Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, January 14, 2018
Readings: 1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19; Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20; Jn 1:35-42
What are you looking for?
Those are the very first words, Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John, and that is the question he asked his followers.
In the gospel we just heard, Jesus walked past John the Baptist and two of his disciples, and John says “Behold, the Lamb of God.” That must have been such a powerful experience, the disciples left John and followed Jesus. Those words of John, should be familiar to you as they are said at every Mass, right before Communion. The priest elevates the body and blood of Jesus and says “Behold, the Lamb of God.” That should be a powerful experience for us.
The word “behold” is more than just “look,” it is more like a gaze, that fills you with wonder and awe. Like a beautiful sunrise or sunset, that catches your attention for just a moment. That is what we should experience at every Mass, when we get to see Jesus. It should move us. It should fill us with awe and wonder. It should fill us with gratitude for everything Jesus did for us. He came down to earth for us. He suffered and died on the cross for us. He is here with us. We get to look upon Jesus. We get to gaze upon Jesus in wonder and awe.
But, if that is not your experience, maybe you are a little more like Samuel in the first reading. Samuel was the son of the baron woman Hannah, who could not have children. But God blessed her with the gift of a son. And in return, filled with gratitude, Hannah offered Samuel in service to the Lord.
When Samuel was still a boy, he goes to serve in the temple. Part of that service is to assist Eli, the high priest. Eli is an old man, who can barely see. So, we can understand when Samuel is awakened by the call of his name, he runs to Eli and says, “Here I am.” But Eli tells him, “I didn’t call you, go back to sleep.” This happens two more times before Eli realizes it is God calling Samuel. So, Eli gives Samuel some guidance on how to respond when the Lord calls him.
If we find ourselves in that situation, where we are not really sure how God is communicating with us, spend time in prayer, praying very intentionally and specifically for God to reveal to you, how he communicates with you. To see what he wants you to see. To hear what he wants you to hear. Or to feel what he wants you to feel.
In addition, at every mass, when the priest elevates the body and blood of Jesus and says, “Behold the Lamb of God,” gaze upon Jesus’s body and blood. Be filled with wonder and awe that God would come right here and be with us, so we can see him. Allow that to change you. Allow it to affect you. If you don’t feel that, just imagine Jesus coming and standing right in front of you. What would you see? What would you hear? What would you feel? But you don’t have to pretend, you don’t have to imagine. Because he is right here at the altar for us.
By taking the time to gaze upon the Lord, by learning how God communicates with you, the next time Jesus comes and stands in front you and says, “What are you looking for?”, your response may be the Responsorial Psalm we prayed, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”