Blessed Sacrament Parish
Homily by Father Mike Kuse
January 19, 2014 – 2nd
Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 AM Service
Gospel John 1:29-34
from Galilee to John at the Jordan
Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the
one of whom I said,
‘A man is
coming after me who ranks ahead of me
existed before me.’
I did not
reason why I came baptizing with water
he might be made known to Israel.”
testified further, saying,
“I saw the
Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
I did not
one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the
one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen
and testified that he is the Son of God.”
With whom are you connected? How did
you get connected? We forget sometimes
because it happens so suddenly and so quickly, but our whole life revolves
around introductions and connections.
Sometimes we’ll say a person is introduced to someone else because there
is a political need, or there is a financial need. When Jesus says, “I’m talking about a spiritual need” — that we all have in common. Once we accept who Jesus is and we let our
baptism come alive, we live a different style of life, although we can always go back to how it
Molly is going to be introduced to us this morning by her Mom and Dad and
her extended family. In return, by being
here, we are all going to introduce ourselves to her when we make the
profession of faith. She won’t remember
this moment, but 20 years from now she will because she will grow up knowing
that she will not have anything to worry about in life because, she will say, “I
have been brought up to know that there is a God who loves me.”
For some here this is the question: Who is the person who introduced you to
your current husband or wife? Was it at
a party, was it at a bar, was it at a wedding reception, was it at a family
picnic? How did you meet that person you
fell in love with? And that person, because someone introduced you, changed your life.
If you have noticed we have been talking about baptism over the last few
weeks, and it has been very strong during Advent and Christmas, and certainly during
the baptism of Jesus when John introduces Jesus by baptizing him in the Jordon. That was John’s role in life. Because he made that introduction, he was
beheaded. John knew, “This is why I came.” And Jesus told him, “Just do what you have to do. It’s all part of God’s plan.”
If you notice, when Jesus begins his public ministry, how the apostles tell
one another about Jesus. Andrew goes
after his brother Peter and says, “You’ve got to meet this guy. There’s something special about him. You just have to meet him!”
What happens? Peter comes. Jesus says,
“Andrew, get out of the way.
Peter, you are the rock on which I will build my church.” If you go through Scripture you will hear
Peter’s name over and over and over again.
Count how many times you hear about Andrew, just three or four times.
That’s the gift that God is trying to tell us: “When we have something that is really
important to us, we want to introduce someone to it.” We introduce people to a new restaurant. Our young people are on a TEC this weekend,
and when they experience Jesus they are going to go out and say, “You need to have this.”
It’s in all of these friendships that the Kingdom of God comes alive. I would just ask — think of someone who introduced you or
welcomed you, and in a very small gesture changed your whole life. It could have been a teacher you had in third
or fourth grade. Maybe you were
struggling with spelling or math and the teacher said to you, “Let me help you. You’ve got it. You can do this. You just need a little bit of help.” All of a sudden 20, 30, 40 years later, I
will never forget that that person took time for me, and encouraged me. It made
all the difference to me in my life.
It’s much more than a political or a business connection. It’s much more than getting to know the people in our neighborhood. What Jesus is talking about goes a lot
deeper, if you have the faith.
Jesus is the one everyone should connect with and get to know. Molly is
going to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
It’s that Holy Spirit that somehow gets inside of us and gives us the
urge to live our life so that someone else will ask, “How did you get to know God? I just feel that God is so far from me.”
And that’s your cue to say, “Let me
introduce you to him.”
There are some people who have never been taught how to pray. There are some people who have never been
invited to a church. I don’t care what
religion, or what country, they have just never had that experience to be able
Every Sunday we are asked at the sign of peace to welcome someone. When someone comes into church he or she might
say, “I’ve been here 50 years, so you don’t have to say hello to me.” But if
that person didn’t say hello to you, you might think, “Why did they snub
me. I’ve been here 50 years and they
ignore me. They go after that person to
welcome and talk to, but they don’t care about me.”
We always need that connection with each other.
So Jesus, this morning, is saying, “I want all of you to connect with
Molly. And I want Molly to connect with
all of you.”
When that happens she’ll never be lost.
And what you and I need to do, if we ever get lost, is to renew that
connection. Who are you connected
with? Is Jesus part of your life, or is
he just a tag-along? Is your family
surrounded by you as family, or does it just happen that you were born into
that group of people?
May the Eucharist that we celebrate constantly remind us, we were baptized
with water and the spirit. The water
cleanses, the spirit gives life.
* * *
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament
Parish in Quincy, Illinois.