HOMILY: Where Are You Staying?

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted regularly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

PROTIP: You can take a look at the readings here. This homily focuses on the first and Gospel readings.

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time | January 14, 2018

So I must admit, I have a terrible habit.

Every time I read an article online, I have this compulsion to then click and read the comments.

I know, I should know better.

Because nothing good seems to come from reading the comments that accumulate at the end of news articles.

First, deciphering most of the comments is difficult to begin with as basic rules of spelling and grammar no longer seem to apply.

Then you have to deal with the commentators who simply lob insults at their perceived opponents on the issues, using some colorful language to boot.

But I think the single most reason I find comments so frustrating is that they don’t go anywhere.

Each person enters their discussion armed with a list of whats.

What this person or group of people have already done

What this person or group of people is going to do

What we should do or not do to solve the given situation.

What we should care about or not.

And they steadfastly cling to their positions.  As if to give ground will mean they will lose the battle and ultimately the war.

But then every once in a while, you get a comment that breaks through the noise of the endless debate.

And this comment does not attempt to give a what.

It instead chooses to invite you into a where.

Where they have been.

Where they have journeyed

Where they have experienced other individuals and their stories

And when you choose to follow them, your life is slowly changed.  Perspectives shift.  Opinions are reconsidered.  Positions evolve.

I thought about this dynamic as I reflected on the Gospel for this weekend.

For interestingly enough, Jesus opens with a what question.

What are you looking for?

And let’s be real, the disciples had a million answers they could have given.

We are looking for a Messiah who will throw off the chains of this tyrannical government.

We are looking for someone willing to shake up the establishment and allow the Spirit to breathe in our Temple again

We are looking for someone who is going to defend the poor, who will heal the sick, who will cast out our demons.

But the disciples respond instead with another question.  A where question.

Where are you staying tonight?

For these disciples realized that if they were to learn from this man, they would need to be with him.  They would need to experience him.  They could not be given the answers, they needed to experience the answers through relationship.

And in Christ’s response, we have our own guiding light, even 2000 years later.

Come and See.

My friends, in many ways, we are faced with the same exact challenge as the disciples.

We enter this Church and are confronted with the same question.

What are you looking for?

And like the disciples, we too have a laundry list of things we are looking for.

We are looking for peace in our city and in our world

We are looking for answers:  What should we do with the immigrant in our midst?  What should we do about the racial tension spilling over into every aspect of our lives?  What should we do about the homeless women and men sleeping on our streets?  What should we do with the young teenager facing an unwanted pregnancy?  What should we do about terrorism?  Climate change?  Sexual Harassment?

We are looking for healing.  We are looking for reconciliation.  We are looking for community.

But if we have the courage of the disciples, we will refuse to settle for the whats, we too will answer.  Where are you staying?

And with a smile, Christ will answer.

Come and see.

For I am in the apartments on 4th street where Spanish is spoken and fear is palpable and I am the Haitian still rebuilding from an earthquake that the world has long since forgotten

I am dancing on the streets at the neighborhood block party and I am waiting on the corner for the bus to arrive each Monday morning.

I am under the bridges of 95 and am alone in my room in the Antonian.

I am in the boats perilously crossing the Mediterranean and I am sitting in the classrooms of Bayard middle school and St Anthonys grade school and the jail cells of our prisons.

I am filling out my unemployment paperwork and I am protesting an oil pipeline and I am sitting in my house with my family enjoying the playoff games.

I am black and I am white.  I am gay and I am straight.  I am a farmer and I work downtown.  I am a woman and I am a man.  I am a survivor and I am a victim.  I am a teenager and I am a senior.

And if we dare to follow where these voices call, we too will learn the answers to the questions that we seek.  For we will encounter Christ not only in those we meet, but in our selves.

Here I am Lord.  Here I am.  I come to do your will.  I come to follow you.

May God be Praised

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