II Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 January 2020
As many of you already know, I lived 4 years in the city of Rome – Italy, not NY – studying to be a priest. At times, when someone has decided to take a trip to Rome I am asked – where are the best places to eat, what must I see, where must I go, can you teach me a few words to get around? Why do they do this? Because I was there … I experienced the life, the culture, the language – I was immersed in Italian life for some time … it was, and still is, tangible and real to me. I could have learned to speak Italian without ever having lived in Italy, I could have learned all about Italian life and culture, about the places to go and things to see … but would that have been the same as living there?
In the Gospel today, John the Baptist points out – “there is the Lamb of God”. Why is John the Baptist’s claim credible? Because he has seen and experienced and witnessed for himself just who the Messiah is – His identity has been made known and John has seen Him … It proves to us that our God has immersed Himself into our world, He walks among us … He is not distant and remote … rather He is familiar to us … able to be known and experienced.
And yet, how often and how easy is it to live our lives as if God were distant and remote? Maybe because we feel that these events of the Gospels happened so long ago that they don’t apply to us now … But each and every day, when the priest holds up the Sacred Host he declares: “Behold the Lamb of God …” the very words of St. John the Baptist … proving to us that just as Christ immersed Himself into the lives of His people 2,000 years ago, He continues to do so in our time, right here and now … The Eucharist is for us today Emmanuel; God-with-Us … it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ … and when we come to Holy Communion we take Him into us, we allow Him to plunge into the very depths of our being … Our faith then, Christianity is an immersion into the inner life and love of the Son of God – yesterday, today and forever … it is a lived faith, we can have real and profound experiences of God in our lives because He is not distant and remote… He is right here, among us …
You know, it is possible to know many things about God, the Church, Jesus, and so on … just like it is possible to know many things about a different country or language … and yet how different it is when it is lived and experienced … How much more meaningful, purposeful, joyful would our lives be if we lived as if God, faith were the very center of our lives, homes, the very center of our being? To know Him and experience Him on an intimate level … How much more credible is our witness to the faith when we begin to truly live it, when we allow Christ to get into the inner depths of our hearts.