Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 17, 2021)

1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19.  1 Cor 6:13 – 15, 17- 20. John 1:35 – 42

The first week of Ordinary Time began last Monday following the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This coming weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Throughout these Sunday readings, we will see harmony in the themes emerging, especially between the Old Testament text and the Gospel. Our readings for this Sunday make this evident. The first reading tells us of the call of Samuel and this theme of call is echoed in the Gospel when two disciples of John the Baptist, one being Andrew, decide to follow Jesus.

Today’s reading from the Gospel according to John, brings John the Baptist before us, standing with two of his disciples. John, often seen as a solitary figure, wondering in the wilderness, gives testimony about Jesus and identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God. Jesus having been baptized by his cousin John, begins to gather followers for the first time, actually taking the disciples of John. They seemed willing to go with Jesus because of the testimony and witness of John, who always pointed out, “Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am.”

We learn in today’s reading how the first two followers of Jesus were ‘caught’.

One was Andrew, and there was another unnamed man.  These, having spent some time with Jesus, from four o’clock and for the remainder of the day, began to glimpse that Jesus was no ordinary man. This was a mere first step of realization for these two disciples.

This has been my personal experience also. I was introduced to Jesus as a child through baptism and recommitted to that initiation when I made profession as a Dominican. And now, and after fifty years, I am still discovering in ever deepening ways, the reality of a God, whose extreme love gave us Jesus incarnate. I am grateful for this grace daily.

I really like Andrew, who, with some excitement, runs off to tell his brother Simon, “We have found the Messiah” –  the Anointed one. During these days of Covid 19 restrictions, doing less driving and staying within the five kilometres limit, I have been walking, with one of my brothers. This has given us the opportunity for a weekly walk (2 meters apart!) rich conversation and chat. This helps me understand why, Andrew, wanted to share the news of the most significant person he has ever met, with his brother. He brought Simon along, and Jesus, looked hard at him and said, “You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas” – meaning Rock. Jesus really benefits from the relationships John developed with his disciples, and, trusting John’s judgement, calls his disciples to an awakening and intimacy with our triune God of love.

Jesus invited Andrew and his companion to “Come and see.” In these days of the Covid 19 pandemic, maybe, we are invited to do the same. Pope Francis in his book Let us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, tells us that in these times of restrictions we have more space to contemplate and to create room for an encounter with the truth.  Pope Francis in the same book speaks of the fruits of a crisis, “patience, sprinkled with a healthy sense of humour, which allows us to endure and make space for change to happen.” 

Today’s readings are inviting us to go within. Ours is a continuous call to intimacy and so to come to an ever deepening encounter with Jesus. And these days of restriction provide a unique opportunity.

Sr. Fionnuala Quinn O.P.

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