Readings and Reflections

 

St Peter’s/St Joseph’s Bidding Prayers
16th / 17th January 2021

 

Priest:
As we listen to the call of the first disciples of Jesus, let us hear our own name being called to that we too can follow him.

Reader:
Every Christian is called to be a follower of Christ:   We pray that our ears be opened so that we can listen to his call.                                     

Lord in your mercy.

Lord, where do you abide:   We pray that we can enter into the life of Jesus so that he can enter into our lives as well.                                    

Lord in your mercy.  

The pandemic seems to be getting worse with the number of infections going up each day:   We pray that, with the vaccine, it will soon be under control.
Lord in your mercy.

 

On Monday we begin the week of prayer for Christian Unity.   With Christians throughout the world we pray:            
Jesus Christ, you seek us, you wish to offer us your friendship and lead us to a life that is ever more complete.  Grant us the confidence to answer your call so that we may be transformed and become witnesses of your tenderness for the world.
  
We remember those who have died recently and those whose anniversaries occur at about this time.   May they rest in the peace of their saviour.
Lord in your mercy.

It was only in the quiet of the night that Samuel heard the Lord call him by his name:   Let us listen as the Lord speaks our name to us.
[After a pause]                                                                                 

Lord in your mercy.

 

Mary was overjoyed as she learnt that Jesus had chosen some disciples.   May she assist us as we respond to the call of her son.                    

Hail Mary….

 

Priest:
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  We present our prayers before him for he is Lord for ever and ever.           

Amen.

 

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday, 17th January 2021

 

If you do not have a copy of the missalette, you can find today’s readings at www.universalis .com

 

The Christmas season is finished, the decorations are put away and the crib figures are safely stored until next year.   We are in what the church calls “Ordinary Time”.   The truth is, however, for those who believe that Christ was born to save the world, no time is just ordinary.   Our faith transforms our lives into something quite extraordinary.

 

For most of the Sundays of this year we shall be listening to the gospel of Mark.   His was the first to be written and is the shortest.   He had to invent what is was to be a gospel.   Through his account of the words and deeds of Jesus, we discover just what an extraordinary intervention in human history God has made.   His only begotten Son entered into time and became fully and completely a human being.

 

However, this Sunday is an exception to the rule.   The call of the disciples in Mark is very short, so this is filled out in our gospel today by borrowing from John’s gospel.   It was John the Baptist who pointed out Jesus by saying:  “Look!   The lamb of God!”  (words the priest says at communion when he holds up the host)   We discover that the first disciples of Jesus had already been disciples of John the Baptist.   We find out that Simon Peter was drawn to Jesus through his younger brother, Andrew.   The fact that Andrew and Peter were fishermen is not brought out in this account of their being called to be the first disciples of Jesus.

 

When Andrew and his companion encounter Jesus, their first question is: “Teacher, where do you live?”   Older translations of the bible phrase the question as: “Where do you abide?”   This captures the evangelists meaning in a much stronger way.   The word in Greek that we weakly translate as ‘live’ is MENEIS from which we get the English word ‘remain’.   So the question could be: “Teacher, where do you find the core of your being?”   They are really asking what makes Jesus tick – a very profound question indeed.

 

Of course the two disciples don’t get the answer they are looking for.   Jesus simply invites them to “Come and see”.   Even though it was about four O Clock in the afternoon, they went and spent the rest of the day with Jesus.   Jesus invites us to ‘come and see’ as well.   A gospel is a space where we place ourselves and identify with the people who encounter Jesus.

 

Throughout the Sundays of ordinary time we are invited to come and see where Jesus ‘remains’.   We are invited into his teaching and to witness his miracles so that we can become part of his story.   Like his disciples, we are invited to see the story from the inside, so that we can bring that story to others too.

 

The first reading today makes our call very personal.   The young Samuel, an apprentice learning to serve in the Temple under the prophet Eli, is woken by God calling him by name.   He thinks it is Eli who is calling him, but eventually comes to realise that he has been called by his name by God himself.   Eli coaches him to give the correct answer: “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will”.

 

As the Sundays of this year tell the story we realise that we cannot be a spectator of the unfolding gospel message.   We have to become part of the story.   As we watch the disciples being called, we come to a deeper understanding of our own calling.   As they begin to realise who Jesus is and why he has come, we enter into a loving relationship with this Teacher who wants to reveal his true identity to each one of us.

 

I wonder if you have ever sat down and read a gospel from beginning to end.   I know we get a section read to us each Sunday and the priest in his homily tries to shed light on that little section, but it is good for us, especially now that were staying at home, just to read a gospel through from beginning to end, reading it with the eyes of faith, and allowing the evangelist to draw us into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

 

Finally, as Christian Unity week begins on Monday, pray for a stronger witness from all Christian churches.    There is a prayer, composed by an ecumenical community of monks in Switzerland, at the end of the Newsletter that we can pray each day during this week.   May we all abide with Christ.