“Behold the Lamb of God”. This week we might open our eyes in a fresh way to Christ and follow him faithfully. For, as a witty theologian said, most of us, instead of following him along the way, are more often “by the way, or in the way”. Lets confess any was we hinder or are indifferent in following him..
Recently, the killing of a honeymoon girl abroad for a few dollars appalled me. If we continue to Abandon Christ for worldliness will more of this happen? Already news is full of drug killings. Wrecking lives seems to mean nothing, money is all. Yet what use are pads in Spain if we can’t sleep at night; “No rest for the wicked”, scripture says. Money brings no joy if faith, neighbor and what’s right is sacrificed to it. Wealth, cars, exotic holidays, pleasurable sex were given by God to enjoy. But, if gained by destroying our souls or our frail fellow humans, they’re useless. To hell with God, the old, the weak, the needy, enjoy yourself at all costs! Is that where we are now? Progressing technologically, but not spiritually or humanely? A youth said recently on radio, ” my new year’s resolutions are 3: put myself first, put myself first, put myself first”.
Sure, we should love ourselves. But not shut God, others and what’s right out in doing so. Not long ago visiting an estate where a person had died, I asked directions. A young woman said, “the house you’re after’s over there somewhere”. I went around and came back and found the person who’d died next door to her. She didn’t know her neighbor, much less that he’d died. People make excuses: “twas worse in the old days”. It wasn’t. When I was growing up we were poor but all in the same boat. No room for heads in the air, we helped neighbors and kept basic laws of God.
Did the boom scuttle that, persuade us to sell our souls for worldly traps. Maybe! Christians must always guard against the trap Satan tempted Christ to fall into in the desert; “all the world I’ll give you if you’ll bow down and worship me”; to make the acquiring of worldly goods into one’s all. But maybe I’m being too pessimistic, today people see through that ruse too? Which brings me to happier news, a Sky report of an increase in England, USA and the continent in people becoming priests. They interviewed one, an engineer. “I went through it all”, he said: “money, sex, pleasure, the blind pursuit of all I wanted without restraint, but my heart was empty. Then I said, surely there’s more to life”. He discovered that meaning in serving God. “OK, priestly celibacy’s foolishness to a sex-obsessed world”, he said, but that’s its witness value. Our readings echo that young man. Paul says honor your bodies as temples of the Spirit. and Samuel says: “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will”.
That’s what John also says in our gospel, follow the lamb of God. Were asked to follow the master by lives full of grace, to raise up a lost world. One Christmas, called to a flat in Tralee, I found a young girl dead in her vomit from drugs. The sight haunts me still. What a waste! Instead of self-destruction if only she’s found the joy of Christ. Instead of giving her life to drug dealers if only she’d given it for others. And That’s the lesson for us. To cherish our neighbor. To be joyful children of God, not victims of the soul-destroying world. For the self-serving world fades to dust and ashes at last but Christ is lord of life, love, happiness, beauty, truth, peace and salvation both for our lasting joy in this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s own called to follow Christ and his church on the right way and care for others as ourselves, lets profess our faith…
Prayers of the faithful
And as the people of God gathered here lets pray with confidence to our heavenly Father for our own needs and that of the world..
Lets pray for the church throughout the world, especially the Pope and bishops, that they may be beacons of life-giving faith, charity and vital inner riches to a needy and troubled world..
For civil leaders that they may set aside all corrupt self-interest and serve all the people with integrity and justice..
For youth that, like that young seminarian, they may see the vanity of total worldly pursuits; and open their eyes like the blind man in the Gospel and follow Christ along the way to real lasting joy, peace, happiness and salvation for their souls..
For ourselves that in our homes, and nation we may testify not to greedy selfishness but loving faith and care and so help lead all around us, especially our children, from darkness to light..
For vocations, that young people may not be so blinded by the world and pursuit of money, pleasure and self as to neglect the service of God and others That’s their reason for existence..
For the needy aged, lonely, sick or poverty-stricken that through our help and care they may experience the love and care of God..
For the dead that they may come to the fullness of life anticipated here in the Eucharist…
And we ask all these prayers through Christ our only Lord of love forever and ever amen
During John Paul 11’s life, during the Polish occupation, many urged him to resort to violence. “No”, he said “we will overcome by love”. He organized people in a peaceful victory over both this tyranny and the later communist one. And as Pope he overcame the hate of the person who shot him by visiting and forgiving him. And his final sickness was a perfect example to those caught up in unavoidable suffering; he blessed people in St.Peter’s a few days before he died, though practically dead on his feet. He did this because he loved Christ – lets do the same..Hail Mary.