January 14, 2018

In our Gospel reading, Andrew and another disciple of John the Baptist hear him point out Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” So they follow Jesus around, and Jesus turns around and asks them, “What are you looking for?” They reply, “Where are you staying?” and Jesus says, “Come, and you will see.” A lot of vocation weekends and retreats are based on the phrase, “Come and See,” and for good reason. It is an invitation.

To respond to “Come, and you will see” opens up so many implications and possibilities! And we hear about many of them in our Scripture readings for today. Let me elaborate on a few:

“What are you looking for?” – What are people looking for? What are we looking for? Happiness? Contentment? Serenity? Peace? I think many times people buy into what the world defines as happiness only to find out that it comes up short. So there are books on living lives with purpose and what it means to be successful, and there are helpful concepts and ideas in those and other books. For those who believe, all those kinds of ideas have their ultimate root in surrendering to God’s will and following Jesus in love.

“Come, and you will see.” – For me, the phrase “will see” is very important. When we respond to Jesus’ invitation, we are willing to continue to grow spiritually, to enter more and more deeply into the mystery of Jesus’ love for us. Andrew and the other disciple stayed with Jesus that afternoon (Let me put in a plug for making a retreat here).

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” – This what Eli tells the young Samuel in our first reading about how to respond when he is being called by God. If we respond to Jesus’ invitation, we need to keep listening to Him. We need to pray. Flowing out of listening to God, we are called to listen to each other. Hearing people’s stories can tear down so many stereotypes and barriers that exist between us.

“For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” – In our second reading, St. Paul reminds his brothers and sisters that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Often when people talk about their bodies as temples, they refer to eating healthily, getting exercise and generally taking care of themselves physically, all of which is a good thing, but I think Paul is basically saying to us to live out our faith, to have what we believe on the inside be translated into action on the outside. And sometimes we have to “fake it to make it.” As the Twelve Steps often says, “Do the actions and the feelings will follow.”

“Behold, the Lamb of God.” – This is what the Baptist says about Jesus to Andrew and another of his disciples. To call Jesus the Lamb of God is to recognize the role of the Cross in Jesus’ life, and the forgiveness of our sins. And so when we grow in our spiritual life, we are able to see Jesus “staying,” or living, not only in the people closest to us, but in the refugee, the immigrant, the poor and the working poor, the people struggling to make ends meet, those whom are discriminated against, and the victims of violence in all its forms. Some people wonder why the Church gets involved with social justice. It is because it sees Jesus in “the least of these,” and recognizes that to serve them involves working for justice as well as doing acts of charity.

“You are Simon, the son of John; you will be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).” – Andrew brings his brother Simon to meet Jesus, something we are all called to do. But this is also a reminder that when we accept Jesus’ invitation to see where he is staying and listen to what He is saying, and love as He is loving, our lives will change.

Do you want to find what you are looking for? Come to Jesus, and you will see.

In Christ,

       Fr. Phil, CP