Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
   God, who raised the Lord from the dead, will by his power raise us too.
                                                                              1 Corinthians 6

*        *        *

I learned something new today about the Mass readings. Puzzled by the inclusion of the passage from 1 Corinthians 6, sandwiched between the call of Samuel and the call of Peter, I asked my husband how he thought the readings fit together. “That’s easy,” he said, somewhat surprisingly. Apparently the New Testament readings in ordinary time are read continuously, without regard for the Old Testament and Gospel readings for the day.

Well. That was a little bit disappointing, I confess. Samuel’s response to the Lord, when Eli finally cottons on to what’s happening, struck me this morning at Mass. How often do I begin my day with those words? “Speak, Lord; your servant is listening.” Probably not ever, if I am really honest. But how differently my days might go, were I to begin each one with the intention to keep my ears open for the Lord’s word! When I looked at the readings this afternoon, to put that call into the context of the other set passages, I was intrigued by the 1 Corinthians reading. What on earth has this discussion of fornication and the body and Lord with the description of Samuel’s call or Peter’s? I’d asked the question somewhat rhetorically, musing already about the possible connections.

I wonder whether the language about us being members of the body of Christ, and the emphasis on our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t correspond nicely to the theme of calling. For of course the concept of vocation–to married life, for example, or to the priesthood–involves the body quite directly. Marriage and family life require physical presence, physical attentiveness, the giving of the body over to one’s spouse. Childbearing and nursing remind us even more pointedly of the bodily nature of family life. About priesthood–well, I know about childbearing from the inside, and priesthood seems to me to involve care for others as much as motherhood, but in a way so different I can’t even begin to get my head around it.

God calls us, and when God calls us, we answer with body and soul: “Speak Lord; your servant is listening.” Or, at least, I hope to from now on.

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