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Contents: Volume 2 - 2nd SUNDAY (B)
- January 17, 2021





1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)





Sun. 2 B 2021

Our first and third readings are about "being called" by God to work in the kingdom here on earth. Sometimes as with Samuel, it takes a while to recognize that call. Other times as with the apostles, it prompts an immediate reply and positive action.

We believe that God does the initiating of this call. After that, most things around "the call" seem to get complicated. I am reminded of the refrain from the hymn "Anthem" and commend it to you for reflection on this complexity:

  • We are called, we are chosen.
  • We are Christ for one another.
  • We are promised to tomorrow,
  • while we are for him today.
  • We are sign, we are wonder.
  • We are sower, we are seed.
  • We are harvest, we are hunger.
  • We are question, we are creed.

It is still close enough to the new year and "resolutions" to question if any spiritual resolutions might be slipping away already, especially during the pandemic! For me, reflecting on this refrain and the details of our two scriptural stories, is a chance to review my efforts toward doing the Lord's work. Checking in with other reliable believers and "staying" with the Lord to listen to him need to be a greater part of my regular routine. Mentoring and bringing others closer to Jesus is also part of the call.

Even though we wonder, question, and hunger ourselves, each of us has been called. We have already been empowered for our task through our Baptism. Let us pray for one another that we may make the time to listen to the Lord. Let us take small steps and larger ones, with one another as we are able, on our journey of faith and action.

These are extraordinary times throughout the world right now. The tension and unrest throughout the United States where I live, for example, goes beyond words, especially when we see even Christians so markedly divided. Calmness and peacefulness are not beyond the power of prayer, however. Our agenda must match the Lord's Plans for peace, inclusion, and unity. Let us all remember the beatitudes and to whom the heavenly kingdom ultimately belongs.


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Second Sunday of Ordered Time January 17, 2021

1st Samuel 3:3-10 & 19; Responsorial Psalm 40; 1st Corinthians 6:13-15 & 17-20; Gospel Acclamation John 1:41 & 17; John 1:35-42

It seems unfair that in this liturgical year of Matthew’s gospel, in the very second week of Ordered Time liturgy planners inserted a selection from the Gospel of John. It seems like a disrespect of Matthew. What is so important about this Sunday that we deviate?

The first Sunday of Ordered Time gave us the story of the Baptism of Jesus. That baptism was not a baptism of repentance. Those thousands of Jews who came to the river Jordan to hear John the Baptist speak and to be washed symbolically and sacramentally came because they were looking for something. It was not that they had come seeking power. John was the very image of humility. It was not that they were looking for wealth. John wore animal skins cinched with a leather belt. It was not that they came looking for confirmation of slick beauty or examples of great grooming. John had not had a haircut, or his nails done in forever. What had they come looking for? Those who came to John and stayed to be baptized as a sign and commitment of rejection of sin there was a resolve to live according to a higher standard. Their experience of John, his preaching, and his baptism led them to a firm purpose of amending their lives in accordance with their faith.

We know Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God/Son of Man person not prone to sin. He came to John at a turning point in his life. He had been moved in his heart to leave behind carpentry and to start out on a mission that would be a more complete answer to the reason thousands went into the desert to hear John. This baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of his ministry. Even the most insincere, the most ignorant, the most unthinking, the least religious person among us would judge Jesus as making this commitment for his own benefit. It was not the lure of a stressless life, living supported by contributions from faithful followers, having no concerns for food, shelter, or health care. Jesus was not seeking the adulations of crowds or the sycophant bowing and scraping compliant disciples. Jesus was in this to reveal God for us and who that God was and is. After this baptism Jesus heads out to the desert to pray and to reflect on the work he was about to engage. After many days and nights of prayer, of fasting, and of review of Hebrew Scriptures he came to understand the arc of his calling. He knew he was to be the one who fulfilled the promises of Hebrew prophets and the arc of the history of his people. How was he to achieve this great awakening and revelation of God’s loving kindness, God’s unbounded mercy, and the compassion of God’s heart for his creation? The temptations compared the achievement of God’s goal for him in the light of the ways of the world. Those time proven ways of the world with which the devil tempted Jesus was the use of power, of wealth, and of fame that comes from entertainment, magic, and free food. But Jesus knew the ways of the world have no lasting effect to satisfy the human heart. The human heart, the human mind experiences brokenness. Jesus’ work is always about healing, about enabling the person to grow into his/her potential. Jesus work is always, always and forever about creating a community where persons may flourish, may learn, may come to understanding and wisdom because of the care, the love, and support of that community. The truth of life is in his mission. The way to achieving his mission is in his methodology. The life of those who accept his mission is living as the Creator included in each creature.

