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From Word to Eucharist

Word to Eucharist: We have come forward, like John’s disciples, at the Lord’s call.  It remains for us to see, not as anonymous places in a waiting line but as long-time searchers.

READ MORE at Lector Works

Sunday Introduction

2B Ordinary Time

Liturgical and pastoral resources from National Catholic Reporter’s Celebration 2018 archive. Each Saturday, NCR publishes reflections on the Sunday readings for the current year.


The most important question of your life

by Sr. Mary M. McGlone — 2018

“What are you looking for?” That is the question today’s liturgy puts before us. It is a question addressed to us, but also one we address to God. It is the question of vocation. Put another way it asks, “What do you and God want to do with the life you have been given?”

Today’s readings invite us to consider the macro and micro dimensions of our individual vocations. The idea of vocation brings us to the heart of our relationship with God; it is based on an assumption that everything we do finds its meaning with the context of that relationship. The macro dimension refers to the life decisions we each make: the choice of career, spouse, way of life. The talents God has given us, combined with our deepest desires and the needs of our times, lead us to discern the macro choices for how to live our vocation. Those choices set the context for all our micro decisions, decisions about our daily opportunities to contribute to the extension of God’s reign among us.

Today’s Gospel invites us to share the adventure of vocation with two of John the Baptist’s disciples. They thought they had found the teacher who would give them the answers they sought. Then that teacher pointed to another, someone they did not know, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” John loved them enough that their fulfillment mattered more to him than their companionship. His utter lack of egotism inspired them to try to catch up with Jesus as he walked along.

That was when Jesus turned to them and asked the most important question of their life: “What are you looking for?”

Rather than get tongue-tied or philosophical, they answered with a statement and a question. They made their statement by calling him “Rabbi,” acknowledging that they were looking to him as a teacher. Their question, “Where are you staying?” was a way of saying, “We want to know more.”

St. Augustine taught that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. That means that the human heart always seeks more until we encounter the source of love. At this first stage, the disciples were at home with their restlessness; they let their desire for more nudge them onto the road behind Jesus.

“Come and you will see,” was the invitation into dialogue. When the Gospel tells us it was around four in the afternoon, the implication is that the two disciples went home with Jesus, ate and spent the evening. We could call this the day of their “first Communion.” It was the first time they heard Jesus talk about his vocation, his dreams and his mission. It was the first time they broke bread with him. The Gospel lets us know that they were changed forever by what they encountered in him.

In response to what they found in Jesus, Andrew felt impelled to go to his brother Simon and tell him “We have found the Messiah!” (That was no full-blown Nicene Creed, these guys lived in an atmosphere charged with hopes and messiah-style leaders.) As so often happens, Andrew had the right vocabulary, but he didn’t yet know what it really meant. His afternoon of following Jesus and his next day proclamation about the Messiah were simply a symbol, a foretaste of how he would spend the rest of his life: listening and proclaiming, learning and doing.

That brings us back to the macro and micro dimensions of vocation. Now and then, we make macro decisions about vocation, decisions that set us on the particular path we think we are called to, a path that we think will lead us to know and serve God. The macro decisions, therefore, have to be incarnated in daily activities, micro choices to be faithful, moments of taking the risk of proclaiming and doing what we really believe to be right.

On this weekend as those in the United States celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., we remember that in 2015, Pope Francis addressed the U.S. Congress and spoke of Dr. King as someone whose dreams continue to awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of our people. Dr. King’s macro vocation was to be a prophet who awakened us to carry out God’s will for justice and the elimination of all prejudice. The micro dimension of our individual and national vocation implies daily responses to that call.

Today’s Gospel asks, “What are you looking for?” We respond to that question through all our choices, large and small. As people baptized and thus consecrated to God, we also must look to God and ask, “What are you looking for?” God responds through the Scriptures and the needs of our times. It is ours to decide if we want to accept the invitation to come and see — and be changed forever.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.

Planning: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Lawrence Mick — 2018

This is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, a period that is rather short this year. Easter occurs on April 4, 2021, so Lent begins on February 17. That means we only have six Ordinary Time Sundays this winter.

These Sundays were once called Sundays after Epiphany, and the readings assigned to them echo Epiphany themes. 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 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)

Planners might consider sharing this information with the assembly, perhaps by citing the Lectionary quote in the bulletin or by a brief explanation before Masses this weekend. It could help them recognize the coherence of these weeks before Lent begins.

The readings for this Sunday might suggest that some attention be given to the topic of vocation. Samuel learns to recognize God’s voice calling him in the first reading and responds generously. The psalm refrain echoes Samuel’s reply. In the Gospel, Jesus calls his first disciples as he begins his public life and ministry. The second reading is less obvious, but Paul’s thoughts about our bodies being temples of the Spirit and belonging to the Lord remind us that each of us is called to serve the Lord in various ways.

Preachers might choose to preach about vocations, not only those to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life but the vocations that all of us receive in baptism. We are each called to make Christ known throughout the world and to share his love and mercy with all people. (Do you hear Epiphany themes here?) Planners can include petitions for various vocations in the general intercessions, as well as prayers for discerning where God is calling each of us.

Christian Unity:  This is the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25, actually eight days). What will your parish do to take part in this octave of prayer? Will you offer a joint prayer service with neighboring churches? Can you put a prayer of unity in the bulletin to be used each day of the octave? This will be the 110th year for this observance. Materials for the week can be found on the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute website:

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

Presider’s Introduction

by Joan DeMerchant — 2018

What does it mean to be called, and how should we respond? Today we hear two powerful stories about God’s call and those who heard it. In both stories, the call comes without warning, offers no explanation, and requires openness and risk from the ones called. It is safe to assume that we, too, will be called over and over again. When, where, how and why remain unknown. But we can also assume that God is behind it. The rest is up to us.

Penitential Act

by Joan DeMerchant — 2018
  • Lord Jesus, you issued a call to Andrew and Simon Peter: Lord, have mercy.
  • Christ Jesus, you invited them to come and follow you: Christ, have mercy.
  • Lord Jesus, you call us, too, and challenge us to respond: Lord, have mercy.

Prayer of the Faithful

by Joan DeMerchant — 2018

Presider Let us pray, my friends, for all who are called by God to something greater.

Minister For the whole church: that we may be a community always open to God’s call and willing to respond wholeheartedly … we pray,

  • For those whose lives are too chaotic to hear God’s call, especially those suffering from illness, violence, loss or depression … we pray,
  • For those who do not believe God calls them because they feel unworthy, unprepared or too ordinary … we pray,
  • For those unable to discern God’s will for them, that we may provide assurance, clarity, companionship or a willing shoulder or ear … we pray,
  • Make us people who live and promote the value of unity not only among Christian religions but among all those of faith, and let us live this value for more than just one week of the year … we pray,
  • For this community called by Christ to follow him and to serve one another; and for those among and beyond us needing to be served, loved and cared for … we pray,

Presider Gracious God, open our ears and hearts to your voice. Give us the sensitivity to hear you, especially when you speak to us through people and circumstances we do not wish to hear. Make us worthy instruments of discernment for those who struggle to interpret your call. Together, may we respond with one voice, saying, “Speak, your servant is listening.” We ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Presiders are encouraged to adapt these prayers to reflect Covid 19.

First Reading

2B Ordinary Time

Detail from Eli and Samuel by John Singleton Copley, 1780 (Public Domain).

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” — 2 Samuel 3:10

Key Points

Here I am. You called me.

1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19

  • The reading from 1 Samuel tells the story of the call of Samuel.
  • Samuel’s response to God’s call comes only after some confusion.
  • Eli understands that it is God who is calling and instructs Samuel to respond in the proper way.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor

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Fr. Clement Thibodeau

Speak, Lord; your servant is listening

FIRST READING — The prophet and judge Samuel had served the nation of ancient Israel between the time when they were settling in the Promised Land and the beginning of the monarchy under King Saul. He represents a transition in the form of leadership. The confederacy of tribes is brought closertogether in anticipation of the rule of kings which will be inaugurated by Samuel in the anointing of Saul and then of David. Samuel himself was a Nazarite:one dedicated to God by special vow. A prophet, a priest, and a political leader, Shiloh was the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant since there was as yet no Temple. Samuel is called by God to a special role of service. The call came to him in the temporary sanctuary of the Lord, in the night,perhaps just before dawn. Luke’s Gospel will find parallels between Jesus and Samuel –the child of twelve in the Temple. Thus, Samuel becomes a pre-figure of Christ.

© 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.

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Fr. Eamon Tobin

The call-response dynamic

FIRST READING — In this beautiful call-response story, Patricia Sanchez notes six dimensions of the call-response dynamic.

