Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday word, 15 Jan 16

Second Sunday of the Year A (15 Jan 2017)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
John the Baptizer called attention to Jesus; he pointed out Jesus: Look, the Lamb of God is Jesus not I. John did not call attention to himself; John called attention to Jesus.

It is easy to gloss over that: John called attention to Jesus. We are to call attention to Jesus by our choices. It is easy to believe that the Christian goal is to focus solely on Jesus with this result: I notice nothing else—the world, others, even myself. God does call a fraction of people to such contemplative living; their praying is powerful for the world and church; yet God calls only a fraction to be in the world that way. The rest of us are in the world with a mission to change it.

That means the rest of Christians have a vocation to live in ways that announce Jesus. To choose in ways that shout, Look: notice Jesus! To act in ways that shout, Look: notice Jesus! To speak in ways that shout, Look: notice Jesus! Each individual’s vocation commences with baptism.

John’s preaching held others’ attention. Many felt he was the one on whom to hang their hopes and give their hearts. John intently called attention to Another not himself. As the church began to take root among the gentiles St. Paul felt the same risk; some treated him the way others treated John the Baptist. St. Paul wrote the Corinthians and reminded them: I give thanks [to God] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say you were baptized in my name.1 Paul baptized only one household to begin the Christian church on the Greek mainland; after that he resumed his role of preaching Christ’s cross and providing for himself.2

Preaching includes words, to be sure. Preaching Messiah Jesus goes beyond words: our choices and our actions preach him, too. When we choose to put another’s interest ahead of ours, we preach Jesus. When we act in ways that respect another’s value and dignity, we preach Jesus. When we dialogue with open minds and hearts and work together, we preach Jesus. When we live simply so that creation suffers less by our choices and at our hands, we preach Jesus. When we a willing to love, we preach Jesus. When we allow others to love us, we preach Jesus.

Nourished by his body and blood we are light to the nations just as Jesus is. Until Jesus’ return in glory the church points out Jesus; the church is each member of his body in our world.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Become aware of the Divine Persons embracing you with loving delight.
  • Ask John the Baptizer to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for us; thank him for welcoming us to share in his mission to make known his Father and his Father’s dream for all people, for all creation.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to announce him by all our choices, actions and speech.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave it to us so we might point others to him.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. 1Corinthians 1.14-16.
  2. 1Corinthians 4.12; 1Thessalonians 2.9.

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