So why this gospel reading from John in the liturgical year of Matthew? This selection from John’s gospel has to do with us. It is no mere story, a nice rendering of an encounter between Jesus and a couple of fishermen. The story is about us and our encounter with Jesus. Each of us has such an encounter when we come to wanting more than the world has to give. When we have experienced the emptiness of the way of the world, we are ready to seek the Lord who is on watch to find us looking.

John sets the scene surrounding the Baptist. Two men had come to John, attracted by his message. As they were listening to John speak, John directed their attention to Jesus who was walking by. "Behold the Lamb of God." That is a strange statement for us these two thousand years later. Lamb of God? What that means to us is wrapped up in images from European artists and from the homilies of thousands of preachers. Often it is an image of gentleness, of peace, and often referring not so much to the lamb as to the shepherd. For the faith-practicing Jew, it conjured an image of the lamb slaughtered for its blood to be painted on the lintels of the doors of the Hebrews enslaved in Egypt. It was that blood that saved them from the angel of death: it was that lamb’s flesh that became the nourishment for the escape of those Hebrew tribes the day after the slaughter. It was, however, even more than that. Once again when the Jews were enslaved – this time in Babylon a thousand years after the Exodus from Egypt – it was the prophet Isaiah who preaches/writes of the lamb of God, the servant of God who suffers for the sake of the people. The Hebrew word for lamb is also the word used for servant. In Isaiah, it is this suffering servant who effects the freedom of the nation. It is through his suffering, though his work, through the expending of his life, the pouring out of his blood that the nation is freed. The stories of Hebrew enslavement and release to freedom is essentially the experience of all persons who hunger for more than the world has to give. How easily we are enslaved by those who manipulate truth for their own ends! How easily we are attracted by Madison Avenue marketing to believe this or that thing will bring us fulfillment and lasting happiness! How easily we are dragged into believing that power and wealth are the great answers to our deepest desires! How we envy those whose fame opens doors to all the wonders of the world! The two great liberations of the Hebrews, the Jews were precursors to the greatest liberation of all nations and peoples and races and traditions. That is ultimately what happens when Jesus completes his mission. In every liberation humans experience, it is God who initiates, it is God whose loving kindness explodes in help to remove oppression, to eliminate slavery. Hearts and minds are changed initiating life that is more than dreams and myths springing from empty visions and fantasies of hope. Again, in this liberation by Jesus, it is the spilling of blood that happens when the very last drop of energy, of effort, is expended, is poured out. It is the work of the Cross so completely completed by Jesus that makes possible the freedom of our hearts and minds. The way of the world oppresses us, occupies us, and misleads us. So very much like the tentacles of cancer spreading through a body that chocks life out of our bodies and our spirits. Even though we live in the world, achieve according to the world, and use influence and power and wealth to achieve, we have been freed from slavery to the ways of the world. The message is that it is compassion, mercy, and unconditional love that saves us from such slavery. It is pouring out our lives that accomplishes the fulfillment of spirit that we were created to achieve – through the intervention of that Father, that Creator, that great lover of us all.

Listen carefully to John’s gospel! The two disciples of John follow after Jesus, not knowing how to approach him. Jesus turns to them, reaches out to them. Isn’t this what God does for us? Aren’t we constantly hearing his call – from liturgy, from family members, from our community, from out nation, from our world, from the universe? He asks the question: "What are you looking for?" What is our answer? We all respond depending on where we are in our growth or decay as persons. At first, we seek acceptance, then recognition, then acquiring and amassing wealth, power, and fame. Is that what we are looking for? Do any of those matters satisfy us and allow us to settle down and grow? Which of these is so lasting that we need not seek more? When we achieve that emptiness, we, like those two disciples, ask where do you live? Where are you, Jesus, where is your house? Then comes that vague response, "Come and see."

