January 14, 2024, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Episode 15 January 12, 2024 00:11:16
January 14, 2024, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sundays with Bishop Ken
January 14, 2024, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jan 12 2024 | 00:11:16

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Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw

Show Notes

Today, Bishop Ken will guide us through the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verses 35-42 (John 1:35-42)

 

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Episode Transcript

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John “John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what John 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 Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas" — which is translated Peter.” The Gospel of the Lord. Here’s something you may not have considered: You are writing a gospel … you are writing John’s Gospel. There is the beginning with the great prologue … “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …” Then John the Baptist enters the story and starts to speak, talking about the coming of the Messiah. Then Jesus enters. What will his first words be? You heard them in today’s passage. Jesus turns and sees Andrew and the other disciple following behind Him and he says, “What are you looking for?” Interesting words. They are the first words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of John and they are addressed to everyone because everyone is looking, reaching for something. The response of the two disciples to the question is equally interesting – “Where are you staying?” (Keep in mind the word “staying” and we will come back to it.) Jesus responds, “Come and see.” ***** There is hunger in the human heart, and it is a hunger for God. Human beings don’t always realize that it’s God they’re looking for, but there is no question about it. We are built for God, like a fish is built for water. You learned from your earliest days that you were made in the image and likeness of God. This is not simply a metaphor. It is the way we are built. Deep down in the human spirit, where we find our truest selves, there is a gap; something missing; an unanswered question; a feeling of being incomplete. We will never be what we are made to be, we will never be ourselves, unless we connect with God. We look for meaning in our lives, a meaning that is not erased by apparent failure, suffering, broken relationships, death. The meaning we look for is God. We are made to be with God, now and always. That’s why the word “stay” is so important in the Gospel. “Where are you staying?” the two disciples asked Jesus. We are not looking for a passing fad, or a fix for today. We’re looking for lasting fulfillment. We’re looking for something, someone to hold onto; to be with; someone that lasts; someone that “stays.” This brief gospel passage uses “stay” 3 times. The two disciples ask, “Where are you staying?” Jesus invites them to come and see … and the next line says they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. The Greek word for stay is used 40 times in John’s gospel, sometimes translated as stay, and other times as remain. One of the most powerful passages in scripture is during the Last Supper when Jesus uses the example of the vine and the branches to express the enduring and fruitful relationship he wants to have with His followers. There it is translated as “remain.” Listen to some excerpts from this passage and try to catch the full significance of the Word “remain”: • Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. • Remain in me as I remain in you. • I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in them will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing. • If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. Also at the supper table, Jesus uses a similar and more concrete expression when he says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our dwelling with them. (14:23) So how do we find God, not “out there,” not simply “alongside” of us, but deep within, joined with our own spirit. It’s not complicated. All we need to do is “come and see.” All we need to do is tune in to God’s presence which remains in us. Easy though it is, it doesn’t just happen. It takes effort on our part. In my experience, to tune in to God’s presence you always have to tune out something else. We need quiet, space, reflection … the utterly honest desire to get in touch with our inner self and experience there the presence of God. I return to the first words Jesus spoke in the Gospel of John: “What are you looking for?” The short answer is we are looking for God, but how do we find God, and connect with God? To find God, there are no complicated procedures to follow or elaborate formulas or works to learn. It was not complicated for Andrew and the other disciple when they turned to Jesus. It was not complicated for Simon Peter when his brother took him to Jesus. God “stays” with us. Not just near us, next to us, but within us. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are built for God. We are all invited to “come and see.” Now we need to tune in to the God who is already within us. We need to summon our full consciousness and experience the presence of God, not just near us or next to us, but within us.

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