Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

WeeklyMessage Homily from Father Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Posted for January 18, 2015

John 1: 35–42

Gospel Summary

John the Baptist, standing with two of his disciples, upon 
seeing Jesus exclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” When Jesus notices that John’s disciples are following him, he says to them, “What are you looking for?” They reply, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus responds, “Come, and you will see.” Andrew, one of the disciples, goes to find his brother Simon, tells him they have found the Messiah, and introduces his brother to Jesus. Jesus looks at him and says, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).”

Life Implications

There is a true story about a professor who was invited to give a lecture at a major conference on religion. The subject of his lecture was the nature of God. His many hours of research were rewarded by the enthusiastic response he received upon completion of the lecture. On the flight back to his university, however, his euphoric satisfaction about his work was shattered when it dawned on him, as he later reported: “I talked to everyone about God, but God.”

We can easily have an experience similar to that of the professor as he was preparing his lecture about God. With a little research we can discover many interesting, even beautiful things about Jesus and his disciples.

Thus, in today’s gospel passage, we discover that when the two disciples ask Jesus where he is staying or dwelling the question isn’t simply about a street address. John uses the same Greek verb (translated as “staying or dwelling”) when Jesus at the Last Supper tells his disciples that he “dwells” in the Father and the Father “dwells” in him (John 14: 10–11). We also discover that when Jesus says “Come, and you will see,” the essential meaning of “seeing” is the seeing of faith (John 9). Only with that seeing can the disciples know where Jesus truly dwells, with-in the Father.

Thus far there is no life-implication for us beyond appreciation of a narrative about Jesus and his disciples. A life-changing implication occurs only when we realize that Jesus is addressing each of us today in as personal a way as he addressed the two disciples. The gospel is essentially about an encounter with the Risen Lord now, not about historical knowledge, however orthodox, about Jesus. The historical-critical method of scholarship (like John the Baptist) can give us valuable information about Jesus, but this knowledge cannot enable us to see Jesus in faith—that seeing is a gift of the Spirit.

Because faith means a personal union of friendship with Christ through his Spirit, life implications will be unique and particular for each person. Nevertheless, from the life of Christ and the lives of the saints, certain patterns emerge that are actualized in the particularity of each person’s life. Union with the Risen Lord means to share his relationship with the Father. It means that each of us is able to hear with Christ “You are my beloved” and to say with Christ “Thy will be done.”

To be in communion with Christ means to pray, always and everywhere. The second reading of today’s Mass (1 Corinthians 7: 32–35) shows us that a disciple’s personal union with Christ through his Spirit is the foundation of choices about moral behavior. Finally, we see that through union with Christ the saints are not defeated by the setbacks of life. Saint Paul speaks for them all when he wrote: “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us” (Romans 8: 35–37).

Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.

Digest of Articles from Catholics Blogs and Websites
January 18, 2014

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B—January 18, 2015
“What are you looking for?” Jesus asked this question of two men who had begun following Him. Did He already know the answer?

Gospel (Read Jn 1:35-42)

Today, St. John the Apostle, describing the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, tells us that John the Baptist made a comment to two of his own disciples as Jesus walked by them: “Behold, the Lamb of God.” We are used to hearing Jesus spoken of in this way, but it would have been very odd in that day. Jews knew lambs as sacrificial animals. Occasionally, they thought of themselves metaphorically as God’s sheep (as in “The LORD is my shepherd,” Ps 23). However, for John the Baptist to speak of a particular man in this particular way—well, we can see what effect it had: “The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.”

Second Sunday: The God of the Upset Applecart
As we exit the Christmas season and begin the season of the year, the Church takes us to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  For the next two weeks we have various accounts of the calling of his closest disciples.  This week’s is taken from the Gospel of John.  Two individuals, Andrew and one other, are disciples of John the Baptist and are present when the Baptist points to Jesus and calls him the Lamb of God.

Blessed Mother Knows Best – Passing on the faith at home with Marian piety
During his installation at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago last November, Archbishop Blase Cupich challenged those in attendance to pass on the faith to young people through their “authenticity of life, where words match deeds.” The message was not just for Catholic teachers and youth ministers, but also for fathers, who have a special, God-given mission of handing on the faith to their own children.

