For Sunday, January 15, 2012
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
The 2012 presidential election season has begun in earnest with last week's Iowa caucuses and this week's New Hampshire primary. (By the time you read this, the results of that race will be known.) For the contested Republican primaries, one of the keys to success is turnout. Each campaign has its own strategies for ensuring that they are in touch with their committed voters to make sure that they show up and vote.
For campaign volunteers who use a phone script when making a call, the moment a likely voter indicates that they are committed to someone other than the caller's candidate, the call ends. No use wasting time on a person who is not going to vote for your man. You want to find those like-minded voters and make sure that they are committed enough to show up no matter what. And if they need a ride or an absentee ballot, you want to do everything in your power to ensure that they get it.
Robocalls, those annoying automatic recorded messages, go out on the day before and the day of the primary. One of the latest campaign tactics used by some candidates has been to remind voters how awful an opposing candidate's robocalls are. A Web site devoted to Texas Senator Ron Paul has posted a blast of comments dissing robocalls from the Santorum campaign.
On the opposite end of the technological marvels and advertising muscle of multimillion dollar campaigns is the retail politics that places like Iowa and New Hampshire are known for. That kind of intimate connection with a candidate—even meeting one in person for that matter—simply doesn't happen in states like Florida, New York, Texas, or California, where metro areas have populations greater than that of Iowa (3 million) or New Hampshire (1.3 million). The New York Times highlighted the small state version of campaigning in a piece called "Voters Voices" in which residents try to influence the opinions of others by plain old-fashioned word of mouth.
You can be sure that all of us will be getting plenty of calls in the year ahead. Political organizations are exempt from the rules of the National Do Not Call Registry. So even if your phone number is on the registry, you can still be called by political parties and campaign organizations. Get ready!
The Scriptures this weekend are also about calls. They are not campaign calls or robocalls, but they are calls asking for a commitment. Samuel is called by the LORD while he is serving in the Temple. Eli finally realizes what is going on and has the wisdom to guide Samuel in responding to the LORD.
It is Jesus who says to two of John's disciples, "Come, and you will see." From the context of the Gospel, we understand that those words are about a lot more than an invitation to look at where Jesus is staying. Those words become a call to a completely new way of life.
It is going to be very hard in the year ahead to put up with all of the political phone calls that we will be receiving. We may even want to ignore many of the ones that come our way.
It's pretty easy to mute the ringtone on our cell phones. But we don't want to mute the call that comes from God. Taking a little time each week for some prayer, some reflection, and some Bible reading makes sure that the line stays open. It's one call we don't want to miss.
Good and gracious God,
your Son reveals the way to you
and calls us to be faithful followers of his truth.
Help us be attentive to your word
and give us the fortitude to fulfill your will.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place January 18–25. Resources are available from several sources, including the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20110414_week-prayer-2012_en.html) and from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (www.geii.org/). Many dioceses encourage communal prayer to bring an end to the scandal of separation among Christians.
COLLECTION FOR THE CHURCH IN LATIN AMERICA
Many dioceses will take up the 2012 collection for the Church in Latin America on the weekend of January 21–22. Resources for this USCCB-mandated collection can be found at: http://usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/latin-america/collection/index.cfm.
FORMING CONSCIENCES FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP
Bulletin articles, podcasts, Scripture study, lesson plans, discussion guides, and worship ideas are all available from the USCCB in this election year. Make it a New Year's resolution to plan how you will use these resources in your parish in this election year. You can access all of these items at: http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/.
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