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Pastoral Visit to Kasukabe Catholic Church



January 18, 2015; Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B


FIRST READING: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
GOSPEL: John 1:35-42

What is our vocation?

The theme common to all the Scripure readings today is “vocation”. God calls everyone and urges a response from us. To listen to God’s calling and to answer Him is the heart of our Christian life. In today’s Gospel from John, the author depicts the calling of the first disciples Peter, Andrew and John. The encounter with Jesus made their whole life turn around. They must have fondly recalled this life-changing day some years later.

The first reading is the beautiful well-known story of the calling of the boy Samuel. In the temple, God called the child Samuel who was consecrated to God. When God called Samuel, the boy did not realise it was God. For the fourth time God called therefore, Samuel finally anwswered in the words that priest Eli told him to say: “Speak, for thy servant hears.” (1 Sam 3:10) The words of Samuel must become our attitude as Christians.

In the Second Reading, Paul says: “Shun immorality. [Y] our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God [.] You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:18-20)

According to Paul, our vocation is to “show God’s glory in our bodies”. Paul says that we must not defile our own bodies with immoral acts since the body is the temple of God.

There is a Japanese saying “Oya no kokoro, Ko shirazu (No child knows the depth of his parents’ love for him.)”. I wonder how much we know about the love of our Father in heaven. Perhaps we barely know the depth of His love.

Vocation is the calling from God. In the first place, it is important to ask ourselves if we have really understand the meaning of God’s calling. To know the will of God, we must try to listen to God’s voice, again and again, like Samuel. It is not easy to listen to other people. Perhaps even more so with listening to and obeying the Divine will. It is our task to quietly ponder upon and pray over the essence of the Biblie verse: “show God’s glory in our bodies”.

We must choose the way of God’s children who are invited to answer Him -- not only as individuals but also as members of the Church. Such a way of living kindles the light of Christ, the light of Resurrection amidst darkness.
 
Even in difficulties, the Saitama Diocese must grow as a multinational and multicultural diocese through recognising, accepting and respecting the differences between cultures. I believe Kasukabe parish is the very example of the Church where people of many nations and cultural backgrounds come together in harmony. I see that you have many children here and they all look full of spirit. These children from the multiculral Church will be the ones building the Church of tomorrow. How this gives us hope!

I will conclude this homily with a quote from my Christmas and New Year’s Message:

In this world, there are times when we hear these rebukes: “Where is your God?” There are times when we find ourselves in the midst of fruitlessness, despair and darkness. But even in the midst of darkness, the light of Christ’s Resurrection shines. The earth is filled with the power of God that makes all people live. Christ conquered death and he continues to always give us light and strength. When that day comes, “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Is 11:9)

With your liveliness and your diligent work, please strive to shed light upon the Japanese society today. Please bring the light of hope to whomever you meet.



[Scripture quotations are] from The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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