  • First, Samuel does not recognize God’s call, which illustrates the fact that calls from God are not always immediately discernible.
  • Second, the repetitiveness of God’s calling assures us that God does not easily quit on us. He keeps calling.
  • Third,the setting of God’s call to Samuel (at night while he slept in the temple sacristy) reminds us that God’s call to us can come at any time or place or during any human activity.
  • Fourth,the fact that Samuel resorts to his mentor Eli for help suggests that we often may need help from other experienced pilgrims to discern God’s call.
  • Fifth, the description of Samuel’s growing to maturity in the presence of God underscores the power of grace to sustain whoever responds to God’s call.
  • Sixth, the effectiveness of Samuel’s ministry (whereby the Lord did not allow any word of his to be without effect[v.19]) reassures those called that active cooperation with God can yield astounding results.
©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. Used with permission.

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Sr. Mary McGlone

Here is my servant

FIRST READING — Anyone who reads both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures can note how important the prophet Isaiah was to the writers of the Gospels and letters. Isaiah’s songs of the Suffering Servant (See Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52-53) were among the passages that best helped them understand Christ’s mission and how it was fulfilled in his passion. Knowing that, we can be fairly safe in assuming that Jesus too found great inspiration in Isaiah.

Jesus’ world was primarily oral rather than literate. Because of that, people who heard the Scriptures proclaimed would remember what they heard more clearly than most contemporary people who can look it up in a book. The words of psalms would have been as familiar to practicing Jews as popular song lyrics are to people in our world. The psalms and canticles would have shaped ancient people’s imaginations, hopes and expectations just as effectively as songs and jingles shape ours. (Think of the 2013 phenomenon “Let It Go,” the song from the movie Frozen, or the popularity of Frank Sinatra’s signature tune, “My Way.”)

With that in mind, we might consider how the passage of Isaiah we hear today influenced Jesus’ self-concept. Knowing that he was like us in all things but sin, we can assume that Jesus had to discern and choose how he would live out his vocation. The Hebrew Scriptures, the law and the prophets, offered him a variety of options. As son of David, he could have seen himself as a warrior-king who would lead his people to victory over their enemies. That would have satisfied the revolutionaries among his followers.

Taking Moses as his model, he could have felt called to lead his people into a new land where they could start over again. That would have been a variation on the alternative offered by the Essenes who formed their own deeply committed communities, hoping that God would soon send the savior. Jesus also could have chosen the role of a prophet like John the Baptist who preached repentance and an ascetical way of life.

Jesus seemed to draw from each of those options, but he seemed to take more from Isaiah than from any other scriptural model or source. Knowing how Jesus used to go off by himself to pray, we can imagine him mulling over the phrases of Isaiah 42 until they formed his inner consciousness.

God’s declaration, “Here is my servant whom I uphold. … I have grasped him by the hand,” may have been the phrase that led him to teach his disciples to say, “Give us this day…” and “Thy will be done.” We can easily see the connection between Jesus’ statement, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), and God’s proclamation in Isaiah, “upon [him] I have put my spirit.” When it came to a pattern for carrying out his mission, Isaiah says “a bruised reed he shall not break.” Jesus told his disciples not to pull the weeds from the wheat field, lest they root up something good along with the bad (Matthew 13:24-30).

Today’s selection from Isaiah explains that the essence of the servant’s vocation is to establish justice among the nations. That justice was not a judicial sentence of reward and punishment, but something more like an atmosphere of peace among peoples. In his text on Isaiah (NIV Application Commentary Series), Scripture scholar John Oswalt explains that justice in this sense is the opposite of chaos. Justice creates an atmosphere of mutual understanding and safety. It becomes a way of life that promotes union among people, between people and God, and with all of creation. The vocation to bring about the victory of justice can be accomplished because the servant has received God’s own spirit.

When we contemplate Jesus meditating on this passage, we can find in it the roots of his mysticism, his sense of union with God. That should remind us that he also prayed for us: “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17:21).

This selection from Isaiah offers us both the opportunity to understand Jesus and to understand our own vocation as his beloved disciples, servants upon whom God is pleased to send the Spirit.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. 2018 Reflections, 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.

Tips for Readers

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Paul J. Schlachter

Points to consider

  • The Lord called Samuel, not once but four times.  Three times he went to Eli the high priest.  I did not call you, Eli said.  The young man begins by running into a dead end.  Frustration?  A reading with dead time?  All readings can sound like dead time when the reader doesn’t know what is coming.  I hear the word ‘call’ eleven times.  When I say each of them I can make them sound monotonous or miraculous, like sunshine after a brief rain.
  • If I take my time I will show that Samuel feels no frustration.  There was a voice.  Here I am.  You called me.  Now all that is left is to find out who said it.  My voice of the Lord will not be the same voice as that of Eli, though I make both kind and direct.
  • Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the youth.  Here comes the interpretation.  And Eli teaches the young man a very basic prayer: Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
  • I should let the story of the young Samuel flow in its simplicity.  But I will not rush the four calls, because they are a way of indicating a development in the boy’s spiritual sensitivity.  When interpretation takes place, I will give a sense of Samuel’s coming to maturity, because at that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord.
  • When I speak the awakening words of God, Samuel, Samuel, I will speak like the gentle mother who knows how to awaken her loved ones from slumber.

Key elements

  • Climax: When Eli understood what was happening.
  • Message for our assembly: It is no surprise that Samuel was in the temple of the Lord.  We can also learn to listen carefully to God in this house of prayer.
  • I will challenge myself: to repeat the prayer of Samuel in such a way that the people listening will adopt it as their own.
SOURCE: Paul J. Schlachter at
Greg Warnusz

Introducing the reading at Mass

A senior Hebrew priest and his young apprentice have an encounter with God. Even the senior takes a while to understand. The apprentice will become a leader of the nation.

Oral interpretation

The historical situation

This book begins a long narrative of what we might call ancient Israel’s middle history. Their land is settled and the age of the Exodus is over. Moses, Aaron, and Joshua are gone. The period of rule by Judges had begun at about 1000 BCE. In the first chapter of this book, Samuel is born to a long-barren couple by divine intervention. They dedicated him to God’s service in the temple at Shiloh (not the later grand temple to be built by Solomon on Mount Zion in Jerusalem). Young Samuel is an apprentice to the priest Eli.

Proclaiming it

While preparing your proclamation, try telling this story in your own words. Tell it to yourself or someone in your home. You’re likely to use far more words than the text itself. Here’s the beginning of my version, as compactly as I can write it:

    A young man named Samuel was serving as an apprentice to a priest named Eli in the temple at Shiloh. One night, while Samuel was sleeping, God called him. Samuel assumed Eli had called him so he went to Eli. But Eli said he hadn’t called and told Samuel to go back to sleep. This all happened a second time. The third time God called and Samuel went to Eli, the old priest realized what was going on, and told Samuel, “Next time, say ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'”

Clear enough? Yes, but you don’t have the luxury of rewriting the Bible. You don’t have a summary to recite but a terse narrative. The characters are not introduced by description, age or occupation (well, the occupation of the Lord goes without saying). The context is a “temple,” but the author just assumes you know what the “ark of God” is (like he assumes you’ve read chapters 1 and 2, also). This all threatens to be even less clear to contemporary worshipers listening to the story for the first time in at least three years.

So how will you help them out? As always, slow down. Use pauses and different tones of voice to distinguish the three speakers. When you finish the first, “You called me,” your listeners should realize that Samuel has mistaken the identity of the one who called him. Put some drama in the speaker’s words. The second and third time he runs to Eli, Samuel should sound confused if not exasperated.

Listeners are used to things happening in threes, after which they expect a resolution. So put a significant pause after the third “You called me.” Let the tension build for a moment before you say, with relief and understanding in your voice, “Then Eli understood …”

Also emphasize that the Lord “revealed his presence” in his last call of Samuel.

SOURCE: Greg Warnusz at

Focal Themes


Theology of Work Commentary

Work needs vision

FIRST READING— First Samuel 3:1-4:1 and 1 Samuel 7:3-17 reveal God’s plan to raise up young Samuel to succeed Eli. Samuel receives one of the few audible calls from God recorded in the Bible, but notice that this is not a call to a type of work or ministry. (Samuel had been serving in the house of the Lord since he was two or three years old, and the choice of occupation had been made by his mother.)  Nonetheless it is a call to a task, namely to tell Eli that God has decided to punish him and his sons, who are soon to be removed as God’s priests. After fulfilling this calling, Samuel continues to serve under Eli until he is recognized as a prophet in his own right (1 Sam. 4:1) and succeeds Eli after Eli’s death (1 Sam. 4:18). Samuel becomes the leader of God’s people, not because of self-serving ambition or a sense of entitlement, but because God had given him a vision (1 Sam. 3:10-14) and the gifts and skills to lead people to carry out that vision (1 Sam. 3:19-4:1).

