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Reflection: Come and See Jan 12, 2024

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Come and See

As part of my long service I walked the Portuguese Camino to Santiago de Compostela. It was a great experience, but I wonder if I would have got more out of it if I was not so preoccupied with avoiding blisters, being bitten by bed bugs, getting sick because I ate something dodgy or the simple fear of not making the distance. Every morning when I got up I knew I had to walk a certain distance so, I would set off determined to get to my destination without any distractions or detours. My walking partner, on the other hand, was content to set off when ready, talk to fellow pilgrims along the way, stop for coffee, admire the scenery and eventually reach the day’s destination contented and happy.

 

While everyone was walking to Santiago, the joke shared between other pilgrims was that Fr Peter was running to Santiago!

 

In the evening, we would discuss the events and highlights of the day. Did you see this? No, I would say. What about that stream and the old Roman bridge? Nope, must have missed that! The truth is that my walking partner was a lot more conscious of the journey he was on, the people he was sharing the journey with and the unique beauty that surrounded him!

 

Sure, I was walking to Santiago de Compostela – but was I really conscious of walking to Santiago? Like life here in our North Coast Parish Family, we can get so consumed with the tasks we need to complete, the jobs we have to do, the things we think we need to get done that we fail to smell the roses on the way!

 

In this weekend’s gospel, Jesus saw two disciples following him and he asked the simple question, what are you looking for? It should be the question that we ask ourselves constantly. Yet, how can we answer a question like that with all our distractions and busyness, our rush to get where we are going?

 

You see, most times I am not conscious of the question, let alone the answer. My life is full of distractions – the radio plays, I can waste hours on the computer without achieving anything. I get home and the first thing that goes on is the TV – and even if there is nothing on I can still surf the channels aimlessly. What does that say about our lives or the quality of our lives? Are we really living?  Or, despite all the gadgets and electronic devices, are we merely existing?

 

If we are merely existing, we are throwing away the life God has given us and all the God given opportunities will just slip through our fingers. What we need to do is to be conscious of living. We need to give ourselves over to what we are doing.  I sit at meal times and shovel food into me without appreciating the food, the taste, the different aromas. Often, half an hour after eating I can’t remember what I have eaten!

 

I talk to people, but often I am not present. I am too busy, too distracted, too concerned about what I have to do next, too tired to really listen. I walk away from a conversation without a clue of what has been said or the real needs of the person I was talking to.

 

Come and see is Jesus’ invitation to each one of us this week to try turning off the distractions and giving yourself over to what you are doing – and in the process appreciating the gifts of life and love that surround you.

 

 

 

Fr Peter Brannelly

 

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