..surely one of the greatest gifts of parenthood must be when a beloved son or daughter at last experiences a personal encounter with God..
..when all that has been taught explained repeated & schooled into them suddenly becomes self realisation..
like first time they swam a length in pool without armbands, no longer swimming crossways in the shallow end “just in case”..
in 1st rdg young Samuel begins in shallow end & eventually “he grew up & the Lord was with him”
& the secret of his calling into divine relationship & service? he was a good listener..
“..speak Lord your servant is listening..”
for the times we did, & gave up, or we tune in in our time & on a certain wavelength let us ask for Our Lords mercy & forgiveness..
“..here I am since you called me..” ; Lord have mercy
“..I did not call go back & lie down..” ; Christ have mercy
“..you do not ask for holocaust & victim..instead here am I ..” ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life.
“John stared hard at him [Jesus] & said “look, there is the lamb of God.”..is it the hard stare that can wither the recipient from 12yds; confrontational challenging judgemental,
or the wide eyed excitement of one young at heart, keen eager to share identity without words; deeper more convincing than words?..perhaps it was in midspace between two extremes, a focus, a realisation, that this moment constitutes the reality of Johns own ministry coming to an end, as Jesus’ own work was coming to life..an adult Jesus now 30, no longer able to shelter in a novitiate, now baptised; a moment for full immersion into all that he had been sent for..a new year a new chapter “I must decrease he must increase” two of his own disciples changed direction & allegiance..for John, not unlike you parents, seeing a beloved son or daughter taking their future into their own hands, deciding to walk on & away..poor John poor parent had seen it coming inevitable understandable yet when it does come, it hurts deeply..a hard necessary ask of all good parents teachers & parish families, as our youngsters too walk out away from us..to find & relate to God on different ground among an alternative gathering of seekers & finders..& just when they think in their growing independence & freedom they are in search of their God, their God stares hard at them..not a parental stare, which so often misjudges & withers, but a real look of joy & excitement “what do you want?” what on earth brought you to this point of enquiry search & discovery?..a God who jumps over the moon six times in utter joy that you should have stepped out & away in order to begin a lifetime search for his real presence..& the question in return, then & now, is a common one “Rabbi where do you live?”..a coming of age moment for both the young disciple & for Jesus..each keen eager to learn, to grow out from a tertiary education; Jesus thus far under possessively loving parents, the rookie disciples held in loving reins of kindness strapped on by John..the
prospect of a deeper relationship now, with the Word [ Jesus ] meeting the Voice [ alias John the Baptist now the rookie disciple ] “where do you live?” it’s not a search for a place a home address a postcode but an enquiry of depth & explanation..”what makes you tick?..what makes you who you are?..where does your difference come from?..where is source of your energy passion & faith? we’d like 10 penneth of it!” & Jesus says then & now ever so gently “come & see” they did & they saw & “they stayed rest of the day”..
interestingly they then left for home again, not yet ready to leave everything & everyone to follow him..timid as yet even for a sleepover..like any authentic journey in faith, it is one day at a time, a journey which inevitably involves a mediator, a go-between, a bridge builder, a John the Baptist, an Eli & now an Andrew who introduced Simon to Jesus; another of those “looking hard at him moments” where Jesus accredits Simons passport with a new identity “Cephas” rock..a new name a new relationship a shared ministry, the Word & the Rock..the hard word & hard rock?..or a gently whispered word & a hard rock of dependability stability reliability?..how do you read it, read your relationship with your Jesus?.. “what do you want?”..what is the hardest, a drop of water or a piece of rock?..a non question..but put soft water into glass demi-john suspended over piece of rock, allow water to drip fall onto rock..come back in six weeks time, & there’s small hollow in rock, worn out by gentlest quietest steady drops of water..an image of real discipleship you the listener, the gentle quiet steady drop “speak Lord your servant is listening” the sound power & grace of patient silence..“we have found the Messiah”..I’d like to think we have ..whisper it & when your loved one expresses a first interest, say gently “come & see”.. faith isn’t a treasure to be owned; it grows in the measure in which it is shared..water & rock..take the plunge, devoid of arm bands, oblivious to signs of danger & caution..jump into deep end..40yrs ago in a simple Church Hall of a poor parish, where Church had to earn its keep by doubling as a social club, was an altar frontal for its holy day..it read ”the Master is here & calleth to thee” I now realise it was a gently whispered call into the deep end, drip feed spirituality..“speak Lord your servant is listening”.. [2ndSunYrB Jn1;35-42]