Reflections on the Gospel: John 1,35-42 – Discovering God’s Call in Everyday Life

2024-01-13 19:56:49

A reflection upon the Scripture readings for the second Sunday of the year in the Latin liturgy. Gospel passage – John 1,35-42

Gospel Commentary John 1,35-42 – Audio

Fr. Jinu Jacob, Vatican City

After the feast of the birth of Jesus and the feast of the baptism we are resuming the journey of normal time. Christian feasts are not things that we should pass by without knowing in the flow of time, but their true meaning is revealed when they become a part of our lives, changing and forming a new formation in us. In this way, today’s readings offer us an invitation to listen to the call of Christ in our daily lives and to respond to that call.

The plot of today’s readings is that God calls the young Samuel in the first reading, Paul the Apostle reveals his faithfulness to the God who called him in the second reading through his life and life, and reveals the path of discipleship by inviting the first disciples to his divine experience.

Among the various names given to God in Scripture is one of the most important: the Caller. In the book of the prophet Isaiah and in the psalms, there are mentions of God calling by name on various occasions. The word also underlines a special task that God who calls by name expects from those who are called. But this is not something imposing and burdensome, but a call to find joy in Him by being faithful to our personality.

In today’s first reading, the word introduces us to the prophet Samuel. Samuel begins his life in a situation where the Philistines, who had arrived from the Aegean islands for more than a century, settled on the coast, occupied the fertile plains of the land of Canaan, and forced Israel to live in the dry and rocky mountains. It was during this transition from social and political confusion to the emergence of monarchy that Samuel was called by the Lord to lead the people.

The Word also says that visions were rare in those days. Samuel is chosen to understand the plans of the Lord and to inform Israel. But God himself had prepared a person to help him recognize this calling and to grasp it in his heart. A strange saying can be taken for our consideration. Samuel did not know the Lord, and His word was not revealed to him” (verse 7). It is surprising that this boy who spent many years in Shiloh temple did not know the Lord yet. This difficulty in knowing God is not surprising, because this verse also reveals to us the fact that it is not easy to understand the thoughts and enter into the plans of the Lord.

But God calls Samuel to fulfill His plans. The time it takes for Samuel to recognize God’s voice is also very meaningful. God waits for our time to understand the closeness of the One who calls us by name and to dedicate our lives to fulfilling His will. Samuel faithfully responded to his call. The great lesson that the first reading points to us is the same among the many voices that echo, even if it takes time to recognize God’s voice, if we recognize it, it is our call to stick faithfully to him.

The cost of this call is revealed to us by Saint Paul in the second reading. Paul Schlieha told the people of Corinth, who heard the name of the ritual authorities who staged the thoughts of moral decay that ‘everything is permissible’, from his experience, the need to have a great realization that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Paul Schlieha reminds those who have received the right to be children of Christ by accepting baptism, to live according to his call. Sex is only for the satisfaction of physical needs. Shliha conveys the great lesson that it cannot be reduced, but that God has given it as a gift to express love and give oneself.

We understand the fulfillment of this love through today’s Gospel reading. John the Evangelist presents the call of the first apostles as a call to the fellowship of love. The scene of the call is the banks of the Jordan River. John the Baptist’s words, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’, were not mere words of beauty or material praise but an expression of the hope and love he had experienced since Jesus’ baptism. Even the Greek verb emblepain, which the evangelist uses to describe the Baptist’s understanding of Jesus, is significant. Not to stare, but to look inside and think about the depth of a person.

The voice of the Baptist’s words is the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, “Like a lamb to the slaughter, like a goat silent before the shearers, he was numbered with the wicked, indeed he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for sinners.”

Then the evangelist describes the calling of the first disciples. Jesus’ words to his two followers are: “What are you looking for?” What are you looking for? The basic question for every man and woman is: What are you looking for? That is: What do you want from your life? How would you like to spend your existence? What are you running after? This question is suggested to every disciple who begins his spiritual journey after accepting Jesus as his teacher. He must ask himself what he expects from Christ. Then these two disciples set off to pass on to others what they had experienced after meeting him, living with him and gaining a deeper understanding of his personality.

Today’s reading gives us a call to become advocates of this evangelization that began two thousand years ago. May we be able to enter into the side of Jesus with joy, accept his invitation and be with him, and drink his sweetness.

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