The first reading from the book of Samuel tells us how we start being disciples. We hear the voice of the Lord in the night. Why in the night? Night is a time of quiet. Sometimes it is the time of great fear as we cannot see what may be lurking just outside our doors. Night is the time of desperation. Many are the persons who die in the night – physically as well as spiritually. In that darkness we are called. But, like Samuel, we need someone to help us discern the source of the voice. Is it the evil one? Is it the Spirit of God? Who can help us? We have got to come and see where Jesus dwells.

We are only in the second week of ordered time. In that week, following Jesus’ commitment, we are called to share in that ministry. There are those among us who are destined to be leaders as was Simon, the one renamed Peter. His is the role of being the rock, the center of faith where we moor our life’s vessels. It is not Peter who is the rock, it is the faith of Peter that is the rock that preserves us from the storms and movements of the world.

On the feast of the Epiphany our nation experienced a terrible truth. We saw an attempt to destroy the foundation of our nation. That foundation is the Constitution which is formed on the principle that all people are created equal. Racism is often used to divide us and is contrary to "all people are created equal." Racism, victimhood, haves verses have nots are divisions that run contrary to the principles of union and equality. That awful, organized mob was divisive, destructive, and sought to murder our leadership in the interests of installing a dictatorship. Despite great efforts at promoting the truth of an election, the dictator-in-waiting declared unsubstantiated fraud and theft of an election. Yet every effort to achieve standing for this lie was denied in the courts for lack of evidence.

What is most frightening to persons of faith is that this violence and attempted coup were endorsed by persons claiming to be persons of faith. A cross was erected near the capitol claiming that Jesus saves. There were signs declaring Jesus in support of the mob. Yet, not once in his ministry has Jesus ever been presented as seeking violent overthrow of Roman occupation. Such an effort on the part of Jesus would have been antithetical to his mission of mercy, compassion, and extending the loving kindness of the Father to his creation. Yet many Catholics – including leadership – endorsed a charlatan in his efforts to achieve an authoritarian leadership. Evangelicals supported his efforts, in large part because of the deal Jerry Falwell, Sr. made with Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. That deal was to use the issue of abortion as a way of unifying Christian people into a cause that would bring political leverage. Yet in forty years of this agreement, abortion has not been eliminated.

In this time of terrible conflict, disruption of rational thinking, and misleading commentary we must once again turn to Jesus. In this year of Matthew, let us walk with him on his journey and ministry. We are called not to be followers, merely part of a crowd. We are called to be disciples – students who learn so as to become masters of the words and works of the Lord. In this Jesus, all nations will discover justice and peace. Without seeking the Lord, we will continually fumble, fume, and live in turmoil and violence. This Sunday we are called to be disciples – not mere hearers of the word but doers of the word. It is time once again to "come and see" and learn of the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Carol & Dennis Keller






  • Jesus asks his followers today: ‘What are you looking for?’
  • What do you think he is calling you to be and to do?

The time is the 11th century before Christ. The place is the shrine in the small town of Shiloh in ancient Israel. It houses the ark of God containing the Ten Commandments. The high priest is Eli, now very old and almost blind. A little boy called Samuel is asleep in the shrine. His mother has waited and prayed so long for his arrival, that in gratitude she has given him to the service of the shrine. The child helps with the religious services and looks after Eli, his patron and protector.

Three times in one night the boy hears a voice calling his name: ‘Samuel, Samuel.’ Three times he thinks it’s the old priest calling out to him. Each time the high priest tells him that he did not call him, and sends him back to bed. But on the third occasion Eli instructs the child: ‘if someone calls [you] say, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening".’ This is exactly what Samuel says the fourth time God calls his name.

What faith-filled words they are! In one short sentence they recognise God as the Lord and Master of Samuel’s life, that God is calling him both to be something and to do something. So, in a word, it’s about vocation, a call to do something special for God, or what Mother Teresa of Calcutta has called ‘something beautiful for God’.