Balancing Culture and Christianity
Culture is a word with a depth of meaning – a mixture of pain, joy, pride, love, restriction, and tradition. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definitions include “the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time” and “a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.”

One person can have aspects of several cultures. For example, I am American, Midwestern, Catholic, and Caucasian as well as a college student, avid reader, and actress. All of these labels can put me into different groups of people and influence my personality and choices. That is not to say that we are our cultures; they impact and help to form us but do not solely define us.

Don’t Be Like Jesus…
…Be Jesus.

In other words, there is more, much more to being a disciple of Jesus Christ than simply trying to imitate him. How dull is that?

Instead we’re talking about becoming Jesus Christ alive in the world today. He wants to do more, much more than we can ask or imagine, and he does so through the sacramental economy.

Judgement Comes to Us All
Last year, Family Guy aired an episode that included a brief look at how various religions view death and the afterlife. When they covered Christianity, they offered up this little tidbit to illustrate:

Temptation: 12 Things to Know
As we read in the Catechism, “Temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God. Jesus himself during his life on earth was tempted, put to the test, to manifest the opposition between himself and the devil and the triumph of his saving work over Satan (CCC 538). The Catechism also teaches that the so-called capital sins: pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth/laziness, are the root of all temptation. These vices replace the vision of the good (God) with the illusions of self-fulfillment, self-power, and self-advancement. Some temptations seem harmless and others are truly perverse. All temptations should be resisted with God’s grace or they will lead to sin, and the pain that accompanies sin.

Pope: Spend a lot of time looking in the mirror? You might be a narcissist
Vatican City, Jan 9, 2015 / 07:30 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily Friday Pope Francis cautioned against the narcissism of those who close their hearts out of fear, insecurity or vanity, saying that only the Holy Spirit can make us docile and open to love.

“We have ‘mirror men and women’ (who are wedded to their own image in the mirror), who are closed in on themselves and are constantly looking at themselves, right? These religious narcissists, right?” the Pope told those present for his Jan. 9 daily Mass.

These people, he said, “have a hardened heart because they are closed in on themselves, they are not open. And they seek to defend themselves with these walls that they have created around themselves.”

Real Men Pray
My father was a tough guy. A war veteran right out of the John Wayne/Ted Williams mold. A man who never complained about pain and worked hard every day. And I grew up watching the toughest man I ever met pray. Often.

To me, it was what real men did. He wore a scapular, attended daily Mass, and prayed the rosary for the souls in purgatory almost incessantly. And there’s something about seeing the strongest person you know get down on his knees that helps to shape a child to learn what being a man is about.

Nurturing the Gospel Through Prayer
In today’s culture of instant communication and instant gratification, we expect immediate results. We expect immediate resolution. This is why the parable of the sower seems counter-intuitive in today’s post-modern culture. It is a gospel parable in which Christ promises His Kingdom to those who receive it and nurture it over it time. This requires preparation, patience and perseverance.

From chapter 13 of St Luke’s Gospel:

Obedience Gives Us Jesus
Why did Jesus submit Himself to be baptized by John? He clearly didn’t need to have original sin taken away, like the rest of us; so we often hear that His baptism was meant as an example for the rest of us, to show us what to do. I have also heard that Jesus’ sacred body actually sanctified the water, so that it could become capable of conferring sanctifying grace. In no explanation do we hear that it was a necessary act, or absolutely mandatory, for Jesus to be baptized.

Generally, if the story strikes us as odd, we wonder why Jesus went into the water. But this time, I was thinking about why He came out — about what happened when He broke the surface and could breathe again.

Plan Out a New Life in Christ
As a result of Original Sin we all experience disorder in our lives. Emotional disorders, dysfunctional families or family disorder, mental disorder, social disorders, economic disorders, personal disorders, work disorders, and finally the most serious of all disorders are moral and spiritual disorders which springs from Original Sin and personal or actual sin.

The Prodigal Son & Father: Are You On the Road to Forgiveness?
One of the most endearing parables of Jesus is the story of the prodigal son. Like many others, I have identified at various times with either of the two boys.

