Thursday, 15 January 2015

19/1/15 Here I am, Lord!

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B)

Welcome to a little liturgy this week.  As we embark on ordinary time, we see people being called to the service of God.  We are called to his service and promise to do his will in Baptism, just like Samuel and the disciples.  I should put a warning note here for parents with younger children - the Second Reading and discussion cover some aspects of "fornication" - so if you, or your children are not ready for this - look away now!  However, I take the view that they will hear St Paul's reading in church today and, if paying attention, may well ask about the f word! So here goes!  I hope you find something useful this week.  Please do comment if you do, or suggest if you don't.

Summary of Liturgy of the Word

First Reading
Samuel 3:3-10,19
Samuel is asleep and hears someone calling his name.  He thinks it is Eli but eventually after asking Eli several times they realise that it is the Lord.  Eli suggests that next time he hears the voice he should answer "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."  Samuel answered the Lord's call and was protected from then on.

Ps39:2,4,7-10 R.vv.8,9
Here I am, Lord!  I come to do your will.

Second Reading
Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20
St Paul tells us that our physical bodies should be used for the glory of God.  He says that is important that we use them appropriately and not simply for pleasure.  He warns us against "fornication" (treating sex lightly).  

John 1:35-42
John points Jesus out to his disciples as the Messiah.  They are curious and approach Jesus to find out more.  Jesus invites them to come and see where he lives.  They go and spend all day with him.  
The next day Andrew introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus.  Jesus said, "You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas."


A few weeks ago, during Advent, we looked at how Mary, John the Baptist, St Paul and Isaiah were called by God.  Now we see Samuel and, in the New Testament, the disciples realising that they should answer the Lord's call.  In today's Gospel we see a very early example of how Christians gathered together around Christ.  They are doing exactly what we do when we go to Mass.  They are spending time with God and learning about him.  

St Paul tells us about how to behave as we are part of Christ's body:  "your bodies are members making up the body of Christ".  He says that we must respect our bodies and treat physical relationships with respect.  He talks about "fornication" (treating sex without respect).  We know that sex is a natural thing that is necessary to create children and to show love between married people.  It is also a source of pleasure.  

We could interpret St Paul as meaning that it is important to respect our bodies and the gifts of love and children and make sure that sex is not just used for our own pleasure.  Much of the Church's teaching about love and relationships comes from the letters of St Paul.  However, there is always a great deal of discussion about how we can apply these teachings in our lives which are so different from his.  

Activity during Mass:

In the Gospel today we hear a brief conversation between Jesus and the disciples.  Copy out what they say to each other:

John:  "Look,........................................................."

Jesus:  "What.....................................................?"

Disciples:  "Rabbi................................................?"

Jesus:  "........................................................"

Jesus gives the disciples an opportunity to find out more about him by welcoming him to his house and talking to them.  We find out more about Jesus by reading the scriptures, praying and thinking about God.  We also learn about him by listening to other people and we meet him in a different way when we go to Mass.  The church is sometimes called the "house of God".  We are called to his house to find out more about Jesus, just like his disciples.  The church is not a physical building but a community of people who are guided by the Holy Spirit.

At Mass today, look round you.  You are probably inside a church building but are also part of the church which is made up of people.  Remember that Jesus said: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

Now think about the things that you do in the house of God.  Write down the name for the part of the Mass where you think these things happen.

We listen to Jesus teaching.
We offer gifts. 
We share a meal with others.
We greet other people as Jesus greeted them.
We join as a family to speak to our Father.

The church is a visible expression of Jesus.  It is the part we can see.  We get to know Jesus by becoming familiar with the church.  Just as the disciple got to know Jesus by listening to him and spending time together.

There are also physical objects in church that help us understand Jesus.  Look around and see if you can see:

the altar
the stations of the cross
the crucifix

These things focus on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  When we come to Mass we are able to join in with this sacrifice because we are part of the church.  By going to Mass we can start to understand about this sacrifice.

Other activities and resources:

There is a beautiful hymn about accepting God's call - "Here I am Lord"

Click here to listen    (N.B. typo "fields" for "feast" on you tube lyric clip)

Think about all the different things God calls people to do.  (These are known as vocations.)  Some people are certain that they know what they are supposed to do, others spend their lives searching.  The important thing is that we try to listen.  An example of someone who try to avoid God's call was Jonah.  Find his story in the Bible and see what happened to him!

Jesus invited the disciples to his house to show them what he was like and what they could expect if they chose to be friends with him.  Look around your house and list down the things a visitor might see or experience.  What do they say about you and your family?  You could draw a picture of your bedroom and label it explaining how it represents your personality.  

You might like to research Jewish houses and life at the time of Jesus and find out what sort of things the disciples would have experienced.  Jewish houses today have certain traditional symbols and objects that are associated with religion.  See if you can find out more about this.  

That's all for this week!


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