Sunday 17 January 2021

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Word for today
The Gosple of John 1:35-42

The Train

What are you looking for?
Good question!
The question is a serious one and the impression one has is that everyone is always looking for something and that no one is ever satisfied or gratified by anything. But if everyone is looking for something, it can only mean that something has been lost. Why would someone look for something if nothing has been lost? And would someone look for something or someone lost if it/she/he did not arouse fascination, interest, curiosity, yearning?
What are you looking for?
Good question!
Who are we looking for, what are we looking for?  Who are we looking for in every moment, every gesture, in every heart? This is not an ideological question or mental or philosophical ruminations. Maybe it is not even a question. It seems closer to a rhetorical question, a provocation with a predictable, even if mysterious answer.
Who are we looking for all of our lives? What are we looking for? Food, health, riches? Or are we looking for glory, fame, power, success? Are we looking for love, passion, comforts, dedication, or possessions? What are we desperately looking for? What is it that makes us so furious when we lose, so distraught when we are unsuccessful, so prostrated when we are alone? What is missing and, despite our desperate efforts, we are unable to find? What makes us optimists today and depressed tomorrow? Who or what makes us so frenetic as we take off, and slows us down half way through the race? What makes us so satisfied and miserable in the chase for what, for whom? What makes us so obstinate and unrelenting one moment and so spineless the next? What are we looking for deep in our hearts and in our history, in the unexpected and in the calculation, in luck and in faith? What are we looking for in the stars or in mythology, in ancient literature or in poetry? What makes us so courageous when we are in a group and so vile when we are alone?
But most of all, what is the common denominator of human searching? Yes, because during humanity's troubled searching we often retrace our steps, go over the same ground, return to the same path. There is a repetition of wars, privations, betrayals, abuses, nonetheless we return over and over again to the same tracks leading to the way of ways.
There is one thing in mankind's boundless search that is the undisputed, unbeatable winner. It is the way of ways, the trail that  carries over from region to region and century to century without distinction of race, sex, religion, or culture. For an extraordinary, moving, untold, vast course of human history, the undisputed sovreign which generously in every corner of history and of the world dispenses her favors and graces superbly and in striking manner beyond any human power is queen stupidity.
In simple grottos, or richly furnished castles, in the shadow of date trees or in the rain forests, in mankind's search the real pilot, the high road, the navigator of humanity is Madame stupidity.  She is unconquerable, unchanging, constant, impassive, unassailable, prompt, at times even unpredictable. She never works alone. Her two faithful servants are laziness and ignorance. The three of them make an energetic trio of boundless, incalculable, destructive power beyond any model, estimation, protocol or human control.
Stupidity always and everywhere uses her handmaids, laziness and ignorance, and has no earthly rivals; she knows no enemies, boundaries, calamities, oppositions. She imprisons populations who believe everything and everyone without reserve or any kind of verification.
She levels off every diversity and genius, gift and novelty using the arms of the system, the law, the rules of prejudice. She inflicts incalculable damage to mankind, to the earth, to the mountains, to the lakes, rivers, air and water.  She recognizes her children everywhere simply by the way they walk, get along with one another, eat, breathe. And she guides them from afar using thin telepathic wires,  she guides them from within and surrounds them from without, communicating with them on the wings of prejudice and of irrational thought systems.  She holds up her empire, the vastest ever to be seen on the face of the earth, using two supporting columns: laziness on the one side and ignorance on the other.
Stupidity crosses generations through blood but travels readily  among peoples by means of culture, the school, the way a people eats or has fun, builds, travels or creates religious and methological structures. She informs by emptying, she leaves nothing to chance, she never sleeps, she never eats, she never relaxes.
Popular stupidity is pampered and supported by the powerful because stupidity is, on the one hand, an incurable, infallible fount of divisions and factions and, on the other, the certain fount of profit and riches without end. If no one earned money - tons of easy money - from the train of stupidity it would be left in station to rot never to travel again. It is the stupidity of peoples that renders the powerful so rich and arrogant. Her reign and vigor, her force, her resistance are held up by the greatest, most potent source of energy present in the human mind: envy.
The trinity of stupidity dedicates her songs and prayers, her devotion and praises, her liturgies, assemblies and processions to envy. Queen stupidity has a heart, a spirit, a source of energy without end, and power without equal and without enemies: envy. The destructive trinity of the mind, the common, intrinsic, irresistible communion of stupidity, laziness, and ignorance can do little without the help of their god and generator, without the generating, creative source which is envy.
Envy gives superhuman energy to the mind to unify stupidity, laziness and ignorance, to make them work in perfect accord, to support their most important projects, their reasoning systems, to inspire them with their scientific models and to give life to their prophets and saints.
