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Monsignor Yennock's Homily from January 14, 2018 - What Are You Looking For?

Jan 16, 2018

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME JANUARY 14, 2018

CHARLES DE FOUCAULD WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE LITTLE BROTHERS OF THE POOR. AFTER SERVING IN THE SAHARA DESERT FOR SEVERAL YEARS HE WAS VIOLENTLY KILLED FOR THE FAITH.  THIS IS WHAT HE SAID WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS VOCATION TO FOLLOW JESUS: “ONCE I BELIEVED IN GOD I KNEW THAT THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE I COULD DO BUT TO LIVE ONLY FOR HIM”

ONCE YOU ARE INTENSELY AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE YOU ARE NEVER THE SAME AGAIN.

WHEN JESUS TURNED AROUND AND SAW ANDREW AND JOHN FOLLOWING HIM HE SAID TO THEM: “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?” THAT GLANCE FROM JESUS AND THAT QUESTION CHANGED THEIR LIFES FOREVER.

JESUS OPENED THE DOOR FOR THEM. HE MADE IT EASIER FOR THEM TO APPROACH HIM. WHEN THE HUMAN MIND BEGINS TO SEEK AND THE HUMAN HEART BEGINS TO LONG, GOD COMES OUT TO MEET US MORE THAN HALF WAY. IT IS ALWAYS GOD WHO TAKES THE FIRST STEP.

GOD TOOK THE FIRST STEP WITH THE BOY SAMUEL WHEN HE CALLED HIS NAME IN THE NIGHT: “SAMUEL” AND SAMUEL ANSWERED: “SPEAK LORD YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING”. SAMUEL BECAME A PRIEST, A PROPHET AND A COUNSELOR TO KINGS.

GOD TOOK THE FIRST STEP WITH JOHN AND ANDREW WHEN THEY SENSED THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT THE MAN WHO ASKED THEM THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION OF LIFE: "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?"

IT WAS VERY RELEVANT TO ASK THAT QUESTION.  IN THE TIME OF JESUS, THERE WERE AMBITIOUS TIME-SERVERS IN PALESTINE, LOOKING FOR POSITION AND POWER LIKE THE SADDUCEES.  THERE WERE NATIONALISTS CALLED ZEALOTS, LOOKING FOR A MILITARY COMMANDER WHO WOULD SMASH THE OCCUPYING POWER OF ROME. JAMES AND JOHN WERE ZEALOTS.

THERE WERE HUMBLE MEN OF PRAYER LOOKING FOR GOD. THERE WERE BEWILDERED SINFUL MEN LOOKING FOR LIGHT ON THE ROAD OF LIFE AND FORGIVENESS FROM GOD.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF THAT QUESTION? HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF: WHAT DO I REALLY WANT OUT OF LIFE? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE FOR LIVING?

AM I SEARCHING FOR SECURITY? AM I LOOKING FOR A JOB THAT IS SAFE WITH MONEY ENOUGH TO MEET THE NEEDS OF LIFE AND TO PUT SOME MONEY AWAY FOR MY RETIREMENT? AM I LOOKING FOR MATERIAL SECURITY SO I WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE? DO I REALLY WANT AN EDUCATION?

AM I SEARCHING FOR CAREER, FOR POWER, FOR PROMINENCE AND PRESTIGE? AM I LOOKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO USE THE TALENTS AND THE ABILITIES THAT I KNOW I HAVE?

AM I REALLY AND TRULY SEARCHING FOR GOD? DO I BELIEVE THAT HE ALONE CAN GIVE ME THE PEACE THAT I WANT SO MUCH?

WHEN JESUS ASKED THE QUESTION:”WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?” THE DISCIPLES ANSWERED: “RABBI WHERE ARE YOU STAYING?”

THEY DIDN’T ASK THAT QUESTION OUT OF MERE CURIOSITY. WHAT THEY REALLY MEANT WAS THAT THEY WANTED TO SIT DOWN AND TALK WITH HIM ABOUT THEIR DREAMS, HEIR PROBLEMS AND THEIR FUTURE. EVERY YOUNG PERSON KNOWS THAT FEELING.

THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO WOULD BE JESUS' DISCIPLE CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH A PASSING WORD. HE WANTS TO MEET JESUS, NOT AS AN ACQUAINTANCE, BUT AS A FRIEND IN HIS OWN HOUSE.

