If you wanted to have an encounter with Jesus, where would you go? The answer that comes to mind for most would be Church. As Catholic Christians, we believe that Jesus is fully present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We also acknowledge His presence in the Scriptures that are proclaimed at every Mass. Therefore, going to Church to encounter Jesus is a very logical and correct answer. But since the majority of Catholics only attend Mass on Sundays, what happens if we desire to meet Him during the other 6 days of the week?
Yesterday, The Church celebrated the feast of The Lord’s Baptism, which concluded the celebration of the Christmas season. Over the past few weeks we heard about the shepherds and the magi, both of whom traveled to see the newborn Savior. Did you recall what they were doing when they found out about the birth of Jesus?
The shepherds were going about their daily work of tending sheep when the angel appeared to them:
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Lk 2:8-10)
One of the main duties of the magi was to study astronomy. They discovered the birth of Jesus while they were studying stars:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star at its rising and have come to do Him homage.” (Mt 2:1-3)
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus selects His first four apostles (Simon, Andrew, James and John) by visiting them at their workplace:
As He passed by the Sea of Galilee,he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed Him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then He called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed Him. (Mk 1:16-20)
We can see from these examples that, in addition to Church, we can also encounter Jesus during our daily activities. The majority of us are lay people, who live and work in the “secular” world. While it is often difficult to see The Lord under these circumstances, rest assured that He is there. We can see Him in the people that we encounter throughout the day. If we help customers, we are helping Jesus. If we take care of our children or elderly parents, we are taking care of Jesus. If we obey the directions of our superiors, we are actually obeying Jesus. Thinking in this way makes it much easier to deal with the drudgery of our daily lives, doesn’t it?
As you go through your daily activities, look around and see where you may encounter The Lord. It may take some effort, but you’ll find Him if you look hard enough. Once you discover His presence, ask Him how you can best carry out His will in your daily life. Then, like the shepherds, magi, Apostles, and all who encountered Him…you’ll never be the same.