Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Wed, Jan 14, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time [b]

January 18, 2009


1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19

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

John 1:35-42


January 18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in the U.S

January 20: Inauguration Day in the United States

January 21-22: National Prayer Vigil for Life


The social message of the Gospel must not be considered a theory but a basis and a motivation for action.

Pope John Paul II

Solidarity is learned through "contact" rather than through "concepts", and should permeate the sphere of being before that of acting.

Pope John Paul II, Mary 5, 2000

Now is the time for a new "creativity" in charity, not only by ensuring that help is effective but also by "getting close" to those who suffer, so that the hand that helps is seen not as a humiliating handout but as a sharing between brothers and sisters.

Pope John Paul II, Centensius Annus

In the days ahead we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character.We must begin to ask, 'Why are there forty million poor people in a nation overflowing with such unbelievable affluence? Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God's military agent on earth...? Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world for the high task of putting our own house in order?'"

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Thoughts for your consideration

God keeps calling until Samuel hears.

Samuel finally begins to hear God with the guidance and help of Eli.

It takes a while.

As is true in every age, God keeps calling to us again and again.

Sometimes it takes us a while to hear God’s word.

God calls to us in the needs of the poor, in the distorted values in our economic systems, in the violence inflicted on people caught up in war, in the injustices embedded our political systems, and in countless experiences each day.Sometimes it takes us quite a few times before we hear the call.We need guidance and help to see and hear.We need community to begin to respond to the call.

The disciples in the gospel are looking for something.

John the Baptist points to Jesus.

The disciples begin to stay with Jesus and listen to the call.

Today we too are looking for something.

We are looking for values that we can live by, for help with the economic and political problems of the day, for an end to war and conflict, for justice and peace, for a government that will work well and promote the common good. We need guidance and help to find what we seek.We need to help one another and we need God’s spirit to see the truth and act together.

If a person is to put Catholic Social Teaching into practice, he or she must be connected to the realities of human life and experience. One must be open and listen in order to hear the call of God. As men and women of the modern world, if we are to hear God’s call, we must listen to the events of life and listen to the stories of real people, especially those who are poor or oppressed. We need some direct experience with those in need. Otherwise, our faith or our commitment will be an abstract thing without power or an ineffective ideology. As Catholic Christians we inform our ethical values and our life choices by both looking back on our tradition and also looking around at the world that is ours. Exposure to those who are different than ourselves can help us break out of our limited perspective and understand the call of God.

The call of God is a call to be engaged in the struggles and issues of the world.The call of God is not only a call to go to church on Sunday, or profess certain dogmas or beliefs, or to live up to the standards of personal morality. It is a call to engage in the social and political issues of our time. It is a call to ask questions and search for answers. It is a call to be part of the worldwide human community. It is a call to create structures of justice and peace in the world. God calls us into healthy relationship with the world and all its people and all its creatures.

As a new administration takes over this coming week, we pray that we will work together to heal the problems we have inherited and to create a world community that will include all people in the possibilities that are set before us.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you experienced a call from God?

When and how did this call involve a concern for peace and justice in our world?

What call do you hear for our nation as a new administration takes over?

What Christian values must we focus on as a nation?

Actions – Links

Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month.See or

Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity together from January 18 to 25. For more info go to: or to

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday: Many cities and places in the US have ecumenical and interfaith services to remember Dr. King and his vision of and work for justice and peace in our nation and world. Participation in such events can help us renew are vision and commitment to social justice and us help with network with others who are seeking the same things. Info about Dr. King and efforts to keep his vision alive can be found at the web site of the King Center in Atlanta: http://www.thekingcenter.orgThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Research Institute at Stanford University “provides an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate’s life and the movements he inspired.” Their site is at: At the site you will find curriculum resources for teaching about Dr. King and even recordings of some of his speeches

National Prayer Vigil for Life, Jan. 21-22, 2009:Info can be found at the web site of the Bishop’s Conference at

NRCAT, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture,, is organizing “January 11-20 - Ten Days of Prayer: Countdown to End Torture.” “We call upon faith communities across the country to join our "Countdown to End Torture" by including an interfaith prayer in a worship service during the ten-day period between January 11th (the anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo Bay) and January 20th (when President-elect Obama will take office and will have his first opportunity to end torture).” For more info and other resources click the "Countdown" red box in the lower left of the NRCAT homepage:

“Crazy Facts”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the United States unemployment rate is now 7.2 percent. (The number of unemployed is nearly 50 percent bigger than at the start of the recession a year ago.) If one also adds part-timers who are seeking more hours and those who are too discouraged to look for work, the total unemployment rate is 13.5 percent.

According to the latest Census Bureau data the child poverty rate was18.0 percent in 2007.

According to the latest Census Bureau data, in 2007, the number of uninsured Americans was 45.7 million.  (In 2001, the number of uninsured was 39.8 million Americans.)

The Pew Center on the States reports that 2.3 million people are behind bars in the United States. More than one in 100 adults in the United States is in jail or prison at a cost to state governments nearly $50 billion a year and the federal government $5 billion more. One in nine black men ages 20 to 34 is behind bars.

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Lord, guide us and our nation on the path to justice.

For our new president and vice-president as they take office this week, may they lead collaboratively with all people to promote justice and the common good, we pray….

For the Congress of the United States, for our new cabinet leaders, and for all our public officials that they may work together for the good of all, especially the poor, we pray…..

For help to all who are hurting because of the worldwide recession, we pray…..

For the people of Gaza, Israel, the West Bank, and all those caught up in the fighting in Palestine, that they may find a way to peace, we pray…..

For justice and peace in all the trouble parts of the world, we pray …..

For a deeper respect for human life from conception to natural death, we pray….

For a deeper and richer unity between all the Christian churches, that we may live more fully the radical loving visions of Jesus, we pray…..

Prayer & Meditation

Prayer for Martin Luther King’s Birthday

[Attributed to J-Glenn Murray, SJ]

O Guardian of Israel, our shelter and shade,

Stir up in us that flame of justice

That Jesus incited on this earth,

That rages in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

O arouse in us that very flame of righteousness

That enticed Martin to be a living sacrifice of praise,

To seek freedom for all God’s children.

O to you, God every faithful and true,

Be glory for ever and ever.


The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia have made available a prayer service for the King Holiday.It can be found at

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