Just last week we heard the gospel story of the magi who set out from a distant land seeking the promised king. Today we have jumped ahead 30 years from the infant Jesus to the now adult Jesus beginning his ministry to establish his kingdom on earth and to die for the sins of all of us.
In each of those gospel stories we have seekers as the central figures. This common trait is given to us to teach something about our own relationship with Jesus. Seekers are individuals who have heard the promises of God and are searching for a way to embrace those promises.
If you would take the time to read the scriptures you will find that they are filled with God encouraging us to seek him. The prophet Jeremiah tells us if we if “seek with him all our heart we will find him.” It seems like a quest we would willingly embrace and yet the truth is just the opposite. Most of us do not feel the need to seek any more of God’s promises for us or his plans for our life. This should not surprise us since the scriptures themselves warn us that the way is narrow and it is far easier for us to choose an easier path. There are enough stories in the bible that show us how we ignore the invitation to follow Jesus or we fail to recognize it when it is right in front of us.
You remember the gospel story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus said keep the commandments. The young man asked the question because he knew something more was required of him than just being obedient to the law. Jesus of course knew this and said to the young man – sell what you have and follow me and the man went away sad. We like him want certainty about eternal life; we want predictability in the practice of our faith and at the same time we want a comfortable faith that allows us to set the limits of what we are willing to give and how far we are willing to go.
Seek first the kingdom of God were the first words of Jesus as he began his ministry on earth. What is it that you are seeking from your relationship with God? What do you desire from being a faithful Catholic and have you found it? The gospel’s are full of stories of seekers who want what God promises them life in abundance, joy, peace, certainty that we are forgiven and knowing we are loved deeply by God.
The gospel stories are not just stories about people who lived thousands of years ago they are stories about us and how we respond to the message of Jesus to follow him.
Think of today’s gospel where John is actively proclaiming the one we seek is coming so we must prepare the way for him to touch our lives. Today’s gospel is part of a larger story of John who was baptizing and proclaiming the coming of the messiah. Large crowds are there, the Pharisees are there challenging him and Jesus walks towards John and John points to him and proclaims “Behold the Lamb of God.” Then John continues with his testimony that Jesus Is the Son of God. There is no mention of the scriptures do not tell us if the crowd or the Pharisees responded. But they do tell us two disciples of John immediately left and followed Jesus.
Today’s gospel occurs on the very next day after John baptized Jesus. John is said to be standing by the Jordan with two disciples of his. John was rarely in public when there was not crowds around him so I believe there were many others there that day. Jesus walks by this gathering and John suddenly proclaims “behold the Lamb of God.” Unlike the day before these two left John and followed Jesus. What made the difference between them and all those around them and all those from the day before?
I want you to understand this term Lamb of God was something every Jew understood as the one sacrificial lamb that was offered for the sins of all Israelis on the Feast of the Atonement. It was on that feast that one lamb was brought forth and the priest would lay his hands on the head of the lamb and place on it all the sins of all the Israelites. Then the lamb would be led out into the desert carrying away their sins. You can read about this in the Book of Leviticus Chapter 16 verse 20.
If every Jew understood the meaning of the Lamb of God why did only two individuals follow Jesus? This should make us consider what is it we are seeking? It should make us examine ourselves and consider if we are seeking anything and why aren’t we seeking more. The message of Jesus is that there is only one way to the Father and that is through hm. The message of Jesus is that he is the way, the truth and the life.
Listen to the words of Jesus when he says to those following him – What are you looking for? This is not a sentence in a gospel story we can ignore – we must respond because the answer to that lies at the heart of anyone who says they believe. What are you looking for?