Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Janelle Sevier, SNDdeN

Jan 10, 2024 | Gospel Reflections

January 14, 2024

John 1: 35-42

A few things call me to stop and ponder in the readings this weekend; the first is the call of Samuel.
Do you, like Samuel, ever experience something that “awakens” you- over and over- a “rumbling” or some call or happening within you? Have you wondered what response you should make? I have. It may take some time first to wake, then to respond, and finally to identify the source. This reading, I believe, gives us guidance for those times of discernment.

Samuel’s call is clear, consistent, and persistent. Samuel intuits its truth within him but seeks to understand what is happening by going to his trusted guide. Eventually Eli understands that there is something deep and “of God” moving within Samuel and his directive becomes a real guide: When you hear this deep “rumbling” within, first, ask God to speak. Second, confident that a response is coming, take a listening posture that is as deep as the movement within. Then, and only then, you can decide how to act.

And there is even more in this reading. I find that in the service of listening deeply, there are other questions/thoughts that this reading raises for me in my life:
Who /what in my life tells me to go back to sleep – even with the best of intentions – when I feel some truth within moving me? How do I want to respond?
Do I sometimes trust others more than my own deep inner knowledge of how God speaks to me? It is wondrous that God speaks to me in a way that is personal and that I recognize!
How willing am I to return again and again to those places in me that insist that I listen more deeply? What enlivens me and gives me joy?
Like Eli, I am sometimes slow to understand this inner action, but, as with Eli’s experience, God does not give up on me.

And, as if that were not enough to contemplate, we reflect on the Gospel from John 1 and the call of the first disciples. There is so much on which to reflect here, but the thing that caught my attention today is John’s self-effacement and humility. John, by gospel accounts, was a fiery and effective preacher. He was not shy or unwilling to take on whatever authority and at whatever cost. But this passage gives a completely different picture of John. Standing with two of his disciples, John sees Jesus and says “Behold the Lamb of God.” The text tells us that John’s disciples heard him and left him to follow Jesus.

I absolutely marvel at John’s freedom to “let go” of his two disciples so easily- without another word. It betrays the depth to which he had embraced- and was embraced by- his commitment to “He must increase and I must decrease.” This scene makes me wonder at his ability to focus so deeply and to act on his mission, probably at some significant personal cost.

John’s life calls to that desire in me that wants to have God be “all in all” in me. My prayer: that this new year find us all moving with and toward God with such single-mindedness.

Be of good heart. You have only to continue always asking the graces of the good God for yourselves, making the efforts he asks… Julie L 338

 

John 1: 35-42

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, “Look, there is the lamb of God.” Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus, Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, “What do you want?” They answered, “Rabbi,” – which means Teacher – “where do you live?” “Come and see” he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, “You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas” – meaning Rock.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

Meet Sister Janelle Sevier, SNDdeN

Sister Janelle Sevier has spent most of her ministerial life in pastoral work. She lived many years in Africa, where she served in a variety of pastoral, educational, and spiritual ministries. After returning from Africa, Sr. Janelle worked in her home state of Louisiana working in both social services and in spirituality: providing HIV services for those who could not afford treatment, and working as a pastoral associate. She then spent time in Haiti, helping to begin a new Notre Dame ministry for destitute families there. Now back in Louisiana, she is working as a pastoral assistant in a local parish and is also privileged to be involved in giving directed retreats and spiritual direction. Deeply grateful for the different ways she has been enriched by seeing God’s action in the lives of people of different cultures and experiences, she embraces this new opportunity to share Gospel reflections via the technological tools which this time in history provides.