Archbishop Harris’ Gospel reflection Jan 15 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

By Archbishop Joseph Harris

By Archbishop Joseph Harris

Gospel Jn 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” 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. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” – which is translated Christ -. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” – which is translated Peter.

Homily

Many years ago I baptized an adult who had been totally unchurched. During the ceremony I asked the person the reason for wanting to become a Catholic. The person mentioned the name of a family which I knew very well and said to me that having experienced that family’s way of living and their commitment to the church she had decided that there had to be something in the Catholic Church which had influenced that family’s way of being.

I remembered that incident as I meditated on the gospel passage given by the church for this weekend as the passage speaks to an essential element of Christian living and of what is expected in the life of a disciple. It is a principle of Christian living that our lives affect the lives of others and are a help or a hindrance to others as we journey towards the full establishment of God’s Kingdom.

In the Gospel given to us for our meditation this weekend, we are brought face to face with this principle. The Gospel presents us with the beginning of the public ministry and the call of the first disciples according to St. John.  The disciples are looking for something. We know that what they were looking for was the Messiah, and everything that the messiah was supposed to bring, freedom, liberation etc. When John said to himself, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” they heard him and began to follow Jesus. Jesus sees them and asks them, “what are you looking for?”  They in turn ask Jesus where he is staying, probably because they wanted to hear more about this man whom John had called “the lamb of God”. Jesus invites them “Come and See”.  They go with him and whatever they saw so enthralled them that they go and bring others to share with them the experience of Jesus.

That experience changed their lives.

This is still the fundamental Christian task, to so influence others by our lives that their lives are changed for the better.  Lives are not changed positively because of force or fear.  Jesus neither forced nor instilled fear in the first disciples.  Lives are changed for the better because of an experience or experiences which so touch them that persons are moved to dedicate themselves to something better or more noble. That I believe is the reason Mother Teresa’s congregation has so many recruits. That is why religious congregations and charismatic groups have followers.

This Gospel passage calls us then to remember and thank God for those whose lifestyle has touched our lives in a positive manner, for those whose lifestyle has encouraged us in some way to be better people, to be people dedicated to some cause which betters humankind.  It also calls us to look at our own life and ask ourselves whether our lifestyle is the catalyst for positive change in others. If our lives are not, we are not being faithful to our fundamental Christian task of helping others positively in their journey towards the kingdom.

Prayer

All powerful and ever loving God, we thank you for the message of the Gospel. You invited the first disciples very gently to come and see. They saw and were so enthralled that they dedicated their lives to making YOU known and loved. Help us also to experience YOU  in such a way that our lives also will be changed, so that we too maybe so captivated by YOU  that we will help others especially our children to know and to love YOU. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and through Jesus your son who invited the disciples to come and see.

Amen

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