Reflection on the Readings

First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10,19
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
Gospel: John 1:35-42

Sometimes all it takes is an invitation, a call, to change a life. An invitation, a subtle call, is often how the Lord works in our lives. But the call itself isn’t enough to change anything; the person who is invited must respond to the call and trust.

We hear in today’s Gospel how John the Baptist subtly invites his disciples to behold Jesus, whom he says is “the Lamb of God”. Jesus could have passed them by without them noticing anything if it weren’t for John’s invitation to fix their eyes on Jesus. Without hesitation John tells his followers: “Behold the Lamb of God”, which of course is the term we use at Mass when the priest holds up the consecrated elements and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”.

There is something terrible in that description. John is telling them that Jesus is the one who will be sacrificed for the sins of the world. It’s not a gentle and meek image; it’s a very harsh, even violent image. As pilgrims brought lambs into the Temple for slaughter, so Jesus will be sacrificed for the sins of the world.

But even with this image in mind, even with the certainty that things would be tough, the two disciples followed Jesus. Regardless of what lay ahead, regardless of the challenges that lay in wait – they knew what “Lamb of God” meant and they followed Him anyway.

Friends, in this life, God inspires people to be his voice, his hands, to draw us closer to Him. God invites us through experiences – people, things and events – but the invitation is just the beginning. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to change someone’s life. But the real difference is in how we respond.

Quote of the Week

It is no use saying: “Speak, Lord, your servant wants to hear,” if we never risk the silence to listen.

M. Basil Pennington