SOURCE: © 2014 Theology of Work Project, Inc.; Used with permission. (Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.)


Life Recovery Bible

Learning to listen to God’s voice

3:1-10 Learning to listen to God’s voice is an important part of the recovery process (Isaiah 30:21; Hebrews 5:11). God spoke directly to young Samuel, and he speaks to us clearly and relevantly through the Holy Spirit and his Word (James 1:22).

We need to listen to God’s voice as we study to understand the truths in the Bible. There we will find the wisdom and direction we need to progress in recovery.

Speaking the truth to others

3:16-18 Samuel’s honesty is obvious as he comes clean, telling Eli everything. He even told Eli the devastating truth about the priest’s own family and the suffering they would endure. He confronted Eli with his failure, stating clearly the truth God had given him. Such forthrightness must be part of any recovery program.

As we discover the truth about ourself and others through God’s Word, we will need to speak that truth to others, confronting them in love for their encouragement and spiritual growth. This will never be easy, but it is an important part of any loving relationship.

SOURCE: Content taken from The Life Recovery Bible notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Bible Study

God’s Revelation to Samuel


In the First Reading, Samuel, an adopted son of the High Priest Eli, received a divine call to prophetic service when he was a child sleeping in the Sanctuary. The Lord called Samuel three times before he realized that it was the voice of God calling him. He responded to God’s call the fourth time and submitted his entire life to God’s holy service.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Major Points to Consider
by Michal E. Hunt (Agape Bible Study)


The name “Samuel” in Hebrew means “name of God.” It is a name that appears twenty-four times in 1 Samuel Chapter 3.  Samuel was the child born to a previously childless woman named Hannah who promised to dedicate her firstborn son to God as a perpetual Nazirite (1 Sam 1:1-2:11; Num 6:1-8).  She brought Samuel to the Sanctuary at Shiloh and gave him to the chief priest Eli when he was three years old.

3b Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the Ark of God was.

Eli gave the child Samuel the duty of watching over the golden Lampstand (Menorah) in the Sanctuary’s Holy Place at Shiloh (Ex 37:17-24).  It was Samuel’s task to make certain that the seven oil lamps in the Menorah did not burn out.  According to the Law, it was the duty of the priests to keep the lamps continuingly burning in the Sanctuary (Lev 24:2-4).  Only the chief priests were permitted within the Holy Place of the Sanctuary.  That Samuel was allowed to perform this duty shows that he was fully incorporated into Eli’s priestly family; however, it is another indication that Eli was not obedient to the Law concerning the Sanctuary (1 Sam 2:27-31).  Even if Samuel was considered Eli’s son, he was too young to perform this sacred duty (Num 4:35).

At this time, the Sanctuary had two sacred spaces: The Holy Place that housed the golden lampstand (Menorah), the golden table of the Bread of the Presence, and the golden Altar of Incense, and the Holy of Holies.  The Holy of Holies, the sacred space beyond the Holy Place (to the west), contained the dwelling place of God with His people—the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:10-22).  The high priest could enter this sacred space once a year on the Feast of Yom Kippur (Feast of Atonement; Lev 16:1ff).  The Ark of the Covenant was behind a curtain that separated the Holy Place where Samuel was keeping watch from the Holy of Holies.  Perhaps Yahweh called to Samuel from inside the Holy of Holies behind the curtain.  See the plan of the Sanctuary and its Tabernacle.

Yahweh called Samuel four times, but the first three times Samuel did not understand that it was the Lord God calling him.  The three/four pattern that we see in the call of Samuel is a familiar pattern in Scripture.  For example, see Judges 16:7-21 in Delilah’s three unsuccessful attempts to subdue Samson that was successful on the fourth try.  Also see Matthew 12:40, 41; 16:4 and Luke 11:29, 30, 32 in Jesus’ three times repetition of comparisons to the prophet Jonah and the fulfillment in the fourth “sign” that is Jesus’ death, burial, and Resurrection.    In each “calling,” Yahweh says Samuel’s name twice, repeating his name a total of eight times.  In the significance of numbers in Scripture, eight is the number signifying rebirth and salvation.  The double calling of a name is what God did when He called Abraham in Genesis 22:11; Jacob in Genesis 46:2; and Moses in Exodus 3:4.

In verse 9, notice that Eli instructs Samuel to answer God by using God’s Divine Name (Yahweh).  Samuel follows those instructions, speaking God’s Divine Name and saying, “Speak Yahweh; for your servant is listening” (in the Hebrew text).The false piety introduced centuries later that forbade the speaking aloud of God’s Divine Name outside the Temple liturgical services or writing God’s Divine Name does not appear in Sacred Scripture.  God’s Divine Name appears regularly written and spoken aloud by people in the Biblical narrative about 6,800 times.  God told Moses that YHWH (Yahweh) was the name by which all generations should call upon Him: This is my name for all time, and thus I am to be invoked for all generations to come (Ex 3:15b NJB).  The first person in the Bible to speak aloud God’s Divine Name was Eve (Gen 4:1).

10 the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

In the fourth calling in verse 10, God came and stood, “reveling his presence” near Samuel whereas before only “calling” was mentioned.  Does this suggest that God had previously called Samuel from behind the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies where God dwelled above the Ark of the Covenant, but when Samuel responded that He came out from behind the curtain to come close to Samuel?  It is possible, and Scripture supports that the revelation to Samuel now involved a vision.  1 Samuel 3:15 records that Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about “the vision” [other translations have “what he saw”].

19 Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

That day Samuel began his service as Yahweh’s divine prophet whose mission was to speak the words of God to the covenant people.  It was a mission to which Samuel remained faithful all his life.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Responsorial Psalm

2B Ordinary Time

No matter what pit of suffering and shame we may be required to endure, and no matter how deeply we sink into the quicksand of destruction, we have His assurance that He will set our feet back on the Rock of our Salvation and establish our goings out and our comings in, from this time forth, even for evermore. Source: Knowing Jesus

I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. He draws me up from the pit of destruction, out of the muddy clay, sets my feet upon rock, steadies my steps — Psalm 40:2-3

Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will

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

The response of the true disciple is an unqualified acceptance of God’s will: “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.”

©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. Used with permission.

God’s timing is worth waiting for

40:1-5 God’s timing is always worth waiting for. If we look to him for help, he will rescue us from destruction and despair and from the things that hold us down. He will also bring stability to our life so we can move forward again with confidence and joy. If we are to experience God’s best for our life (which far exceeds anything we can imagine), we need to rely on him alone and avoid any entanglements with those who could lead us away from God and his plan for us.

©2017 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. 2017 Reflections, 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.

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Focal Themes

🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥 THEOLOGY OF WORK 🟥🟥 PSALM 🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥


Life Recovery Bible

God’s great power

Psalm 29:1-9 — In this psalm we are reminded of God’s great power over the natural world. Yet even though his majesty is greater than any words can describe, he knows and loves each one of us.

Knowing how powerless we are over the problems we face should make us realize that we need to turn our life over to him, the one who is all-powerful. He is the only one able and willing to help us

SOURCE: Content taken from Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition. Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

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Bible Study

Humility and Obedience is the Valued Sacrifice

In the Psalm Reading, attributed to David, he expresses his understanding that the Lord wants willing obedience and humble contrition from sinners. He acknowledges that the kind of sacrifice that is pleasing to God is the sacrifice of self-interest in a relationship in which love of God comes before love of self.

This psalm, attributed to David, expresses his gratitude for what God has done for him.  He begins with a confession of his distress as he waited for the Lord to help him.  The Lord heard him in his time of need and delivered him.  In response, he expresses his gratitude as God inspires him in singing “a new song” that is a hymn that of praise to God in this psalm (verse 4).

7 Sacrifice or offering you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.  Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;

It is through his intimate relationship with the Lord that the psalmist understands the true meaning of sacrificial offerings made in the liturgy of worship.  It is not the animal the Lord wants as a sin sacrifice.  God wants the willing obedience of the offerer in living within the boundaries of His commandments, and He wants the humble contrition of the sinner whose true sacrifice is the sacrifice of self-interest in a relationship in which love of God comes before love of self (verses 7-8).

8 then said I, “Behold I come.  In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,9 to do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”

In verses 8-9, the psalmist addresses God directly, announcing that his joy comes from living in obedience to the precepts of the Law.  The Law isn’t just words on a page (scroll), but it is the path of life that God has engraved on his heart.

