The Second Sunday of the Year
18 January 2015
St. Macartan’s Cathedral, 10.30am.
My dear friends,
Once upon a time there was a king who called one of his servants. The same servant was known to be a cruel, mean man who had few friends. The king said to him, “I want you to go and travel the length and breadth of my kingdom and find for me a truly good person.”
The man went. In the course of his travels, he met and spoke with a great number of people. After many weeks, he came back to the king saying, “I have failed in the task you have given me to do. I have searched the whole kingdom but I could not find even one truly good person. All of them, without exception, are mean, cruel, deceitful and evil. The good person you seek is nowhere to be found.”
Then the king called another servant. This man was known for his generosity and kindness, and was loved by everybody. The king said to him, “Go and travel the length and breadth of my kingdom, and find for me a truly wicked person.” The man went and travelled far and wide. After a long time, he returned to the king and said, “I have searched the whole kingdom as you told me to but could not find what you sent me to look for. I have found people who are misguided, people who are misled, people who act in blindness or in passion but nowhere could I find a truly evil person. All of them are good at heart, despite the evil they have done.”
We tend to see people, not as they are, but as we are. If this is so, there is an important lesson for all who read and study the scripture passages of today’s Mass. If we are always finding fault with other people and always putting them down, we should look very closely at ourselves. We may be saying more about ourselves than about others. Once our heart is open to others, we may discover the presence of God in them even if it is hidden.
A fourth century philosopher wrote the following:
There was once a man who lost his axe. He suspected that his neighbour’s son had stolen it. When he looked at the boy, his way of walking was that of someone who had stolen an axe; the expression on his face was that of someone who had stolen an axe; his manner of speaking was that of one who had stolen an axe. There was nothing in his actions or behaviour which did not resemble someone who had stolen an axe.
A short time later, the man found his axe when digging in the hills. When he saw his neighbour’s son again the next day, he no longer walked like someone who had stolen an axe; the expression on his face was not that of someone who had stolen an axe, his manner of speaking was not that of someone who had stolen an axe; and there was nothing in his actions or behaviour which looked like someone who had stolen an axe.
When the two disciples we are told about in today’s Gospel reading showed an interest in Jesus Christ, he invited them to come and see (if they wanted to be in a position to make a right judgement). When Samuel, in the first Reading, rushed to Eli looking for direction, he was advised to listen carefully when he heard a voice speaking to him. We are told that Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, and let no word of his fall to the ground.
An anonymous worshiper, talking to God in the morning is credited with the following prayer:
So far today
I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
lost my temper,
selfish or overindulgent.
I’m very thankful for that,
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
going to need a lot more help.
+Liam S. MacDaid
18 January 2015