Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Are You Looking For?

January 18, 2015 –– 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Samuel 3:3b–10, 19 / 1 Corinthains 6:13c–15a, 17–20 / John 1:35–42
What Are You Looking For?

We are two weeks past Epiphany Sunday when we remembered the Magi who were looking for Jesus. They expended considerable time, trouble, and expense to follow the star. Today’s Gospel jumps about three decades with John the Baptist directing two of his disciples to Jesus. The Baptizer made it easier for those who would hear, identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God. Those two disciples, Andrew and John, follow Jesus and become two of his twelve disciples, and we are told it was Andrew who brought his brother Simon (who we know better as Peter) to Jesus.

It is worth noticing that the first thing Jesus says in John’s Gospel is to ask those initial inquirers, What are you looking for? That is a question for all of us.

Speaking collectively of our human situation, we are always looking for something. Many of us are familiar with one of Saint Augustine’s best known Confessions: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The problem is that too few people in the world recognize this as a basic truth. So we keep looking.

Especially in our culture we keep looking. Though we have hundreds of entertainment options today––video games, the Internet, CD and MP3 players, home entertainment centers, sporting events, megamalls, movie theaters, and even robotic toys––Western culture is battling an insidious disease. It's an epidemic of boredom. Boredom is seeing our lives as dull, tedious, and lacking in stimulation. In a paradoxical twist, our incessant saturation with entertainment ultimately leads to a "deadness of the soul", an overpowering feeling of indifference and callousness towards life. We were made for more than intense amusement and personal pleasure.

It is amazing that in our materially saturated society we can have so much and yet have such limited contentment. How many days (or hours!) after Christmas morning do we hear children whining, “I’m bored.” It is not because they didn’t get enough presents. And it’s not just children; that is the frustration (even if it’s not verbally expressed) of so many adults who keep looking for the next thing they hope will make them happy.

As we start a new year, let’s do some personal inventory. What am I looking for? I need to ask myself this regularly. What are you looking for? Are we, above everything else, looking for Jesus? Are we finding in Jesus the hope and peace and joy that motivates us to tell others about him? It only took Andrew one evening with Jesus for him to go and tell his brother.

Let’s pray for a grace not be more excited about a big ballgame or our next big purchase or even a coming family celebration than we are about the one thing that has wonderfully changed the course of the world forever. We say it every week: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world…. Let’s seek to be people who embrace it and live it and share it. Everyone faces this question in some way: What are you looking for? Let’s look for Jesus. Let’s look to Jesus. Let’s lead others to Jesus. What are you looking for?

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