Readings 20150118

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

GOD CALLING

“Here I am. You called me.” —1 Samuel 3:5
The Lord starts this new year by calling us as He called Samuel, Andrew, and Simon Peter. He is calling us to join Him:

not in a superficial way, but to love Him with all our hearts (Mt 22:37),
in a Christian community of the others whom He has called, and
in waking up and renewing a sleeping Church (see 1 Sm 3:2-3).
We must accept all three aspects of the Lord’s call, or we have rejected His call. Some say they’ve given their lives to Jesus, but are not willing to share their lives with other members of Christ’s body, the Church. Others are working in parish renewal but are still compromised with the world and not totally living for Jesus. Christ’s call is three-fold — to accept Him, to accept true community life in His body, the Church, and to accept responsibility to help renew this broken body.

Jesus is turning around, noticing us following Him, and asking us: “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38) Our answers should be: “We’re looking for a total commitment to You, community life in Your Church, and renewal for Your Church.” Then Jesus says: “Come and see” (Jn 1:39).

Prayer: Father, “speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sm 3:10). Promise: “You must know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is within — the Spirit you have received from God. You are not your own. You have been purchased, and at a price. So glorify God in your body.” —1 Cor 6:19-20 Praise: Praise Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life! (Jn 11:25) I will sing Your praises for all eternity. (For related teaching, order our booklet, Christian Home-Based Communities.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Who is Jesus for you? John calls Jesus the Lamb of God and thus signifies Jesus’ mission as the One who redeems us from our sins. The blood of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12) delivered the Israelites from their oppression in Egypt and from the plague of death. The Lord Jesus freely offered up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7). The blood which he poured out for us on the cross cleanses, heals, and frees us from our slavery to sin and from the “wages of sin which is death” (Romans 6:23) and the “destruction of both body and soul in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Jesus is the Lamb of God who sacrificed his life to atone for our sins
It is significant that John was the son of the priest, Zachariah, who participated in the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple for the sins of the people (Exodus 29). In Jesus John saw the true and only sacrifice which could deliver us from bondage to sin, death, and the powers of hell. How did John know the true identity of Jesus, as the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 1:29)? The Holy Spirit revealed to John Jesus’ true nature, such that John bore witness that this is the Son of God. How can we be certain that Jesus is truly the Christ, the Son of the living God? The Holy Spirit makes the Lord Jesus Christ known to us through the gift of faith. God gives us freely of his Spirit that we may comprehend – with enlightened minds and eyes of faith – the great mystery and plan of God to unite all things in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus asks us – “What are you looking for”?
John in his characteristic humility was eager to point beyond himself to the Christ. He did not hesitate to direct his own disciples to the Lord Jesus. When two of John’s disciples began to seek Jesus out, Jesus took the initiative to invite them into his company. He did not wait for them to get his attention. Instead he met them halfway. He asked them one of the most fundamental questions of life: “What are you looking for?” Jesus asks each one of us the same question: “What are you searching for? Do you know the meaning and purpose for your life?” Only God, the Father and Author of life, can answer that question and make our purpose fully known to us. That is why the Lord Jesus invites each one of us to draw near to himself. He wants us to know him personally – to know what he came to do for us and what he wants to offer us.
“Come and see” – the Lord Jesus personally draws each of us to himself
“Come and see” is the Lord’s invitation for each one of us to discover the joy of friendship and communion with the One who made us in love for love. Saint Augustine of Hippo reminds us that it is God, our Creator and Redeemer, who seeks us out, even when we are not looking for him: “If you hadn’t been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One who called you when you were opposed to Him make it possible for you to turn back?” It is God who initiates and who draws us to himself. Without his mercy and help we could not find him on our own.

When we find something of great value it’s natural to want to share the good news of our discovery with our family, friends, and neighbors. When Andrew met Jesus and discovered that he was truly the Messiah, he immediately went to his brother Simon and told him the good news. Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus so he could “come and see” for himself. When Jesus saw Simon approaching he immediately reached out to Simon in the same way he had done for Andrew earlier. Jesus looked at Simon and revealed that he knew who Simon was and where he came from even before Simon had set his eyes on Jesus. Jesus gave Simon a new name which signified that God had a personal call and mission for him. Jesus gave Simon the name “Cephas” which is the Aramaic word for “rock”. Cephas is translated as Peter (Petros in Greek and Petrus in Latin) which also literally means “rock”.

Christ builds his church with living stones
To call someone a “rock” was one of the greatest compliments in the ancient world. The rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: “I have discovered a rock to found the world upon.” Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was – the Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5).
Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith to know the Lord Jesus personally, power to live the gospel faithfully, and courage to witness the truth and joy of the Gospel to others. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to draw us to himself. Do you seek to grow in the knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus Christ, fill me with the power of your Holy Spirit that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Let your Spirit be aflame in my heart that I may joyfully seek to do your will in all things.”

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