Speak For I Am Listening – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily January 16, 2021

“That’s a powerful Gospel that we have this evening. It’s the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus and John the Baptist, interestingly enough, identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God. He doesn’t say the Messiah, he doesn’t say the Christ, he doesn’t say the son of Mary, he says the Lamb of God and when we hear that word ‘lamb’ we probably think of that nice cuddly lamb that we see in the picture of the Good Shepherd holding that little lamb in his arms. Well that is a nice image, but that’s not what John is talking about here. When he says the Lamb of God, it’s the lamb of sacrifice, it’s the lamb of the Passover, it’s the lamb who was offered up on the day of Passover and whose blood was poured out as expiation for sin. That is the Lamb of God and so John from the very beginning of his Gospel is helping us to realize that the Lamb of God is ultimately going to suffer on the cross that that is the message of salvation, but it is that person who the disciples want to follow and they come to Jesus and they say, ‘where do you stay?’ Now where do you stay doesn’t mean your address, it means who are you? What are you about? What’s happening? What’s the message? What’s the story? And Jesus says, ‘Come and learn. Come and listen.’ and so they go and they stay with him. They enter into the mind and the heart of Jesus and they become disciples, but immediately Andrew, one of the two goes and shares his message with Peter, his brother and says, ‘We’ve found the Messiah! Come and see. Come and meet him.’ and Peter goes and that changes Peter’s life as well.

The message about this is first of all, discipleship. In that first reading today we had about Samuel and Samuel heard that voice calling him and he got good advice from Eli. ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening.’ Listening, so often in our prayer we don’t listen. We may tell God what we want to say to him, but do we listen. Speak Lord, your servant is listening. When we listen to God we recognize that he calls us to discipleship of Christ. He calls us to become a follower, but not just a follower, but a missionary disciple, one who shares the message. Andrew is that beautiful paradigm, that example for each and every one of us of a missionary disciple who not only recognizes Christ but goes and brings Christ to others, to Peter. That’s the call that we have within our life is to share that message of Christ and not so much by the words of our mouth as by the actions of our daily lives, the attitude with which we live each day of reflecting that truth and love of Christ Jesus.

I’m sure that many of us have heard this story before, but it probably bears repeating and reflection and that was about some of the U.S. military after the second World War as they were going through some of the bombed out cities of Germany they took a little R&R and some of them went into this bombed out church that was there and they found there a statue of Jesus that had been halfway destroyed and they decided as a sign of hope that they would try to put it back together again and so they tried to do that, but there were two pieces that were missing on that statue and those were the two hands of Jesus and so they took a piece of board there and whatever they had, maybe it was just charcoal, but they wrote a little sign out, ‘I have no hands but yours.’ and that’s what they hung where Jesus’ hands should be. It’s a tremendous message about how we are called to be missionary within our life that Jesus has no voice but ours. Jesus has no hands but ours. He has no ears but ours, but feet to walk except ours and what a tremendous blessing we have to not only be disciples of Christ Jesus, but also to be messengers of Christ Jesus to be the ones with whom his truth, his love, his compassion and his caring is shared today. Always remember, I have no hands but yours. Here Lord are my hands, may they do your work and here Lord are my ears. Speak, for I am listening.”