What are you looking for in life? JOHN 1:35–42
By Sr Roxanne Neckles SSM, Grenada
Today we celebrate the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. There is the temptation during this season to enter a laissez-faire mode regarding our spiritual life. We slow down our spiritual momentum by being lax with prayer and other spiritual activities, especially as we descend from the spiritual high of the Advent and Christmas seasons.
We are tempted to go back to our old ways and await the next spiritual high during the Lenten and Easter seasons. However, the season of Ordinary Time is a time for action and conversion. It is a time to live the life of Christ, to embrace change, as reflected in today’s Gospel reading.
In today’s gospel, we witness a dialogue between Jesus and two of John’s disciples. A dialogue which reveals a process of self-discovery, conversion, spiritual growth, and maturity.
John’s disciples upon hearing John’s revelation of Jesus, “Look, there is the lamb of God,” left John to follow Jesus. Jesus, seeing them following Him, posed this question to them, “What are you looking for?”
This question speaks to me of the first step in the conversion process. The disciples knew about Jesus from the testimony of John, but they wanted to encounter Him, personally.
This question invites me to reflect deeply on what my purpose is in this life: whatever I desire is what I will seek out. What are you looking for in life? Is it comfort, fame or power? Or are you looking to discover the person of Jesus Christ? Peter, whom we met in today’s gospel, was able to identify Jesus as the Son of God, (cf Mt:16:16) and later in his life as a disciple. If you are truly seeking God, He will reveal Himself to you in the right time.
The disciples’ response to Jesus, “Rabbi, where do you live?”, is an expression of what they truly desire. They wanted to find out for themselves, whether this person John pointed out to them, was indeed the Messiah.
The disciples, knowing what they truly seek, are now ready to undertake the journey of self-discovery and relationship building. In asking the question, they are saying to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I seek you above all. I want to know you more’.
Jesus, recognising the true intentions of their heart, invites them to come and live with Him by responding, “Come and see”.
Jesus’ invitation to ‘come and see’, is a true indication of His wanting to make Himself known to us. It is an invitation to us to enter deeper relationship with Him, to actively seek Him. Jesus is saying to you and me ‘come and learn about My ways, My likes and dislikes; come and decide for yourself if this is what you truly want’.
At this stage, I am invited to risk, to let go of what was, to embrace the ways of Christ; to make myself vulnerable and open to change. The disciples, having grown in confidence and certainty that this was indeed the Messiah, chose to stay, “and they stayed with him that day, until four in the afternoon”.
The first thing the disciples did after experiencing Jesus and embracing change, was to share the Good News with others. Andrew, being one of the first disciples, after having met the Messiah, went to find his brother, and said to him “We have found the Messiah!”, and took Simon to Jesus, Simon whom Jesus named Cephas (Peter).
Conversion is truly embraced when we make known to others the good, we have found or experienced. Our brothers and sisters await an invitation to “come and see”.
Are you willing to extend such an invitation, by responding with compassion and love to those affected by the coronavirus? Are you willing to respond in loving kindness to our brothers and sisters who have left their homeland in search of peace and security?
Are you listening to the cries of the earth with a desire to take actions to heal its wounds? Are you advocating for a more just economic, political, and social system?
Our actions towards our brothers and sisters and our responses to injustices are invitations to “come and see” and experience where Jesus dwells.
The gospel reflections for January are by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, a Catholic congregation of Franciscan religious sisters founded in Rome, Italy, in 1883, who serve worldwide, particularly in the field of healthcare. The Sisters serve in Italy, Austria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the United States, Grenada, St Lucia, Tanzania and Trinidad and Tobago.