John the Baptist saw Jesus walking by and said “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Two of John’s disciples heard what John said and started to follow Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”
It’s interesting that the two disciples didn’t answer the question that Jesus asked. Could it be that they really didn’t know what they were looking for? So, they asked Jesus a question instead “Where are you staying?”
This seems like a simple question. We would expect Jesus to reply that he is staying at the house of a relative or in a cave or possibly in a tent in the field. But physical location is not the type of question the disciples asked. Bishop Mueggenborg offers some insight into their question. The word “staying” in Greek can also mean to “dwell” or “remain”. John uses this term to describe the enduring permanent relationship that Jesus has with the Father and the Spirit.
In the context of our new understanding of the word “staying”, Jesus invites the two disciples to “Come and See”. The Gospel tells us that the two disciples stayed with Jesus that day. This was about four o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday, the eve of the Sabbath.
The disciples would not have traveled on the Sabbath in accordance with Jewish law, so they stayed with Jesus through the end of the Sabbath. They would have seen Jesus attend the synagogue on the Sabbath and pray. They would have seen how Jesus interacted with his Father and the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the Sabbath, Andrew was convinced that this was truly the Messiah. Andrew then goes to find his brother to share what happened. When we reach the point in our lives that we are convinced Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus is our Savior, we must share that experience with others.
We are very independent people, and we take pride our independence, in our ability to make things happen and get it done. We strive to be the best at work, the best on the soccer field, the best at everything we do.
This independence and competitiveness makes it difficult for us to turn over our lives to God and to follow his call. But, Jesus calls each of us to a permanent relationship with him and the Father and the Holy Spirit. And that relationship will change our lives.
In today’s Gospel, Andrew went out and found his brother to bring him to the Messiah. When we accept Jesus’ invitation to “Come and See” we are changed and want to share what we experienced with others.
Jesus answered the disciples question of where he was staying by inviting them into a relationship God. The disciples had to decide whether to accept Jesus’ invitation or to go their own way. They had to decide whether to become active participants with Jesus or remain spectators watching the events around them. They had to forsake their previous religious pursuits (following John the Baptist) and follow Jesus the Messiah. The disciples had other plans than to follow Jesus that day but those plans were changed in an instant when Jesus said “Come and See”.
Bishop Mueggenborg writes: “As disciples, we also have to leave behind lesser attachments in order to follow Jesus. Being a disciple doesn’t mean that we fit Jesus around our existing schedule. Instead, being a disciple means that we seek the Lord first and foremost as our Savior and that we are obedient to His Word.”
Jesus invites each of us to “Come and See”. Some things cannot be explained by words and that is the way it is here. A person must experience a relationship with Jesus. We are invited to Come and See, to stay with him in prayer and meditation, to study the bible, to attend mass and receive him into our hearts so we can declare to the world around us that, like Andrew, we have found the Messiah.
Pope Francis wrote: “That is why we tell everyone: “Come and see”! In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast. … “Come and see.” Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.”
Some of us will be invited to the sacrament of marriage to share their love as a married couple with others around them. Others will be invited to teach our youth in the public schools or religious education in our parish. Some of us may suffer from sickness and pain so we can show others that Jesus gives us hope in what most would consider a hopeless situation. Others will be invited to care for another person with gentleness and love until their natural death to show the world that the dignity of each person is God’s plan. Each of us are invited to live for God and to share the Gospel message with those we meet each day.
Some of us may be invited to vocations in the priesthood or religious life. The Archdiocese of Seattle has “Come and See” Events for those who may be discerning a vocation as a priest or in a religious order as a nun or brother. Many religious orders have lay programs where a person or a couple can serve in another country or here in the needy areas of the States for a week, a month or even longer if that is where Jesus invites us.
As we learned here, it is more than just seeing; Jesus is inviting us to participate in a relationship with him. How will we respond? It depends on his first question: “What you are looking for?” Are we looking for material possessions? Are we looking for success at work or on the sports field? Are we looking for happiness? Are we looking for peace? Are we willing to become a disciple of Christ, to follow him and accept what ever he wants in our lives?
Jesus invites us to “Come and See”. Now we must answer the question that Jesus asked “What are you looking for?”