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GOSPEL COMMENTARY Jan. 17, Jn 1:35-42

The pandemic has turned our world upside down. Sometimes it feels like we are athletic shoes being tossed around in the clothes dryer, rather disoriented and out of control. Our normal life and routines have been completely disrupted. During moments of great turmoil or change, we often ask about the meaning of life.

Andrew the Apostle, a fisherman by trade, became a disciple of St. John the Baptist. One day, while following John, Jesus walks by and John proclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God." Immediately, Andrew leaves John and begins to follow Jesus. Jesus turns around, looks Andrew in the eye, and asks, "What are you looking for?"

Excellent question.

At this moment in your life, what are you looking for? A purpose that will inspire you to get out of bed each day with focus and enthusiasm? Hope for the future in the midst of heavy darkness? A personal relationship with God that brings healing and unexplainable strength? The key to experiencing enduring joy and peace in the midst of life’s ups and downs? Something to give meaning to the tremendous suffering in our world? To be set free from the weight of sin?

Jesus Christ is the answer to all of those questions. Behold the Lamb of God.

Many people spend a great deal of time, money and energy looking for the answer in the wrong places, such as in philosophy, riches, positions of power, unhealthy relationships, hobbies and other religions. There are bits and pieces of truth and goodness found in many of these places; however, any light or goodness found in them comes from Christ, the source of all that is good and true. Jesus alone is "the way, the truth and the life."

Jesus has a providential plan for each of our lives that brings fulfillment and puts a spring in our step each day. Jesus, by conquering sin, Satan and death through his own death and resurrection, is a cause for hope in the midst of every form of darkness that covers this earth. An encounter with Christ and the ensuing process of building a relationship with him heals the soul and brings us strength beyond measure. Jesus addresses the issue of human suffering in a way not found anywhere on this earth: God chose to lower himself, take on our human nature, dwell among us, dive into our suffering and use it to redeem the world. Jesus greatly desires to pour out the infinite love of God into our hearts, beginning with the gift of his unparalleled mercy, setting us free from the ugliness of our sin.

Getting back to our Gospel, Andrew, after spending one day in the presence of Christ, ran to his brother, Peter, and brought him to Jesus. His encounter with the Lord was life changing. Andrew found the treasure of great price. He knew that Christ was the answer to all of the deepest aches and questions of the human heart. So, the first thing he did after this encounter was get his brother in front of Jesus.  

Andrew is a powerful example of the mission inherent in being a Christian. Jesus commissioned his disciples after his resurrection and just before the Ascension, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the ages" (Mt 28: 19-20).

While Jesus asks us to bring the light of his love and truth to others, it should be a mission that flows from the great grace of knowing and loving him. He is the greatest blessing our heavenly Father has bestowed upon the world. Jesus’ gift of his life on the cross to the Father for the redemption of the world is the greatest act of love the world has ever known. His presence, healing grace and resplendent truth give us life and make sense out of a world full of confusion. How can we not help but make it a priority in our lives to invite others to encounter him as well and serve them humbly in Christ’s name? 

Fr. Peterson is director of mission and development for the Youth Apostles.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021