Fr. Bob’s Homily
My Brothers and Sisters,
I am delighted that as of Friday, 59 people had signed up for Discovering Christ. In his Apostolic Exhortation The Joy of the Gospel , Pope Francis reminds us that we are all called to be missionary disciples. ChristLife suggests that there are three essential steps in becoming a missionary disciple: discovering, following, and sharing. We see all three in today’s Gospel.
When John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus the Lamb of God, two of his disciples followed Jesus until Jesus turned around and asked them, “‘What are you looking for?’” In other words, “what are you searching for?” Their response to Jesus’ question seems a little strange: “‘Where are you staying?’” He replied, “‘Come, and you will see.’”
If we really want to know another person, we want to see not only their public persona but also their private persona. When we visit a person in his or her home, we learn far more about the person than if we just go out to dinner with him or her. John’s disciples wanted to know not only Jesus’ public persona but also his private persona. They wanted to discover the real Jesus.
They referred to Jesus as Rabbi or teacher. In the time of Jesus, the disciples or students of a rabbi or teacher lived with the teacher. The rabbi or teacher was teaching them by word and example 24/7. As we know from the rest of the Gospels, Jesus’ closest disciples, his apostles, left everything to follow him.
Until I reflected on today’s Gospel in the light of ChristLife, I never thought about the significance of the latter part of the Gospel. We are told that after Andrew, one of John’s disciples, had spent the day with Jesus, the first thing he did was find his brother Simon and told him, “‘We have found the Messiah’….Then he brought him to Jesus.”
When we meet someone special or have a profound experience, what do we want to do? We want to tell someone. We want to share it with others. We can only imagine Andrew’s excitement after spending a day with Jesus. He wanted to share that experience with his brother. After telling Simon that Jesus was the messiah, he took Simon to meet Jesus because he wanted to share Christ with Simon.
Today’s reading from First Samuel and today’s reading from First Corinthians reinforce the themes of the Gospel. In the first reading, God calls Samuel, but Samuel mistakes God’s call for Eli’s call. We believe that God calls each of us by name to discover Jesus, to follow him, and to share him with others. Unfortunately, in today’s culture we are distracted by the multitude of voices calling out to us. Also, if we are going to hear God’s call, we have to listen closely because God’s call comes primarily in the silence of our hearts. If there are too much distraction and no silence, we will miss his call to be missionary disciples.
Today’s reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians reminds us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and are, therefore, sacred. Just as the Son of God became incarnate in Jesus, we as persons are incarnate in our bodies. In other words, our bodies are not merely containers of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit because they are the expression of our persons. We discover Jesus, follow him, and share him through our bodies.
My brothers and sisters, we should all be able to identify with the experience of the two disciples, especially Andrew. Pope Francis cited this passage as an example of what it means to be a missionary disciple. Today’s Gospel shows the incredible long-term value that can come from inviting someone to come meet Jesus! Simon became Peter the Rock because his brother went to find out about this Jesus, spent some time with Him, and immediately shared what he had learned and brought Simon to Jesus. As one of our Invite team wrote, today’s Gospel is “a classic ‘Come and See; Go and Tell.’” Once again, if you have not registered for Discovering Christ and would like to attend, please do so after Mass today.