SEIZE THE MOMENT: A Reflection from the Christian Traditions Posted January 16, 2021 by admin@interfaith


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January 15, 2021
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John 1:35-42
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
It has become fashionable in psychological and spiritual circles to think in terms of the power of the present moment. The theory goes: the past is behind us, and the future is not yet. Therefore, we must live in the present moment, aware of its inherent power. The present moment is indeed a gift if one can plunge into the depths of the here and now.


The Gospel for the Second Sunday is a powerful proclamation of the gifts to be found in the here and now of life. Interestingly, the Gospel portrays John the Baptizer as “standing there with two of his disciples.” We are not told of the significance of the meeting. Precisely, at that moment, John sees Jesus walking by as Jesus is obviously on his way somewhere else. John seizes the moment by declaring Jesus to be “the Lamb of God.” Historically this may have been news to Jesus. Sometimes you discover who you are by the testimony of others. For all we know, Jesus was on his way to do some fishing or visit a neighbor. 


John’s disciples are so intrigued by the Baptizer’s proclamation they begin following Jesus, who up to this point is a rather solitary figure. Why would you call a grown person “the Lamb of God?” While the title is honorific, the reality is rather severe, consequential, and disastrous for the Lamb. The author of the Fourth Gospel provides us with rich symbolism in these intriguing verses. 


Jesus realizes he is being followed. Turning to the would-be disciples, he discovers they want to know where he lives. Not sure I would give my address to perfect strangers following me. Nonetheless, the “Lamb of God” invites them to his dwelling for the rest of the day. We can only imagine what they shared. Jesus allowed his day to be interrupted by John’s two disciples changing his life forever. Ever meet someone who changed your life forever?


Jesus invited the two to “come and see” the dwelling place. I am sure the actual dwelling place of Jesus was simple, humble, and unpretentious. We know from the Scriptures “dwelling place” refers ultimately to the heart of God. The disciples of John have discovered the dwelling place of the spirit of Jesus. The attitude Jesus displays in this text is one of radical hospitality and graciousness. It all started with John the Baptizer “standing” there. May we always have the courage to find the treasure in the place called “here.”


The Gospel writer gently and surprisingly informs us that all of this happened around four o’clock in the afternoon. Is this the “breezy time of day” when God would walk in the cool of the garden with the freshly created couple? (see Genesis 3: 8). What exactly is meant by “four o’clock” in the afternoon? The best interpretation I ever heard stated it was about four o’clock in the afternoon! Here we experience the “power of now” in the present moment, whatever time it might be. 


We can wait for the right time to do the right thing, or we can seize the moment in the here and now of life. Thank you, Holy Community, for seizing the moment with your generosity of heart and courage to live in the here and now of life no matter what the circumstances might be.