What are you looking for?

John the Baptist is standing with two of his disciples when He points to Jesus and states, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Both of John's disciples immediately begin to follow Jesus who turns around and asks them the penetrating question, "What are you looking for?" What a fantastic question: "What are you looking for?" If Jesus were to walk into your room right now, pause and look you in the face, and ask this question, what would be your response?

I am looking for deeper meaning in my life because I am tired of the shallowness that most of the world offers me. I am looking for Your presence in my daily life because I feel so lost without You. I am looking for deep forgiveness and new life because I am deeply frustrated with my weakness and sinful tendencies. I am looking for love that is true and deep and lasting because I am constantly frustrated by the selfishness in me and in others.

Interestingly, the response of Andrew and the other disciple is that they want to stay with Jesus. They sense that He is the answer to all of the deep questions looming in their hearts, and they simply desire to "hang out" with Him and be in His presence. So, "they stayed with Him that day."

In fact, Jesus is the answer to the great question, "What are you looking for?"

How much real time and energy do you spend following Jesus? How much time do you spend sitting at His feet and listening to Him speak words of tenderness and truth - that is, praying with the Scriptures? How much time do you spend just being in His presence - that is, praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament at your local church or chapel? How much time do you spend bringing your sins before Him with a truly repentant heart and hearing Him say to you: "I forgive you and I love you. Now, go and sin no more" - that is, going to confession? How much time do you spend with your family and friends looking for Jesus in your daily life, that is, building fellowship with those near you who are seeking Christ as well?

The response of Andrew and the other disciple makes me want to ask another question: When was the last time you spent the day with Jesus? Perhaps it is time to take a day off and spend it with Our Lord. The local ski resorts want you to take the day off and go skiing. Jesus wants you to take the day off and hang out with Him. Grab your Bible, a good spiritual book and a journal and go visit the grotto of Our Lady in Emmitsburg, Md., the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington or the Franciscan Monastery in Washington. It would be a great idea to make sure the day includes Mass and confession.

What happens next in the Gospel is typical of those who spend quality time with Jesus. They encounter the One who loves beyond comprehension, the One who speaks with unparalleled authority, and the One who provides newness of life, and they run off to share the experience with others. So, Andrew immediately seeks out his brother, Simon, and brings him to Jesus. Jesus instantly begins to plant the seeds of a long and deep relationship with Simon by changing his name to Peter.

Pope Francis has been issuing a loud call to Christians around the world to evangelize. To evangelize is nothing other than joyfully sharing with others the great things that Jesus has done for the world and for us personally. After a true encounter with Christ, it is hard not to share the joy and light.

"What are you looking for?"

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015