January 14, 2024 at St Agnes & St William Catholic Churches in Naples, FL
1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19 + Psalm 40, + 1 Corinthians 6: 13-15 + John 1: 35-42
After hearing Luke and Matthew tell us about Shepherds and Magi, we pick up John’s Gospel today. For those two writers, it is place and family lineage that establishes the identity of Jesus. In this Gospel, it is John the Baptist. There is nothing here about the birth of Christ. What happens before the Baptism of Jesus is of no interest to John. This Gospel is about signs, and the first one will take place at Cana in Chapter Two. In John’s Gospel, the Baptist begins to fade away as Jesus begins to attract some of John’s disciples. Into the scene now steps a man named, Andrew.
I find Andrew to be one of the most fascinating characters in the New Testament. He is always willing to play second fiddle to Peter. He cannot keep the Good News to himself, taking delight in introducing people to Jesus. He is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. One time he brings that boy with five loaves and two fish to Jesus. Another time he and Philip bring to Jesus some Greeks who are asking questions. The third time is today’s reading when he goes to find his brother Simon to meet Jesus.
That meeting must have been something because John tells us that Jesus looked at Simon. John says the same thing much later when Jesus is on trial and Peter has just denied knowing Jesus for the third time. John tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter. I am sure it was the same look of love that saw what was on the inside of Simon, not just what was on the surface. Jesus could see what Simon could become, and I think that’s the way it is when God looks at any of us. God sees not only what we are, but what we can become.
Today, we hear the very first words Jesus speaks in John’s Gospel. “What are you looking for?” This is not a remark from an annoyed pedestrian suddenly aware that he is being followed. This is the Word of God addressed to every one of us who wants to take Jesus Christ seriously. What are you looking for in this brief life?
They ask, “Where are you staying?” We might at first think they are asking for his place of residence, but the word translated into “Staying” really means something more like “Where are you rooted?” Today we might say, “Where are you coming from?” With that, there comes an invitation to “Come and See.” This is an invitation to do more than look around. It is an invitation to see what life is really all about, to see what God sees, to see what God desires and has planned. It can also mean to see what God sees when God looks at us and at those around us. It’s about what we can become not just what we are and certainly not what we have been. Just as with Andrew and Simon Peter, what we can become happens because of a relationship.
What is unfolding in this first chapter of John’s Gospel is the mystery and the wonder of a relationship. I think Andrew was looking for a friend and it looks as though he found one because John tells us that he stayed with him that day. It’s time together that creates friendships, and that truth applies to our relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no substitute in friendship for time spent together.
Here we are today, spending time together with the one who looks at us and sees what we can become inviting us and welcoming us into a relationship that will ultimately answer the question, “What are you looking for?”