WHAT TO SAY WHEN GOD CALLS
The reply Eli the priest told the boy Samuel to use when he heard his name being called in the night is a sure guide for each of us as disciples: Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.
Those few words give us a context in which we can live our lives. First, we live in a universe with a God who speaks, who knows us personally, who, as he came to Samuel in the sanctuary, stands by and is interested in us. Second, God is the Lord we are the servants. Those who were the lords of their manors had servants to keep the building in good repair, to maintain the household and provide for the needs of the family and their friends. God as the Lord has the ultimate responsibility. Third, as servants we are listening to what is said and willing to do what we are told.
Starting today and continuing for the next four Sundays we hear extracts from the middle section of the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians. The first three are on our sexual behaviour and relationships, then an account of Paul’s preaching and finally an appeal to take him as a role model.
In the Sundays of ordinary time when we vest in green the bible readings are organised so that there is some connection between the first reading (usually from the Old Testament) and the gospel. The second reading stands alone and like these extracts from first Corinthians usually gives us more of a continuous extract from the letter being used.
When we listen to the readings each Sunday we are in the mode of Samuel in our response. Our set responses clearly emphasise this mindset with our “Thanks be to God” at the end of the first two readings and “praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ” at the end of the gospel. We are grateful that God has spoken at least in our programmed responses.
However, we need to check that we are truly grateful and to check that we are receiving what is said and taking it on board as a guide to our lives. What Paul says today about sex among unmarried people (fornication) would be regarded as quaint and unrealistic by modern western developed societies. What God says about our bodies not being our own in fact that we are not our own would similarly be rejected by many but especially by those who advocate that unborn infants can be killed. The chant is that it is the woman’s body to do with it what she chooses. God’s word simply says this is not true. Even the body of the mother is not hers to do with what she chooses. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are not our own property; we have been bought and paid for. So we are to use our bodies for the glory of God.
The voices of our society often sound louder and are more insistent than the voice of the Lord who loves us and calls us. Still, it is his voice that is the voice of reason and wisdom not the others. Let us listen and act on what we hear.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Feb 12, 2015
|2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 18.01.2015