THE DISCIPLES ASKED AN IMPORTANT QUESTION AND JESUS’ ANSWER WAS: "COME AND SEE!" THE JEWISH RABBIS HAD A WAY OF USING THAT PHRASE IN THEIR TEACHING. THEY WOULD SAY: "DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION? DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM? COME AND SEE, AND WE WILL THINK ABOUT IT TOGETHER."

WE HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE TO GIVE TO ANYTHING. WHEN JESUS SAID TO THE DISCIPLES: "COME AND SEE!" HE WAS INVITING THEM, NOT ONLY TO COME AND TALK, BUT TO COME AND FIND OUT HOW TO MAKE THAT ONE LIFE WORTHWHILE.

THE DISCIPLES WERE FASCINATED WITH JESUS. THEY COULDN’T WAIT TO TELL THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT HIM. THAT’S THE WAY IT IS WHEN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT SOMEONE.

ANDREW COULDN’T WAIT TO TELL HIS BROTHER SIMON: “WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH”. WHEN HE BROUGHT HIS BROTHER TO JESUS THE GOSPEL SAYS THAT JESUS LOOKED INTENTLY AT PETER AND SAID: “YOU ARE SIMON, JONA’S SON.YOU WILL BE CALLED CEPHAS.” CEPHAS IS THE SAME NAME AS PETER AND IT MEANS ROCK.

JESUS MADE A DECISION. HE WOULD BUILD HIS CHURCH ON THE ROCK OF PETER. JESUS LOOKED AT PETER AND SAW NOT ONLY A GALILEAN FISHERMAN BUT SOMEONE WHO HAD IT IN HIM TO BECOME THE ROCK ON WHICH HIS CHURCH WOULD BE BUILT.

AS WE READ THIS STORY IN MARK’S GOSPEL WE ARE STRUCK WITH HOW JESUS LOOKS AT MEN. HE SEES NOT ONLY WHAT A MAN IS; HE ALSO SEES WHAT A MAN CAN BECOME. HE SEES ALL THE POSSIBILITIES. HE SAYS TO US: "GIVE ME YOUR LIFE AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO BE THE GREATEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.”

ONE DAY WHILE MICHELANGELO WAS CHIPPING AWAY AT A HUGE PIECE OF ROCK SOMEONE ASKED THE SCULPTOR WHAT HE WAS DOING. MICHELANGELO SAID: "I AM RELEASING THE ANGEL IMPRISONED IN THIS MARBLE," ONLY JESUS CAN RELEASE THE HIDDEN HERO IMPRISONED IN EVERY MAN.

JESUS RELEASED THE HIDDEN HERO IN ANDREW. REMEMBER THAT ANDREW WAS THE ONE WHO INTRODUCED PETER TO JESUS. THIS QUIET HERO IS ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE MEN IN THE BAND OF APOSTLES. ANDREW HAS TWO OUTSTANDING CHACTERISTICS.

HE WAS A HUMBLE MAN WHO DIDN’T MIND TAKING SECOND PLACE. AGAIN AND AGAIN HE IS IDENTIFIED AS SIMON PETER'S BROTHER. IT IS CLEAR THAT HE LIVED UNDER THE SHADOW OF PETER. PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW WHO ANDREW WAS, BUT EVERYONE KNEW PETER; AND WHEN MEN SPOKE OF ANDREW THEY DESCRIBED HIM AS PETER'S BROTHER.

ANDREW WAS NOT ONE OF THE INNER CIRCLE OF THE DISCIPLES. WHEN JESUS HEALED JAIRUS' DAUGHTER, WHEN HE WENT UP TO THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION, WHEN HE UNDERWENT HIS TEMPTATION IN GETHSEMANE, IT WAS PETER, JAMES AND JOHN WHOM HE TOOK WITH HIM, NOT ANDREW.

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO EASY FOR ANDREW TO RESENT TAKING SECOND PLACE. WAS HE NOT ONE OF THE FIRST TWO DISCIPLES TO FOLLOW JESUS? DID PETER NOT OWE HIS MEETING WITH JESUS TO HIS BROTHER? WOULD IT NOT BE REASONABLE FOR HIM TO EXPECT A MORE IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE APOSTOLIC BAND?

BUT ALL THAT NEVER EVEN OCCURRED TO ANDREW. HE WAS QUITE CONTENT TO STAND BACK AND LET HIS BROTHER HAVE THE LIMELIGHT; HE WAS QUITE CONTENT TO PLAY A HUMBLE PART IN THE COMPANY OF THE TWELVE.

