Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
January 14, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading 1 Sm 3:3b-10,19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, "Here I am."
Samuel ran to Eli and said, "Here I am. You called me."
"I did not call you, " Eli said. "Go back to sleep."
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
"Here I am, " he said. "You called me."
But Eli answered, "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, "Here I am. You called me."
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, "Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening."
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!"
Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10

R/. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.


I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God. R/.

Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."R/.

"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!" R/.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. R/.

Second Reading 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. 

Alleluia Jn 1:41,17b

Gospel Jn 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" — which translated means Teacher —,
"where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas" — which is translated Peter.

Catena Nova

Having recognized the prophet foretold by the prophets, Andrew led his brother to the one he had found. To Peter, who was still in ignorance, he revealed the treasure: “We have found the Messiah” for whom we were longing. How many sleepless nights we spent beside the waters of the Jordan, and now we have found the one for whom we longed! Nor was Peter slow when he heard these words, for he was Andrew’s brother. He listened attentively, then hastened with great eagerness. Taking Peter with him, Andrew brought his brother to the Lord, thus making him his fellow-disciple. This was Andrew’s first achievement: he increased the number of the apostles by bringing Peter to Christ, so that Christ might find in him the disciples’ leader (Basil of Seleucia).

We are now called to tell others, like John, who Jesus is and why he has come to us from God so that they might receive and follow him…. Our task is to lead others to him so that they too may be given eternal life and be reconciled with God …. Show salvation by your lives and all will see the goodness and glory revealed to us in Jesus Christ. All will be members of the redeemed flock of God (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

John was such a friend of the Bridegroom that he did not seek his own glory, he simply bore witness to the truth (Jn 3:29.26). Did he dream of keeping back his disciples and preventing them from following the Lord? Not in the least. He himself showed them the one they were to follow …. So Jesus showed them where He was living, they went and stayed with Him. What a happy day they spent! What a blessed night! Who can say what it was they heard from the Lord’s mouth? Let us, too, build a dwelling in our hearts, construct a house where Christ can come to teach and converse with us (St Augustine of Hippo).

Christian, remember your dignity and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom. Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ (Pope St. Leo the Great).
John, the Baptist, sees the God who is made human as lamb and bridegroom at the starting point of his road of salvation .... We are the happy ones who have washed our clothing in his blood, and have been called to his wedding-feast. We are bride, the spouse; to us have the shining garments been given to put on. We are pure now, we are transformed, and part of the flock of the shepherd of heaven. We had gone aimlessly over the hills for long ages; now we are brought back to the shepherd and the guardian of our life. The lamb has paid the price for his sheep. The lamb has been plunged into Jordan; his fleece is wet with its waters; The royal mark is on his forehead, and his wounds send forth blessings everywhere. The sacraments grow up like meadows about him, and his sheep come to the banquet which is his (Aemiliana Löhr).
Just as the Lamb had to be killed to be raised upon the throne of glory, so the path to glory leads through suffering and the cross for everyone chosen to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. All who want to be married to the Lamb must allow themselves to be fastened to the cross with him. Everyone marked by the blood of the Lamb is called to this, and that means all the baptized. But not everyone understands the call and follows it (St. Edith Stein/Benedicta of the Cross).
Jesus is called the Lamb: He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Someone might think: but how can a lamb, which is so weak, a weak little lamb, how can it take away so many sins, so much wickedness? With Love. With his meekness. Jesus never ceased being a lamb: meek, good, full of love, close to the little ones, close to the poor. He was there, among the people, healing everyone, teaching, praying. Jesus, so weak, like a lamb…. He came for this: to forgive, to make peace in the world, but first in the heart. Perhaps each one of us feels troubled in his heart, perhaps he experiences darkness in his heart, perhaps he feels a little sad over a fault.... He has come to take away all of this, He gives us peace, he forgives everything. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away sin”: he takes away sin, it’s root and all! This is salvation Jesus brings about by his love and his meekness. And in listening to what John the Baptist says, who bears witness to Jesus as the Saviour, our confidence in Jesus should grow.  (Pope Francis).