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

In addition to keeping the commandments, the psalmist understands that his dedication to God must be active and not passive, vocal and not silent.  He must proclaim the goodness of God in the liturgical assembly of worship, testifying to others about the good things God has done for him.  This is the visual and active commitment that Jesus spoke of in His last homily when He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (Jn 14:15) and what St. James encouraged in his New Testament letter to the universal Church, writing, For just as body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (Jam 2:26).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Second Reading

2B Ordinary Time


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. — 1 Corinthians 6:19

Key Points

You belong to Christ.

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

  • The second reading begins Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.  Paul wants the community members to change their ways.
  • Paul stresses that our bodies are made holy by the indwelling of God’s Spirit.
  • Everything we do must give glory to God.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor

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🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨 FR. CLEMENT 🟨🟨 SECOND READING 🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨

Fr. Clement Thibodeau

Our bodies are members of Christ’s Body

SECOND READING — What are the ethical and moral imperatives of the Christian faith? Since we have been baptized and now our bodies have become part of the Body of Christ, it is no longer possible to separate and isolate the things of the body from the things of the soul. What we do in the flesh has an impact on the quality of our spiritual living. Corinth was known even among the pagans for its rather low moral standards. Prostitution was rampant. Temple worship in Corinth at times involved “sacred prostitution.”Some Christians went so far as to say that they could still “worship”with the temple prostitutes, since this “only involves the body.”Paul sets them straight on the inseparability of body and soul. The body is sacred by reason of baptism. Do not make profane what God has made holy!

© 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.

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Fr. Eamon Tobin

Sexual promiscuity

SECOND READING — During the first six Sundays of Ordinary Time, the second reading is from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In his letter, Paul addresses the question of how to live as faithful disciples in a pagan world. Sexual promiscuity is one of the problems Paul encounters in the port town of Corinth. Some Corinthian Christians believe that their bodies, like all mortal things, will pass away and they can therefore do anything they want, e.g., engaging in unrestrained eating, drinking, sexual activity, etc. Paul thinks otherwise. He uses a striking parallel, reminding them that in baptism, our body (and spirit) is given to Christ; hence, it belongs to Christ. Because our body belongs to Christ, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. For that reason, it is wrong and sinful for anyone bound by Christian marriage to give his/her body to another outside that sacred bond—which mirrors Christ’s love for his Church.

©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. Used with permission.

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Sr. Mary McGlone

Peter’s sermon on the anointing of Jesus

SECOND READING — This short selection from Acts fits the feast of the day because it mentions Jesus’ baptism. In context, it is part of the homily Peter preached when he discovered that Cornelius and his pagan household were capable of being Christians. Like the evangelists, Peter circumvents the detail that Jesus asked John for baptism. Instead, he explains that God’s unique saving activity in their days began after John’s ministry and that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power.

Theologically, this selection underlines two interrelated points: God’s impartiality and the relation between the Holy Spirit and baptism. The first, the fact that God does not favor people of any race, gender or creed, is the main point of the passage. Peter’s homily is like a personal theological reflection through which he is coming to grips with the universality of the message of Jesus.

The struggle to accept Gentiles equally with Jews in the Christian movement was one of the greatest theological and sociological challenges faced by the early church. It was surpassed only by the struggle to understand a suffering, crucified and risen Messiah. The church still struggles with those two pillars of faith as we are tempted repeatedly by the desire for power and our proclivity to discriminate on the basis of gender, race or status.

Jesus’ baptism was not the subject of Peter’s sermon; he mentioned it simply as a part of a different topic. Because of that, his casual connection of baptism and God’s anointing of Jesus with the Spirit and power indicates how clearly the early church understood Jesus’ baptism as the starting point of his ministry and sense of vocation.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.

Tips for Readers

🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫 LECTOR’S NOTES 🟫🟫 SECOND READING 🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫

Paul J. Schlachter

Points to consider

  • The apostle is admonishing the new Christians about proper social conduct and bodily integrity.  The body is not for immorality but for the Lord.  The word ‘immorality’ appears three times.  I have heard veteran lectors trip over it and say ‘immortality’ instead, thus killing the meaning of the whole reading.  After I have read the phrase ten or more times I will probably avoid tripping.
  • When I hear that word ‘body’ I think immediately of carnal knowledge and the rest.  The apostle has that in mind here, but he also refers to the entire social fabric of the community.  He says, Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.  He also says, You are members of Christ.
  • For every word of censure here I also hear two of exhortation, and I will repeat them in the same spirit.  For example, Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you.  Then there are appeals to Christ: God raised the LordYou have been purchased at a price.
  • This passage is excerpted from a chapter full of specific examples of personal and social conduct, but the Lectionary commission saw fit to remove all those references.  That makes it more challenging for me.  I might look for concreteness in the appeals to our calling as followers of Christ.

Key elements

  • Central point: The immoral man sins against his own body.  Why?  Because God has destined us for a greater glory.  Everything else in the passage points to this insight.
  • The message for our assembly: Today we listen to three passages that have to do with our calling.  Here the apostle reminds the Corinthians that you are not your own.
  • I will challenge myself: To make this abstract reading as concrete as I can, especially in my appeal to our calling as the body of Christ.
SOURCE: Paul J. Schlachter at
Greg Warnusz

Introducing the reading at Mass

Ancient Corinth was both a bawdy seaport and a sophisticated center of religious and philosophical debate. To new Christian converts in Corinth, Paul describes a new morality and new reasons for observing it.

Oral interpretation

The historical situation

Suddenly we find ourselves again in the middle of one of Saint Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. We saw earlier chapters of this epistle early last year, too. The needs of the Christian community at Corinth were many and complex. So Paul’s letters to them are long and complex, and the Lectionary cites them often. (So do Lector’s Notes.) Corinth was both a bawdy seaport and a center of intellectual ferment. One would find there all the vices and and all the philosophical posturings that one would expect. It was a difficult place to preach a new doctrine and new morality. Paul had dared to preach both, provoking no little controversy.
The literary and liturgical situation

The editors of the Lectionary have bowdlerized this passage. In the great scheme of things, that may be for the best, although it won’t help make worshipers into smarter readers of God’s word. The lector, however, should know the context, at least all of 1 Corinthians 6. And I recommend even more strongly than usual Pastor Dan Nelson’s exposition of the chapter.

Proclaiming it

The verses left for you to proclaim offer a compelling idea three times in two ways. That’s the notion that our bodies are “for the Lord.” The three phrases are:

  • The body is … for the Lord.
  • Your bodies are members of Christ.

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

As lector, I would emphasize those sentences and hope the homilist in my assembly tackles the job of exposing Saint Paul’s teaching more fully.

SOURCE: Greg Warnusz at

Focal Themes

Theology of Work Commentary


SECOND READING— No commentary available for this reading.

SOURCE: © 2014 Theology of Work Project, Inc.; Used with permission. (Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.)


Life Recovery Bible

Taking care of our body

1 Cor 6:18-20 Sexual sin affects us like no other sin. It isn’t that it is the heaviest on some imaginary sin scale, but its effects are broad and devastating. In sexual sin, we sin not only against ourself but also against other people and against God. Our body is the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit, and it belongs to God. This is a convincing reason for taking care of our body and seeking a new life in recovery.

SOURCE: Content taken from The Life Recovery Bible notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Bible Study

The Body of the Baptized is the Temple of the Holy Spirit

Exegesis Outline

Sunday’s Second Reading

Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.

St. Paul admonished the Christian community at Corinth in the Second Reading to avoid acts of immorality. He reminded the Corinthians that in the Sacrament of Christian Baptism they have been reborn to new life in Christ, and their bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit. They have become members of Christ’s Body and are meant to live in an intimate relationship of holiness with Him, sharing in Christ’s life and being “one spirit” with Him.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Major Points to Consider
by Michal E. Hunt (Agape Bible Study)

St. Paul condemns the sin of fornication (sexual relations outside the Sacrament of Marriage) and explains how gravely offensive this sin is to Christ who calls all Christians to a life of holiness.  He reminds the Corinthians that, in the Sacrament of Christian baptism, they have been reborn to new life in Christ, and their bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit.  They have become members of Christ’s Body and are meant to live in an intimate relationship of holiness with Him, sharing His very life (Gal 2:20) and being “one spirit” with Christ (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:27).

