St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

“Jesus, everybody is searching for you!”                                         -Homily February 8, 2015

 

“Everybody is searching for you.” The day before everybody was gathered around him, and wanted to receive from him either healing, or the gospel of truth, salvation, eternal life. We need him! And Jesus wants to help us! This is his mission, his mission is to help us. How happy Jesus must have been, seeing so many people around him, and everybody so happy because of his words and his healings, because of his kindness and authority! “Everybody is searching for you.” Nobody like him has experienced what it means to be loved by people. What a great mission, what a great success!

 

But Jesus wakes up in the dark, and goes to pray. He prefers the love of God to the love of people. He prefers to be with God. And he understands that in order to fulfill properly his mission, he has to pray. He gave us an example, and an example of two things.

 

1. First, he does not leave prayer with the excuse of his work. How many times we enjoy so much our activities, or even our apostolic works, that we do not remember the importance of prayer. The psalm says: “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor.” We have to ask the Lord to build the house, to work with us, because otherwise our work is vain.

 

How do we work with the Lord? We work with the Lord when we set aside time to pray, even if we are busy. We work with the Lord when we offer to him whatever we do: our office work, our outdoor work, our work at home, our job, our shopping, our sport, our leisure time. Make the sign of the cross before you start something new. And if we realize that something we do cannot be offered to the Lord, because it is something wrong, we have to stop doing it. The Lord cannot work with us when we do something evil.

 

We work with the Lord when God is present at the beginning of my activities in a little prayer; when he is present during my activities as the one who gives me strength and insight to do the right thing; he is present when my purpose in doing this or that is to please him, to make him happy showing him that the talents he gave me are producing fruit. When you work, you praise the Lord with your ability to do it. When you do some sport, you praise the Lord with your physical strength. When you read, you praise the Lord by using your brain. But in any case, even if we are busy, we need to pray. No activity is an excuse to set prayer aside. If God is not first, our work is vain, it will not be blessed, it will not make us happy. And if we cannot pray during the day, we can still pray at night, as Jesus did.

 

2. But there is another example of Jesus. “Everyone is searching for you.” Everyone in that city was so excited, and wanted to enjoy again the company and gifts of Jesus. Jesus must have been so happy of hearing this. But he says: “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns.” I didn’t come to please myself, but to fulfill a mission. It would be easy to stay here and enjoy this success, but we must go on. My mission is not where success is, but where my God is calling me. My earthly mission will finish on a cross.

 

What a beautiful teaching! What makes me feel good is not necessarily what will make me happy. What is better for my pocket is not always what is better for my brothers and sisters. What makes people feel good about me, is not necessarily what makes God feel good about me. The best I can do for others, and the best I can do for myself, is the will of God, because God is the only one who wants my true happiness, and the only one who can give me that happiness. So the first question is not what makes me feel good, or what other people expect from me, but what God wants from me, how I can please him. If we do that, we will be really happy.

 

What a beautiful example of Jesus: he goes to pray in the middle of such an intense activity; he does not stay where it would be good for him, but he forgets himself and serves the will of God. God is first that is why we have to pray first. God is first that is why our decisions are not to be focused on secondary successes, but on the will of God. What does God want for me? That is the first question, and the answer is usually given to the one who prays. May the Lord give us a spirit of prayer. May the Lord show us his will. May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us with her prayers.  –Fr. Andrew