Gospel Commentary: ‘Come, and you will see’

The church sets a veritable feast before us today as it feeds us at the table of God’s Word. The main course is an early passage from John’s Gospel that focuses on three great figures: John the Baptist, Andrew and Peter. There are several verses that deserve to be savored. Let’s chew on a few.

“Behold, the Lamb of God.”John, the prophetic link between the Old and New Testaments, commences his fundamental role of introducing the world to Jesus, the Messiah and Savior of all. This proclamation is so important that the church brings it into the Mass and uses this line to help us prepare for the reception of Holy Communion. Its force remains the same today as when first uttered on the lips of the Baptist because Jesus is indeed truly present in the Eucharist behind the disguise of simple bread and wine. He chooses to dwell among us in a most powerful way through the supreme gift of the Eucharist

“What are you looking for?” Andrew, an early disciple of the camel-haired prophet, leaves his old master and immediately begins to follow Jesus. Our Lord notices Andrew and another disciple, turns and asks them this loaded question, “What are you looking for?” What answer ran through the mind of Andrew? What answer runs through your mind? To encounter the living God; to find an answer to pain and suffering in this world; to discover the real meaning of life on this earth; or, to discover the path to the fullness of life?

“Teacher, where do you stay?” Andrew and the other disciple respond to Jesus’ question with a question of their own. It seems that already they sense something amazing in this new teacher. This sense of intrigue is coupled with a complete trust in John and leads them to go in haste to follow Jesus. Immediately they desire to be in His presence and spend time with Him. So, they ask where He dwells. Do I long to be in Christ’s presence? Do I make it a priority to sit at the feet of Our Lord and be His disciple? Do I want to be with Him, learn from Him … be His disciple?

“Come, and you will see. This invitation from Jesus was simple, direct and life-changing. I can just imagine Jesus looking directly into Andrew’s eyes and extending this warm summons. Jesus desires to look into your eyes and extend the same bidding. Perhaps this should be our theme for 2018, our New Year’s resolution — to draw close to Jesus, to sit at His feet as His disciple, to spend time in His life-giving presence, to come and see. There, nestled in the warmth of Christ’s love and truth, we discover who I am, who He is and the strength to follow the narrow path that leads to life and joy.

“Then he brought him to Jesus.” After just one day in the company of Christ, Andrew ran for his brother Peter and brought him to Jesus. It was the first thing he did after getting precious time with his new master. A genuine encounter with Christ is so impactful that we are compelled to invite others to share this joy and wisdom. We want those who are near and far to experience the love and newness of life that we can’t find elsewhere on this good earth.

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” This last verse comes from the first Book of Samuel. The Lord called out to Samuel, who at the time was unfamiliar with God, four times before finally he responded appropriately. The Lord pursues us like a Good Shepherd, seeking us out, tracking us down and calling out to us. There are many things that keep us from knowing, hearing and responding to Him. What are those obstacles in my life right now? Let’s resolve to root those things out of our lives and become missionary disciples of Christ.

As we begin a new year, ask Jesus for the grace to respond generously and quickly to His compelling invitation to follow Him closely, “Come, and you will see.”

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

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018