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Abide in my love …

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Back to Ordinary Time we return, on this the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

This first leg of Ordinary Time will be rather short. Easter occurs on March 31, so Lent begins on February 14. That means we only have five Ordinary Time Sundays this winter.

In the liturgical calendar before the Second Vatican Council, these Sundays were called Sundays after Epiphany. While these weeks are now referred to as Ordinary Time, the Gospels for these Sundays do echo the themes of Epiphany. The introduction to the Lectionary notes, “On the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the Gospel continues to center on the manifestation of the Lord. … Beginning with the Third Sunday, there is a semi-continuous reading of the Synoptic Gospels. (This year from the Gospel of Mark.)

This reading is arranged in such a way that as the Lord’s life and preaching unfold the doctrine proper to each of these Gospels is presented. … Thus after Epiphany the readings are on the beginning of the Lord’s preaching and they fit in well with Christ’s baptism and the first events in which he manifests himself ” (#105)

An English professor came in to the classroom and wrote the words “Woman without her man is a savage” on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly. The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is a savage.” The women wrote: “Woman! Without her, man is a savage.”

How something is viewed depends on one’s perspective. In today’s scripture people are asked to view things from a different perspective. Samuel was already in the service of the Lord at the temple. However, God calls Samuel to a new mission as prophet.

Paul writes to the Corinthians who were influenced in Greek philosophy. A philosophy which saw the body as a useless and evil cage and within which the spirit was shackled. They were inclined to use their bodies in less than holy ways. Paul reminds them that in accepting Christ into their lives, the Spirit of God had come to dwell in them. Therefore, their bodies needed to be reverenced and they needed to live lives of holiness. Jesus invites others to join him, as we hear in this exchange between Jesus and two of John’s disciples, “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."”

The disciples of John asked a profoundly theological question: “Where do you abide?” It was impossible for Jesus to respond to that question with an address or geography. Only after they spent three years with him could Jesus answer more fully. At the Last Supper, reminding them that following him is a matter of the heart and soul as much as the feet, ears and eyes, he said, “Abide in my love … just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:9-10). The real answer to that first question is that his abode was in them.

As we begin the season of Ordinary Time, these readings invite us to remember our common vocation, “come and see,” to remain with, to abide in Christ. How are you abiding with Christ?

Fr. Ron

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