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Pursuit Of God – Fr. Mohan Bathineni

Fr. Mohan Bathineni’s Homily January 1, 2022

“Dear Friends in Jesus, there is a story of a young man who goes to a monk seeking to find God, the monk that takes him down to a river and dunks him in water. At first the young man thinks the monk is baptizing him. But after a while when the monk does not let him come out of water, he begins to struggle for oxygen, but the monk does not let him out. Every time the young man tries to come out, the monk pushes him down. Finally, to his great relief the monk releases him after three minutes and remarks, ‘young man, if you desire God as much as you desired oxygen, you will definitely find God. Dear friends in Jesus, like this young man all of us wants to find God. We want him to reveal himself to us, but how many of us really desire him. If so, how much? Do we desire him as much as we desire oxygen? Do we desire him as much as we desire food, pleasure and wealth? Today, we celebrate the epiphany of Jesus. What is this epiphany all about? It is all about Jesus revealing himself to the Magi and through them to the rest of the world. But how does this manifestation of God come about? Does it simply happen without any effort on the part of the Magi? No. It happens because they earnestly desire him, as well as explore every possible way to find him. Their journey following an unknown star tells us that they do not let go of any opportunity to find God. It is their desire for God and their commitment to find him one way or another that makes God reveal himself to them. Do we all desire God today? Are we committed to finding him? Do we look for opportunities to come closer to him? Do we make good use of them when they knock our doors? Do we explore various possibilities to deepen our relationship with him?

Dear friends in Jesus, unless and until our desire for God and our commitment to him surpass all other desires and commitments we have in this life God does not manifest himself to us. The Magi not only desire God, but also take pains to materialize their desire. They travel hundreds of miles weather-beaten. They in fact, risk their lives by carrying with them invaluable gifts. What pains do we take today to have God manifest himself to us? People who want a decent white-collar job study for years to qualify for it. People who desire to excel in sports work more than 10 hours a day to achieve it. And people who want food three times a day on their table work for eight hours a day. If such is the case with trivial things as these how much more should we work to have God manifest himself to us? Another important thing the Magi do is to listen to the word of God. Without the aid of God’s word they would never have made it to Jesus. What is the importance we give to the word of God today? Do we pay attention to it? Do we follow it? Some time ago, the Air Force developed an unmanned jet called the Global Hawk. It was so powerful that it could fly for days, scan the ground and relay clear video to the control station more than 3000 miles away. A few years ago, one of these global Hawks crashed in the desert. The reason for the crash was very interesting. It did not have any technical issues. It did not run out of gas. It did not bump into anything, but in a way, it committed suicide. How can a jet commit suicide? Well, this is what happened while the first hawk was busy in space accomplishing its mission the Air Force was testing another hawk hundreds of miles away. And while testing, they gave the second hawk a command and the command was terminate your flight and the first hawk, which was hundreds of miles of a wall, would have heard this command and thought it was given to it so thinking it deleted all information on board, shut down the engines, nosedived into the desert and destroyed itself. A $45 million plane destroyed itself because it listened to the wrong voice.

Dear friends in Jesus, if we listen to every voice that comes to us, we destroy ourselves. There is just one voice that can save us and help us have God manifest himself to us. That is the voice of God, which we find in the Bible. And finally, Jesus manifests himself to the Magi because they do not quit pursuing God no matter how difficult their journey is, it is death determination and perseverance that pays off in the end. It is their refusal to quit that makes God revealed himself to them. It also makes them eternal and famous. I heard about a teenager who had decided to quit high school, saying he was just fed up with education. His father was trying to convince him to stay with it. ‘Son, he said, ‘you you just can’t quit. All the people we remember today in history did not quit. Think of Abraham Lincoln, he did not quit. Think of Thomas Edison. He did not quit. Think of Douglas MacArthur. He did not quit. And think of George Paperback.’
‘Who is the George Paperback?’ The son shot back. ‘I don’t remember him. I never heard of him.’
‘You are right,’ the father said. ‘You don’t remember him and no one else remembers him because he quit.’ 

Dear friends in Jesus, perseverance in pursuit of God not only makes God reveal himself to us, but also makes us famous and eternal like the Magi we remember today. Let us pray today that the shining example of the Magi inspires in our pursuit of God. Amen.”