Second Sunday Reflection: We Have Found the Messiah
Franciscan Reflections from the Hermitage – Second Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B – John 1:35-42
“What do you want?”… what do you desire… what do you really, really desire?
Do we truly understand our desires when we possess such a poor understanding of ourselves? In reality, our self-awareness falls far short of what we perceive it to be. This lack of insight into our actions renders comprehension of both successes and failures difficult, if not impossible. Our truest essence longs to be unearthed… psychologists refer to this as the ‘unconscious’ or ‘subconscious’, but even Freud acknowledged that uncovering it alone is unachievable. To witness it, one must view themselves from an elevated vantage point. Jesus extends an invitation for us to elevate our perspective, rather than quibble over semantics.
Self-knowledge isn’t something we can do in isolation, retreating from the world to look into ourselves…. we acquire knowledge dynamically, by trying things out and colliding with others… which always carries a risk, and takes time.
We often discuss peace, and on grander occasions, we emphasise the necessity of global harmony. However, conflict may be already brewing within us and our households as we engage in petty power struggles. Our discourteous intolerance may masquerade as strength, but in reality, it conceals something far more insidious.
The war is in our hearts when we demand our righteous and deserving slice of the world’s resources… the latest car… the season’s stylish clothes… travel to exotic destinations. Bottomless resources for those medical procedures that I need… must have! The equitable sharing of resources for medical needs is all great as long as it doesn’t touch my little hoard that “I have worked for”.
Maybe it is the allure of honour and esteem that we believe will grant us our deepest wishes. As parents strive to propel their children up the ladder of achievement, often at the expense of others deemed inferior, isn’t it inevitable that these same successful individuals will eventually regard their parents with similar contempt?
The truth that lies in our hearts is not so easily to be found. Recently a street survey was undertaken in a large city, to establish the level of optimism or pessimism of various members of society in that city. When the results were tabulated, it was found that particular groups of those survey results pointed repeatedly to a negative outlook while other groups pointed repeatedly to a positive outlook.
The researchers decided to call in the group leaders to try to explain this anomaly. What they discovered was amazing! The group leader whose results indicated a continuous negative outlook was himself mean-spirited, cynical, and highly critical. The results of the survey of this group reflected perfectly the attitudes of the group leader. On the other hand, the group leader whose results pointed repeatedly to a positive outlook within society, was known for his generosity, openness, kindness and great compassion.
We see people, not as they are… but as we are. Is it possible for us to come to see ourselves as we truly are? Our use of trite metaphors and misrepresented gospel clichés can lead us only into darkness and confusion.
Jesus invites us to come to him… to come and see. Jesus is the Messiah, the Truth, the Way and the Life! Only in, with and through Jesus and obedience to the Gospel that we proclaim, can we come to that which we truly, truly desire. We are made by love and for love, out of love … this is the only thing that can redeem us. This is both a terrible and wonderful Love that Jesus the Messiah reveals, a love that must give of itself completely for the other, “even unto death”.
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