Wednesday, January 04, 2017

God’s Seed Remains

No one who is begotten by God commits sin because God's seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. In this way, the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:9-10

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. John 1:35-39

O Lord, you love justice and you establish peace on earth.
We bring before you the disunity of today’s world;
the absurd violence, and the many wars,
which are breaking the courage of the peoples of the world;
human greed and injustice,
which breed hatred and strife.
Send your spirit and renew the face of the earth;
teach us to be compassionate towards the whole human family;
strengthen the will of all those
who fight for justice and for peace,
and give us that peace which the world cannot give.
―Ecumenical Centre Prayer

Early in this new liturgical year, the readings continue to question and probe our hearts.  Monday, like John the Baptist, we were asked about our self-identity.  Tuesday the question was about our vocation.  Today, we are being asked where we stand.

“Staying” has multiple meanings in today’s scenario.  Literally, the curious disciples saw Jesus and wanted to know where he lived.  Rather than giving a direct literal answer, Jesus invited Andrew and John (son of Zebedee) to come and see for themselves – just like Thomas would later be invited to inspect the mortal wounds on Jesus’ body.  “Come and see.”

Beyond just meaning where did Jesus live, we find out more about where Jesus abides – and remains.  Jesus remains where he is welcomed.  Jesus planted a seed of righteousness with Andrew and John and the Word caught on fire in them. 

As a verb, to stay means to stop moving forward.  This early in Jesus public ministry, that definition is not relevant.  However, another sense of the verb stay means to remain in place.  As an itinerant carpenter-preacher, Jesus rarely stayed in one place too long.  However, the spirit of his message took up residence in the hearts and minds of those whose ears opened to hear it.

Another possible meaning could be that – in anticipation of the coming of the Sabbath – Andrew and John wanted to know where Jesus would rest in accordance with Jewish law.  Knowing this, they, too, had to wait overnight before continuing on the journey.  Therefore, to rest, the disciples stayed with Jesus on the short-term journey and then stayed with Jesus for his long-term public mission. Jesus rested with them on the short-term journey and abides in them forever.

Is Jesus staying with you?  Does that lead you to be more compassionate toward others?

January is Poverty Awareness Month! During Poverty Awareness Month, consider ways that you can join the Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Catholic Community in the United States in taking up Pope Francis' challenge to live in solidarity with the poor. 

“If someone who has worldly means sees a sister or brother in need and refuses compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?” (1 John 3:17). How are you called to respond to others with compassion and mercy?

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