Reflection on Mass readings for Jan. 14 (Second Sunday in Ordinary Time)
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
Many of our parishes have been having activities over the last couple of years that have been in conjunction with the National Eucharistic Revival. According to the National Catholic Register, “The Eucharistic Revival is a three-year initiative that aims to inspire, educate, and unite. In a world where not many people know Jesus intimately, the revival is meant to show everyone what wonders the True Presence of Jesus can do to heal the soul.”
As part of that revival, there has been a renewed emphasis on adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as an extension of our thanksgiving prayer flowing from our Sunday celebrations of Mass.
Yet many of our parishioners don’t know what to do or how to spend the time before the Blessed Sacrament. They may become discouraged, because when they come to adoration, they might find themselves growing tired and sleepy. They might feel they have not used the time as they ought. It is here that our first reading should give us encouragement.
Samuel has his encounter with God as he is sleeping in the temple where the ark of God was. Samuel meant no disrespect. He did not understand that he was being called by the voice of God. It took time, more naps, and conversations with Eli, to fully understand what was happening. Eventually, when Samuel understands how God is making himself known, God gives Samuel the grace to respond in a way that will change his life forever.
I am not recommending that our plan of attack for Eucharistic adoration should be to come before the tabernacle for a little snooze time. But if we are faithful to making ourselves available to be in Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist, I promise that Jesus will make himself known to us.
When someone has a serious decision to make or wants to grow in holiness, spending time with Jesus in the Eucharist is a practice I often recommend. I sometimes suggest that a place to begin is simply to be present to the fact that Jesus is looking at us with love from the tabernacle as we look at him.
After spending some time in this type of prayer, we can lay our petitions, our questions and our lives before Jesus. Reading some portion of the Bible to prompt meditation can be helpful.
At some point in adoration, we need to move from speaking to Jesus or thinking about Jesus, to listening to him.
At first, we may not understand what we hear or do not hear. We will need to come before him in adoration again and again. At times, we might even fall asleep or become drowsy as we pray. We may need to talk with someone, who we believe is spiritually mature, about what we are hearing as we spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. But if we make ourselves available to him, he will make himself known to us.
The National Eucharistic Revival is meant to help Catholics by taking up the role of John the Baptist. Catholics, behold the Lamb of God present in the tabernacle. And we are being invited to have the response of Simon Peter, who was brought into the presence of the Lord and then had his life changed forever.
Msgr. Timothy Keeney is pastor at Church of the Incarnation, Charlottesville, and Our Lady of the Rosary, Crozet.