Second Sunday in Ordinary Time “B” – Fr. Rick Sherman
1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Jn 1:35-42
January 17, 2021
In today’s bulletin you will notice an insert explaining next week’s annual special collection for the Church in Latin America. Please be your usual generous selves…..
Speaking of generous selves, we tallied it up and noticed that our little parish donated close to $8800 in 2020 toward all of our regular special collections plus $4400 to local charities in the last fiscal year. That’s over $13,000 plus your many other donations and contributions which do not show up on our church records. Thank you!!
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —, “where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.
Interesting first question. When Jesus asked them what they were looking for, they answered, “Where are you staying”. Not “What are you doing?”, “Where did you come from?” or “Where are you going?” But “Where are you staying?”
“Staying” sounds like a place where one hangs around for a while. It’s a place where you might have some time for an extended conversation, a place for getting to know other people, in this case for getting to know Jesus. It seems that the two disciples are not just seeking information, but rather, a possible relationship. They are already intrigued.
If you are a single person and think you may have spied the love of your life sitting alone at a nearby table in a coffee shop, you might not just want to know, “What are you doing?” or “What are your last three permanent addresses?” or “What is your favorite music?” or “your favorite color?” These might be useful throw-away lines or good chit chat questions, but you’re less interested in gathering information than you are in actually getting to know this person. What are their values and dreams? What makes them tick? Something about this person has already captivated you in a very compelling way. Maybe even a disturbing way. Something about this person seems to have just reached right in and grabbed your heart…unexpectedly. It’s exciting and maybe even a little scary. For both parties (especially if you have weird hair). Gathering random information to be compiled in a journal of “different people I have talked to…” would probably not be satisfying. It’s not enough… You could say that we want to ‘stay’ with that person for a while.
Most of the people in the congregation today can probably relate to such an experience. What is it about this person that is so alluring, so desirable? Little by little you spent more time together, developed a comfort level and sooner or later realized that there was something very missing when you were NOT with them. Eventually you realized that you wanted to stay with them permanently… forever…. You might even say that your life did not make sense withOUT that person.
Eventually you decided that just being a beautiful and charming couple was not enough. Still incomplete. You probably felt the need to bring the next generations of little
monsters, I mean children, into the world. And to shape them into responsible adults who themselves would bring new life and joy and spice into their communities. There is a natural and very compelling instinct to be generative. Love breeds new life. Love breeds Love.
That’s what is happening to Jesus and the disciples in the gospel today. They have this indescribable urge to spend time with Jesus; to get to know Him. Then they seemed to just follow him, almost spontaneously. It must have felt exciting and scary. “What are we getting ourselves into…?!” What would it mean to ‘stay’ with Jesus? We know from reading the New Testament that Jesus is not just hanging out with the disciples. He is calling them to follow Him and to ‘be a light to the nations’ in an otherwise darkened world. This is envisioned in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah centuries earlier. And to announce ‘God’s justice in the vast assembly’ as the psalmist says today.
You didn’t just meet the love of your life by sheer accident, and it wasn’t your destiny to just ‘hang out’. You were called to stay together and be generative. I’ll bet most of you have had your children and grandchildren ask you how you met. And how long before you got married? And ‘was Mommy ALWAYS the smartest person in the world?’ ‘Was Daddy romantic and fun…. a long, looooonnng time ago?’
Again, God has called us all to be lights to the nations and to ‘announce God’s justice in the vast assembly’ and indeed to the whole world. St. Paul reminds us today in his Letter to the Corinthians that our bodies and our lives are not our own. They have been ransomed by Jesus. We belong to God. Same with our children. Biological or not. We have responsibility for them, but they belong to God. They have a mission. All of them.
No matter how our earthly marriages may have turned out, Jesus is always inviting us to ‘come and… see’ where he stays and then to stay with Him… forever. The world needs everyone’s Light and God knows there are plenty of children to take care of.
So, how do you answer when your children and grandchildren, biological or not, ask you “When did you decide to stay with the Lord?” “How did you meet?” “When did you promise to Him that you’d be in a faithful relationship forever?” “How did Jesus change your life?”