•Samuel 3: 3-10, 19; I Cor 6: 13-15. 17-20; John 1: 35-42•
Scripture Readings: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
It is stating the obvious but I will do so anyway. Our celebration of Christmas birth has ended. Today we resume the liturgical season we call “Ordinary Time”.
When our liturgical calendar was revised fifty years ago that title made sense. Some think it no longer does. In her book Jana Phillips states, “these are no ordinary times. We are witnessing and participating in an evolutionary leap unlike anything in our history.”
I am convinced she is correct. “There is evidence in the human family of an upward shift in consciousness, a maturing spirituality, a connectedness that grows more intimate and global by the day.”
That uplift contributes to “the dissolution of myths that no longer serve us, and the demise of institutions that have underpinned our culture since the beginning of our history. Our planetary worldview is shifting to wide angle as we awaken to the reality of our interdependence.” (Phillips)
As the dominant culture in which we live shifts and evolves, it is our job to tend “the kingdom” preached by Jesus. Perhaps now, in this secular age more than ever, there are many signs and indications of “the new reality” that is emerging among and around us. We need new stories and ceremonies to celebrate the Divine Presence dwelling within us. Mindful of that, I invite you for the final time to Robert Frost’s poem: “The Road not Taken.” “Two roads diverged in a wood and – I took the less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Today we heard the evangelist John tell us how a small group formed around Jesus of Nazareth. Those five individuals, Andrew, Simon, Philip, and one unnamed, probably had no idea what was going on. I presume they were pretty much ordinary folks like us!
In the interchange Jesus asks, “do you want to give your lives a new direction? Then he says to them, “come and live with me, and you will discover how I live, what I am looking for in life, who it is I work for, and why I live as I am doing.”
Apparently they wanted to giver their lives a new direction for they took a decisive step. They took “the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.”
Today millions of people call themselves “Christian.” Most don’t know how Jesus lived. Most don’t know his message about “God’s kingdom” – “God’s new reality.” Most don’t know what he was looking for, or why he lived as he lived. If someone were to ask you about Jesus of Nazareth or “the Christ Mystery,” or “”God’s new reality,” what would you answer? Would the way you live, the decisions you make tell them?
I suggest the unnamed person in this gospel is us, each of us. The Risen Christ is here with us today, asking each of us, “do you want to give your lives a new direction?” Do you want this wonderful planet with all it’s diversity and beauty to be respected?” Do you want to live in harmony with the beasts, the birds, the fish and the plants?” Do you want all people to be free of war and violence?
All of that is possible! “The road less traveled” is the way set before us by the Risen One. We can initiate a new phase in the history of the world if enough of us make a decisive step and get serious about taking “the road less traveled.”
Getting serious is as simple as calling together and forming a small group to reflect and pray together. Holding on to the catechism is insufficient. There is a book: “JESUS: An Historical Perspective” that will can awaken a new faith in you that resonates with the upward shift in our consciousness and our widening planetary view. John tells us five individuals took “the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.” You are the unnamed one in this text!