|by Angela (Lambert) Jendro|
January 14th, 2018 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel of John 1:35-42 NAB
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he 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 him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.
Imagine what it must have been like for the apostles near the end of their lives, to remember back to the very beginning when they first met Jesus – before their zealous and arduous work as the leaders of Jesus’ Church, before they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, before Jesus’ astounding Resurrection, before His shocking suffering and death, before witnessing in amazement His teaching and miracles. Back when they lived ordinary lives, as ordinary men, waiting upon the Lord in His silence.
The Lord had spoken to His People through prophets since His first revelation to Abraham. They had enjoyed ongoing relationship with Him, even when they experienced the pain of God’s discipline. Eventually however, their obstinacy toward God grew so hardened that it caused God to withdraw His immanent presence from the Temple. Without God’s help the people fell captive to foreign nations and lived in exile.
Years later, King Cyrus of Persia issued an edict allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and even contributed funds to aid in the rebuilding of the Temple which had been destroyed. Eventually some returned to Jerusalem, but God’s divine and immanent presence (which had remained upon the Ark of the Covenant from their time in the desert during the Exodus through its housing in the Temple until the Babylonian Exile), did not return to the Temple. Although God anointed prophets to mediate His Word through this time, God then remained silent for about 400 years leading up to the Incarnation of Christ.
In consequence, the Jews endured about 400 years of divine silence. During that time they clung to the words of God’s earlier prophets and to His Law given through Moses. They considered God’s promises and kept hope that one day He, who is always faithful, would fulfill them.
At long last, their hope for God’s Word and for renewed relationship enlivened with anticipation when John the Baptist appeared, as “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Mark 1:3; Isaiah 40:3).
The long silence finally broken and the power of John’s prophecy excited some to speculate whether John was in fact the Messiah.
Both Messiah and Christ mean “anointed one.” In the Old Testament, those God had appointed as either priest, prophet, or king would be anointed with oil. Each were called in some way to mediate between God and the People, and were bestowed with a measure of God’s authority.
The priesthood of the Old Covenant foreshadowed the eternal priesthood of Jesus, who would offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. The prophets mediated God’s word, preparing us for the incarnation of the Word of God, and later the indwelling of that Word in our souls through Baptism. Finally, the role of king was to govern the people as a steward of God who is the true king. Jesus came as king to reign not as a steward, but with the authority of God.
|“All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Mark 1:27
“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Mark 2:7
John the Baptist answered the Messianic speculation directly, stating, “I am not the Messiah” (John 1:20). He too was waiting patiently upon the Lord. He faithfully preached repentance, as God had asked of him, and baptized with water as a sign of readiness.
Finally, the Holy Spirit revealed the Messiah to John – it was Jesus. There, waiting expectantly, were St. Andrew and another disciple of John. Upon hearing his prophetic declaration, “Behold the Lamb of God,” they began following Jesus immediately, apparently without even saying a word. When Jesus turned to ask them what they wanted, they expressed their desire to remain with Him. They accepted Jesus’ invitation to come, and in their encounter with the Person of Jesus, determined with conviction that He was in fact the Messiah. In consequence, Andrew hurried to his brother to share the unbelievable news.
Their day probably began like every other day. Breakfast, work, prayer, routine. In that moment however, they dropped everything to find Jesus.
Everything had changed.
In that first encounter, Jesus called Simon by name, and gave him a new name indicating his new role in the New Covenant. Simon would leave the normalcy of the life he knew, to be Peter, “Rock”, upon which Christ would build His Church. Imagine the trust he must have had in the Lord to persevere in his discipleship through so many changes, so much confusion, and so much responsibility.
So much took place over the course of their lives, but it all began with dropping what they were doing when the time came, and going to find the Messiah.
We are all searching and waiting – for meaning, for purpose, and for happiness. We go about our everyday, on the lookout for the answer to come. Yet, Christ has come. He is what we have been looking for, even if we couldn’t put a name to it like the Jews. Praise be to God!
The Anointed One has come. He heals wounds of sin and strengthens us with grace through His sacrifice on the Cross, poured out for us in the Sacraments.
Jesus is the Word of God, who reveals God’s plan for our lives, our purpose, and His constant care.
Jesus is king. We enter His kingdom through Baptism and must work to allow His rule over our lives daily. Through our adoption as sons and daughters of God, He makes us rich as heirs of heaven.
“We have found the Messiah.” There’s no more need to search, only to follow; to say yes to Jesus’ invitation “Come, and you will see.”
Christianity is not a consumer product, a happy drug, an interesting philosophy, or a social club. Christianity is following Christ, the Anointed One of God, and staying with Him. None of us can imagine where it will lead, only follow one step at a time, waiting during times of silence, and acting when He calls our name. Where it leads only the Lord knows, but it will certainly be an adventure and full of surprises.
- Spend a few minutes in silent prayer, just being in the presence of Christ.
- When have you felt excitement about your faith like the apostles?
- How has encountering Christ transformed you? In what ways has it changed the way you think, guided your actions, or changed your desires and priorities?
- Prayerfully consider what mission Christ has for you.
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Take one step toward Christ every day. Follow Him in Scripture reading, works of love, or the sacraments.
- Take 5 minutes of silence to rest in the Lord.
~ Written by Angela Jendro © 2018
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