ALL THAT MATTERED TO ANDREW WAS TO SIT AT JESUS FEET AND LEARN ALL HE COULD ABOUT LIVING WITH GOD.

ANDREW WAS A MAN WITH A MISSIONARY HEART. HE FOUND A FRIEND IN JESUS. IT CHANGED HIS LIFE. HE WANTED TO SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE INTRODUCING OTHERS TO HIS FRIEND. LOYAL TO JESUS TO THE END ANDREW WAS CRUCIFIED ON AN X SHAPED CROSS. WE CALL IT ST. ANDREW’S CROSS.

WHENEVER ANYONE ASKED JESUS A QUESTION ABOUT GOD OR PRAYER OR ABOUT THE MEANING OF LIFE HE DID NOT GIVE THEM A PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENT. WE DO NOT ARGUE ANYONE INTO CHRISTIANITY.

JESUS KNEW THAT THE QUESTIONER WAS LOOKING FOR GOD. HE KNEW THAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR GOODNESS AND THE MEANING OF LIFE. THEY DIDN’T NEED AN ARGUMENT. THEY ONLY NEEDED TO KNOW HOW A GOOD MAN LIVES AND HE SHOWED THEM.

THERE IS A STORY IN THE LIFE OF ALDOUS HUXLEY WHO WAS ONE OF THE BEST KNOWN WRITERS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. HE WROTE “THE BRAVE NEW WORLD”.  ALDOUS HUXLEY WAS AN AGNOSTIC. ONE WEEKEND HE WENT TO A PARTY AT A COUNTRY HOUSE. SUNDAY CAME AROUND, AND MOST OF THE GUESTS PREPARED TO GO TO CHURCH; BUT, VERY NATURALLY, HUXLEY DID NOT PROPOSE TO GO.

THE NON-BELIEVER APPROACHED ONE OF THE GUESTS WHO WAS KNOWN TO HAVE A SIMPLE AND RADIANT CHRISTIAN FAITH. HE SAID TO HIM: "SUPPOSE YOU DON'T GO TO CHURCH TODAY. SUPPOSE YOU STAY AT HOME AND YOU TELL ME QUITE SIMPLY WHAT YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH MEANS TO YOU AND WHY YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN."

THE MAN WAS SHOCKED. HE SAID: “I’M A SIMPLE MAN. YOU COULD DEMOLISH MY ARGUMENTS IN AN INSTANT. I'M NOT CLEVER ENOUGH TO ARGUE WITH YOU." HUXLEY SAID GENTLY: "I DON'T WANT TO ARGUE WITH YOU; I JUST WANT YOU TO TELL ME SIMPLY WHAT THIS CHRIST MEANS TO YOU." WHAT IS YOUR FASCINATION WITH HIM?

THE MAN STAYED AT HOME AND IN A HUMBLE AND SIMPLE WAY TOLD HUXLEY WHAT JESUS MEANT TO HIM. WHEN HE HAD FINISHED THERE WERE TEARS IN THE EYES OF ALDOUS HUXLEY. HE SAID: “I WOULD GIVE MY RIGHT HAND, IF ONLY I COULD BELIEVE THAT."

ALL OF THE POPES OF MODEERN TIMES HAVE CALLED CATHOLICS TO EVANGELIZE. TO EVANGELIZE MEANS TO LOVE THE SUFFERING JESUS SO MUCH THAT WE WANT EVERYONE TO EXPERIENCE HIS SAVING LOVE. TO EVANGELIZE MEANS TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR SO MUCH THAT WE WILL DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO BRING HIM TO JESUS.

JESUS SAID: “NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” HE IS THE KEY TO SALVATION FOR EVERY MAN AND WOMAN.

LET ME ASK YOU SOMETHING: IF YOU DISCOVERED THE CURE FOR CANCER. IF SOMEONE NEAR AND DEAR TO YOU HAD CANCER. IF YOU KNEW THAT OVER 3000 PEOPLE IN ONONDAGA COUNTY HAD CANCER. WOULD YOU KEEP YOUR DISCOVERY TO YOURSELF OR WOULD YOU GO ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND TELL EVERYBODY WHAT YOU DISCOVERED SO THEY COULD BE CURED?

A GREAT PREACHER SAID: “EVERY CHRISTIAN IS EITHER A MISSIONARY OR AN IMPOSTOR.” THE WAY YOU STORE UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN IS BY INVESTING YOUR LIFE IN GETTING OTHER PEOPLE THERE.

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