Welcome to all, parishioners and visitors, to the House of the Lord to commemorate the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. I ask you all, "Why are you here today? What are you looking for?" I believe you are here because of your desire to answer your spiritual calling to grow in the Lord Jesus. Such a blessing comes from the grace of God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Through the Three Divine Person because all what God does is done in the fullness of the Blessed Trinity.
During today's First Reading from the First Book of Samuel, [1 Sam. 3:3-10, 19] we heard that the Lord God called Samuel. At that time, Samuel was not too enlightened about spiritual matters. Being worldly minded, he believed that Eli was calling him. As an obedient servant, three times after hearing a call, he went to Eli and asked him what he wanted. Each time, Eli told Samuel that he had not called him. As we heard, God had to call Samuel three times before Eli was spiritually enlightened enough to realize that it was the Lord God who was calling Samuel.
From these Bible verses, there is a spiritual lesson for us to learn. It is of utmost importance that we think spiritually at all time in our daily lives in order to have a fruitful relationship with the Lord God. If we allow ourselves to become too worldly, we will not hear God's calling to each and everyone of us, be it in marriage, in the religious life or even as a single person. But, if we allow our hearts to remain in harmony with the grace of God, His Spirit will enlighten our intellect so we will be able to obediently walk our living faith alongside Jesus Christ.
Samuel answered his calling from God. As he grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his Words fall to the ground. This means that as Samuel learned the Words of God, either directly from God speaking to him, or from inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and also from the teachings of Eli. Samuel valued those words! He memorized the laws of God, His commandments. He kept them in his heart. He made a genuine effort to implement them in his life through his thoughts, his words and his actions. He answered God's calling by persevering in His living faith to the best of his ability.
The life of Samuel is a living example to each and everyone of us. As Samuel grew in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, we too are called to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord. For it is through spiritual growth that we are sanctified in Christ.
During today's Second Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, [1 Cor. 6:13-15, 17-20] we heard that our bodies are meant to serve the Lord. They are not meant to be used for worldly desires and pleasures that do not glorify God.
Why are our bodies meant for the Lord? Because, as God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, He will also raise us by His power.
Our bodies are members of the mystical Body of Christ. We are as branches attached to the vine. [Jn. 15:5] If we bear spiritual fruits from our walk of life, it is because we are attached to Jesus. [Jn. 15:2, 4] If we bear spiritual fruits from our walk of life, it is because the root that gives us life is holy. "If the root is holy, then the branches also are holy." [Rom. 11:16]
During the First Letter to the Corinthians, we heard St. Paul saying that there are sins outside the body and there are sins against the body. If we are disrespectful towards someone, that is a sin outside the body. If we are selfish, refusing to share the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us, that is also a sin outside the body. All our unchristian words and actions that do not shine in the love of Christ are sins outside the body.
A sin against the body is when we lower our morals to satisfy our fleshly desires in unhealthy carnal relationships contrary to the sacredness of the Church Sacrament of marriage. A sin against the body consist of all forms of sexual relationships outside the Sacrament of marriage, pre-marital sex, common-law relationship, cheating on one's spouse, prostitution, and even same sex marriage or relationships.
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we became Temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. To commit immoralities against the body is to blaspheme the sacredness of the Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit. [Lk. 12:10]
Because we have become Temples of the Holy Spirit, we do not own our bodies. Although we have a free will, we no longer have a right to choose what is unholy. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have waived that right, alleging our obedience to the spiritual law of God. Having been bought with a price, by the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God, we are called to glorify God in our body.
Now some of you may not understand how and why you could be Temples of the Holy Spirit. Allow me a moment to explain this.
