Weekly Homily

January 16-17, 2021   Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The written notes from Fr. Dennis’ Sunday homily.   This homily is meant to be heard and not read. 

What Are You Looking For?

In the Gospel of John, the very first words that Jesus speaks in the gospel are these: “What are you looking for?”  Jesus originally spoke these words to the new disciples who were searching.  Now Jesus is speaking these very words to us today.  So, what are you looking for?  Our children are looking for faith; our youth are looking for truth and honesty, a faith relevant to their lives; our young adults are looking for values, a vocation; our older adults are looking for how to live and how to surrender to aging.

We all come here looking for something and everything.  We don’t come here looking for nothing!  But often it is in our emptiness we can let something else fill us beyond anything we could imagine.  Sometimes it is in those hollow parts of our lives that Christ comes to us to fill us with new faith.  If you are looking for everything and give little, you receive nothing.  We are invited today, leave all you have to come and follow Jesus.  Come and see!  Mentors and teachers are so important to us, at any age, to help us see, hear and experience what we are looking for.

In our first reading, we have the story of Eli’s faith witness which helped to inspire young Samuel to become one of the great religious leaders of his day. “Here I am Lord, speak, your servant is listening.” Sometime when we are looking, we just need to listen. In our Gospel, we have the story of John and Andrew’s faith witness which brought Peter to recognize that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah of Israel.

Our readings today call each one of us to be good Christian teachers, through our words and deeds.  Behind every great person there is some key person, a teacher or mentor, who brought forth that person’s goodness.  

This role of teacher or mentor is expressed through the openness of Jesus in our Gospel with those who John the Baptist sent to follow him:  “Where do you live, Lord?” Jesus invites us all to “Come and see,” come and experience!  Jesus models to us that to be a good teacher means extending an open invitation to all who are searching to find meaning in their life.  Jesus teaches us to look at life from a different perspective.  Jesus’ teachings are creative and innovative.  They were not imitations of what was in the past, but what could be in our human experience.

Each of us here can think of someone in a very special way, like Eli and Andrew, who was instrumental in challenging and inspiring us in our life. In my own personal faith experience, it is because of the examples of other priests and religious, like Fr. John Clay, that I continue to grow in my vocation.

In a real sense, “God does not call us to be successful but faithful”.  Out of our faithfulness comes our success.  In order for there to be faithfulness means that one has been challenged and met the challenge.  There is no faith without the challenge.  That is the lesson of life. Life is our teacher and our faith lesson.  That is what the great teachers and saints’ lives show us.  What are you looking for?  It’s not enough just to know Jesus, but we need to experience Jesus’ powerful presence in our lives. Come and see and we say: “here I am Lord!”