January 18, 2009, Second Sunday Ordinary Time B
1 Samuel 3:3b-10; 19, 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20, John 1:35-42
Many years ago I travelled to Romania, arriving soon after the fall of the dictator Ceausescu. I went to Romania to volunteer in an orphanage near the Black Sea.
I was not spiritually prepared to deal with what I witnessed within the walls of the institution; where human dignity had long since been obliterated by pain, death and neglect.
On my first tour around the facility I noticed a little 5 year old girl sitting alone on the floor in the hall. I was told to ignore her she was nothing, had no speech and no abilities. Yet, I was drawn to her. I sat on the floor next to her with a simple, two part puzzle and as we explored the puzzle, Aurelia opened my heart. .
That mute, damaged little girl became my spiritual intermediary. Through my almost instantaneous love of her, I was able, through Aurelia, to love the other children, to see beyond their wounds, bent bodies and disease and to hold them and to behold in them the beauty of their being. Aurelia, through a most ordinary act brought me face to face with Christ.
Today’s lesson asks us to begin a meditation on the call to Discipleship; a call to get ever closer to God. The call to be Christ’s disciple is not reserved to a select few. For you and for me, and for all Christians, this call accompanies our Baptismal commitment. We should therefore not be surprised to see regular, ordinary people as disciples acting out God’s will in ordinary and extraordinary ways.
Scripture begs us to consider the manner in which individuals come to be Disciples of Christ. God is always the one who initiates a relationship but it does not always occur with direct communication with god. There are many times when intermediaries play an important role in our spiritual development and help move us towards Jesus.
. The readings today also outline some basic steps to the call to Discipleship.
It begins with an invitation, then a period of discernment, and finally Transformation born of deepening faith. This call is not a linear one-time event but recurs time and again throughout our lives as we are ever re-introduced to the eternal, infinite mystery of God’s love. At any point in this movement toward him, God gifts us his word spoken through the voice, the actions and the example of others: people who we meet at just the right time. Think of the many moments in your life when a friend, a child, your wife or husband, or even a complete stranger, has moved you closer to Christ and your call to Discipleship
“What are you looking for?” This is a question that all people are presented with. And have we not each entertained this question and explored it with others?
But it is more than a question, when Jesus asks, for, he is posing an invitation, the first call to Discipleship. An invitation to enter into Christ for the answer to,” What are you looking for” is offered to us in the person of His divine being.
Jesus says, “Come and see”, initiating the discerning process of Discipleship. This is a time to talk, to listen, to question and to share your hopes and fears. We often turn to our friends, our community, we turn to prayer to help discern. We cannot do it alone.
And the third stage, Transformation. Our encounters with God are transformative. Through this experience comes faith. With Samuel a bond is forged between him and God. His responsiveness, his willingness, his desire opens him further and further until he gives himself over and accepts God’s will and through his words becomes an effective intermediary to bring others closer to God.
Simon is so altered in his very being, by his call to discipleship, that he needs a new name to describe who he has become; Peter.
But neither Samuel nor Peter travelled far along the road to discipleship on their own.
Samuel was spiritually inexperienced and needed council to attune him to the importance of the event and to teach him to listen to God.
Peter arrives at discipleship after a cascade of events and the help of several intermediaries. John directs his own disciple, Andrew, to Jesus. And then it is Andrew who brings Simon Peter to Christ.
. God’s invitation can come to us at any time; in the vigor of youth or with the wisdom of years. For many of us it can be in the most ordinary of events that God calls us and we may be deceived by how simple it is. We need each others help to explore, validate and honor our path to discipleship. We need each other to say, Stop, you are walking passed a grace filled moment. Ultimately it is our goal, and God’s will, to bring one another to Him.
Discipleship begins and ends at this sacrificial table. God has extended to you, and to all, an invitation to partake of eternity and receive the blessing of unequalled love through the body and blood of his son. As you come forward keep in your heart the image and names of those who have helped you on your way towards Christ.
Taste the bread, drink the cup, and be transformed as Disciples of Christ.