so the emperor accepted him back.

January 17: Anthony, Abbot (251-356), was a wealthy Egyptian who gave away his inheritance to become a hermit. Many people sought him out for his holiness and asceticism. After many years in solitude, he formed the first Christian monastic community. Since he was revered, he went to Alexandria to encourage the persecuted Christians. He met Athanasius and helped him fight Arianism.

January 20: Fabian, pope and martyr (d. 250), was a layman and stranger in Rome during the time of his election as pope. A dove settled on his head, which reminded people of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove during the baptism. He served for 14 years until his martyrdom.

January 20: Sebastian, martyr (d. 300), was buried in the catacombs in Rome. He hailed from Milan and is often pictured with many arrows piercing his body. Much of what we know about him is legend.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jan 14, 1989. The death of John Ford SJ, moral theologian and teacher at Weston College and Boston College. He served on the papal commission on birth control.
·      Jan 15, 1955. The death of Daniel Lord SJ, popular writer, national director of the Sodality, founder of the Summer School of Catholic Action, and editor of The Queen's Work.
·      Jan 16, 1656. At Meliapore, the death of Fr. Robert de Nobili, nephew of Cardinal Bellarmine. Sent to the Madura mission, he learned to speak three languages and for 45 years labored among the high caste Brahmins.
·      Jan 17, 1890. Benedict Sestini died. He was an astronomer, editor, architect, mathematician, and teacher at Woodstock College.
·      Jan 18, 1615. The French Jesuits began a mission in Danang, Vietnam.
·      Jan 19, 1561. In South Africa, the baptism of the powerful King of Monomotapa, the king's mother, and 300 chiefs by Fr. Goncalvo de Silveira.
·      Jan 20, 1703. At Paris, the death of Fr. Francis de la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV and a protector of the French Church against the Jansenists

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