Dear saints, the readings for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany are – John 1:43-51; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139:1-10. Linking these Scripture passages together is Jesus’s call to follow, and – more particularly – the things that keep us from following.

For Nathanael, the issue was his natural skepticism: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” But Philip is undaunted by this response. Instead, he invites Nathanael to “come and see”. A personal encounter with the Son of God will be enough to break through that skeptical attitude (John 1). In the second reading, Paul warns that committing sexual sins with our bodies is another way we stop following Jesus. This issue is just as relevant today as it was in Paul’s time (1 Cor 6). The story of Samuel’s calling is a bright spot and good example of what a faithful response to God’s invitation sounds like. “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening!” (1 Sam 3).

What kinds of things are most likely to derail your life as a follower of Jesus? Is it – like Nathanael – the natural tendencies you find within yourself? Is it – like the Corinthians – the external temptations of the world? Or perhaps is it – like Samuel – the bad example set by some of your peers?