When we received the Sacrament of Baptism, we received free undeserved gifts from God. We were born again of water and Spirit. [Jn. 3:5] Through the holy water used during the Sacrament of Baptism, by the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, we received our new life, our new creation, as a stepping stone towards our salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. For this to happen, we were crucified with Christ on the Cross! We died with Him! We were buried and raised again with Him as new creations. [Rom. 6:4-11]
Now some may say, I do not remember dying or being raised with Christ. Your death and resurrection were spiritual. Through it, you received a new heart and human spirit. Your first human spirit died with Christ and was buried with Christ. Your new heart and human spirit resurrected with Christ as a new creation. Your first spirit was called to die because it inherited the original sin. As such, it had to be replaced by a new human spirit of the godly seed. As the Holy Bible teaches, everyone has a human spirit. [Job 32:8; Prov. 18:14, 20:27; Ecc. 3:21; Eze. 11:19, 36:26; Zech. 12:1; Mal. 2:15; Mt. 26:41; Lk. 8:55; Jn. 3:6; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 2:11] For a body without "a spirit is dead." [Jas, 2:26]
Your new creation is everything! [Gal. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:18] Your new creation is pleasing to God because of its holy nature.
Now, as the last Bible verse states, your new creation within you is protected by God, [1 Jn. 5:18] through the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is protected against Satan so he will not corrupt your new spirit. When you will experience physical death, your soul shall continue to manifest itself in Heaven through your new creation that is holy in nature. Through the grace of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit in the Most Holy Name of Jesus, you now qualify to inherit the Kingdom of God. Your new creation is your first instalment towards the inheritance of the Kingdom of God.
Having received a new heart and spirit of the godly seed, God expects us to live holy lives and to marry others of the same spirit of the godly seed. He expects us, his holy people, to marry those who belong to his holy family so that we may bear holy children.
Returning to my original topic, when we take part in non-marital fleshly relationships, we sin against the body. To sin against the body means to sin against the Divinity of God, against the indwelling Holy Spirit, against the nature of our new heart and spirit of the godly seed and against the Sacred Sacrament of marriage.
Hear what it states in the Letter of James. "Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, 'God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?'" [Jas. 4:4-5]
It is no wonder that in the Book of Malachi, God says that He hates divorce! "For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel... So take heed to yourselves adn do not be faithless." [Mal. 2:16]
God wants each and everyone of us to enjoy His Kingdom through the Blood of Christ. He is jealous of the new hearts and human spirits that He has created within us, desiring that our freedom of choice will cooperate with His Divine Will so we will be assured our redemption. God is so over-protective of the new heart and human spirit that He has created within each one of us, that He has placed His Holy Spirit alongside ours to protect them from the grip of Satan.
Having received God's new creation within us, we have become "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people." [1 Pet. 2:9]
From today's Reading of the Holy Gospel of John, [Jn. 1:35-42] we once more perceive God's calling. It is revealed to us by the actions of the two disciples of John the Baptist who followed Jesus. For it is Jesus that we must follow in order to be saved. He is the Lamb of God, the perfect human sacrifice for the redemption of ours sins.
Jesus is our Rabbi, our Teacher. He shows us the way, the truth and the life. [Jn. 14:6] From the Gospel Reading, we also learned how Peter came to follow Jesus. His call came through Andrew who was God's instrument of grace to call Peter. Throughout the Holy Bible and even in our daily lives, we see how the grace of God works through His children to implement His Divine calling.
So, I ask you again, "What are you looking for? Are you looking to answer the calling of the Lord?" If you are looking for the way, the truth and the life, then you must fix your eyes on Jesus. You must answer your calling by living holy lives in harmony with the nature of your new human spirit that coexists within you with the indwelling Divine Presence of the Holy Spirit.
When I see your presence here, I rejoice! Why do I rejoice? It is because I know that you are striving to walk in the way, the truth and the life that comes to each and everyone of us through Jesus. Your presence here today is a spiritual sign that the grace of God is at work in all of you. It is an indication that you are longing to participate in fellowship as one in the Body of Christ so you may share together in the great spiritual Feast with Christ. It is an indication that you desire to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life.
As long as you continue to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist on a weekly basis, although being weak in human nature, there is hope. And as long as there is hope, the grace and mercy of God will not let you down. May God be with you as we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass.