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What Do We Expect?

I confess I did not recognize Him
John 1:29-34

Sermon Topic Recognition

Sermon Week Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 1:31


At a Princeton University reunion, an old graduate recalled a campus episode that took place when he was still, in his words, "a cocky freshman." He said, I was hurrying toward the campus library between classes when I saw a crew of maintenance men busily raking and hauling the autumn leaves. But there was one man, wearing a wrinkled pea jacket and a ski hat, who was just standing around soaking up the sunshine. He seemed quite content to let the others do all the work. I was outraged. "Look at that old loafer," I said to myself. I wanted to call out to him, "You'd better shape up if you want to keep your job." Then, suddenly, a bell rang in my head. I did a quick U-turn and sauntered back as casually as I could, trying not to stare too obviously at the man I had failed to recognize: Albert Einstein. If Jesus Christ should come again to earth in human form, would the world recognize him? Would the Christian world recognize him? Would we recognize him?

In today's Gospel Lesson, John the Baptist acknowledges that when Jesus first walked into his life he didn't recognize him. He didn't realize that Jesus was the promised Messiah -- the one whom the people expected to protect them militarily against outside forces and lead them into a new Age of justice and prosperity.

If we are unable to recognize Christ when He walks into our life, it may be because our expectations are misguided. If we are unable to experience Christ at any deep level of our being, it may be because we are expecting Him to act according to our limited perceptions instead of His own limitless possibilities. If we are trying to pigeonhole Divine activity in this way, we need to hear once again the Word of God spoken through the Prophet Isaiah:

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways ... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than [...]

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