January 18, 2015: Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Teacher, where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. (John 1:37-39)
What could be simpler? After hearing what Jesus was saying, two of the disciples followed him.
What is reported next seems an ordinary exchange: Where are you going?
And the apparent unspoken question: Can we come, too?
Jesus then issues an invitation to come and see. I suspect that John’s simple language and simple story are much deeper than we are aware at first glance.
“What are you looking for?” is actually one of the deepest questions we can ask of ourselves or of another person. It is not a new question for the Scriptures. What do you really want—power, fame, money, control, love, truth? What are you willing to pay?
“Where are you staying?” Where do you live; where are you from; who do you know? In John’s Gospel this could refer to the very core of the person; the foundation and source of life. From where do you come? Who are your people? Who do you know? This question goes much deeper than a location. It is about the source of life.
When Jesus responds, “Come and see” to the disciples, he is repeating yet another invitation to put aside their lives as they have known them, leave all, and follow the source of Life. To follow Jesus is not easy, as the Gospels are quick to remind us. The call to “Come and see” will cost us.
In the light of a candle, surrounded by silence, let Jesus ask you the questions of this Gospel: What are you looking for? What really deep down, are you searching for?
Ann Sullivan, S.P. is one of my 3 favorite teachers of all time