SECOND SUNDAY OF THE YEAR….A
SECOND SUNDAY OF THE YEAR….A
Jesus and John the Baptist were related to one another.
The Scriptures tell us that their mothers were cousins to one another.
The fact that Mary and Elizabeth were close to one another would tell us
that John and Jesus certainly knew one another. Despite this, John tells us
that “HE DID NOT KNOW HIM”. What did he mean? I don’t think he meant that he
hadn’t met him and had not seen him. I think he meant that he did not recognize
him as the Christ until after he Baptized Jesus. That was when the Spirit of
God descended on Jesus in the form of a dove.
I think there are very important lessons to learn from today’s Gospel reading.
If John had difficulty recognizing Jesus as the Christ, it occurs to me that
maybe we have the same problem recognizing Christ today. John’s experience
gives us a few ideas on how to recognize Jesus today.
1 – If you want to recognize Jesus YOU HAVE TO BE LOOKING FOR HIM, and expect to find him.
That was what John was doing his whole life: looking for the Christ,and he was expecting
that he would appear just any day. Here is our problem: we are not expecting to find Christ
today. Oh, he said he would be with us until the end of The world, and he also said that
where 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, he would be in the midst of them. But do you really
expect Christ to just walk right into your life? We are so busy about all kinds of things that the
only place we expect to find Jesus is in the church, and not at school, on the street or in
the market place.
2 – The second suggestion is this: If we are going to recognize Jesus Christ we will have to
have some idea of WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE. John evidently had difficulty in this regard. Like most
of the people of Israel, he was expecting a military Messiah who would deliver Israel from the
bondage of Rome. When he finally did recognize Jesus as the Christ, he said; “BEHOLD THE
LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.” Many today still expect Christ to
appear as a warrior on a white horse, conquering evil in the world. I think he is more like he
was 2000 years ago – a strong but gentle man, loved his enemies and prayed for forgiveness
for those who nailed him to the cross. I would say that if you want to recognize Jesus today
you had better look for an ordinary but good man. The letter to the Hebrews says: “JESUS
CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER.”
3 – The last suggestion is this: If you want to recognize Jesus today, YOU HAVE TO KNOW
WHERE TO LOOK FOR HIM. Again, John had a problem with his. He did not expect an ordinary
man, with an ordinary face. The people of Nazareth had a problem with this. Jesus tried to tell
them who he actually was, and it only made them angry. You can’t fool us, we know you are
the carpenter’s son. 30 years they lived with him, and they had no idea who he really was. He looked too much like one of them.
They could not imagine divinity and humanity all wrapped up in one person.
We still make the same mistake today. It seldom occurs to us to look for Jesus in plain
ordinary people like ourselves. You read about him in the Bible, hear about him in sermons,
experience him in the Mass,but refuse to actually see him in your brothers and sisters. What
did Jesus say about himself: AS LONG AS YOU DID IT TO ONE OF THESE, YOU DID IT TO ME. If
you clothed the naked, you clothed Jesus. If you fed the hungry, you fed Jesus.
If we are going to recognize Jesus we will have to learn to Be LOOKING FOR HIM… HAVE THE
RIGHT IDEA OF WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE …AND KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FOR HIM. We meet him
every day and yet we refuse to recognize him.
Keep your eyes and ears open from now on, and you will meet Jesus on the streets of
Bainbridge just about every day. Faith is believing without seeing, you know!