“Teacher, where are you staying?” – Reflection for 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Teacher, where are you staying?”

I am sleeping under the bridge with the homeless who have no one, who have no place.

I am sitting at the same table with the poor kid no one wants anything to do with.

I am watching TV with the elderly person who lives alone.

I am holding the young woman who is terrified of the surgery she is facing.

I am with your children when you are not there. I am with your spouse when you are apart.

I am with you when you’re feeling lost and alone.

I am putting my shoulder to yours in bearing your crosses of illness, despair and catastrophe.

Where am I staying?

Come, and you will see.

“We have found the Messiah,” Andrew says to his brother Peter and Philip says to his friend Nathaniel — and if we’re paying attention, we realize that we encounter God’s Christ in every individual who enables the sick and broken to find healing and wholeness, who helps the grieving and despairing to rebuild their lives, who lifts the poor and desperate out of their debilitating poverty. We’ve encountered God’s Christ in every act of forgiveness, in every effort at reconciling with those who are lost and forgotten, in every unheralded, unremarkable act of selfless generosity and humble compassion. If we look hard enough, if we look humbly enough, we encounter Christ walking among us as members of our family, friends and parish. We discover the Messiah “staying” within our own homes and hearts. We realize that we are made complete and whole in the presence in Emmanuel — “God is with us.”