Homily for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42
Theme: “What are you looking for?”
Dearly Beloved, a story is told of a young and successful businessman who decided to settle down with a family. The story continued that he found this beautiful young lady he wanted to marry. He first hired a company to investigate this lady but requested that neither the investigator nor the lady should have any idea of who he was. At the end of it all, the report was sealed and sent in an envelope.
In the report was this statement, “this lady has been so inspiring and a model to many young ones in her community until recently when she started seeing a corrupt businessman”. The lady later realized what this husband-to-be had done and confronted him. She asked why he couldn’t trust her to ask whatever he wanted to know. Even though she was offended, she only asked him what he actually wanted to know.
Dearly beloved, I believe, Jesus is asking each and everyone in our relationship with him a similar question but in different words “What are you looking for?”
Permit me to ask you this question which may not be so much outside of our scope. Who would want to have a surgery? Who would want to have part of his body cut open? Yet there are some people who freely present themselves for such procedures. Why? They have a reason to obtain something better than they already have. Again, why would you wake you early in the cold to go to work? Why? Motivated by a reason for a better life by so doing?
At this point in your relationship with the Lord, he equally asks us “what are you looking for”? He invites you to reassess your motivation in following him. When was the last time you asked this soul searching question as to why you are a Christian, a catholic? Knowing why changes a lot of things about you. Don’t be afraid or intimidated if the reasons for your motivation are impure or shallow. He is willing to purify it if you allow him.
In our gospel reading, we heard of John the Baptist directing his disciple to Jesus in these words “Behold, the Lamb of God!” At once they began following Jesus. And when Jesus turned and saw them, he asked: “What are you looking for?” This is a rather profound and challenging question. It is an invitation to look deeply into yourself and evaluate the direction and purpose of following Christ. Obviously, the two disciples did not get the full implication of the question because they replied with another question: “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
As an itinerary teacher, he definitely had no place to call home which was a common practice among rabbis. Instead of giving an answer to their question, Jesus throws in an invitation: “Come, and you will see” (v. 39). It is an invitation, not to a place of abode, but to a relationship, to be part of his life. This one-night experience was to transform and change their lives forever. We listened to how Andrew looks for his brother, Simon, and eagerly breaks the good news to him: “We have found the Messiah” (v. 41), from being followers to evangelizers. How could this happen from spending one night with him? Our motivations are purified and better directed when we deliberately chose to spend time with him.
In the first reading, we see the example of Samuel who equally had an invitation to a relationship with God but could only figure out through the priest Eli. As much us we are able to answer by spending time with the Lord, there are times that we may need the direction of a more mature person in the faith to guide us. There are times we get direction from the readings, the homily or even the music selected for the day. Once your heart is open, the Lord who is inviting you, will give you the means to respond appropriately.
What we have to remind ourselves is that there are two sets of invitations the Lord throws at us, what I may call, general invitation and particular invitation. By accepting baptism and becoming Christians, that is a general invitation. But each day, each moment through our decision, actions, choices etc., he calls to us, “come and you will see”. (In other words, spend time with him, seek direction as needed, celebrate the liturgy.) Times we are sick, times we are in financial difficulties; times we have misunderstandings between us etc. Any time we have to act on anything, this kind of invitation comes, “come and you will see”. Every day the Lord invites us: “Come, and you will see.” Moments we are able to have the courage and respond, something about us changes. We are resourced to inspire others as well, as in the cases of the two disciples and Samuel.
Dearly Beloved, this Sunday, therefore, Jesus asks us: “What are you looking for?” In other words, he wants to know why we are following him. This is a crucial question that has to be answered honestly in order to purify our motivations and intensify our commitment to follow him. It is in our own interest to take some time and give a thought to it.