At some points, I have felt like the long-suffering good son who wonders why seemingly hard-earned respect fails to come his way. At other moments, I have been the prodigal, who set off looking for hog heaven only to find swine hell.

But as I grow older, I have begun to identify with the patriarch in the parable. That is not a commentary on my children, or for that matter, on my parenting skills. Rather, it is an observation about the nature of forgiveness and the role that each of us has to play in it.

More on the Evangelists Not Making Stuff Up
Just a quick note on the reliability of the Gospels.

I’ve written before about the fact that the Evangelists did not feel free to simply make stuff up about Jesus.

One of the signs of that is the fact that, despite the fact that St. Paul’s letters were extremely influential in the early Church and though they generally predate the Gospels, we don’t find the four Evangelists lifting statements from St. Paul and attributing them to Jesus.

Apologetics 101
Whenever I am involved in conversations with non-Catholic Christians I go straight to the authority question. If that question is not resolved then every other discussion is only matter of swapping opinions.

It is important, therefore to be clear on the basics of the Catholic understanding of authority.

It is rooted in the fact that Jesus Christ was sent by God and had all authority on heaven and earth. (Mt 22:18)

Should You Question Your Faith?
Of course. A good Catholic is engaged in his faith intellectually, emotionally and physically.

This article for Aleteia discusses the difference between legitimate questioning of our faith and doubting and disbelieving.

It’s the difference between a doubt and a difficulty.

A Parable on the Lies of the Devil and the False Promises of the World
One of the great illusions under which we labor is that if we just get one more thing from this world, then we’ll be happy. Perhaps if we just had a little more money, or a better job, or the latest iPad, or if we were married to so-and-so, or if we just lived in a better neighborhood … then we’d be satisfied and content at last. But “at last” never comes, even if we do get some of the things on our list.

The Enemy’s Tactic #6: How Satan Encourages us to be Charitable to People We Do Not Know
In the sixth chapter of our series on the tactics of the Enemy, we are surprised to see how Satan actually encourages us to care for people. However, we quickly see that he is trying to draw us away from practicing everyday charity to those we see and know in favor of more imaginary acts of kindness that do not foster a virtuous life.

What he does is very cunning and on the surface appears to be something good.

What are the Stigmata and How do We Know if They are Authentic? – The 12 criteria the Church uses to determine authenticity.
The topic of the stigmata is very serious and unsettling.  The Church takes a very critical and — with good reason — very rigorous look at specific cases before talking about this topic. This is why it has made a positive pronouncement only in a few cases and after rigorous medical and theological studies.

The stigmata represent a sign of Christ’s sufferings during the Passion, and therefore they constitute a theological statement; that is to say, they are a faithful reproduction in certain people of Jesus’ wounds at the moment of his crucifixion, above all in what refers to the place of the wounds (feet, hands, side and head).

Why Smells and Bells Matter in Liturgy
We humans are complex creations. It cannot be denied that we are “fearfully and wonderfully” made by our God. The earthly bodies He gave us are composed of miraculous functions and capabilities. Among them, our senses not only aid our survival, they collaborate to bring richness to our lives.

We’ve all experienced the mental lift of a favorite song (hearing), the comfort stimulated by the smell of Christmas baking (smell), and the breathtaking beauty of a particularly colorful sunset (sight).

Theology of the Family Emphasizes Domestic Church
Joseph Atkinson is the founder of the “Theology of the Family” project (

An associate professor of sacred Scripture at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, he created and hosted a 13-part series for EWTN that presented the biblical vision of marriage and the family. He recently added more insights into God’s vision for family life in his new book, Biblical & Theological Foundations of the Family (CUA Press, 2014).

Atkinson discussed with the Register how this project is a major help for the problems family and marriage face today.

12 Things Chesterton Was Totally Right About
Only twelve? Yes.  For now.  To paraphrase Chesterton, “Epic Pew posts, like morality, consist in drawing the line somewhere…” Here’s the short list.

1. “Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.” Christendom in Dublin, 1933

Some things have become so obvious they need no additional commentary.

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