Bible Read­ing for the Sec­ond Sun­day of Or­di­nary Time: John 1:35-42

The Freeman - - LIFESTYLE -

Once some­body asked a Je­suit, “Why do you Je­suits al­ways an­swer a ques­tion with a ques­tion?” And the Je­suit an­swered, “Why not?”

Ques­tions of­ten shake us out of our com­pla­cency and open us up to think­ing and grow­ing.

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that in John’s Gospel, the first thing ut­tered by Je­sus was a ques­tion. “What are you look­ing for?” That ques­tion of Je­sus was so ba­sic that it caught the two would-be dis­ci­ples by sur­prise.

They didn’t know what to an­swer. So they too ask a ques­tion, which was a blind shot, “Rabbi, where are you stay­ing?” And Je­sus warmly in­vites them, “Come and see.”

The ques­tion of Je­sus was so ba­sic and im­por­tant, to ask the Jews of his time: “What are you look­ing for?” For many Jews were look­ing for a tri­umphal Messiah to lead them to over­throw the Ro­man power and put Is­rael as the supreme na­tion of the world, to re­store the glory of King David and King Solomon.

Many others like the scribes and the Pharisees were look­ing for more sub­tle in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the Laws. Others like the Sad­ducees were look­ing for greater wealth and po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence. Many others were just look­ing for fa­vors, mir­a­cles, cures, etc..

“What are you look­ing for?” That’s a good ques­tion. Per­haps the two dis­ci­ples were not clear as to what they were look­ing for. So they merely an­swered with a ques­tion: “Rabbi, where are you stay­ing?”

It seems that the ques­tion changed the fo­cus from “what” they were look­ing for to get­ting to know Je­sus – “where” Je­sus was stay­ing. And Je­sus gave them the warm gen­tle in­vi­ta­tion, “Come and see.” That day with Je­sus must have had such an im­pact on them that John re­mem­bers the time of day. And the meet­ing made him and An­drew burn­ing with de­sire to bring their friends to Je­sus.

They found their mean­ing in life. They had a mis­sion in life.

Now, sup­pose Je­sus asks us the same ques­tion, “What are you look­ing for” in life? What will be our an­swer? I don’t mean the text­book an­swer, but the an­swer from the deep­est re­cesses of our hearts and de­sires.

Ac­cord­ing to some sur­vey: the num­ber one as­pi­ra­tion of to­day’s young peo­ple is wealth – money. Next come fame, pop­u­lar­ity, and power. Among the top in the list are com­fort and plea­sure.

Many be­lieve that their suc­cess and hap­pi­ness in life de­pend on how much of these they ac­quire. I ad­mit it’s hard to dis­pute those idols in life. But I know the hap­pi­est peo­ple are not the rich­est peo­ple. They are also not those who have so much stress, fears, and in­se­cu­rity. They are not those who are bored and feel cer­tain empti­ness in life.

The hap­pi­est per­son I’ve met is Ka Mary, a mar­ket ven­dor from Buhi, Ca­marines Sur, who lives in a lit­tle hut by the road­side. In spite of her poverty, she spends time teach­ing peo­ple about God. She al­ways wears a nice smile and seemed to be with­out any worry.

There’s also a fish­er­man in Daan Ban­tayan, Cebu who was so over­joyed when he got a pair of rub­ber slip­pers for Christ­mas. He said now he no longer had to bor­row his wife’s slip­pers which were too small for him.

And what can we learn from the ques­tion: “Rabbi, where are you stay­ing?”

Re­mem­ber, the ques­tion shifted from seek­ing what Je­sus could give – like an en­cy­clopae­dia of wis­dom, or a man­ual for ho­li­ness, to the fo­cus in the per­son of Je­sus. They wanted to know Je­sus. “Where do you stay.”

They wanted to spend time with him. They wanted to know Je­sus. They may have had some ideas of Je­sus from John the Bap­tist. Now they wanted to know Je­sus more per­son­ally, to know him more in­ti­mately, which would lead them to love Je­sus more deeply, and thereby would fol­low him more closely.

That too is our pat­tern of growth in our re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus. We first learn about him from others. But there came a time when we en­coun­tered him more per­son­ally, through med­i­tat­ing and pray­ing with the Gospels, and re­ceiv­ing him in the Sacra­ments and meet­ing him in the events of our daily lives.

As our per­sonal knowl­edge of Je­sus grows, our love for him will deepen and grow stronger. And we will be­come more and more like him.

So, when peo­ple ask, “What are you look­ing for?” our an­swer, like the dis­ci­ples, would be – “We have found him! Come and see!”

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