The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here's looking at you

"Come, and you will see."
John 1:39

Sunday, January 15, 2012
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time—B

1Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

There is a lot of looking going on in today’s Gospel reading.

John watched Jesus walk by.

Behold, the Lamb of God, John says.

Jesus turned and saw John’s disciples following him.

What are looking for? Jesus asks.

Come, and you will see, Jesus says when they ask where he’s staying.

They went and saw where Jesus was staying.

Finally, when Andrew brings along his brother Simon, Jesus looked at him before identifying him and then giving him the new name Peter.

God knows precisely who we are. He knows us better than we know ourselves. His gaze on us is never diverted elsewhere, and it is not a gaze of harsh condemnation but one of tender compassion and love, for “I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). God looks at us, loves us (cf. Mark 10:21), and invites us to follow him. There is no coercion involved. “Come, and you will see,” he says, almost playfully.

If we are truly looking for him, listening for him—in prayer, Scripture, the life of the Church, our relationships, our work, our everyday encounters, sorrows and joys, successes and failures, illness and health—we will find the Messiah as Andrew and Peter did. Even when we are not looking or listening, Jesus walks by, turns and sees us, and continually invites us: “Come, and you will see.” He knows us, comes to meet us where we are, and then beckons us to follow him to where he is, to whom we belong, to become who we are called to be.

A sense of divine familiarity pervades all today’s readings. Samuel “was not familiar with the Lord,” yet God called out to him as he slept, waiting patiently for him to respond, “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening.” Though Samuel up to that point knew nothing of the Lord, God knew him through and through. In the second reading, St Paul reminds us that our bodies are members of Christ, that we are joined to the Lord and are one Spirit with him. “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,” he says. “You are not your own.”

We belong to God, who is intimately familiar with us.

That is a message today’s world needs to hear, to believe, to live. Each of us in our own way molds an image of who we think we are, who others think we are, and we struggle daily to live up to those false idols. God calls us gently away from our own ideas and notions. In revealing himself to us, he shows each and every one of us who we really are, who we are meant to be, who we can become. Like with Simon Peter, God calls us to follow him, to glorify God in our bodies, and take on a new identity in Christ while still remaining ourselves.

Peter did not change instantly. Under the gaze of God, he remained a deeply flawed man. But he had discovered Christ, and his potential self in Christ, and he was willing to follow him. He was on the way. So it is with each one of us.

Jesus sees you, knows you.

“What are you looking for?” he asks.

"Come, and you will see who you will become through me."

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