Therefore, Paul writes, Christians have the responsibility to keep holy the temples of their bodies.  They have no right to abuse their bodies with sins of immorality.  Their bodies have been purchased with the very blood of Christ and with the promise that, like Christ, their bodies (and ours) will be resurrected “on the last day” when Christ returns (1 Cor 15:35-42, 51-53; 1 Thes 4:13-16; CCC 366).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Gospel Reading

2B Ordinary Time

Detail from "The Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew" by James Tissot (1836-1902). Intent on giving a wealth of practical detail, Tissot in his commentary on this image describes the method of fishing with nets in the shallows near the shoreline, a practice that would have allowed Peter and Andrew to hear Jesus easily. Believing that little had changed in the Holy Land since Jesus’ time, Tissot equips them much like the fishermen he observed during his visits to the region in the 1880s, with nets worn around the waist to carry the day’s catch.

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?” 39He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” — John 1:38-39a

Key Points

We have found the Messiah!

Jn 1:35-42

  • John the Baptist’s role, to point toward Jesus, is clearly shown in today’s Gospel.
  • The two disciples who follow Jesus ask him, “Where are you staying?”
  • Jesus responds with, “Come and see,” an invitation to follow him.

SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴 OUR SUNDAY VISITOR INTRO 🔴🔴🔴 GOSPEL 🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴


🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨 FR. CLEMENT 🟨🟨 GOSPEL 🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨

Fr. Clement Thibodeau

They saw where Jesus lived

GOSPEL —John’s Gospel is used today, even in the Year of Mark (Cycle B), to give an account of the selection of the first disciples by Jesus. We need to remember that the Gospels, particularly John’s, are not interested in merely giving an account of what happened. They always intend to convey what is the meaning of what happened. The meaning of discipleship is the issue here.

This passage is not inconsistent with the theme of Mark’s Gospel,which we will read during the remainder of the year. Discipleship holds center stage in Mark. We will have an opportunity this whole year to consider how we have responded to Jesus’ call.

John the Baptist’s role and mission is to point to the Messiah. But even after his death, apparently, some of his disciples did not automatically become followers of Jesus.

Even as this Gospel is being written at the beginning of the second century, there exists a sect of the followers of John the Baptist who have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit. John the Evangelist wants to reach out to them, too. He uses this occasion to point the surviving group of the Baptist’s disciples toward Jesus and toward the community that continues his work and mission.

When the followers of John the Baptist ask Jesus where he lives, they are not asking for his address. In Jewish forms of thinking they are asking, “What are you really all about?”Jesus replies that one has to come and live with him that is come and become like him before one can see. Knowledge of the person of Jesus is not something in the head or in the intellect. It is in the whole being.

Andrew fills the role of a true disciple here. He brings his brother to Jesus! As disciples of Jesus, we too need to bring others to a deeper understanding or insight concerning Jesus. We too must stay with him, become identified with him, and merge our hearts into his. Then,we can share our experience with others.

© 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.

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Fr. Eamon Tobin

The call of Jesus’ first two disciples

GOSPEL — Just as Eli in today’s first reading introduced Samuel to the Lord, John the Baptist, in this Gospel, introduces two of his disciples to Jesus (which underlines John’s subordinate role). John’s ministry is (as is ours) to introduce others to Christ. When the two disciples begin to follow Jesus, he asks them: “What are you looking for?”—or, simply put, “What does your heart seek?” They answer with a question of their own: “Rabbi, where do you live?” Jesus replies: “Come and see.” So they go off to have a long chat (a mini-retreat) with Jesus. During their “stay” with him, the eyes of the two disciples are opened to his true identity.

“Seeing” and “staying” are key terms in John’s Gospel. The one whose eyes are opened to who Jesus truly is, is invited to come and stay with Jesus, to come and share Jesus’ relationship with his Father. It is an introduction into a life of discipleship, which leads one into “staying”with the Blessed Trinity.

Having had their eyes opened, one of the two disciples, Andrew, seeks out his brother, Simon, and introduces him to Jesus. Jesus immediately changes Simon’s name to Cephas, meaning “rock.” Henceforth, Peter will have a key and central role in the new community of believers.

©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. Used with permission.

🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨 SR. McGLONE 🟨🟨 GOSPEL 🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨🟨

Sr. Mary McGlone


GOSPEL — No commentary from Sr. Mary available for this week.

©2018 National Catholic Reporter. All Rights Reserved. Sr. Mary McGlone is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.

Tips for Readers

🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫 LECTOR’S NOTES 🟫🟫 SECOND READING 🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫🟫

Paul J. Schlachter

Points to consider

  • In each of the Gospels, the climax is the declaration that Jesus is my Son. Whenever I say it, with its accompanying images of the heavens torn open and the Spirit descending, I raise the account to the level of God’s presence.
  • The message for our assembly: to identify with Jesus through our own baptism.
  • I will challenge myself: to represent the wondrous appearance of God to Jesus, as I in my life have been blessed with a sense of God’s presence.
  • Here is the oldest account we have of John’s baptism of Jesus.
  • Following Matthew and John, we are accustomed to thinking of it as a fully public event, where the sense of God’s presence is felt by John and perhaps the others present. But Mark’s account is mostly concerned with Jesus himself: He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending upon him.
  • We begin the reading with an expectation of someone great who is coming, someone more powerful than John. It takes God to show us who that is. You are my beloved Son. God speaks directly to Jesus, which is also the account of Luke.

Key elements

  • Word to Eucharist: Jesus certainly saw the Spirit; do we? Does the Spirit show us more than a simple procession?
SOURCE: Paul J. Schlachter at

Focal Themes

🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥 THEOLOGY OF WORK 🟥🟥 GOSPEL 🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥🟥

Theology of Work Commentary

Work builds relationships

GOSPEL— The term “friends” captures the essence of John’s depiction of the disciples. “I have called you friends,” says Jesus (John 15:15). The relational element is critical: they are Jesus’ friends who first and foremost remain in the presence of Jesus (John 1:35-39; 11:54; 15:4-11) John appears to go out of his way to crowd as many people as possible on stage with Jesus in chapter 1. John the Baptist points Jesus out to Andrew and another disciple. Andrew gets his brother Simon. Philip, who is from the same town as Andrew and Simon, finds Nathanael. It is not simply that Jesus will advance his mission through a web of interpersonal relationships. Weaving a web of relationships is the point of the whole enterprise.

But the disciples are not just buddies basking in the radiance of Jesus’ friendship. They are also his workers. They are not working in an obvious way yet in chapter 1 (though even the fetching of siblings and neighbors is a type of evangelistic labor), but work they will. Indeed, as we will see, it is precisely this connection between friendship and labor that holds the key to John’s theology of work. Work produces results while it also builds relationships, and this is another echo of Genesis 2:18-22.

SOURCE: © 2014 Theology of Work Project, Inc.; Used with permission. (Licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.)


Life Recovery Bible


No Commentary — for this passage

SOURCE: Content taken from The Life Recovery Bible notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Bible Study

Andrew and Simon-Peter meet Jesus

Exegesis Outline

Sunday’s Gospel

Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.

In the Gospel Reading, Simon (Peter) meets Jesus for the first time. It is his brother, Andrew, who makes the introduction that will change their lives forever.

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Major Points to Consider
by Michal E. Hunt (Agape Bible Study)


St. John the Baptist had his own disciples; they were a group set apart by his ritual baptism of repentance.  They had rules of fasting (Mk 2:18; Lk 7:29-33) and their own prayers ( Lk 5:33, 11:1).  Some of them continued as St. John the Baptist’s disciples after his death (Mk 6:29; Acts 19:3).  Others became Jesus’ disciples like St. Andrew and his unnamed friend, who the Fathers of the Church identify as St. John Zebedee (Jn 1:35-40).

“Behold, the Lamb of God.” 

This declaration is the second time the Baptist has identified Jesus as a sacrificial lamb; see John 1:29 where John identified Jesus as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  The word in the Greek text is amnos.  The word occurs in John only here in verse 35 and in verse 29.  It appears nowhere else in the New Testament except in Acts 8:32 and in 1 Peter 1:19.  The other word used for “lamb” in the New Testament is arnion, which is an archaic form and can be translated “a little lamb.” Arnion is found once in St. John’s Gospel (21:15) and 30 times for Christ in the book of Revelation.  It is a word specifically used by the Apostle St. John to identify the glorified Redeemer, and this distinction may be the reason the word does not appear in the pre-glory narrative.

37 The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. 

One of the disciples of the Baptist mentioned in verse 37 is Andrew, the brother of Simon-Peter, and the other is unnamed, although we later learn that they both become Apostles of Jesus.  The majority of scholars, ancient and modern, identify the Apostle John Zebedee (believed to be the inspired writer of this Gospel) as the unnamed disciple of the Baptist.  All the lists of the twelve Apostles name Simon, Andrew, James, and John as the first four.  The Synoptic Gospels mention these same four as the first disciples called by Jesus while fishing on the Sea of Galilee (although St. Luke leaves out Andrew).  The repeated order of the lists may suggest a priority of discipleship, listing those who first answered the call in order.  If that is so, there is a case for identifying the “unnamed” disciple as John Zebedee in this passage.

