Sunday, 17 January 2021

Sermon: Stay with Him, 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B

Jn 1:35-42; 1 Sam 3:3-10,19

I want to return to one of my favourite themes:

what it was like, as an EXPERIENCE for the apostles to meet the Lord.

That first encounter;

The Baptist had said, “Behold!”

And WHAT did they behold?

when God, the infinite, the Almighty,

-when He took flesh and was THERE before them?

That first seeing Him

 -what did He look like? how did His body move?


Pope Francis makes an observation about the text we heard in the Gospel, about that description of the first encounter between the Lord and what was presumably the disciple John:

Saint John wrote that text many YEARS later, possibly many decades later,

Yet, he still remembered the precious moment, the exact time, he first met Him:

“The apostles never forgot the moment when Jesus touched their hearts: ‘It was about the tenth hour [four o’clock in the afternoon]’ (Jn 1:39).”(Evangelii gaudium n.13)

And, what did they do?

“They stayed with Him the rest of that day” (Jn 1:39).


You and I are here today because we also have encountered the Lord.

We have encountered Him in many different ways:

Childhood catechesis,

My First Holy Communion,


Most of us, also, have had moments when we could specify something tangible:

When I was in THAT church, in THAT year of life, after THAT problem/blessing/event

-but the Lord does not have ONE path He calls by, 

and our experiences are manifold


What is common to us all, is that we have met and been called by the Lord.

Maybe by a voice that was clear, like Samuel in our first reading;

Maybe by a silent breeze, like Elijah.

But, regardless,

We are here because we were called.

And even if you don’t yet know if you’re called to be a priest, you know that HERE in this place,

You are called to “They stayed with Him that day” (Jn 1:39).



Seminary, as know, can have its trials.

But, even speaking as someone who went to a very bad seminary,

Seminary is place of unique blessing, 

Because, it is a place to “stay with Him”.




Most of us, I’m sure, are returning from a nice rest and break.

But many of us, I know, found it hard to PRAY while we were away,

Found it hard to “stay with Him” while we were away.

The laity are also called to be with Him,

But we are uniquely fortunately to have way of life STRUCTURED around making that possible.

So, how are we going to USE that opportunity this semester?


This semester is going to be rush.          

Less than 11 weeks of being physically resident.

No mid-term rest.

Still restricted in our movements off-campus.

But whatever else this semester is going to be, 

We need to make it time to “stay with Him”.

The apostles stayed with Him 3 years non-stop before He sent them off.



Returning to our Gospel text:

What did John and Andrew DO when they “stayed with Him that day’?

Presumably, some of the things we need to do:

They listened, 

as we need to listen to hear HIS voice through our lectures and talks and reading these months.

They looked, 

as we need to be ATTENTIVE to have Him communicate to us, amidst events, amidst people.

And, most simply, 

they were PHYSICALLY there, 

as we need to be with Him in prayer, with Him here in the chapel.

And, today, in class, in prayer, 

the Gospel texts especially need to be what we are reading, 

where we are seeking to find Him.


To conclude.

“Jesus looked hard” at Peter

And He has looked hard at you.

He chose Peter,

And He has chosen you.

He found Peter worthy, worthy to be given a chance to become something more,

And, somehow, He’s found you worthy too.


This is our first Sunday together,

We could do worse than take this image for our semester: 

To “Stay with Him that day”

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