     One question I hate to answer is, "What made you become a priest?"  For one thing, I don't entirely know.  True, I "played Mass" as a kid — though I was never an altar boy.  I showed some interest in religion class when I was in Sixth Grade, but when I got to Eighth Grade — and was no angel — my lowest grade —  a C+— was in religion.  Things changed a lot in high school, partly due to some answered prayers for which I went to daily Mass one Lent in thanksgiving, but didn't stop when Easter came.  I also began to devour books I picked up at the semi-annual rummage sales (that the priests and nuns were getting rid of along with their collars and habits).  My grade in religion would definitely have improved — except I went to a public high school!
    My parish was also an amazing place that nurtured faith and a sense of community.  Believe it or not, at one point there were as many 50 high school students attending daily Mass at 6:45am.  And I was involved in everything that was going on during several years of intense engagement with "the church."  So the seminary was a natural destination upon graduation.  
    But all that doesn't finally answer the question, any more than if I were to turn around and ask, "What made you marry your spouse?"  "Or what made you choose the work you do?"   There will always be something indefinable about the choices we make in life which have shaped our identity — whether we think of them as serendipitous, synchronistic, or providential.  
     Hopefully, whatever path we have taken in life has been the result of a discernment that has kept regrets to a minimum.  Which is not to say we may have felt called to make some significant course corrections along the way, but here too, ideally with careful discernment.  And even more importantly, because there was a Voice you heard, however faintly, nudging you in one direction or another — a Voice that speaks to us in a variety of ways.  
     For we don't often hear that mysterious Voice audibly as Samuel did.  (I think that's what people expect when they ask me that question).  No, most of us don't get that kind of messaging from the Voice.  And even if we did, well, just like Samuel we might not recognize it.  Even John the Baptist had a hard time with recognition.  He who was commissioned to witness the Christ among us had to strain to see and hear the Lamb of God.  
     For in an unfortunate omission, between the passage from the Gospel of John we heard in Advent, in which he testified he was not the Christ and those who asked did not know him, to today 's passage, there lies the following admission from the Baptist which he made twice: I myself did not know him (1:31 and 33).  He needed that Voice to tell him, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit  (33).  Only then could his own disciples begin to follow Jesus instead and lead others to him. 
     The same could be said for some libertine Corinthians who misconstrued Paul's teaching about justification by faith alone and not by works, to think that morality had gone out the window along with the Law of Moses.  Such misunderstandings were easy to make.  So the apostle had to insist on the holiness of Christ's body in his members such that they were temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore Christian behavior was indeed governed by the same standards they found in him for whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him (II).
     But we all know it's not a simple matter to live in such a way that we do not permit any word of God to be without effect (cf. I).  Sometime we might not even recognize something that's facing us square in the face!  That's why we have spiritual directors and teachings like St. Ignatius of Loyola's Rules for Discernment to guide us in our decision-making not to mention the voices of Scripture and Tradition - -all serving the role of Eli to Samuel encouraging us to say, Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening (I). 
And the same must be said for the church at large.  For example, Pope Francis' two-part synod on how to make us better listeners as a church is just what you might expect from a Jesuit Pope schooled in St. Ignatius' teaching.  And it's why the bishops of the United States are suggesting dioceses conduct two or three diocesan-wide listening sessions during Lent that "include voices that may not have been heard in earlier stages of the Synod."  The sessions are supposed to revolve around the following questions:
  • “Where have I seen or experienced successes—and distresses—within the Church’s structure(s)/organization/leadership/life that encourage or hinder the mission?”
  • “How can the structures and organization of the Church help all the baptized to respond to the call to proclaim the Gospel and to live as a community of love and mercy in Christ?”
     This coming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is another reminder of how much, or how little, we have discerned of the Lord's Voice in the process of restoring the Christian family to full communion with one another, making us who are nourished by the one heavenly Bread one in mind and heart (cf. Prayer after Communion).  
      Now I certainly hope the bishops are serious about listening to "all the baptized" and are willing to reform the church's "structures and organization" where these hinder the Gospel so we can truly "live as a community of love and mercy."  (Their words, not mine).  But I fear such things bear little fruit beyond a few feel-good moments before things get back to business as usual and like Samuel we go back to sleep.  But the Voice does have a way, sooner or later, in one way or another, of having its effect, doesn't it?   

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the grace of recognition: that we may quiet our hearts and minds so that we may perceive God’s presence and invitations through the words of scripture and our daily experiences.

For all who are discerning their life’s calling: that they, like Samuel, may say: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” and offer their gifts and talents for the glory of God and the service of others.

For Christian Unity: that we who are the Temple of God and Body of Christ may grow in our understanding of each other and cooperate in announcing God’s love and forgiveness as we work to overcome evil and injustice.

For the healing of the human family: that the Spirit of God will heal the wounds of prejudice and racism, and build communities of trust and justice.

For a spirit of stewardship: that we may care for and maintain God’s creation so that God may be honored by its beauty and the uses of its resources.

For all who are suffering: that God will heal the sick, guide those seeking employment, protect the homeless, and comfort the grieving.

For all who are bound by additions: that God will free them from the drugs, alcohol, pornography, or violence which holds them and guide them into the freedom that comes with being a child of God.

For healing of our nation: that God will heal the divisions in our country, guide all elected officials in fulfilling their duties, and help them to work selflessly for the common good.

From our earliest days, O God, you call us by name. Make our ears attentive to your voice, our spirits eager to respond, that, having heard you in Jesus your anointed one, we may draw others to be his disciples. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.(ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon

Offertory Hymn (Words: William Blake/Music: John Tavener)


Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Gave thee life, and bid thee feed

By the stream and o’er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, woolly, bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice?

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?


Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb.

He is meek, and he is mild;

He became a little child.

I, a child, and thou a lamb,

We are called by his name.

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Little Lamb, God bless thee!



Closing Hymn (Words: John L. Bell & Graham Maule)


 "Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?  Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?  Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,

 will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?"

 "Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?  Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same? Will you risk the hostile stare,

should your life attract or scare?  Will you let me answer pray'r in you and you in me?"

 "Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?  Will you set the pris'ners free and never be the same?  Will you kiss the leper clean,

 and do such as this unseen, and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?"

 "Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?  Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?  Will you use the faith you've found

 to reshape the world around, through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?"

 Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.  Let me turn and follow you and never be the same. In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show.  Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.