In this passage, we have information that is not in the Synoptic Gospels.  For the first time, we realize that some of the Apostles knew Jesus before He began His ministry in the Galilee and called them to follow Him when He saw them fishing and mending their nets near the Sea of Galilee.  This information makes their eagerness to leave everything and follow Him in the second encounter in their call to service in the Galilee seem much more reasonable (Mt 4:18-22; Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:1-11).

38 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?”  39 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 [about the tenth hour].

John is writing this Gospel for a late 1st-century congregation in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) that is largely composed of Gentile Greek/Roman culture converts for whom Greek is the common language.  They are not familiar with Jewish customs, and so he explains the meaning of the word “Rabbi.”

It was about the tenth hour.

What time is the “tenth hour” in this passage?  Is the inspired writer using the Jewish or the Roman method of marking time?  Is he speaking of time literally or symbolically?  If he is speaking symbolically, 10 is the number of divine order, indicating that it was at the perfect time in God’s divine plan that these men came to Jesus.  But the 10th hour is probably meant both symbolically and literally.  See the chart on the daily time divisions in the 1st-century AD.

In the Jewish method of marking time, the day began sundown with the entire day divided into two divisions of 12 hours each. The nighttime 12 hours divided into 4 watches and the daytime 12 seasonal hours divided to correspond with the Tamid liturgical worship service and sacrifice in the Temple that began at dawn as the first hour.  The other Gospels use Jewish time, and, according to the Jewish reckoning, the tenth hour would be 4 o’clock in the afternoon our time, late in the afternoon near the end of the day.  If the disciples of John the Baptist stayed with Jesus “that day” (verse 39) until sundown, there wasn’t much daylight left.  With Jewish day ending at sundown, which was the seasonal hour of our 6 PM or in Jewish time the 12th hour, that only gave them two hours of conversation.

If St. John the Apostle is the inspired writer (as testified to by the early Church Fathers and Church documents), his church at Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel, was located in the third most important city in the Roman Empire.  The Roman pro-councils of Asia resided there.  The Roman day began at midnight (we keep Roman time), and the Roman day was divined and numbered into 12-hour divisions from midnight to noon and from noon to midnight.  Why would St. John use Jewish time for his mixed Jewish and Roman audience?  He also takes the time to explain Jewish terms to his Gentile congregation in his Gospel (Jn 1:38; 1:42), and he even uses Roman geographic terms, referring to the Sea of Galilee as the Sea of Tiberias (Jn 6:1, 23, 21:1).  The tenth hour of the day Roman time was 10 in the morning, which would give the men who went to stay with Jesus the majority of the day to talk with Him.

40 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.  41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ.  42 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 [petros = “rock”].

“Cephas” is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic name Jesus gave him which was “Kepha” or “Rock,” or perhaps expressed in Galilean Aramaic “Qepha”; it appears as “Petros” in the Greek text of the other Gospels and New Testament books.  Only St. John’s Gospel gives this form of Peter’s new name/title, but it is also a name St. Paul uses in addition to “Petros” when he refers to Peter (see for example Gal 2:9, 11).

St. John’s Gospel also uses the Greek form “Petros” which we translate as Peter.  “Peter/Petros” would have been well-known to the churches of Asia Minor at the time St. John the Apostle wrote the fourth Gospel (it was the last Gospel written).  Therefore, he uses the Greek translation of “Rock” (Peter’s title) in the masculine form as “Petros/Peter” along with the Greek name “Simon” which is similar to his Hebrew name.   “Simon” was a Greek name. “Symeon” would be a better Greek transliteration for his Hebrew name that is Sim’on.   Since Scripture never refers to Peter by the Hebrew name Symeon, and since his brother Andrew does not have a Hebrew name equivalent, it is possible that people only knew the brothers by their Greek names.

Another possible translation for verse 41 is: Andrew was the first to find his own brother…  This reading has been interpreted by many scholars to imply that the unnamed disciple (perhaps John Zebedee) had also gone to find his brother (James), who will become an Apostle.

Andrew tells his brother: “We have found the Messiah…”  In St. John’s Gospel, he gives his good friend Andrew the credit as the first of the disciples to identify Jesus as the Messiah.  In the account concerning how John came to write his Gospel, the Fathers of the Church relate that it was Andrew who received the revelation from God that John should record his memories of Jesus (the Muratorian Fragment, a copy of a more ancient document written c. 155 AD).

Jesus says, “You are Simon, the son of John…”  Here we have an interesting problem.  In John’s Gospel, he identifies Simon-Peter as the son of John four times (here and in Chapter 21 in verses 15-17, three times).  However, the Gospel of Matthew 16:17, identifies Simon-Peter as the “son of Jonah.”  Modern scholars usually offer one of two explanations:

  • John and Jonah are the same man, and John and Jonah are the same name.
  • John’s Gospel account is in error, and there is an unresolved discrepancy in the Gospel accounts.

John and Jonah can hardly be similar names.  Jonah means “dove” (an amusing name for that Old Testament prophet who was most un-dove like), and John is from the Hebrew root word hen which means grace, and the Hebrew word hesed, from the root hen, means gracious, faithful, merciful love.

Is there an error in Scripture or is there another explanation?  The Church teaches that Sacred Scripture is without error (CCC# 107), and the Fathers of the Church taught if there seems to be a conflict or discrepancy in Scripture, the error is with the interpretation.  The conflicting passage is Matthew 16:17 where Jesus, talking to Simon-Peter, says: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!”  However, St. John’s Gospel identifies Simon as the “son of John” four times (Jn 1:42; 21:15, 16 and 17).  The passage in Matthew 16:17 is the only time that Simon is identified as the “son of Jonah.”  If Simon is not the son of a man named “Jonah,” why would Jesus refer to him this way?  It is important in Scripture study to remember that “a text without a context is only a pretext!”   The question is what has preceded this questionable passage in Matthew 16:17?

In previous Matthew chapters, Jesus was talking about the Old Testament prophet Jonah.  In Matthew 12:39-16:4, there are six references to Jonah found in five verses: see Mt 12:39, 40, 41 [twice]; 16:4, and also in verse 17 that is the sixth reference is to Simon-Peter.  Jesus finishes Matthew 16:17 by using the Aramaic word for “rock” which is kepha in the Greek translation: 16:18 “So I now say to you: You are Peter [Kepha] and on this rock [kepha] I will build my church [ekklesia].”  The key to understanding why Jesus called Peter the son of Jonah comes from the building up of the Jonah passages that come before his final announcement of Simon as Kepa = Rock in Aramaic.   What is Simon-Peter’s connection to the 8th century BC prophet Jonah?  All the previous passages recount Jonah’s mission as God’s holy prophet to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and compare Jonah’s three days in the belly of the great fish/whale and his release to Christ’s entombment and resurrection which will be the “sign” of the completion of Jesus’ redemption for mankind.

The question is what will be similar in Simon/Peter’s mission as God’s emissary to link him to Jonah’s mission?  God sent Jonah to the Gentile city of Nineveh, the capital of the world’s superpower in the 8th century BC, the Assyrian Empire, to preach repentance to the Gentiles and that salvation was only through the One True God.  St. Peter will be sent to Rome, the Gentile capital of the world superpower, the Roman Empire, and his mission will be to convert the Gentile Romans, and through them, the Church of Jesus Christ will convert the rest of the Gentile world.

Abraham was the physical “rock” from which the children of Israel came (Is 51:1-2), but Peter will be the spiritual “Rock” who is the father of the New Covenant children of new Israel that is the universal [Catholic] Church!  When God changes a person’s name (for example Abram to Abraham or Sarai to Sarah), it is an indication of a change in destiny.  Simon’s name change indicated God’s plan for Simon’s destiny.  He will be the “rock,” that is a firm foundation upon which the Church will be built (Mt 7:24-27).  Then too, there is the etymology of Jonah’s name: Jonah means “dove” in Hebrew.  Peter is also the “son of the dove” = ben yonah in Hebrew (bar yonah in Aramaic).  In the New Covenant, the dove became the symbol for God the Holy Spirit, revealed in Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22).  Peter is surely the “son of the Holy Spirit,” for it is God the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ says, who revealed Jesus’ true identity as the Messiah and Son of God to Simon-Peter (Mt 16:17).

Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.