Eli’s place in the scheme of things is to introduce others to the Lord and to their new vocation and role. Samuel will grow up to be the last of the great judges in Israel and the first of the king-makers.

In today’s gospel, we see John the Baptist introducing two of his own disciples to Jesus. In doing this, he introduces them to their new future. That future is being with Jesus as his companions and co-workers, and going with him wherever he goes. So John the Baptist has pointed away from himself to Jesus, and is running the first introduction agency for those on the lookout for the Messiah.

One of the two disciples is Andrew. He leaves his leader, John the Baptist, to walk with Jesus, his new leader. But to make this new start he needs the Baptist to point him in the right direction. And what the Baptist does for Andrew, Andrew in turn does for his brother, Simon. He shares his experience with Simon, convinces him that he has just met the Messiah, and introduces Simon to Jesus.

None of us goes on our own to Our Lord. Access to him is always through other people. When we reflect on the beginnings of our own faith in Jesus the Christ, and of our own particular personal relationship with him, we remember the people who introduced us to him. Most of us can think of a particular person, e.g., our mother or father, who enabled us to begin our journey of faith. As a group of Christians we all come to him by way of generations of Christians who have shared their experiences of Jesus. In their turn, they were introduced to him by others. As a popular song puts it: ‘We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us. They are saints and they are humans, they are angels, they are friends.’ The story of Christianity, in fact, is a story of a great chain of witnesses linked back to the beginning, to Jesus himself.

Of course we have to play our part in introducing others to Jesus. If we believe that Jesus is worth knowing, we will bring others into his presence by our quiet personal witness. In that way the Christian faith will keep growing. Because somewhere, someone like the apostle Andrew, someone like you, will be bringing another person to meet Jesus of Nazareth, the Saviour of the World, and to enjoy a lifelong friendship with him.

What an appealing and heart-warming responsibility and opportunity!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <>





Year B: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Come and See."

One of the nice things about being a GP is that, most of the time, people walk in, sit down and tell you what is wrong with them. Sometimes I grant you, they don’t entirely get the jargon correct, or find the right level of concern. Most will call things by the wrong name. Some will underplay serious life-threatening disease; others will make mountains out of spots. But fundamentally, they are doing their level best, according to their lights, to communicate the truths of their physical and mental state.

Not so in children’s casualty. Not so! There, terrible, terrible things can go wrong very, very quickly. And most often, the only reliable sign that something may be about to go dreadfully wrong is that the patient simply stops communicating. So I well remember my six months in the job, now 20 years ago and some of those moments are as vivid in the memory as the sound of this morning’s alarm clock.

One in particular – he was an 11-year-old boy brought in, grey, floppy, silent and miserable and allocated by the senior consultant to my inexpert care.

I took the story from the parents – it revealed little beyond their own level of fear which rendered them almost as inarticulate as their child. I examined every relevant bit, which informed me that I was in the presence of a seriously ill child, but told me nothing about what was making him so ill, or what exactly I should be doing about it. I sent off some blood tests, ordered an x-ray and hoped for enlightenment. An hour later, I was no wiser and no better informed. The parents were near frantic with worry and I was little better myself. All I still knew was that I was responsible for a very sick young man and had no idea what was wrong with him, or what exactly I should be doing about it.

At last, having done – I thought – all that could reasonably be expected of me, I went to my consultant in exactly that hesitant, sideways, crabwise manner that a guilty penitent approaches the confessional. I was just steeling myself to confess my complete failure, ignorance and confusion, when she looked up, saw me coming and asked, "so how are you getting on with that lad with the pneumonia?"

And I realized that what I had been unable to identify in an hour of intense questioning, comprehensive examination and excessive investigation, she had seen, recognised and understood in a casual glance from forty feet away.

That, of course, was the product of her two decades of study, training and experience. And maybe – I wonder - that is also why John the Baptist can see things that others cannot. Many years of love, prayer and experience went in to his ability to see, from the other side of the Jordan, Jesus as the presence and goodness of God in the world.

Let us pray that we too may discover that ability – to see the eyes of faith where God is truly present in the world, to see ourselves as we truly are and to know our place in the kingdom, God’s plans for this world.

Paul O'Reilly, SJ <>





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