Second Sunday in Ordinary
Saint Patrick Parish
January 13-14, 2018
Holy Scripture is absolutely full of very memorable lines. Each of us, if we have a little bit of time to think, I would imagine could kind of come up with a list of - if not exact lines at least scenes from Sacred Scripture that speak particularly to us. I had an opportunity to ask Deacon Scott what his favorite scripture verse is before Mass this morning. It kind of caught him off guard a little bit but he thought a little and he said a line from 1 Peter that says if you teach, teach well, if you preach, preach well, but do so for the greater glory of God. Now, I'm not going to put Father Oz on the spot, because I didn't get a chance to ask him, but I'm certain that he could come up with some lines as well. Of the many memorable lines we might think of, we heard one today, John the Baptist saying “Behold the Lamb of God.” Others might be “This is my body.” “This is my blood.” “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son.” “Jesus wept.” The shortest verse in the Bible, when Jesus was there with Mary at the tomb of Lazarus her brother. My personal favorite - a line that comes shortly thereafter, as Lazarus is coming out of the tomb: “Unbind him and set him free.” Each of us, in our own way, could surely find something that speaks to us in a particular way.
But today we have something different. A little bit of a different sort of line in Scripture, one that few I would imagine would point to directly and say “that's the line that speaks to me!” That line is: “it was about four o'clock in the afternoon.” Why does it matter? Why in the world was this even included? In some ways this line speaks to the truth of Scripture - just by the mere fact that it's there. If the writer of The Gospel of John was intent on fooling people, tricking people into believing something that he himself did not believe, why would he have added such an insignificant line? Why wouldn't he have spent time writing that? “It was about four o'clock in the afternoon” doesn’t seem, like the kind of line one would add if they were being deceptive. What this line does for us is it points to exactly how meaningful this experience was for not only Andrew, but also for John - the other disciple that we assume was with Andrew.
|"Rabbi, where are you staying?"|
"Come and see."
Many of us, all of us, in one way or another. No matter how old or young we are have moments like this in our lives. For many of us, especially those of us 15 years or older, 9/11 is certainly one of those incidences. For those who are a little bit older than that, the Challenger explosion. Many can point and say this is exactly where I was, what I was doing, what time of day it was, how it felt... All of us can point back and say that's about when it happened. We have these large events that affect many of us, natural disasters things like that, maybe even the death of a celebrity or a politician. Tomorrow we remember Martin Luther King Jr. Those of an older generation can probably tell you exactly where they were when they learned that he had been assassinated. Moments like this etched their way into our being and we can't shake them, as much as we may want to.
|Saint Therese's Camp - Alaska|
What I am talking about is the Eucharist - that moment when you come forward and the minister presents to you the body of Christ, and you say amen, you say yes - this is my God! It is an opportunity that we have, not just once, not a moment that we can go back to and say oh this second on this day 20, 30 years ago, rather it is a moment that we have every week, every day if you so choose. A moment, a routine that is powerful. A moment to look at Christ, and see Christ gazing back at you, and say yes this is a moment, this is a moment that will change my life, this is a moment where I have encountered God, and God has called me to a new way of life! Simon Peter, John, Andrew, they all left their lives from before, they didn't hold on to what they had in the past. They were new people! One even had a new name! They were different. They had encountered something that would not allow them to stay the same and they didn't stay the same - they followed him. If anything speaks to the truth of the Gospel it is that: that these ordinary men, these fishermen left everything because they encountered... encountered something profound. They encountered him. Today encounter him in the Eucharist, and for the next couple of days, for the next week look back and say ‘that was my moment.’ Until you meet him again in the Eucharist, until you meet him again in your brother and sister, and you will encounter him again, you encounter him today. Open your hearts to that. Allow that presence to call you to a new way of life.