Homily 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle B January 14, 2018

Wouldn’t it be nice to know a few more details about the calling of the Apostles? Such as, when the 2 Disciples went to stay with Jesus for the day, what did they discuss? What were the topics of their conversation? Did they talk sports? Did they discuss matters of heaven and earth? Almost certainly they did. Did Jesus say anything to Simon before he changed his name to Cephas? It seems odd that the first words Jesus would speak in the presence of Simon are words that changed his name. There had to be some conversation between Jesus and Simon prior to the name-changing.
We find all these smaller details absent from this encounter between our Lord and two Disciples, and a third named Peter. Inquiring minds wish to know the minute details. But it’s the big details that the Gospel writer attends to while giving us room to interpret the rest of the story.
And the big detail in our readings on the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, is the big detail of Calling. Or, being called. Or, even more specific, being called by God, which all of us have been. It’s appropriate that the calling of the first Apostles is the Gospel reading for the beginning of Ordinary Time, shortly after the start of a New Year, because a calling is a new beginning. It’s the start of something new, in this case the start of faith in Christ, and that he is in fact what Andrew speaks about him in John’s Gospel; “We have found the Messiah.”
How could Andrew know so quickly the truest words he would ever speak? He hears John call Jesus the Lamb of God; causing Andrew to follow Jesus; then stays with him at his place for a day; and Bang! The words to Simon, ‘We found the Messiah!”
What are all the details in between? How did Andrew arrive at those words? We don’t just come to that conclusion by hearing something said about him, follow him for a short distance, stay with him for half a day, and then conclude he’s the Anointed One of God, which you say to your brother named Simon. I want to know all the details about how Andrew arrived at those words.
So, I guess we’ll have to wait until I drive my UPS truck through the Pearly Gates of heaven, with all of you as my packages. Hop on board! At one time I would have said we’ll have to wait until the Red Sox won the World Series, or the Patriots won the Super Bowl, but we don’t have to wait for that anymore. Some details we’ll just never know.
Truth be told, as much as any curious person wants to know all the smaller details regarding Andrew’s final assessment of Jesus, it’s the one big detail of the Calling that makes the front page of the Gospel. It’s on the front page of our Catholic newspaper because it’s the first thing we are to notice about ourselves in order to understand and live the rest of the story. All of us have been called to follow and work for Christ; to find the Messiah as Andrew did from that day forward.
This is an everyday assignment in ways where we are to share the front-page news of our personal newspaper with the world each day. The headline on Monday is the same headline on Tuesday, and likewise on Wednesday, and so forth; “Jesus Is Calling Me To Follow Him.” The small details that follow the one major headline produce a different story each day, depending on what God is sending into our lives that given day. No two days of the smaller details are the same, even though the major headline remains the same; “Jesus Is Calling Me To Follow Him.”
In the first reading today, where it looks like God is playing a game of hide-and-seek with Samuel, we gain some understanding of one aspect of the one big detail of Calling; that God is persistent, gentle, and patient. God calls Samuel three times in this reading. After the second calling when Samuel still didn’t put the puzzle together, God doesn’t say, “That’s it! I give up! He doesn’t get it! He’s not smart enough!”
No, God is persistent, while also being gentle; “Samuel, Samuel.” A tiny whispering sound of Samuel’s name. Almost spoken in holy silence, the same way God calls us; through gentleness. And God is patient, waiting for Samuel to figure out the truth of who is calling him. The Lord will wait years, if he has to, for us to listen to the Voice that speaks to our hearts.
This is a very moving scene where Samuel opens his life to the service of God’s will for him. There are many details of goodness that will follow in the life of Samuel, in the same way they have happened in our lives, much of which will be known to God alone. The big detail here is the Calling, that makes all the small details of God’s love possible.
So, as Andrew and the other Disciple sat with Jesus for a day and discussed things of heaven and earth, and how the Patriots are going to destroy the Tennessee Titans tonight, the smaller details of their time together are known in the mind of God alone, and not in ours. But the big headline, the Calling, we know about.
Jesus called them by name to continue his work after he ascended. We are called to the same as Andrew and Simon Peter, with no fear and the love of God in our hearts.