An excerpt from the gospel reading for the second Sunday of Ordinary Time-
John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
I had a brainwave while listening to this gospel on that day. The priest had a particularly long homily, and I have to admit that I was zoning out by the end of it. As my attention was wavering I began to pray (at least the time wouldn’t be lost), and what happened was this: I felt a message whispered into my ear, like words on the breeze or a friend at my shoulder, so I listened. This is what I heard:
Jesus is often standing in front of you. You know He is there. Maybe you’ve fallen away from Him lately. Maybe your relationship is not as strong as you wish it would be. Maybe you’re estranged, you and this person they call the Christ. Maybe you have questions and He hasn’t answered them. Maybe He failed to be present to you in your time of need. Maybe you just feel lost.
Jesus knows this. Jesus knows how you feel, He understands your confusion, your search for the truth. He knows you are curious. Is Jesus really who they say He is? Can He really turn my sorrow to gladness? Can He make beauty out of my mess?
The two men who followed Jesus in the gospel, they had questions. They wanted the truth. So much so that when they saw Jesus passing in front of them, they went after Him. Jesus did not drag them along, or force them to come to Him; rather, when He saw them curiously following along behind him, close enough to know they were there but not close enough to touch, He asked them a question. The question Jesus asks us all, every day, every minute of our life that we are awake and breathing: what are you looking for?
Ask yourself that question now. What am I looking for? Is it healing? Joy? Peace? Whatever it is, the answer lies in front of you. The answer is in Jesus. But we cannot stand still, expecting Jesus to come straight to us and do all the work. Jesus is not a magician. If we need an answer, we must be willing to chase after it as the men in today’s gospel did. Once they had the courage to seek Jesus, to draw next to Him and converse with Him, only then did they receive a response.
What Jesus did next is not always what we want or expect, but what is best. In response to their questioning, Jesus replied, “Come, and you will see.” Not an immediate answer, not instant gratification, but a promise: come, and you will see. Follow me, and you will know. Stay by my side, and you will be taken care of. And what happened after the disciples did this? Well, they found the Messiah.
When you feel curious, confused, lost, or forsaken, raise yourself up and chase after Jesus. A true relationship is never one-sided. Find Him in Mass, in a chapel, in nature, in the quiet. Ask Him your questions and listen for answers. Listen to Him whisper, come, and you will see. Follow me, and you will find the Messiah.
Then, and only then, will we find the answers we are looking for, and only then can we can do for others what Andrew did for his brother at the end of the gospel: bring them to Jesus. Once we have fallen in love with Jesus ourselves, there can be no greater act of love than to bring Him to another.
Written by Melissa Velez