In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 14, God calls Samuel, the first apostles and all of us to live most fully through our relationship with God. God calls each of us by name, and we learn to listen, follow and respond.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 14, God continues the theme of invitation that was begun in the readings from last week’s Epiphany readings. Our first reading shows how God calls even the young, like Samuel, and how important it is to have good mentors like Eli to help discern what is being asked of us. Our second reading is a wonderful reminder that our bodies are good and holy, and made for God’s glory. God chooses to live in us, making us temples of God’s Holy Spirit. This means that we have a great responsibility to care for ourselves and to use our lives in God’s service. The Gospel recalls the falling back of John the Baptist, and the coming forward of Jesus’ ministry. Andrew recognized Jesus’ specialness right away, and responded immediately to his invitation to “come and see.” After spending just a little time with Jesus, Andrew began to gather others to share in what he had found — the Messiah — the hope of Israel. Every time we hear God’s invitation and answer it, we are drawn deeper into greatness and become more fully human, and more fully alive.
1 Samuel 3:3B-10, 19
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
1 Corinthians 6:13C-15A, 17-20
Therefore glorify God in your body.
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
We are called. Today’s readings echo God’s invitation to us; to learn to hear and recognize Jesus, to honor God with our bodies, and to follow and spend time with God. In the first reading, God called young Samuel by name while he was sleeping. Without knowing what the call meant, Samuel was ready to go. He came back with, “Here I am!” Not knowing how to interpret this call, he looked to Eli, his boss in the Temple. Eli didn’t get it at first, either. Eventually, Eli realized it was God, and taught Samuel how to respond — with a simple, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” This is what made Samuel grow up to be a great prophet; that he began by listening.
The second reading is a call to remember who we are: temples of the Holy Spirit. We were given bodies to use to interact with the world and to glorify God with our actions. God gifted us with our bodies, and then made them holy when we got off track. Our bodies are integral to who we are, but we have to remember that our bodies are not just our own — they belong to the One who created them. We belong to God.
John the Baptist, knowing that Jesus’ arrival meant that his job of announcing the Messiah was winding down, brings his disciples’ attention to Jesus and his title — Lamb of God. This title was a sign of the sacrifice that he would make on the cross, and was a clue for the people of Jesus’ role in salvation. Andrew understood that Jesus was important immediately, and wanted to spend time with him. When asking where he was staying, Jesus invites them to, “Come, and you will see.” It’s as easy as that. Come. We are called, we are invited. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gives him a new name, Peter. When we respond to God’s call, like Samuel and Simon Peter, we become more fully who we’re meant to be, and we can be prepared to answer, “Here I am.” and, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Do you ever hear God calling you? Who helps you to recognize God’s voice? How do you respond to God’s call? How do you live as a temple of the Holy Spirit? How does it affect the choices you make, and the way you care for yourself? What is spending time with God like for you? Where does Jesus invite you to “come and see”? If Jesus was going to change your name, what do you think he would add to it?
What would you say if God spoke to you like he did to Samuel? Who helps you to know how to talk to God?
Paul tells us that we are built for holiness, and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Since God is part of us, and we are part of the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to live in a way that looks beyond ourselves. What does this say about how you should treat your body? What does it say about how we should treat other people’s bodies? What are some practical ways you could improve the way you treat your body (diet, exercise, the way you dress, the way you relate to others), making it a more fit home for God?
Samuel had Eli, Andrew had John the Baptist, and Simon Peter had Andrew to help them hear their invitation from God to “come and see.” Who has helped you to hear God’s invitation? What things has Jesus invited you to come and see? What did you find?
Bonus Question for all three groups:
God loves changing people’s names like Jesus did with Simon Peter. If God was going to change your name, what would it be? What would it mean?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”