Many awkward moments can happen at social events, but the topper has to be meeting a “stranger,” only to learn later that you actually knew that person. You play back that meeting in your head and realize how clueless you must have come across to this old acquaintance.
Now you know how God must feel—especially because we run into him every day without recognizing him. He’s in the neighbor who waves at you while you’re rushing to your car in the morning. He’s in the business associate you pass in the hall without acknowledging him. He’s in the store clerk you ignore after she gives you your change saying “have a nice day.” He’s in your son or daughter whose question you ignore while watching a sitcom on TV.
If we only took a moment to remember that God resides in all the souls surrounding us every day we might decide to welcome him into the best version of ourselves. But as we see in this Sunday’s readings, God likes to pop into our consciousness when we least expect him. And when he does we often need to be reminded that we’ve met him before.
In our first reading (1 SM 3:3B-10, 19) Samuel needs Eli to tell him it was actually the Lord who kept calling him out of his slumber. Eli gives young Samuel the greatest conversational ice-breaker of all time to use for the next time God called: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
In our second reading (1 COR 6:13C-15A, 17-20) Paul reminds the Corinthians how close God is to us: “Do you know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
And in our gospel reading (JN 1:35-42) it takes a chain of disciples to introduce Simon to the person he would eventually call Master. John introduces Jesus to Andrew, who then introduces Jesus to his brother Simon. Jesus recognizes Simon as his main man before Simon recognizes the Lord as his savior. And Christ christens him Cephas, a.k.a., Peter, a.k.a., the rock upon which he would build his church.
But it wouldn’t be long before Peter would later forget he knew Jesus—three times. Those awkward moments changed the course of his life—and ours. Remember that the next time you see our Lord. Look no farther than the nearest soul.