B Cycle – – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 20
Jn. 1: 35:42
Two disciples of John were standing with John as Jesus walks by. We don’t know for certain how long John the Baptist was proclaiming the message of the coming Messiah. How long was he that voice in the wilderness crying out prepare the way of the Lord. Was John talking about the coming Messiah for months or years before baptizing Jesus? How old was John when he left his home and began his life of a wandering evangelist preparing hearts to receive the Christ of God? We do not have any answers to those questions because God was inspiring the writers of the scriptures to keep our eyes on the message not the messenger.
The real issue for us is how do we respond to the message. I am sure some of the disciples of John were at his side even after the appearance of Jesus. We know that from the scriptures when John, while imprisoned by Herod, sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire if “he was the one” (Mt. 11:12). We also know from John’s gospel other disciples left John to follow Jesus. One of those disciples was Andrew and the fact Andrew was a disciple of John leaves us with more questions while it teaches us something about our own journey.
What was Andrew seeking to learn, to become, to understand by becoming a disciple of John? How long was Andrew following John while he continued to fish with his brother Simon? Did they have discussions about the message of John and did Simon reject or accept the message but did not find it worthwhile to spend time following such a strange man. We will never know the answer to that question, but we can learn something from the story about our own journey to discover the person of Jesus.
Andrew was like most Israelites longing for the promised Messiah. He had to find the message of John challenging enough to follow him, listen to him and took to heart the message that the prophesies were going to be fulfilled in his time. Let us stop here and consider how we are responding to the promise of God to restore the glory we lost with the sin of Adam and how that promise was fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Do we feel restored or have we failed to appropriate the forgiveness of our sins won for us by Jesus? If we fail to act on our belief, we like Peter remain in the boat doing what we do every day – say our prayers, go to the temple and live our lives without faith impacting any part of our life. This day, Simon was invited out of the boat by his brother Andrew and it paved the way for Simon to get out of that boat at the invitation of Jesus and become a new creation named Peter.
Andrew obviously was hungry for the message that a new life awaited those who believe and embrace the coming Messiah. He believed enough to follow Jesus when John said, Behold the Lamb of God. Simple words that every Jew understood referred to the one lamb who would take away all the sins of all the Israelites (Lev. 16:21-22). Just as we each Sunday look upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It should make us, as it did Andrew want to draw closer to this one who offers us new life.
What do you want, Jesus asks as Andrew begins to follow him? There is another lesson we need to ask ourselves, what is it we want from believing in Christ. We should at a minimum articulate it and express our desire for the grace of his sacrifice to change our image of God. Andrew’s response to the question is interesting, for he does not say what he is looking for. He at that moment could not articulate it and that is where we find ourselves. We cannot articulate what it is we are seeking by our faithful attendance at mass each week. We cannot articulate what we want other then we know what we do not want and that is eternal condemnation. I invite you to perhaps follow Andrews lead and seek to discovery where Jesus lives. His residence is not just in the Eucharist, not just in the tabernacle in our churches. God is with us always, he promised to live in our hearts, be active in our lives and in the lives of those around us. He is present to us when we gather in his name and when we pray, he hears us.
Jesus promised to send us the Sprit to teach us, to guide us, to glorify Jesus and open our eyes to see him in the Kingdom of God on earth. To open our minds to understand the immense love of God will never be taken from us. To grasp the meaning and purpose of our lives. Where do you live is more than a question it is a quest to be where Jesus is in the Kingdom of God on earth. Come and see is the response to each of us. Jesus invites us to spend time with him and allow him to show us how much God desires our hearts not just our willingness to show up.
Andrew went and saw. That day changed his life, and he went to his brother and said, “you have got to come and see for yourself; we have found what was missing in our lives and in our quest to be faithful believers.” Simon did go with Andrew and that first encounter with Jesus opened the door enough for him to question if perhaps Jesus held the key to God’s mercy.
That is another lesson we can learn, sometimes it takes more than one encounter for our eyes to be opened. Simon, we know did not respond until that day but there would be another encounter with Jesus. It happened one day after he and Andrew had fished all night without catching anything. His response was to say to Jesus, “depart from me Lord, for I am a sinner.” We, like Peter, feel unworthy so we try to make ourselves worthy before we begin that journey to discipleship. God looks upon us and sees our worth not our sinfulness. God’s love is greater than our sins and he tells us nothing can separate us from his love. The proof of that is Jesus and his sacrifice. Jesus’ death has removed the barrier of sin between us and God.
This simple passage given to us by John is loaded with insights for us and invites us to do exactly what Andrew and the other disciple did that day. Seek to spend time with Jesus and allow Jesus to speak to our hearts.