Catena Aurea

2B Ordinary Time

The Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) is Thomas Aquinas’ compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels. It seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Church Fathers.

Annotated index of Church Fathers used in commentary

Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) – monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria

Jn 1:35-42

VERSES 35-36

35. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. [al. xvii.] 1) Many not having attended to John’s words at first, he rouses them a second time: Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples.

BEDE. (Hom. in Vigil. S. And.) John stood, because he had ascended that citadel of all excellences, from which no temptations could cast him down: his disciples stood with him, as stout-hearted followers of their master.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. [al. xvii.] c. 2) But wherefore went he not all about, preaching in every place of Judæa; instead of standing near the river, waiting for His coming, that he might point Him out? Because he wished this to be done by the works of Christ Himself. And observe how much greater an effort was produced; He struck a small spark, and suddenly it rose into a flame. Again, if John had gone about and preached, it would have seemed like human partiality, and great suspicion would have been excited. Now the Prophets and Apostles all preached Christ absent; the former before His appearance in the flesh, the latter after His assumption. But He was to be pointed out by the eye, not by the voice only; and therefore it follows: And looking upon Jesus us He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

THEOPHYLACT. Looking he saith, as if signifying by his looks his love and admiration for Christ.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 8) John was the friend of the Bridegroom; he sought not his own glory, but bare witness to the truth. And therefore he wished not his disciples to remain with him, to the hindrance of their duty to follow the Lord; but rather shewed them whom they should follow, saying, Behold the Lamb of God.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. 1. in Joan) He makes not a long discourse, having only one object before him, to bring them and join them to Christ; knowing that they would not any further need his witness. (c. 2.). John does not however speak to his disciples alone, but publicly in the presence of all. And so, undertaking to follow Christ, through this instruction common to all, they remained thenceforth firm, following Christ for their own advantage, not as an act of favour to their masterx. John does not exhort: he simply gazes in admiration on Christ, pointing out the gifty He came to bestow, the cleansing from sin: and the mode in which this would be accomplished: both of which the word Lamb testifies to. Lamb has the article affixed to it, as a sign of preeminence.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 5) For He alone and singly is the Lamb without spot, without sin; not because His spots are wiped off, but because He never had a spot. He alone is the Lamb of God, for by His blood alone can men be redeemed. (c. 6). This is the Lamb whom the wolves fear; even the slain Lamb, by whom the lion was slain.

BEDE. (Hom. 1) The Lamb therefore he calls Him; for that He was about to give us freely His fleece, that we might make of it a wedding garment; i. e. would leave us an example of life, by which we should be warmed into love.

ALCUIN. John stands in a mystical sense, the Law having ceased, and Jesus comes, bringing the grace of the Gospel, to which that same Law bears testimony. Jesus walks, to collect disciples.

BEDE. (Hom. in Vigil. S. And.) The walking of Jesus has a reference to the economy of the Incarnation, by means of which He has condescended to come to us, and give us a pattern of life.

VERSES 37-40

37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39. He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

40. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

ALCUIN. John having borne witness that Jesus was the Lamb of God, the disciples who had been hitherto with him, in obedience to his command, followed Jesus: And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. 1 et sq.) Observe; when he said, He that cometh after me is made before me, and, Whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, he gained over none; but when he made mention of the economy, and gave his discourse a humbler turn, saying, Behold the Lamb of God, then his disciples followed Christ. For many persons are less influenced by the thoughts of God’s greatness and majesty, than when they hear of His being man’s Helper and Friend; or any thing pertaining to the salvation of men. Observe too, when John says, Behold the Lamb of God, Christ says nothing. The Bridegroom stands by in silence; others introduce Him, and deliver the Bride into His hands; He receives her, and so treats her that she no longer remembers those who gave her in marriage. Thus Christ came to unite to Himself the Church; He said nothing Himself; but John, the friend of the Bridegroom, came forth, and put the Bride’s right hand in His; i. e. by his preaching delivered into His hands men’s souls, whom receiving He so disposed of, that they returned no more to John. And observe farther; As at a marriage the maiden goes not to meet the bridegroom, (even though it be a king’s son who weds a humble handmaid,) but he hastens to her; so is it here. For human nature ascended not into heaven, but the Son of God came down to human nature, and took her to His Father’s house. Again; There were disciples of John who not only did not follow Christ, but were even enviously disposed toward Him; but the better part heard, and followed; not from contempt of their former master, but by his persuasion; because he promised them that Christ would baptize with the Holy Ghost. And see with what modesty their zeal was accompanied. They did not straight way go and interrogate Jesus on great and necessary doctrines, nor in public, but sought private converse with Him; for we are told that Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? Hence we learn, that when we once begin to form good resolutions, God gives us opportunities enough of improvement. Christ asks the question, not because He needed to be told, but in order to encourage familiarity and confidence, and shew that He thought them worthy of His instructions.

THEOPHYLACT. (in loc.) Observe then, that it was upon those who followed Him, that our Lord turned His face and looked upon them. Unless thou by thy good works follow Him, thou shalt never be permitted to see His face, or enter into His dwelling.

ALCUIN. The disciples followed behind His back, in order to see Him, and did not see His face. So He turns round, and, as it were, lowers His majesty, that they might be enabled to behold His face.

ORIGEN. (tom. ii. c. 29) Perhaps it is not without a reason, that after six testimonies John ceases to bear witness, and Jesus asks seventhly, What seek ye?

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. in Joan. sparsim) And besides following Him, their questions shewed their love for Christ; They said unto Him, Rabbi, (which is, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest Thou? They call Him, Master, before they have learnt any thing from Him; thus encouraging themselves in their resolution to become disciples, and to shew the reason why they followed.

ORIGEN. An avowal, befitting persons who came from hearing John’s testimony. They put themselves under Christ’s teaching, and express their desire to see the dwelling of the Son of God.

ALCUIN. They do not wish to be under His teaching for a time only, but enquire where He abides; wishing an immediate initiation in the secrets of His word, and afterwards meaning often to visit Him, and obtain fuller instruction. And, in a mystical sense too, they wish to know in whom Christ dwells, that profiting by their example they may themselves become fit to be His dwelling. Or, their seeing Jesus walking, and straightway enquiring where He resides, is an intimation to us, that we should, remembering His Incarnation, earnestly entreat Him to shew us our eternal habitation. The request being so good a one, Christ promises a free and full disclosure. He saith unto them, Come and see: that is to say, My dwelling is not to be understood by words, but by works; come, therefore, by believing and working, and then see by understanding.

ORIGEN. (tom. ii. c. 29) Or perhaps come, is an invitation to action; see, to contemplation.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. [al. xvii.] 3) Christ does not describe His house and situation, but brings them after Him, shewing that he had already accepted them as His own. He says not, It is not the time now, to-morrow ye shall hear if ye wish to learn; but addresses them familiarly, as friends who had lived with him a long time. But how is it that He saith in another place, The Son of man hath not where to lay His head? (Matt. 8:20) when here He says, Come and see where I live? His not having where to lay His head, could only have meant that He had no dwelling of His own, not that He did not live in a house at all: for the next words arc, They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day. Why they stayed the Evangelist does not say: it being obviously for the sake of His teaching.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 9) What a blessed day and night was that! Let us too build up in our hearts within, and make Him an house, whither He may come and teach us.

THEOPHYLACT. And it was about the tenth hour. The Evangelist mentions the time of day purposely, as a hint both to teachers and learners, not to let time interfere with their work.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. 3) It shewed a strong desire to hear Him, since even at sunset they did not turn from Him. To sensual persons the time after meals is unsuitable for any grave employment, their bodies being overloaded with food. But John, whose disciples these were, was not such an one. His evening was a more abstemious one than our mornings.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 10) The number here signifies the law, which was composed of ten commandments. The time had come when the law was to be fulfilled by love, the Jews, who acted from fear, having been unable to fulfil it, and therefore was it at the tenth hour that our Lord heard Himself called, Rabbi; none but the giver of the law is the teacher1 of the law.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xviii. 3) One of the two which heard John speak and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Why is the other name left out? Some say, because this Evangelist himself was that other. Others, that it was a disciple of no eminence, and that there was no use in telling his name any more than those of the seventy-two, which are omitted.

ALCUIN. Or it would seem that the two disciples who followed Jesus were Andrew and Philip.

