Homily: January 14

Homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily

Have you noticed, when you’re out shopping,
when you go to a register to pay for your purchases,
have you noticed how often now the clerk asks you the question,
 “Did you find everything you were looking for?”

The older I get, the more often that question reminds me,
that indeed I’ve forgotten exactly what it was
that I came into to the store to buy in the first place!
On my way to find whatever it was I went shopping for,
I get distracted by other things:
other items catch my attention and turn my head, so much so
that I blank out on the item I originally wanted to get.

“Did you find everything you were looking for?”

What brings all this to mind
is something Jesus said in the scripture we just heard.
In fact, we just heard the very first words Jesus speaks in John’s gospel
and his words are these:
“What are you looking for?”

And Jesus might well ask each of us here today the same question,
 “What are you looking for?”

Can’t you hear him starting a conversation with us?
Jesus saying:
“So…you got up early, you stopped whatever you were doing,
got yourself and maybe your family dressed for the weather,
left the house, got everyone into the car (some against their will)
made your way here, couldn’t find a parking place,
then finally found one, came into church, said a prayer,
sang a song or two, listened to some folks read from the bible
and now your pastor is asking you,
‘Why are you here?
What are you looking for?’”

There might be many reasons we’re here today
and as many if not many more answers to the question,
 “What are you looking for?”

• Some of us may be here out of habit:
going to church is something we do every weekend -
or most weekends - or at least fairly regularly.

• Some of us are here to satisfy an obligation:
we know we’re supposed to go to church on Sunday
and so we’re here to fulfill a duty that’s ours.

• Some of us are here because someone else insisted we come,
perhaps a parent or a spouse.

• Some of us might be surprised to find ourselves here:
we don’t usually come and perhaps haven’t come for a long time
but something moved us this weekend - and here we are -
and here’s the preacher asking, 
 “What are you doing here?”

• And some of us are here simply because we want to be here,
because we want and need and treasure this time each week
set aside for prayer.

We’re here for many reasons
and we’re looking for many different things.

• Some of us are here looking for peace,
for an hour set apart from our harried, hurried lives,
an hour to do what we’d like to do every day - pray -
something we often forget to make the time for.

• Some of us are here looking for answers
answers to difficult, confounding questions
that haunt our minds and hearts.

• Some of us might be here looking for mercy,
for God’s forgiveness of our faults and failings.

• Some of us are looking for a word, a message,
for something to carry us through a difficult time
or just through the week ahead.

• Some of us are looking to say “Thanks!” to God,
to praise the Lord for some one or some thing in our lives
for which we’re grateful.

• Some of us may not be sure what we’re looking for.
We might feel lost and unsure of where to turn next
so we’re looking for an “information desk”
to get some directions, some guidance,
and we’re hoping that church might be just the place to find that.

• Some of us are here looking for wisdom, a word of counsel, 
looking for help in knowing how to read the signs of the times,
and how to understand, interpret and respond
to the craziness in the headlines and in the world around us.
We’re looking for wisdom, a wisdom greater than our own,
because we’re at least wise enough to know
our own wisdom isn’t enough.
• And some of us here are looking for healing:
healing in our bodies,
the healing of a wounded heart, a grieving heart,
of troubled thoughts,
the healing of broken promises and relationships,
the healing of grudges and resentments.
the healing of fears and anxieties.

• And some of us are just looking for the Lord, looking for Jesus,
like Andrew and John in the gospel story today.
And like those two early disciples,
we have the same question for Jesus:
 “Lord, where are you staying?”
Where are you, Lord?  Where can we find you?
Sometimes it seems like you hide from us, Jesus.
And sometimes it seems we know just where you are but then -
poof - you seem to disappear!
So, where are you?  Where do you stay?
Where can we find you?”

And the Lord’s answer?
 “Come, and you will see.  Come, and you will see…”
Come, follow me… walk with me… take my path,
walk in my footsteps…
It won’t always be an easy path
but I’ve already walked it ahead of you
and I’ll walk every step of it with you, right by your side.”

Remember my opening question?
 “Did you find everything you were looking for?”

I hope you found yourself in some of my words just now
and more importantly,
I hope and pray you find the Lord
who is always looking for you.

When I go shopping I find that things along the way
grab my attention and turn my head, so much so,
that I easily forget what it was I went out to buy.
When I come to church, there can be so many distractions
here and back at home and at work and at school,
so  many distractions
that I end up missing what it was I came looking for.

So, let’s pray for God’s Spirit to sweep our minds and hearts of distractions
and open us up to Jesus, the One we’re looking for,
the One who meets us here at his table
in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

He makes of our church the place where he stays right now,
the place of his presence,
so that gathered together here,
we might rest a while in his peace.

May we all find what we’re looking for
and leave here at the end of our time together,
leave here with Jesus walking at our side.


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1 comment:

  1. This covers it all! Beautiful, thank you so much Fr. Fleming.


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