My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
It’s been an interesting week this last week, especially with — we all are following the pilgrimage of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. He, as we probably heard, he had a Mass today and there were, I think, six million people attending his Mass and I understand it was raining, so I think it’s a beautiful testimony of the faith in the Philippines and also of Pope Francis’ ministry in the universal Church.
And then this week we are especially praying together with the US Bishops and Catholics across the country for the nine days of life. And we had, I hope that you were able to attend yesterday the beautiful celebration that we had here at Grant Park. One Life LA. Thanks be to God it was a beautiful day. We had thousands of people come to proclaim the sanctity of life and to promote human dignity in our society.
So let us this week, there’s nine days until this coming week, this coming Saturday to pray for life, as we this Saturday come together for our annual “Requiem for the Unborn” Mass here at our Cathedral.
Also Pope Francis, we you probably heard announced that he, God willing, he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra when he comes to the United States this coming September.
So, big week, praying for a lot of things, and it helps us to really be part of the universal Church and the Church here in the United States.
So as we reflect on that, giving thanks to God for all of those blessings, the readings of today’s Mass helps us, as I said before, to reflect on the beginning of the public life of Jesus and our own personal vocation.
In our Gospel passage this morning, we heard a story from the first days of Jesus’ public ministry. As you recall, last Sunday we celebrated the feast of Jesus’ Baptism. So this week, our Gospel passage is taking us to those first days after his Baptism.
So as we heard in today’s passage of the Gospel, two disciples of St. John the Baptist begin to follow Jesus. And, as we heard, Jesus turns around and he asks them a question. He says to them: What are you looking for?
Interesting question, isn’t it.
But I think we all can understand that Jesus is asking them to reflect on their lives. And then we have to put ourselves in the place of those two disciples.
Today, Jesus is asking you and me to reflect on our lives. And the question that he asks is personal: What are you looking for? What is it that you want for your life? Where are you going?
The encounter with Jesus always begins with this challenge. Because we all are born with restless hearts. Everyone is looking for something. Everyone is a “seeker.” We might call this “something” by different names. Peace of mind. Love. Purpose. The meaning of life.
Everyone, in his own way or her own way, is looking for happiness. Isn’t that true — that we are all looking for happiness?
And what Jesus is telling those disciples today — what he is telling you and me — is that we find happiness, we find everything we are looking for in life, when we find him. When we find Jesus.
That’s what he means when he says to these disciples in the Gospel today: Come, and you will see.
He is saying the same thing to you and to me. Come, and you will see. In a sense, it is an invitation and a command. Come.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus, once again, is calling each of us. Each of us has a personal “calling,” a vocation in life. It’s not just only for some special people who are called to the priesthood or the religious life. God is calling all of us. We all have a vocation —men and women, single and married, young and old, whatever our situation in life is. We have a vocation!
God calls each of us by name — just as we heard him call the young boy Samuel in the today’s first reading of the Mass.
He’s calling us personally. Let’s reflect on that this week.
Let’s not forget that our God is a personal God and he loves each one of us with a personal love. He knows your name, he knows my name. He knows our “story,” perfectly.
And God calls each of us by name to come to him. To come to Jesus and walk with him. To put our hand in his hand and follow him. Because he wants us to be happy. To achieve happiness — as much as is possible here on Earth — and then totally in Heaven.
So Jesus calls us to come and that’s an invitation. But I was thinking that it’s also a promise. Because he says Come, and you will see. It’s a promise because he says that if we walk with him, if we follow him, we will see the beautiful things that God wants to do — in our lives and with our lives.
God has a beautiful purpose for you and for me, and for every person. St. Paul, in the second reading of today’s Mass, talks about this “purpose” for our lives. We hear St. Paul challenging us:
You are not your own.
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.
St. Paul is calling us to think about how much God loves us, to think about everything that Jesus did to save us, to give us that possibility that I was mentioning before: of happiness as much is possible here and then eternally in Heaven.
What Jesus did, St. Paul says: you have been purchased at a price. Every one of us. The price, as we know, was Jesus’ own life — the life of Jesus offered on the Cross for each one of us. For you and for me. When we contemplate the Crucifix, we have to think that Jesus did that for me and for you. That’s how much he loves us.
So today, as we reflect on God’s love for us and how he’s calling each one of us personally, let us ask for the grace at the beginning of this New Year to make a new commitment to follow Jesus. To come to him. To let him accompany us in our lives. That he can help us to find that happiness that we all are looking for.
And also that we can make a contribution to that beautiful mission of Jesus bringing God’s love and presence to humanity. The mission of sharing the mercy and love of God with others. That’s the apostolic and missionary call.
Let us then ask for the grace to have the same disposition of faith and trust in God’s calling that Samuel and the first disciples had. Not trying to do what we want, but trying to do what God wants in our lives.
So let us ask our Mother Mary to help us this week to listen to the voice of God and to open our hearts joyfully to follow Jesus. Trusting in him. Putting our confidence in the beauty of God coming to us to make us happy. In that way, our life will have a beautiful purpose. What are you looking for? Come and you will see.
1. Readings (Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B): 1 Sam. 3:3b-10, 19; Ps. 40:2, 4, 7-10; 1 Cor. 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42.