VERSES 41-42

41. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Chrys. Hom. xix. 1) Andrew kept not our Lord’s words to himself; but ran in haste to his brother, to report the good tidings: He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

BEDE. (Hom. in Vig. St. Andr.) This is truly to find the Lord; viz. to have fervent love for Him, together with a care for our brother’s salvation.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xix. [al. xviii.] 1) The Evangelist docs not mention what Christ said to those who followed Him; but we may infer it from what follows. Andrew declares in few words what he had learnt, discloses the power of that Master Who had persuaded them, and his own previous longings after Him. For this exclamation, We have found, expresses a longing for His coming, turned to exultation, now that He was really come.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 13) Messias in Hebrew, Christus in Greek, Unctus in Latin. Chrism is unction, and He had a special unction, which from Him extended to all Christians, as appears in the Psalm, God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows1. (Ps. 44, [45]) All holy persons arc partakers with Him; but He is specially the Holy of Holies, specially anointed.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xix. 1, 2) And therefore he said not Messias, but the Messias. Mark the obedience of Peter from the very first; ho went immediately without delay, as appears from the next words: And he brought him to Jesus. Nor let us blame him as too yielding, because he did not ask many questions, before he received the word. It is reasonable to suppose that his brother had told him all, and sufficiently fully; but the Evangelists often make omissions for the sake of brevity. But, besides this, it is not absolutely said that he did believe, but only, He took him to Jesus; i. e. to learn from the mouth of Jesus Himself, what Andrew had reported. Our Lord begins now Himself to reveal the things of His Divinity, and to exhibit them gradually by prophecy. For prophecies are no less persuasive than miracles; inasmuch as they are preeminently God’s work, and are beyond the power of devils to imitate, while miracles may be phantasy or appearance: the foretelling future events with certainty is an attribute of the incorruptible nature alone: And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonas; thou shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

BEDE. (Hom. i. Temp. Hier. in Vig. S. Andr.) He beheld him not with His natural eye only, but by the insight of His Godhead discerned from eternity the simplicity and greatness of his soul, for which he was to be elevated above the whole Church. In the word Peter, we must not look for any additional meaning, as though it were of Hebrew or Syriac derivation; for the Greek and Latin word Peter, has the same meaning as Cephas; being in both languages derived from petra. He is called Peter on account of the firmness of his faith, in cleaving to that Rock, of which the Apostle speaks, And that Rock was Christ; (1 Cor. 10:4) which secures those who trust in it from the snares of the enemy, and dispenses streams of spiritual gifts.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 14) There was nothing very great in our Lord saying whose son he was, for our Lord knew the names of all His saints, having predestinated them before the foundation of the world. But it was a great thing for our Lord to change his name from Simon to Peter. Peter is from petra, rock, which rock is the Church: so that the name of Peter represents the Church. And who is safe, unless he build upon a rock? Our Lord here rouses our attention: for had he been called Peter before, we should not have seen the mystery of the Rock, and should have thought that he was called so by chance, and not providentially. God therefore made him to be called by another name before, that the change of that name might give vividness to the mystery.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xix. [al. xviii. 2]) He changed the name too to shew that He was the same who done so before in the Old Testament; who had called Abram Abraham, Sarai Sarah, Jacob Israel. Many He had named from their birth, as Isaac and Samson; others again after being named by their parents, as were Peter, and the sons of Zebedee. Those whose virtue was to be eminent from the first, have names given them from the first; those who were to be exalted afterwards, are named afterwards.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evang. l. ii. c. 17) The account here of the two disciples on the Jordan, who follow Christ (before he had gone into Galilee) in obedience to John’s testimony; viz. of Andrew bringing his brother Simon to Jesus, who gave him, on this occasion, the name of Peter; disagrees considerably with the account of the other Evangelists, viz. that our Lord found these two, Simon and Andrew, fishing in Galilee, and then bid them follow Him: unless we understand that they did not regularly join our Lord when they saw Him on the Jordan; but only discovered who He was, and full of wonder, then returned to their occupations. Nor must we think that Peter first received his name on the occasion mentioned in Matthew, when our Lord says, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church; (Mat. 16:18) but rather when our Lord says, Thou shall be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

ALCUIN. Or perhaps He does not actually give him the name now, but only fixes beforehand what He afterwards gave him when He said, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My Church. And while about to change his name, Christ wishes to shew that even that which his parents had given him, was not without a meaning. For Simon signifies obedience, Joanna grace, Jona a dove: as if the meaning was; Thou art an obedient son of grace, or of the dove, i. e. the Holy Spirit; for thou hast received of the Holy Spirit the humility, to desire, at Andrew’s call, to see Me. The elder disdained not to follow the younger; for where there is meritorious faith, there is no order of seniority.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000Commentary in public domain.

Faith Sharing

Baptism of the Lord (B)

Introductory video to this Sunday by Larry Broding at
Directions: On this page you will find questions on the Sunday Readings that can be used in RCIA or Faith Sharing groups. Clicking on the PDF icons at bottom right will give participants additional commentary and resources.

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Word Sunday

by Larry Broding
Word Sunday

Duty of the laity to evangelize


The call of Samuel

Have I experienced God in the early morning? Or, have I experienced my own weakness? Can I see my self as Eli or as Samuel? Or as both?


Good times, bad times

Have you ever been happy in the midst of bad times? Or have you ever been sad when you should have rejoiced? Why do you feel you experienced these contradictions? How does your spirituality and prayer life reflect your life’s condition? How can prayer help you weather the times of transition in life?


God’s gift of the body

Sit for a few moments and relax. As you sense your body’s rhythms (or pains), thank God for the gift he gave you. Let those rhythms (or pains) remind you that you belong to God.


Come and see

When was the last time you received an invitation? What expectations did you have? Have you ever been surprised by what you saw?

Why is self-giving so unusual? Have you ever been impressed by others who give their time and talent to others? Have they ever asked you to join them? What happened? Did their invitation change you?

How have you influenced others to become Christ-like? Have you extended them acts of love? Have you ever asked them to join you at Church? Try to help someone this week and invite him or her closer to the Lord.

©1999-2021 Larry Broding. Material may be copied for personal use or for use in any non-profit ministry. Materials may not be sold or used for personal financial gain.

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Small Group Questions

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

1. Share with the group or person next to you what spoke to you most in the Gospel. With this first question try to refrain from commenting on what others said. Just share what spoke to you and then move on to the next person.

2. The young Samuel needed Eli to help him recognize the voice of the Lord. Who or what has helped you to be a hearer of God’s Word?

3. In the second reading, Paul focuses on sexual promiscuity occurring in Corinth, an issue that is still a big problem in our day. Besides condemning it, how should the Church address this issue?

4. How would you respond if Jesus were to ask you, “What are you looking for?”

5. How easy or hard is it for you to introduce others to Christ or to share your faith?

6. What is Jesus saying to you in the gospel about how a Christian disciple should act?

©2020 Fr. Eamon Tobin. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

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Discussion Questions

by Fr. Clement Thibodeau

1. Does the Church need to be pointed in the right direction periodically?

  • In what ways does the Church community need to go and see what Jesus is all about?
  • What are some of the values that the community needs to absorb again at this period in its history?
  • What about the Catholic parish to which you belong?
  • Does it need to be renewed by staying with Jesus?

2. Who played the role of Andrew in your life?

  • Who brought you to Jesus Christ? By what means? Was it by the shining quality of his or her life? Was it by preaching? Was it by formal teaching? Was it by praying? Was it because they loved you?
  • How gentle was the invitation?
  • Some who brought us to faith later faltered in their own faithfulness. Have you had that happen on your journey? What effect did it have on you?

3. Have you ever brought anyone to Jesus like Andrew did? Was it a member of your family? Is it harder to do for one’s own family?

  • Do you have a strategy for inviting others to consider Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
  • What is your technique as an evangelizer?
  • Do you realize that it is really God who does the calling and that you are just a mouthpiece for God? (Do you understand that one who speaks for God is a prophet?)
© 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.

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Bible Study Questions

by Vince Contreras

1. What motivated the disciples of John to follow Jesus? Why didn’t John follow after the One he pointed others to?

2. In light of verses 30 and 31, how do you think John felt when his disciples left him for Jesus? In what ways are you called in humility to “decrease” so that Jesus can “increase”?

3. How do you picture Andrew and John’s first encounter with Jesus? Who was the first to speak? What tone of voice do you think he used?

4. How do you think Simon felt when Jesus changed his name to Kepha (meaning “Rock”)? What significant event did this early encounter anticipate (Matthew 16:13-19)?

5. What is your response to the Andrews of the world to “come and see” Jesus in the circumstances of your everyday life? How can you “stay with him” throughout the day?

6. Can you, like Andrew, say, “We have found the Messiah”? How or where have you found him? How can you further imitate Andrew to share the Lord?

© 2014 Sunday Scripture Study for Catholics by Vince Contreras. Used with permission.
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