Envy readily makes use when and where she can also of jealousy, rivalry, malice, competition, but nothing can move under the eyes or the sovereign intervention of stupidity.
The rails are laziness and ignorance, the train is stupidity the fuel that gives pressure to envy,  the boiler.
No slander, defamation or prejudice can cross mountains and minds without using the penetrating power of the train of stupidity. In the same way, there is no war, political absolutism, economic slavery, devastation that has not used this train to cross brains and to put out the souls of peoples throughout history. It is in this alienating, sad way that humanity takes this gloomy, sinister train searching for what it is looking for.
Jesus, the Lord, the only real sworn enemy and opposer of stupidity, approaches men and women on their delirious earthly trip and asks: What are you looking for? The Lord is addressing all human creatures with this question and consigns the liberating seed of his Word and of his Light. The question prepares the ground for the gift the Lord presents to these tired, drained, humiliated, disoriented travelers. His gift is a new opportunity, a new possibility to rise up from stupidity and from heart's death. He says in fact: Come and you will see. Two words. Two luminous words. Two rails against the rails. Two rails to substitute those ancient, dangerous rails needed to search for and to find life. Two rails which are clearly opposed to two other rails.
Come means move your feet and life, go to him, to move towards the present to find him,  get going and being, participating with all one's heart in what is, trusting, working, walking in him. Come indicates movement, adoring movement towards him, it indicates time that is holy and full of love, prayer, trust in him, freedom together with faithfulness. Come is breaking away from old equilibriums and going towards him. Come is the rails that oppose laziness.
You will see is the rail that opposes ignorance. You will see indicates the interior position of the spirit which opens itself to interior vision and awareness. You will see indicates knowledge and adhesion to truth, to see within out of faith, true intelligence,  knowledge, perception. You will see indicates effusion of the Holy Spirit which leads to the entire truth and to the force of knowledge.
The Lord's two new rails versus the train of stupidity. The rails that oppose laziness and ignorance are the two rails on which  the train of life runs according to Jesus.
But how can we defeat the train of stupidity, how can we  take away force and fuel from a train which never arrives late, never needs to be waited for, and is always precise, perfectly on time?
Jesus shows us this too, if we read between the lines, very clearly. The text says: We have found the Messiah.
That's it. If Jesus is our Messiah and Savior, the Lord and God, our search has come to an end, at his very feet in the room where Jesus lived and invited his first disciples to see. There at the feet of God made man humanity's boundless search has come to an end - there where he was staying at about four in the afternoon. If we have found the Messiah, the Father's Consecrated one, there is no need to look for anything else, there is no need to add anything else, there is no need to reason any further, there is no need to be anxious or troubled. He will give us and tell us everything that we need always fully and abundantly, totally and divinely. He is the way. He is the life. He is the truth. He tells and gives us everything.  There is no need to search for anything besides Him, because without him we can do nothing.
For those who wish and  really want it, stupidity has been defeated and has fallen away behind the sandals of the the most beautiful of God's children, the king Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Stupidity has been defeated by the truth of his word for those who want to accept it. Stupidity has been defeated by the grace of his gestures capable of healing all diseases and by the mercy that he bestows on those who plead for it. Stupidity is defeated and crushed by the first drop of innocent blood which was mixed with dust and stones on the day of his passion. Stupidity was defeated by the air of his breath, the breath of the Resurrected Christ, the wind of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor and the Defender who reveals all, explains all, heals all, makes strong and illuminates.
The last unexpected crack of light. How can we pulverize the train's coal and throw out the fuel of stupidity, envy? There is also an unexpected and dazzling crack  to defeat envy for those who truly wish and desire it. The text reads: Jesus looked at him and said "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas." That's it. Beautiful. As vast as the universe, as luminous as the sun: a choice. We did not choose him but He chose us. Divinely chosen out of love. This is what overcomes envy. Having looked on him he indicates predilection and love.  You will be called Kefas indicates that he was given a new name, a new assignment, a new service, a new talent, a new gift. But what is an assignment? An assignment is a way offered by God by which an individual can honor life, God, oneself and others out of love. The choice to go forward loving, to not waste talents wins over all envy. Those who choose an assignment or rather those who let Jesus choose them for an assignment no longer have time or interest in envy, squabbles, competition. When an assignment is writtten on one's heart, when a name becomes an assignment before God, when a choice is life, envy heads the other way. One lives, one does, one listens, one awaits, one learns, one grows, one makes a mistake and starts over again but envy disappears; it is no longer needed.
For those who really love what they do in the name of God and do not give up in the face of difficulties and lies, envy has lost its power.
Blessed is that house, blessed is that hour during that first day of the first meeting with him when human stupidity was overcome.