Christ Gives What’s Missing

User’s Guide to Sunday, Jan. 14

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Sunday, Jan. 14, is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B). Mass Readings: 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19; Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42.

With the Christmas Octave over and the new year begun, the readings today give us a great program of life for the new year.

We need one. The only way to survive the highs and lows of life this year — and any year — is to have faith in the One who is always there and never disappoints.

The program begins when John points to Jesus, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” As the Gospel says: “The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.”

John the Baptist had prepared the way with these disciples. He had awakened in them a longing for something more in life. They had come to understand that he could point them to what they were missing.

So when he points them to Jesus, they are ready, as Samuel was in the first reading. That’s the first step in our program: Be ready to hear — and follow — God’s will.

The second step is to enter into a dialogue with Jesus, just as the disciples did.

The Gospel story continues: “Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’”

He asks us the same thing. The disciples don’t answer, “What can you give us?” They don’t ask, “What do we have to do?” They ask, “Where are you staying?” They want to know where they can find God’s life lived.

Which brings us to the third part of the program. Jesus answers them, “Come, and you will see,” and they go. He says the same to us. He doesn’t force us, and he doesn’t critique us; he invites us. We can go and see, or not. The disciples went. Will we?

To stay with Jesus means to live according to his way of life, to turn off every path that leads away from him, and to rest with him where he is.

If we stay with him, that will naturally open up the fourth act of the program: Tell others what we have seen.

Andrew in today’s Gospel immediately brought his brother to Jesus, saying, “We have found the Messiah.” This is something few of us want to do. We may be afraid that introducing Jesus to someone would be an imposition.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus looks at Andrew’s brother Simon and immediately ennobles him, renames him Peter, and sets him on a path to do greater than he ever thought he could.

Not everyone who is introduced to Jesus becomes a St. Peter. But everyone who meets him, listens to him and stays with him discovers they can do something greater than they ever thought possible — but only if someone (us!) discovers that life is worth living as the disciples did and tells them.

Tom Hoopes is writer

in residence at

Benedictine College and

author of The Fatima

Family Handbook (Holy Heroes).