Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

The Church takes us to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. For the next two weeks we have various accounts of the calling of his closest disciples. This week’s is taken from the Gospel of John.  Two individuals, Andrew and one other, are disciples of John the Baptist and are present when the Baptist points to Jesus and calls him the Lamb of God. What are you looking for? Jesus asks these two new followers. “We are looking to be with you, Teacher, Rabbi. Where are you staying?” Then, after spending the day with Jesus, one of these men, Andrew, found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus, who renamed Simon, Peter[1].

It is so typical of Jesus. He just knows how to upset our applecarts, change our whole lives and call us to himself.

The reading isn’t just about the first days of the Public Ministry of Jesus some two thousand years ago. The reading is about every day of our lives right here, right now.

This often happens to all of us. We are comfortable in following Jesus.  We do our best to establish a Christian lifestyle.  We go to Church. We avoid major sins.  We keep an eye out for the less fortunate.  We are serious about living our faith, and then, just when we are content with our lifestyle, we are called to a greater faith, a greater devotion, a more determined following of the Lord. This is not extraordinary.  It is ordinary.  For example, many of us have lost loved ones recently.  All had been going well, and then, we were shocked out of our daily faith routine and forced to take a deeper look at exactly what we believe when we say that Jesus is Lord of the Living and Dead.  After the funeral, after the tears, we try to return to our former lifestyle, but it isn’t easy or even possible.  The ache within remains.  We find ourselves searching for a new understanding of this Jesus who makes such huge demands on our lives.  It takes spiritual courage to say to this Lord of the Upset Applecart, “Where are you staying?”

Or perhaps we are simply searching for God and coming up feeling empty. While everyone around us is having a wonderful spiritual experience, we feel nothing. We embrace our Christian lifestyle, but our only real experience is the experience of dryness.  The mystics spoke about the dark night of the soul. St John of the Cross, and, more recently, Blessed Mother Theresa wrote about this, but we are no mystics.  We are just ordinary individuals who are not finding the joy in faith that others seem to have. The others on the retreat, during the Eucharistic Adoration, or at Mass seem to get so much more out of it than we do.  So we go before the God of the Upset Applecart and ask him to help us find the place in our lives where He dwells. We may not find him where we expect, perhaps He is not going to be found in some deep experience, but the one who says, “Come and see,” guarantees that we will indeed find him.

The one consistency about Christianity is that Jesus is always shocking us out of our routine, continually making the ordinary extraordinary and continually calling us beyond our pre-conceptions to the place where he dwells.  I am certain that all of us wonder if we have the faith we need to hold on to the Lord in the midst of turmoil.  I am also certain that He will never, for any reason allow any of those who are seeking Him to lose our way.  He holds us in his hand.  He will never let us get lost.

Today we pray to the God of the Upset Applecart for the courage and the faith to go to that place, those places, where He dwells

[1] Second Sunday in Ordinary Time B, January 18, 2015. Readings: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; Responsorial Psalm: 40:2,4,7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris