First reading 1 Samuel 3:3-10,19

‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’

Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord, where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
  The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’
  Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground.
 

Responsorial Psalm 39(40):2,4,7-10

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 
I waited, I waited for the Lord
  and he stooped down to me;
  he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
  praise of our God.
 
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
  but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
  Instead, here am I.
 
In the scroll of the book it stands written
  that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
  in the depth of my heart.
 
Your justice I have proclaimed
  in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
  you know it, O Lord.
 

Second reading 1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20

Do not sin against your own body

The body is not meant for fornication: it is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God, who raised the Lord from the dead, will by his power raise us up too.
  You know, surely, that your bodies are members making up the body of Christ; do you think I can take parts of Christ’s body and join them to the body of a prostitute? Never! But anyone who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
  Keep away from fornication. All the other sins are committed outside the body; but to fornicate is to sin against your own body. Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.
 

Gospel John 1:35-42

‘We have found the Messiah’

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.
  One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.
 

Reflection

The mood of today’s readings is captured, as usual, by the Responsorial Psalm. The author is feeling alone, desolate, somewhat paralysed and desperate – the way we can sometimes feel. He wants God to speak to him, but there is only silence. If God is speaking, he certainly can’t hear it. It is though his ear is blocked.

Then one day God stoops down and carves a way through his blocked ear so that he can hear God speaking to him. At long last from his yearning soul comes the cry: ‘Here I am. I delight in your word in the depths of my heart!’

In today’s Second Reading, Saint Paul speaks of God’s will in regard to the way we give expression to our sexual energy.

Paul is warning against hurtful, dysfunctional, irresponsible, and therefore sinful, abuse of this God-given and powerful energy. What we say with our body should be in harmony with what we are saying with our heart and with our soul and spirit.

Our sexual drive is not there so that we can experience some dead-end, narcissistic gratification. It is not there to give us power over others, either to seduce or to use them. It calls us out of ourselves to reach out to another to receive and to give love. Ultimately, of course, it is an expression of our longing for God.

In today’s Gospel the first disciples are keen to get to know Jesus. When they approach him he asks them a penetrating question: ‘What are you looking for?’ They want to be with him. They want to experience that spring of living water welling up in them to eternal life.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon when they went off with him and they stayed the rest of the day. Jesus said once: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God’. Yes, and they shall see themselves and others, too, with that special clarity and wonder that belong to the pure in heart.

This was something Jesus’ disciples learned from him. Some begin early the journey of learning to love in a pure way. Others come to him at the 11th hour. It is never too late to go to him and to seek from him a share in his purity of heart.

Fr Michael Fallon msc