Listening to the Lord

14 January 2024 2nd Sunday Year B

What are we looking for? What is it we want? They’re good questions to ask ourselves occasionally, or indeed, have put to us. It’s what Jesus asks Andrew and his friend in the gospel. They respond with another question: ‘where do you live?’


It seems they want to learn from him, but implicit in their question are other questions like, who are you and what are you on about, and where do you abide? Jesus responds saying, ‘come and see’. They’re pretty much the first words spoken by Jesus in John’s gospel and it’s an invitation: we’re invited to do the same.


We might invite those looking for some meaning in their lives to come and see us. Come and see how we relate to one another and welcome newcomers into our church. Are we able to see him in how we relate to one another? Does Jesus abide with us, because this is his promise, if only we are open to it.


The next day Andrew goes to tell his bother Simon that he has met the Messiah. The day before he had addressed Jesus as Rabbi, now he unexpectedly discovers the truth in what John the Baptist has said, that Jesus is the anointed one, the one on whom the Spirit rests. It’s not Peter who calls Jesus the Messiah but Andrew. He’s the one who brings people to Jesus; he has the gift of inviting us to come and see. Indeed, the only time he’s mentioned in the gospels is in the company of others. We might recognise him in the life of the parish.


Then, when Andrew brings Simon to Jesus he gives him a new name! It indicates a real change in his life, a new relationship with God, a new purpose. However, the ‘rock’ doesn’t emerge till much later because he’s as impetuous as ever throughout the gospels, but Jesus sees in him a steadfastness, and similarly, in each one of us. It’s the transforming power of God at work in our lives.


In the first reading the Lord comes to the young Samuel who, aided by Eli, is enabled to hear him and take to heart his word. He doesn’t dismiss what he hears, but listens to the Lord. Like Jesus, he is the one who listens. As ever, it’s the Lord who takes the initiative in coming to us and we have only to respond to his call, wherever we hear it, however unexpectedly.


Finally, in the second reading, Paul lays great store by the body. Our bodies matter to him. Indeed, they’re the temple of the Holy Spirit he says, for where else could we experience the Spirit but, in the body, which means not just our own bodies but together in the Church, the body of Christ, we are enabled to do the will of the Lord and, in doing so, to follow him and abide with him. In this is our promise of glory.


Damian Coleridge

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