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Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

"Samuel, Samuel!" "Here I am!"

Notes for Readers

First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:3-10.19.

A very traditional way of telling stories in the ancient world was to have everything happening in sets of three; this is an example. This technique of story-telling makes sure of two things: first that the audience has got the story clearly in mind, and will remember it, but also so that when something different happens the third time, the audience is alerted to it. Be aware of this as you tell the story of Samuel. Don’t feel the need to rush, just because the same phrases keep appearing. Save a special emphasis when Eli realises “that it was the Lord who was calling the boy...”. Also remember that the last paragraph but one is the key: notice how this time the Lord “came and stood by”, and imagine how the boy Samuel would have said the words given him by Eli. The final sentence is a little abrupt, so be careful to leave a pause before it; also enjoy the charming expression “and let no word of his fall to the ground.”


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:13-15.20

Every year we begin with this letter - one of Saint Paul’s longest and richest. For the next five weeks we will read through the middle of the letter. Many people consider this to be one of the hardest parts of Saint Paul: he is talking about how we should live in this passing world - convinced that the end is nearly upon us. Some think this gloomy and irrelevant. But for those of us reborn in Christ, there is always to be an ‘otherness’ about our presence in this world. Paul tries to share with us the priorities of life. Today it is a simple message: keep away from fornication. Paul stresses that the body is important, because it is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and belongs to God, who raised Jesus’ body from the tomb. The sentences are short and punchy - a sure sign that Paul is trying hard to get something important across. Read carefully and slowly, allowing his words their full weight.